Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Shawn’ Category

20 Years Ago

20 years tomorrow, bring back many memories for me.  Our younger child, Shawn Tyler was born, October 5th, 1991.

Like those of you with children, either young – or grown, you can’t even hardly remember what your life looked like without them in your life.  We are no different.  To us – it feels like both Ashlee, now 24 and Shawn – have been with us forever.

But they weren’t.  We lived a whole lifetime before we knew them.  Hard to imagine it now.

20 years ago we were living in Fortuna, CA where my husband Greg was lead (and only) pastor at a very small church.  We lived next door in the church owned parsonage with our 4-year-old daughter, Ashlee.

Both my children are gifts – I did not have the easiest time becoming pregnant – and with Shawn it took 18 months to conceive.

I remember walking around a park nearby to our home and praying for another child. The memory is so clear in my mind – even all these years later.

The Lord said, “yes” and some months later I discovered that I was expecting again.  I took the home pregnancy test – it turned light blue and Greg’s first response was this:  “It’s NOT blue enough”!  Can you imagine?  But indeed it WAS.  And I WAS!

Both my pregnancies and deliveries were pretty text-book – I did get to walk around more with Shawn – was in a much more progressive hospital this time around – even though we were in a very small town in northern California.

But Shawn was much bigger than Ashlee’s little 7′-10″ – He was 8′-13 1/2″ and a few inches longer than Ashlee too.

He was late – where Ashlee was right on time.  And Shawn has been late for everything since that day – Laid back and peaceful.  He has not changed much since he was a child.

I remember holding him after he was born and humming the “Brahms Lullaby”  to him.  It was a true “bonding moment” that stands frozen in time – in my memory.

Fearful and carefully guarded as a child – he has grown up to be a great listener and warm and compassionate with others.  He has an easy peaceful and laid back spirit, makes friends easily and is fun to be around – bringing energy to an entire room.

We knew that Shawn was musical from the time he was a little boy – had incredible pitch even as a child – and adapted well to many instruments – leaning toward the drums and guitar while still quite young.  He was also a very good student and athlete – playing both baseball and basketball for several teams – but in the end when he had to make a choice – music won out.

He played lead drums in his church for several years – and now has made a move to Burbank, CA to attend Musician’s Institute in Hollywood – a dream of his – for years now.  He is down there living the dream and we couldn’t be happier for him or think of anyone who deserves it more.

Shawn was a normal child and teenager – but always had that invisible “X-Factor” growing up.  He made normal mistakes while growing – but learned some valuable lessons about himself, others and the grace of God.

And so I remember with fondness – our almost 20 years with an incredible human being – who is out on his own to follow his dream.

I love you Shawn – Happy Birthday tomorrow to my sweet son 🙂

All my love,

Mom

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Priceless “In The Moment” Moments

The city of Burbank, CA looking east from Univ...

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This month marks the 30th anniversary of the last time I was single and living at home.  I went right from my parent’s home at 20 years of age to another way of life – without ever have lived on my own.

And although it worked out for me – I also see great benefits to living on your own before being married.

Both of my children have had opportunities to live on their own after finishing high school.  And although this can be hard, financially – I believe the lessons learned while living on your own are very valuable.  Some things just can’t be taught while living at home.

With our daughter – she was so determined that she would make it – and it took two jobs for her to do so – she’s been very proud of herself that she was completely self sufficient by the time she was 20 years old.  She learned a lot of about room-mates and finances that she’s never forgotten – and when it came time for her to get married – she was already very disciplined with money and her work ethic.  She’s one of the hardest working young women I know.

Shawn, who will be 20 in October – has moved to California to pursue a music education and hopefully a career with his music training.  He lives with room-mates in Burbank and has struggled to maintain his rent with only a part-time job.  We are grateful he got a job, when so few are available.  And we’re also thankful that his loan money will cover his tuition AND his housing this fall.  But it’s still tough to make the rent and pay for things like food – until then.

Experiences like this are so valuable.  And he will look back on these times as “the good old days” before real bills, a wife and children to support.  All of this – priceless in the big scheme of things to come.

As I chatted on the phone with him last night – I reminded him that this too shall pass – and his present circumstance is what great songs and writings are made of  🙂  Maybe not while he’s struggling – but sometime after as he looks back…

Living “in the moment” – trying to be present – even during hard times of struggle. Being available in the mind.  On purpose and on task.  Learning to get by on very little – to be engaged and still positive about life.  This is what living “in the moment” is all about.

Are you alway “in the moment”?  Does your mind wander to “better times” either in the past – or somewhere in the future?  Can you be content and very present?  Now – today?  Especially when things are not ideal?  And you may be struggling?  Can you find the priceless of the here and now?  Knowing this moment will pass you by – and be no more?

