Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘True stories’ Category

Walking The Line

Cover of "Walk the Line (Widescreen Editi...

Cover of Walk the Line (Widescreen Edition)

I recently watched for the second time – the “true” story of June Carter and Johnny Cash, called “Walk The Line”.

Everyone calls it one of the greatest love stories of our time.  But to every great love story like this – there is a dark side.  Another side to the “true” story.  One that no one likes to talk about – especially due to the fact that these two, although both previously married to other people – were in love and married 35 years.

That dark side begins with other people, substance abuse, betrayal and broken vows.  The song “Walk the Line” was written for and about Johnny’s first wife, Vivian Cash in the days when they were young and in love.  It was his promise to stay faithful to her while on the road.

I did a little digging after watching the movie again.  I was curious about the woman who bore Johnny four little girls.  I was wondering what her ‘take’ was on the affair and betrayal.  What I found was a book that she had written after this movie came out explaining her side of the story.  There were letters and other information from her daughters and what they remember surrounding the events back when June started singing and touring with the band.  I thought it would be a predictable story of a jilted lover – but according to her own daughters – she never spoke a negative word about June Carter in private or public.  And what I didn’t expect – it is a very different portrayal of those same events in the movie.

I don’t have any problem with a “live and let live” attitude.  I am no man’s judge.  I leave all that up to God who makes the final decisions based on His superior knowledge of the heart of man, but it did make me realize something.  No matter how pure we think our motives – when pertaining to personal happiness – many are affected by our decisions.

I realized something else.  I have heard  one-sided stories before from those hurt in relationships and particularly from a friend who had been divorced.  It would rip my heart out – and of course this person was not to blame!  Now I know first-hand that at least some of it (if not most of it) was one-sided and untrue.  One person’s hell on earth, may be another person’s ticket to freedom.  One person’s ugly – may be another person’s something beautiful.  It is hard to think of the dark side as anything other than that – UGLY, DARK and WRONG.  But when considering that there is sometimes a light that shines out from the dark and dead place, that dark place can be a new beginning and a second chance at life and love.  I am not so quick to judge anymore.  There are so many things I cannot understand because I have not walked them.  And many things are not as they seem.

So walking my line may look a little differently than yours.  But your line is the only one you can walk.  I hope you will always choose integrity over the easy way out.   Choosing to do the right thing may feel like a huge sacrifice – but in the end it has much less maintenance.  But when talking about life and death – I choose life.

The greatest love story just may be to stay in a relationship through the ups and downs, good times and bad.  But sometimes it may be letting go of something dead and gone – and reaching out for a brand new start and a new beginning.  Whatever your personal journey I hope you will find that deep love of our heavenly Father who promises to walk that line with you.

God Bless

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A City Weeps

This last week Seattle lost long time anchor woman Kathi Goertzen.  After a long battle with brain tumors and many attempts to remove them, her compromised body had had enough.    But it was pneumonia that finally took her.

Kathi Goertzen

Kathi Goertzen (Photo credit: Steve Lacey)

Those of us living in Seattle followed her story and her courage through her long battle.  She lost her smile on the outside only – her courage never wavered.  She was a role model for grace under pressure to all of us who watched with horror as the brain tumors increased with ferocious intensity.

When we learned that she was only 54 – we were stunned.  Not that she had brain cancer and had struggled for more than 12 years with this – but that she was so young.

Greg is 52 and does weddings and funerals for a living.  It is not unusual for him to perform a memorial service for young adults and those more than 10 years younger than himself.  It seems to be a growing epidemic for men and women to struggle with things like cancer and heart issues to die while only in their early forties.  On rare occasions it happens even earlier.

I am reminded of what the Bible says in James 4: 13-14

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Our bodies are temporary and meant to break down and eventually die.  The body is not who we are and we cannot be defined by it.  Our real self is much deeper than just our body and will live on past this life.  I am grateful for this, as I have had people I love already pass on into the next life.  And it is especially comforting to read in Romans 6:23:

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

A gift from God.  No matter what happens to me while I’m here on earth.  No matter what battles physically I have to fight.  A place where there will be no more fighting.  No more long battles with things like cancer and heart disease.  No more sickness of any kind.  No more loss.  No more weeping.

I am taking many long moments of reflection in this last week to truly be thankful and live in the moment.  Because we are not promised tomorrow – any of us, it is important to stay in the present and live in an eternal state of contentment and thankfulness.

