adventure and appreciation

matt battle

My son, John, had the quote of the night. We were waiting outside the downtown venue so that his brother, Matt, could turn in his ticket money and receive his evening time slot for the “Battle of the Bands”.  John stated wistfully…

“I just hope they play better than they dress.”

We were obviously out of our comfort zone. My son, Matt, plays a mix of pop, americana, and country. The band members around us were heavy metal, screamo, rockers… black, ragged clothing and makeup, numerous studs and piercings, long, scraggly hair – lots of it.

We all began to wonder why were there. 

It didn’t get any better.  A solitary woman collected the money in the scary back alley behind the building. The under-age visitors would have to enter in that door at night to avoid the bar area in front. Ten bands would play 1/2 hour sets, starting at 4:00 in the afternoon; Matt would not go on until third from the end at 9:30 pm. I began to greatly regret having invited friends and their children to this “all-age” event.

We took on the adventure.

As the night continued on, it wasn’t really all that bad. Sure, it was loud with a few obscenities thrown in (I couldn’t understand most of the lyrics!), and not my usual music fare, but the people were respectful, the “mosh pit” minimal and under control, and most folks just listened casually to the music. Although it was a bar, those in charge clearly kept all drinking out of the “under-age” area; our group felt safe at all times. I am a regular at new cultural experiences internationally; it was good for me to step into a new culture at “home”.

Matt rocked the house.

Matt was the only non-heavy-metal performance, and he was the only one-man show… AND he won over the crowd… and won one of the top three spots with a chance in the finals! We couldn’t hardly believe it! I was very proud of my boy and very grateful for the friends who bought tickets and came to support him (not one of them a heavy-metal lover).

Common ground built bridges.

There was obvious mutual respect among the musicians. I was very impressed with the number of people who came over to Matt to tell him how much they enjoyed his part of the show. They appreciated his vocals, his looper and guitar skills, and his song writing. One man said, “I’m a metal-head, but that was awesome!”

As some of the bands played, I prayed for the young guys and girls in the bands. I prayed for the ladies who were there drinking alone. I smiled empathetically at the similarly-out-of-place other parents who were there to support their sons. I applauded fingers that flew rapidly over electric guitar necks, and drum sticks that pounded out amazing rhythms, and the synchronized harmony between groups that reflected many hours of practice and cooperation. There was plenty to praise… if I was willing to look.

The heavy metal bands taught me a lesson that night. 

How do you handle new adventures? Can you appreciate those who are different from you? What crazy things have you done to support a family member or friend? 


**You can check out Matt’s music at: Matt Morgan Music (facebook), @musicmattmorgan (twitter) and Matt Morgan Music (Reverbnation)

a bucket list

mom kayakI read recently that the words “bucket list” are going out of style, as trendy words sometimes do after overuse during a period of time.

Personally, since doctors gave my mom the terminal cancer diagnosis, I have not been too concerned about the trendiness or overuse of the word. It is much more important to me that she is living her bucket list.

The pictures in this post are of my mom. In a kayak. Out in the ocean. Way out. With seals and (big!) boats and waves.

Remember, my mom is almost 80 years old and fighting cancer with bi-weekly chemo treatments. She is fragile and weak. She hates to fly and has to smoke… BUT she traveled to San Diego to spend time at the ocean she loves with a friend who loves her… AND she took a seven hour adventure in a kayak… and she loved it!

I am so proud of her.

Too often I let fear or inconvenience or what-others-will-think get in my way of trying something new or pursuing a dream or taking on a challenge. I can settle for comfortable instead of fulfilling, good enough instead of invigorating, status quo instead of satisfying.

But I want a life that is more than just adequate. I believe God created me for an abundant life. I want to live all-out and full-force with less hesitation and more heart, fewer petty concerns and more passion, less worry and more freedom.

Tim McGraw sings a country song that says, “I hope someday you have the chance to live like you were dying”. My mom is helping me learn to live that way.

How about you? Do you have a bucket list? What holds you back from living life to the fullest today?

a 30-year celebration

fireworks digitalphoto KeeratiWhere did the time go? How did I get here? Am I really that old? Did I ever imagine when I was first starting out that I would arrive to this point? Has it been worth it?

This year I celebrate 30 years working with the organization known as cruI started out 30+ years ago with enthusiasm, belief, energy, a bit of trepidation and the support of family and friends. I stepped out of my comfort zone, moved to a new state (and eventually new countries), and I took on challenges that I wasn’t sure I could actually accomplish.

I believed that I could help change the world.

I learned a new language, developed my strengths, grew in weak areas, tried new experiences, tasted new flavors, and worked with some of the most incredible people in the world. Sometimes I made mistakes and poor decisions. I loved working with others, dreaming dreams, and creating something new.

I believed that – even with my weaknesses – I could make a difference.

I trusted strangers. I loved those who were lost; I helped others grow. I changed because they taught me new ways. I asked for forgiveness and forgave those who hurt me. I shared my time, my home, and my heart with many who became life-long friends. I said good-bye too many times.

I believed that people can change.

I laughed. I cried. I mourned. I celebrated.

30 years have gone by, but the adventure continues.

I still believe…


Are you following your dreams? What do you believe?