Did you live on your own before you were married?  What did you do without during those years?  What’s your story?

 

God Bless

Preparing for Absence

Greg and I are on the verge of launching our baby out into the world.  The count down has begun – he leaves for California next month.

And while we have really been “Empty Nesters”  for a while – you know what I mean – daughter Ashlee moved out 3 years ago – and from the moment Shawn had a driver’s license (on his 16th birthday) – we didn’t see much of him after that.  People think I’m kidding when I say that Shawn eats and sleeps here – sometimes.  It’s absolutely true.  It is still going to be an adjustment around here.

We have plans after Shawn leaves next month.  We are going to go into his room with gloves on and several garbage bags and begin the grueling process of fumigation and bringing normal back into chaos – the room of a teenage boy.

My car that Shawn has taken possession of the last 3 years – will once again be MINE!  A little worse for wear – but still paid for and MINE!  Did I mention that the car is MINE?  Just in case you are confused in that matter – I know that I have been.  Oh you know what I mean – you have a conversation with your teenager and you end up leaving the room muttering someone non-coherent like, “I’m right – I KNOW I am” as you feel all reality slipping from your fragile grasp.  So when I say I was confused – I really mean it.

We plan to clean the inside and outside of MY car – and fumigate it – so that it does NOT smell like a boy’s locker room.  My CD’s will finally be right where I left them – there will be no sticky stuff in the cup holder and on the seats – there will not be wrappers and other junk in MY car.  It will be left in pristine condition – just as I always have left it – BEFORE my son got his license and decided to take ownership.

We will have quiet at night when we turn in.  No more yelling or calling Shawn on the phone to get him to TURN DOWN the TV that we can hear in our bedroom.  No more late night cooking food and smelling it wafting upstairs where we are trying to sleep.  No more late showers and running water FOREVER next to our bedroom.  No more talking on the phone in the middle of the night – or hopping up the stairs and slamming doors (because he always forgets) – to wake us up.  None of that – just peaceful, blissful quiet.

Yes – we are preparing for absence – just as much as Shawn is anxious to be out on his own.  We worry just a little about how he will pay his bills – and survive out there – but we also realize that it is a part of his growing up – to be out on his own and figure it out.

I hope we have prepared him.  He is very grounded and mature for almost 20 – and most of all – he is a loving, kind and generous person – full of talent, laughter and fun – has many friends and has always landed on his feet – through rough times and setbacks.  I’m proud of him and can’t wait to see what God has next for him – as he discovers his own place in this world.  God has equipped him with a love for music and a talent that is his special gift – I’m excited to see how God will use that in him.

And so as we prepare – with a little over a month to go – we know we are also ready.

And there’s always iChat and Skype, right?

God Bless

We Are NOT Broken

Broken Heart

Image by Gabriela Camerotti via Flickr

The other day while teaching a piano lesson – I fell out of my chair in my office.  I’m not kidding.  I have a new office chair with a really high center of gravity – and I was innocently leaning over to my right to pick something up off the floor – when all of a sudden – my chair slipped on the hardwood slippery floor – right from underneath me.  My natural instinct was to put out my hand to stop my fall – unfortunately it was my THUMB that took all the impact.  I heard a nasty ‘popping’ sound like a knuckle cracking – and thought to myself, “That can’t be good”  – but I was really in no pain so I kept on teaching the rest of the afternoon – even playing the piano for a few more voice students.

My 19-year-old son LAUGHED AND LAUGHED when he heard about it later that day.  And it would’ve been really funny to me too – if I did not have to use my thumb to play the piano.  But like any injury – it creates great drama – and a wonderful story for later.  My daughter Ashlee used to love  the saying, “It’s not funny until someone gets hurt – and then it’s HILARIOUS!”

Because there was no real pain – but was quite swollen – even turning black and blue yesterday – I kept icing it and then Greg fashioned a bandage to keep it immobile while I was teaching.  Last night it looked worse – so we called our 24 hour nurse hot line and explained the injury to a nurse.  She was very thorough and asked me a lot of questions about my thumb – the type of swelling – where it was sore – if any place.  By the time I was off the phone with her – I was confident that I had just sprained it.  I slept with a bandage on it last night – and this morning there is hardly any swelling at all!  So relieved!  The things we do to ourselves, right?  Nothing like self-induced injuries!

I also tried Acupuncture on my back for the first time yesterday and really liked it!  I’m going to go again – as well as keep my regular chiropractic  and massage appointments.  Getting older is not very fun.  And tomorrow I enter into a new decade.

Injured but NOT broken. Kind of like – life.

God Bless

Day 4

Massage in Tarifa, Spain taken on May, 6 2007 ...

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It is Day 4 of my birthday month.  I have happily given myself a whole month for the experience of having yet another birthday.  And not just any birthday.