My prayer for you and your family is this:  That you may stop and reflect today on the many reasons you have to be thankful.  For contentment and courage in all your present circumstances.  And for the love of Jesus to be an ever-present compass as you embrace your life and others around you.

God Bless

Partings and Meetings

Life is full of “meetings and partings” but rarely do we get to have it the other way around. Two years ago I wrote an article: Memories And Lost Boys. If you missed it – check it out.  It is because of that article going viral that one of my “lost boys” was able to do a “google search” for his own name – and stumble upon the article I had written several months before.  This has taken all of us on a strange and wonderful adventure and ended yesterday in a “meeting” after a “parting” some 26 years before.  When you read the article you will see that the brother, William (or Bill as we knew him back when he was just 18 years old) wrote me a comment saying, “two lost boys found” and ended up in many email and Facebook communications since then.

But I must back up.  In the article it explains that Greg and I were youth pastors in Jeannette PA in 1984 and 1985.  This is where our story began with these “boys” – four of them in fact listed in the above article.  We had a special connection with them – all four boys dedicated their lives to Jesus Christ while we were there and Greg ‘baptized’ all of them as well.  Then our world was turned upside down as the church board asked our senior pastor (a man we loved and looked up to) to resign after 10 years ministry.  We had only been there a year, but it was not an option for us to remain without the pastor who had brought us to this church from where we were living in Fairbanks, Alaska.  We soon found another position in New Castle, about 2 hours drive from Jeannette.  The brothers, John and Bill came to see us while I was pregnant with Ashlee in early 1986.  After that – the boys moved to New York with their mother and the others dispersed and went on with their lives.  We lost touch.  This was in a day before internet, email and cell phones.  When you said goodbye – it was forever – there was no way to stay in touch.  Here is what everyone looked like 27 years ago.

John is on the bike – Bill in the blue shirt.

Greg and Bill above.

John, Bill and Greg above.

Some of the girls we’ve never found – John, Bill and me above.

We lived in New Castle 3 1/2 years – and when our time was up in that church we looked to the West Coast where we both were from.  Soon we settled in a little church in California where Greg was the lead and only pastor for 3 years.  From there we ended up in Fort Worth, Texas, Vero Beach Florida and then back in Seattle where we have lived since 1995.

Not a year went by that I didn’t think of those kids in the youth group and especially the boys we had been close to.  It’s funny to think of it – Greg and I were not much older than any of them – at the time it seemed HUGE!   BUT the age gap closed in as I began to think of them and wonder where they were – knowing full well that these were not “boys” anymore but grown men – probably with families of their own – like us!

Fast forward to the age of email and internet.  Opening doors for those of us who had literally lived all over the United States!!  I was able to find some people through email – if they had been good about staying in touch – with others in was near impossible – like searching for a needle in a haystack.  When internet searching became available right around the time of our first computer, back in the late 90’s – I looked every 6 months or so for those boys.  When MySpace was all the rage – I looked for them then – when Facebook was more popular I looked again – every few months.

Fast forward to 2 years ago – the time when I wrote the article above about “lost boys”. I took a chance and listed their names – just on the perchance that someone would come across it – I didn’t know how – I just did it because you never know, right?

I forgot about it – and a few months later I found the two other boys on Facebook.  We were so excited to find Randy and Todd were both on facebook by then – and had emails and Facebook conversations with them both.  We even Skyped with Randy a couple of times and it was really wonderful to catch up on all the lost years.  But still no Bill or John.  We searched, Randy even helped me – and we looked for some of the other people from the youth group – but hit a couple of dead ends.

Then OUT OF THE BLUE I got the comment left to me on the above article by Bill – telling me I had found them and explaining a little bit about he and his brother – what they were doing now etc.  That was followed up by other emails and Facebook greetings and conversations.  It seemed like a miracle to me especially because all of us lived much of life before internet.

