Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Simple Things

To find the beauty in simple things really isn't all that hard. If someone asked you about butterflies you would think, yes they are beautiful. Sunsets, The beaches of , well any beach, everyone would agree they are beautiful. Slowing down long enough to spend time in beauty is the key. Much easier said than done for sure.

There is so much to accomplish in this life. So much to do, so we can enjoy life. Balance is what it's all about, right? That's what we are all striving for. Striving for it in how much we work, shuttle kids to ball games, and spend time with friends. We strive for it with our spouses, our families and our hobbies. There are a lot of lives that run at break neck speed, most that run faster than mine, but we are trying to find that balance, so the sweet stuff doesn't get by us before we see that it's gone. I sure don't want to wake up one day to find that the finer things, the things that really matter have passed me by.

I think that will always be true however to some degree. I try to move through this life slower, spend time with family and friends. I share in great conversations around campfires quite often, spend time in reflection, and try to really engage the people along my path. Still it all goes too fast. I did slow down long enough to photograph the cricket shown here and spent time really marveling at how beautiful and intricate it is. I wish I did it more often. Life is a blur. We've heard it all our lives and now many of are sensing its truth. Savor the freshness of the morning, hug your loved ones like it's crucial for your survival. Look an elder in the eye and listen to his stories. Watch for just a minute the wonderment of a small child. The sweet stuff is around us all the time This is what I tell myself, I just don't listen as often as I should.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Reluctant Christian

For a long time when people asked me if I was a Christian, there must have been a puzzled look on my face as I searched for a way to answer that question. The word Christian comes with so much baggage and expectation and much of both of those I didn't want anything to do with. I always tried to look at my faith through the eyes of someone who didn't necessarily believe, or at least didn't follow a Christian faith.

I think what man has done to Christ is pretty amazing and many times comical. Sometimes intentions were good but many times God was just used to fill personal agendas. I wonder when looking down at the way some faiths are being lived out, if God is just shaking his head in a puzzled sort of way thinking, "y'all have missed it". I think God gets the whole human experience in all we do, as we bounce along the bumpers of life trying to connect, to find that harmony, that union.

This maybe a big limb for some people, but I'm not even sure we can disappoint him. The whole right or wrong thing. Perhaps there's a bit of sadness when we make a decision that takes us out of that harmony, but even those are good to learn from. It's always a journey as we move along the spiral, sometimes closer to our center, sometimes further away. But if we are intentional in our journey of faith, only being in harmony will feel right.

I have read about many forms of faith from Buddhism to Christianity. From Native America to Hindu. I think there is one Creator, and he gave us all a way to see him through our own cultures. . I am a member of a church and I find many good minds there and ones that allow me to expand mine. I hope my thoughts and beliefs will continually take shape as I grow older. For me, the walk and life of Christ is what I'm drawn to. It's what makes sense and is what captures my heart. Most everything else that humans attach to that is suspect and up for grabs. Anything I don't have to earn and is full of the purest love is for me. I believe we are all in this together and God shouldn't be expected to fit in any one box. So with all of the embarrassing TV preachers, the confusion of trying to make sense of it all, I am happy to live within the mystery, and more comfortable in being the reluctant Christian. Trust your heart.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Latitude 30.46, Longitude 87.19

Northern Gulf Coast. Panhandle. Florida. White Sands. Pensacola. Always home, always. It is here that I was born. It is a connection to land and water that will never change. It is in my DNA.

I recently stood on these shores, connecting to all that makes me who I am. It's a good feeling to be "home". Everyone has a "home". It's not always where they were born. Some discover this home late in life. It's that place, I guess, that just makes you feel at peace, connected, well, at home! Home is where you get your strength from, that well deep inside you, blended with however you relate to the Creator, that helps you stay centered and in harmony.

Pensacola is Americas first settlement. Spanish explorers brought their ships into what they called the "best port in the Caribbean", some 450 years ago. They were met by Indians that had been here thousands of years before, the Panzacola Indians. So as we all know Columbus, DeSoto, DeLuna, all those folks didn't really discover anything in the true sense of the word. They just found a land they had never seen. I feel the connection to those before me and honor their part in the shaping of what I see. History in Pensacola as well as other places didn't begin with the written word, so I grew up with only part of the story. In my spirit I want to honor the whole story, from the Creator thru every people that left their mark and raised their families, and turned the soil and watched the sunrise. We are all connected and we are all related, people and land. Mitakuye Oyasin! We are all related!

It is good to connect with home. The parts you like and the parts you don't like, for they both have influence on shaping the way you see the world. I am happy to share my home with my family. For some of my family it will be the home of their heart. They will ingest and breathe it as their forefathers have. They are in the line. They are in the land and the water. I think we should all connect with that place we call home. I hope you will embrace yours, wherever that is. Mine just happens to be at Latitude 30.46, Longitude 87.19

Aloha, GS

Monday, June 15, 2009


I am sure open to people enjoying whatever pursuits that bring joy into their lives. I'm even happier that I to can pursue the things that move me. Lets take music for example. There is something for everyone and somewhere deep in my soul I don't believe one form is better than another. OK, I'm lying to a degree. Maybe I'm just so consumed by what moves me. That has changed through the years which I look at as a healthy form of growth!
I have my desert island favorites without question. Jackson Browne, Bob Marley, Willie Nelson for sure. I don't know how I could possibly limit it to just a few. I guess I'm really glad that "desert island" is pretty stupid to begin with, or I'd need a really big island to also fit Roger Miller, James Taylor, Al Green, Don Williams, Jimmy Buffett, John Prine, Stevie Wonder, just to name a few. I think it's a beautiful thing that music moves people, I mean really moves them. For me it's kind of like life's blood, I just couldn't live without it.

When I first moved to Nashville in the late 90's I still listened to some of the country music that was being played on the radio. People told me that living in this town could change you and they were right. Maybe it's me getting older but I don't think the Country Music I hear now relates to me at all. I can still do a little Alan Jackson, some George Strait, and I'll always give a .new John Anderson song a spin. Lee Ann Womack just flat out kills me.

As a person that considers himself a writer at heart but would be reluctant to make that claim in the company of the folks I'm about to talk about. Being in Nashville and having the opportunity to hear some of the worlds best writers cut their musical souls and bleed all over the paper still moves me to no end. I'm not sure most folks realize how vital and how brave and healing it is for writers to make that journey. I found guys like Kevin Welch and Bruce Robsion. Guys being true to their soul, not worrying about the money, or at least not letting it get in the way of their art. There's a line of writers like that, Kris Kristofferson, Roger Miller, all the way up to the new poets like Davis Raines, Sam Baker, and Walt Wilkins. Once you taste that, once you experience something that real it's impossible to return to the stuff that is force fed to us on the radio.
Recently I had the good fortune to see Davis lay down some of the best written stuff this town could handle, as well as Mark Winchester put stories in song that are not meant to be consumed but savored like something you don't want to lose. I ended my week at high church watching Walt Wilkins move an entire room, lead an audience through their hopes and dreams, doubts and beliefs. It was honest, soulful, and in my humble opinion, is what music should be all about.

It's out there, the good stuff is. Let it move you again. Whether it's James Taylor, Miles Davis, or Mozart, keep it in your world, keep it pumping through your veins. It's mighty fine medicine.

And in the words of Bob Marley, "Don't worry about a thing 'cause every little thing is gonna be alright"...