Last night my very romantic husband texted me and asked me for a late night rendezvous on his way home from work.  For COFFEE people – get your minds out of the gutter!!  I was still up, reading and returning emails – and I was like YES – let’s do it!  Forgetting that I’m not 25 anymore – and that it takes me more than a day to recover after being up WAY past my normal bedtime – but I was wide awake and I was anxious to shake it up a little.  I mean – if the younger people can do this – why can’t I?  What do they have that I don’t?  Our 19-year-old son does it ALL THE TIME and he seems to be no worse for wear.  What’s the DEAL?  The other night he came home after a late shift at guitar center and started cooking at 11:30pm!  Needless to say, it woke us up and it was most unpleasant – not to mention annoying to hear the banging around in the kitchen and then smelling the food as we’re trying to sleep.  I was much too tired to deal with it at the time – but when he finally emerged from his room the next day I said to him, “Shawn – do you have to come home at that hour and COOK?  Can’t you pick something up on the way home or something”?  And do you know what his response was to this?  “Why do you and Dad have to go to bed so early?”  Unbelievable.

Yes.  I am old.

So this morning I woke up with a screaming headache and quickly took some headache pills and put ice on my aching head.  Then made an appointment with my Chiropractor.  And would you believe – the adjustment didn’t help me?  Good grief – I dislike VERY MUCH getting older.  However we did manage to find a wonderful and supportive office chair for me so I can sit at my computer and write with excellent posture and hopefully eliminate neck and shoulder soreness.  As a piano player – I have dealt with tight muscles my whole life – but it is worse as I’ve gotten older for sure.

My sweet husband used to tell me brilliant things like this:  “Why don’t you just relax?”  So you can see that I’m surrounded by sympathetic men in my life.  Actually he’s learned that it is not just a matter of relaxing – or willing my tight muscles to relax – it’s my personality type – and where I carry my stress.  We all carry it somewhere.

The good news is that I also will be going to have a massage on Sunday afternoon with someone who was highly recommended to me – so that will be very nice!  The last massage I had was from a man who did Tye massage – and it was wonderful – but he is available only at the times that I teach.  I need one every week – just wish I could work it out financially.  🙂

But it IS my birthday month – so pretty much anything goes this month.

Have a wonderful evening and God Bless

Do You Have The Music In You?

Key signature in C-sharp-major and a-sharp-minor

Image via Wikipedia

My husband is a drummer – and a very good one too.  He’s never had a lesson – it’s just a natural ability.  He feels the music inside of him and can express it.  But as good of a drummer as he is – our 19-year-old son Shawn, is even better.  Same thing – no lessons – just a natural talent.  He’s been playing for several years now – and is one of the drummers at his church and has had numerous opportunities to shine as he has been asked to play for retreats, seminars and other out-of-town gigs.  He’s even done some writing and recording with vocals, drums and guitar,  another instrument he just picked up.

His talent amazes us.  There really doesn’t seem to be anything that boy can’t do.  Except maybe clean his room – but I know that’s normal.  *Sigh*  Why can’t he be both talented and have a clean room?  I guess in the big scheme of things – it doesn’t really matter – and we have chosen  not to die on that hill. Always somewhat of a ‘golden boy’ with the ‘X factor’ – he’s even a great athlete and played both baseball and basketball growing up, excelling in both.  But my car looks and smells like a guy’s locker room. Oh well.  Another hill we have chosen NOT to die on.

This last week he’s been in training to work as a drum technician at a local Guitar Center.  It’s a perfect fit for someone like him as he will be able to demonstrate his ‘know-how’ to any potential customers.  That job along with trying to finish up his AA degree at a local college should keep him really busy.  And with no time to clean his room – or MY car.  *Sigh*  We are wondering if being so busy will actually force him to get the much-needed sleep his young body will need – and he will stop his prowling around at night – when we are trying to sleep.  *Sigh*  WE need sleep – even if he doesn’t think HE does!

I’m always in ‘awe’ of people who can just pick-up an instrument and play it.  No lessons – no real practice or effort – at least it seems that way to me.  My piano ability came as a result of years of practicing and becoming better – my vocal ability was much more instinctive and natural – but even so – I took many lessons myself and had to work at it, study it – and have paid by ‘dues’ performing in both a junior and senior recital in college to finish up my music degree.

There are those people who just ‘have the music in them’ and can pick something up – like our son and just begin to play it.  I have much respect for those that have the ability to play the piano without a lesson because they can hear it – and feel it.  They didn’t study the theory involved – or don’t seem worried about key signatures – they just play it – in ANY key!  My ability came with years of study. And I still stumble if I have to play in a difficult key – or play without aid of any written music.  It’s simply NOT FAIR!