That miracle has been such a blessing – as we met William (Bill) with his new wife, Donna in Seattle and had a wonderful dinner together and a time rejoicing over how good God is in bringing us all together again after so many years.  Bill shared with us that those lost years had been tough ones as his mother died shortly after we lost touch with them – his father had left them many years before that.  The brothers were truly on their own after that and had some rough years.  Bill said that he spent many years running from God and searching for things in all the wrong places – had a few failed relationship and was “lost” – until a man approached him in the lobby of somewhere he was passing through and told Bill, “you look lost”.  This man prayed for Bill right there – and though it took another year for Bill to really turn his life around – he finally did begin by saying to himself, “I need to find a church”.  Soon after he rededicated his life to Christ and became very involved in his local church.  He told us last night that he never forgot being baptized by Greg and the impact that had made on his life – it was his turning point for sure.  He described it “like a marriage” for him.  It was a beautiful moment in the restaurant and Donna and I were very teary.  The picture of that lost boy – (now man) coming full circle and coming back to something he had once believe so strongly in – was a miracle.

He met Donna at that church after recommitting his life back to Christ and they were married a year ago last February.  She is a wonderful lady – so perfect for Bill and we are so happy for them both.

Here are some pictures of our very joyful reunion last night with Bill who is not 18 anymore – but 46!!!  How can this be???


Greg, me and Bill


Bill and Donna


Greg and Bill


Bill and Donna

I am hoping you will be encouraged by what has happened to Greg and me the last couple of years – and that you will know for sure that God orders our steps and allows us to make the impact on lives for His purpose and in His great timing.  Never be weary in well doing – for in time you will reap a great harvest if you don’t give up.  Those you touch and influence for His glory – will never be in vain.

God Bless

History and Story behind the Words to the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”

God Bless America

God Bless America (Photo credit: wstera2)

My favorite.

Enjoy this great story by the great Orson Wells.

Happy 4th and God Bless!

Guilty

Conviction (film)

Conviction (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night Greg and I watched a movie called “Conviction” – starring Hillary Swank, based on the actual events of a man sent to prison for a murder he did not commit.  He was convicted by a faulty legal system without DNA testing to prove him guilty.  Because of this injustice his sister decided to dedicate her adult life to becoming a lawyer so she could one day represent him, run a formal investigation and then have him released after being proven innocent by testing DNA samples that miraculously were not destroyed after 10 years as was usually the case in the state of Massachusetts.  It took time but she was finally able to get him released 20 years after his original conviction.

This movie moved me so much that I even dreamt about it last night.  In the dream I was friends with the sister and brother and was witnessing first hand the day he was released from prison and sent on his way home.  I was one of the special people allowed in to take pictures of them in a secluded room.  The absolute joy of these siblings was tangible in my dream.  And I was moved beyond words knowing he had missed his daughter growing up and countless other things due to a corrupted legal system that put him away for life in prison without the possibility of parole.

It is impossible to put myself in the place of these siblings whose love for each other is immeasurable.  To simply sacrifice myself for another in that extreme is incomprehensible to me.

The Bible tells us that “while we were yet sinners – Christ died for us” – we were unloving, unwilling and unknown – and yet – Christ still died – sacrificing Himself for us so that we would not have to miss out on anything good in this life and the next.  He gave the best for us even though we were guilty.  Someone might have tried to rescue us, like this sister did her brother because he was innocent – but only God’s great love will do and go beyond the reasonable limits – to find out and seek us out long before we really know and understand.

And I’m grateful.  God loves me that much.  And He loves you that much too.

God Bless

When Spiders Attack In The Dark

Something weird happened the other day when the weather was nice.  We spent a lot of time outside, on trails and parks around our town.  It was SO NICE to be outside – I got a nice sunburn on my neck and shoulders, but it was still such a change in weather, I didn’t mind.

Then the weird thing.  I noticed a bump on the back of my neck by my hairline – and associated irritation to the side of my neck.  My first thought:  Spider bite.  But Greg couldn’t really see anything, redness or welt – so I began to think it was my imagination.  The next day the lymph node on that side of my neck felt larger, like something draining into it – so at least I didn’t think I was crazy anymore.  It was definitely some kind of insect bite.

Tick attached behind ear. Note swollen lymph n...

Tick attached behind ear. Note swollen lymph node on neck below. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I began to google “spider bite” And was amazed at the things I was reading. Some people got bites while walking around outside – some while sleeping IN BED. I asked Greg how this could happen while I slept – I mean – where did they come from?  How did they get in?  It messed with me – got all mingled up in my thoughts, all the while still feeling the swollen neck.