Maybe you are one of those gifted people who can do this.  Or maybe you too have ‘the music in you’ and it’s dying to get out – but there are those so much better at it – that you do not try to learn – or it’s frustrating to you because it does not come easily like those I’ve described above. Maybe you are like me – who has to work at it – study it and practice A LOT!

I believe that we all can have a song in our heart – even make a joyful noise because we were created to do so.  God has equipped each person with different abilities and talents – and I try not to beat myself up because I’m not like another person who can do something I can’t. I try to remember what God has given me – and be thankful.  I try to use that talent to bless others – and not worry about what He didn’t give me – because maybe what He didn’t give me – He has given to someone else – like my son.

Below is a song from the opening season two of  ‘The Sing-Off‘ – what talent these people have!  Enjoy and remember to keep a song in your heart.

God Bless

What’s Your Name Again?

Beatles, The - 28 - 1966 - Michelle

Image by Affendaddy via Flickr

I hate to admit this – but I can’t remember your name.  Actually – if I’m really honest about it – it has always been this way with me.  I don’t do it on purpose.  I know everyone loves the sound of their name spoken by another person.  I just don’t think that person will be me.  Sorry.  I like to think of it this way:  I have a lot of other ‘stuff’ floating around up here – so I cannot be saddled down with a lot of trivial information, like phone numbers and names.

I think it’s a hereditary trait – I really do.  My maternal grandmother could never remember any of her grandchildren’s names.  I was somewhere in the middle of the bunch – therefore most forgettable, I’m sure.  She would go down the list, ‘Phyllis, Cora, Wendy, Joanne, David – WHO ARE YOU???’  Yes – I was even called, ‘David’.  Nice.  My cousin Joanne recalls being referred to as, ‘Wendy, Cindy, Joanne’ for most of her life.

Well – now that I’m of a ‘certain age’ I can identify with my grandmother and know how hard she struggled with our names.  I have found myself calling after my children – getting it horribly wrong and wondering why I CAN’T REMEMBER THEIR NAMES!  And like Bill Cosby said of his own father, ‘You live here and I’ll find out your name!!’  *Sigh*  It is so true.  I have called, Shawn – ‘Greg’  –  and Greg – ‘Shawn’.  I have even called Ashlee both ‘Shawn’ and ‘Greg’ before her own name.  One time Ashlee looked right at me and said incredulously, ‘Did you just call me Greg?’   Uh…maybe.

We recently started attending a new church.  There are only about 50 people on a Sunday morning – and do you think I can remember everyone’s name?  Of course not.  It’s a HUGE struggle – I’ve never been good at face and name association.  You know the kind – try to find something that they remind you of – or repeat their name like three times during a conversation and you’ll be set!  Not me.  Even after that – I usually repeat their name WRONG.  Good grief.  One very friendly and understanding lady – who has forgiven me and is in fact in our small group doing life with us every week – was Michelle Oakes.  I could NOT remember her name – even after about 3 weeks!  How embarrassing.  Well she was really sweet and said to me – ‘just think of the Beatles song’ – and that did it for me!  I never forgot it after that.  I just think of the song.

What if there is NO SONG that goes with their name?  Oh my.  That can’t be good for me.  And what if they don’t look like anything that you can do a word association with?  Names are a funny thing.  And over time – everyone starts to look the same.  It’s really bad.  I have this horrible fear that someone from my past will walk up to me and say, ‘Hi!  Remember me?’  and I will have NO IDEA.  My only hope is that I will not look familiar to anyone either.  Or that they will just keep talking and I will eventually figure it out.  Oh my husband will come up to me and save me – and then I can introduce him by saying, ‘Oh have you met my husband, Greg?’  And then they will be FORCED to say their name.

We just finished reading, for the 10th time or so, ‘The truth will set you free but first it will make you miserable’ by the late Jaime Buckingham.  He told about a childhood friend from the mountains of North Carolina where he had spent his boyhood.  The boy’s name was Kenneth Sumi.  He said that being back in those hills was like reliving his past and reminded him of his old friend with red hair.   Even though it had been 50 years – every man with red hair reminded him of that boy.  And so every one that would approach him with red hair would invariably walk right into the ‘Well if it isn’t Kenneth Sumi!’ – it wasn’t of course – it never was.  But that’s what he could recall from his past and it wouldn’t let him go.

I’m afraid I do that too.  I see people from my past – and the way they looked back then – and then try to make it work for the people around me.  It is not based on anything real – only memories.  It’s a scary slippery slope of constant embarrassment.  I think of all the times I was sure of whom I was talking to – only to find out that I was completely wrong. And I dread someone saying, ‘You don’t remember me, do you?’    Uh – actually…..No.

Here’s to reality and things coming back to bite – BIG TIME!

What’s your name again?

God Bless

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