Last night Greg worked late and we were finally settled in when all of a sudden I opened my eyes and looked above my head, only to discover a SPIDER WEB shining in the moonlight directly above my head.  The web string had not one but two little spiders hanging on the end of it.

FINALLY I have an answer, I thought – and said out loud to Greg, “there’s a spider web above my head with two spiders!”  He said nothing.  So I said it again, “Greg – are you hearing me?  I said – THERE’S A WEB ABOVE MY HEAD WITH SPIDERS ON IT!”  Still nothing.  “Greg – are you dumb?  Can you hear me?  I’m going to turn the light on now – get ready to GET THEM!”

I jumped up and turned on the light.  Greg was sleepy and somewhat reluctant to help me in my distress – but he did make a generous arm gesture – sweeping the area above where I was sleeping.  I couldn’t believe that was all he was going to do – I mean, if you knock down the web string – won’t the little spiders then crawl all over the bed and more to the point – my PILLOW?  We looked everywhere for the web and the spiders which had now disappeared – and Greg quizzed me, “you said there were two spiders? You know that’s pretty much impossible, right?”  Hmmmm.  He didn’t believe me – but I knew what I had seen.

We finished our search – looked above our heads, at the ceiling – nothing.  So I finally turned off the light and crawled back in bed.  With the light out again – I tried to see the spot where I had first seen the spiders dangle down in front of me.  It was pitch black in our room – no moonlight at all.  It was then that I realized I must have dreamt it.  There was no way I could have seen a spider web in the dark.

By this time I was quite flabbergasted.  I mean – it was so real!  How would I wake up that fast and say what I did to Greg?  It seemed impossible to me – and yet I could not explain the total darkness.  The whole thing became HILARIOUS to us.  The yelling at Greg to “DO SOMETHING” – the sweeping his arm over the place where I was sleeping – all of it!  Then Greg said, “maybe they were coming back to finish the job”  We must have laughed for a good half hour after that.

Hopefully NOT!!

Needless to say – there are NO spiders in our bed – real or imagined.  And my bite will continue to be somewhat of a mystery.  At least for now 🙂

 

God Bless

Stretches That HURT!

Massage in Frankfurt, Germany

Massage in Frankfurt, Germany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Several months ago, I noticed a sharp pain when trying to lift my left arm.  The pain was down my arm and not in my shoulder – and hard to explain.  It only hurt when trying to put my arm above my head – and so my obvious conclusion to this irritating and painful problem was not to do that.  Ever. I found another way to get undressed and remove clothing attached and around my arms with my arm in a down position – I’m pretty creative like that 🙂

I told my massage therapist and she smiled and said knowingly, “this just happens as we get older”.  Great.  That’s what I was afraid of.  And because of my repetitious movement at the computer and playing piano for a few hours each day – the problem has increased in recent years.  That day and every time since, she has worked on that arm and attached ligaments and helped me to get increased mobility.  The pain was only so-so – UNTIL the last time I was in to see her.  By this time I noticed that I had the same pesky pain in BOTH arms when trying to raise them above my head.  She worked on one side and it honestly took my breath away it hurt SO BAD.

She suggested some stretches and a heating pad to loosen up the locked up area – and Greg decided to get in on the action by “suggesting” some stretches.  He has me get down on the floor flat on my back and raise my arms above my head.  It sounds so easy – anyone should be able to do it, right?   But for me – it’s very difficult.  Because I’m a good sport (and to humor him) I am trying this – lifting my arms as far as I can and letting gravity pull them down on my floor.  It is very hard NOT to arch my lower back – but I am at least trying.  Not an easy task while our puppy is all excited that we’re down on the floor with her – she thinks we’re down there to play with her and keeps jumping on my sore arms – OUCH!

And although these stretches, plus the other ones suggested to me are good for me – I do not like them.  I’m not a fan of pain, physical, emotion or any other kind.  But I have come to terms with pain – have made friends with it and am trying to let it teach me the lesson that it needs to.  Pain will have its way – teach its lesson and hopefully move on.  At least in other aspects of my life – this has been the case.

Ah – pain!  The great teacher.  That moment making us change and do something different.  Making us take great efforts to avoid, get fixed up and obliterate forever.

Like those awful stretches.  I will do them because I do not like the alternative.

How about you?  Do you have some painful stretches in your life?  Are they worth it?  Is it better than the alternative?

 

God Bless

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