Sunday, December 15, 2013

ZERO VISIBILITY

Zero visibility.   Snow Storm - Looking out the window of my flight heading back to Nashville - only seeing white.  I've spent 2.5 months,  in 7 cities, 4 states meeting hundreds of people during "open enrollment" helping them sign up for benefits offered through their employers.  I heard amazing stories, from incredibly hard-working, low-paid people.  Stories of losing children and husbands to bullets from the guns of friends and gangs.   Stories of losing mothers, fathers, aunts, friends to cancer.   Stories of working two minimum wage jobs to barely meet the bills.  Stories from single moms making $9 an hour with daycare bills of $800 a month, and medical deductibles of $3000.  

With all the Shouting about not increasing the minimum wage, and how "those people" feel they are entitled, I wish they could be in my shoes and have met these incredible people.   The last location I worked at was a nursing home for the mentally ill and alzheimers/dimentia patients.   I met with the nurses, nurses aids, cooks, therapists, security, maintenance and all helpers.  In order to meet with all the employees, I had to cover three shifts.  To say I am sleep deprived is an understatement.  I could not have done it without the help of three amazing people who worked there - Thanks to Keith, Rita and Kenneth.   And now, time to zzzzzzzzzz.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Everything is Broken

This morning within a two minute period of time,  I spilled espresso on my bed; my computer charger died; and I received an email from Kyle Lehning,  husband of a woman I greatly admired, delivering the news that she recently died of uterine cancer.  Chris Caravacci.  She was an amazing, beautiful human being.  Warm and kind while equally a focused, strong business manager.

I am in tears thinking  Kyle’s loss of Chris - they had one of those rare, enviable marriages.  
Kyle Lehning and Chris Caravacci It pains me to think of her suffering a three year battle with that monstrous disease, cancer.  The hell of rounds of surgery, chemo, radiation. How it eats away at you little by little every day.   I lost my brother, Randy, the same way - beginning with the colon - surgery, chemo, radiation - then moving to the liver -  surgery, chemo, radiation -  to the lungs - surgery, chemo, radiation and finally the brain.  It was a long and terrible death.

There is no one and nothing to  convince me that anyone who suffers from cancer, Auschwitz or anything else is because it’s  “God’s will.”    No, no, no!
Do I believe God is good and can cause all things to work together for good for those who love Him, and Even for those who don’t?  Yes, yes, yes!

Life is beautiful and there’s always something to be grateful for.   But sometimes life hurts, love hurts, disease hurts and quoting a Bob Dylan song title -  “Everything is Broken.”  That is why the little kindnesses we show each other along the way are like air, food and water for the spirit and soul.  I believe that is God’s will.

P.S.
I met Chris Caravacci and Kyle Lehning, then President of Asylum Records,  when I was hired by the VP of Promotions, to produce a listening event during CMA for radio programmers to hear Asylum's incredibly gifted new artist, Mandy Barnett.  Mandy became the voice/persona of Patsy Cline and continues to perform the Patsy Cline show in Nashville at the Ryman auditorium.  Chris Caravacci became the business manager for Scott Simon, who signed the Dixie Chicks, and managed Tim McGraw.  Kyle continues to produce artists like Randy Travis, Dan Seals and other greats as well as play incredible B-Hammond organ in a jazz quartet called Leonard Small regularly at Nashville's classy jazz bar and restaurant - F. Scotts. 



Friday, May 31, 2013

I Am Ecstatic!

I am ecstatic!   Elliot just turned five years old and he is my new muse and collaborator!  He plays harmonica and toy guitar; wears glasses; paints emotion-yanking paintings; giggles at funny sounding words, is lactose intolerant and knows how to bake a cake with no milk; guessed my age is 21 :-)  ; knows quite a few notable rock-stars but never ever drops names;  invites me to play games with him and says my voice calms him down.

Elliot is my new collaborator.  We are beginning a new summer project - a book illustrated with his paintings with co-written and recorded songs.

I've had some amazing collaborators in my lifetime:  Rich Mullins, Noel Paul Stookey, Wendy Waldman, Keith Steagal, Phil Keaggy, Pam Tillis, Al Perkins, Jerry Chamberlain, and now Elliot!

I've always been able to feel when a collaboration is going to be good - and I know this will be fun and wonderful with Elliot.  He has exceptional parents - intelligent, Spirit-lit, artistic, inspiring and encouraging - Joshua and Rachel Lickter who are  Rooted - Artistic - Welcoming  Thanks for introducing me to Elliot!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fermenting in a Fertilized Creative Hot Bed

I ferment in the fertilized creative hot bed of who I've become.  I tell myself  " There's a lot more to be done in a short amount of time so get moving!" and then I turn to my CREATOR and ask
"OK, WHAT? What do ya want? I want what You Want so Please (and I believe it is a collaboration)  SO PLEASE, GOD, help me figure this out - I don't want to get it wrong." And I think I'm hearing back...."Girlfriend, relax, keep on doing what you do..... we'll figure this next challenge out - don't worry, I already took care of that wrong part." Whew! - Thanks! gOd GoD goD

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pam Mark Hall's Top 100 List of "MORE and LESS"

  1. More do - Less talk
  2. More God - Less religion
  3. More faith - Less* guns
  4. More polar bears - Less* pole dancers
  5. More imagination - Less* pants on the ground
  6. More wise kids - Less* widgets
  7. More recycling - Less* landfills
  8. More love-making - Less sex
  9. More sensuality - Less pornography
  10. More negotiating - Less fighting
  11. More loyalty - Less cheating
  12. More tail wagging - Less barking
  13. More determination - Less whining
  14. More walking - Less driving
  15. More gratitude - Less complaining
  16. More contentment - Less anxiety
  17. More flowing - Less flinching
  18. More confidence - Less fear
  19. More sharing - Less hoarding
  20. More believing - Less doubting
  21. More nurturing - Less destructing
  22. More effective - Less perfectionism
  23. More singing - Less sulking
  24. More generous - Less greedy
  25. More deliberate - Less impulsive
  26. More contained - Less compulsive
  27. More other-directed - Less self-conscious
  28. More requesting - Less demanding
  29. More relaxed - Less tense
  30. More journalistic integrity - Less scandalous sensationalism
  31. More compliments - Less slander
  32. More satisfaction - Less craving
  33. More humility - Less arrogance
  34. More learning - Less ignorance
  35. More garlic - Less salt
  36. More natural - Less synthetic
  37. More amused - Less cynical
  38. More adoption - Less* orphans
  39. More logic - Less paranoia
  40. More inclusion - Less exclusion
  41. More magnetized - Less polarized
  42. More beautiful - Less profane
  43. More hand-holding - Less nit-picking
  44. More back-rubs - Less headaches
  45. More peaceful - Less vociferous
  46. More fairness - Less exploitation
  47. More manners - Less rudeness
  48. More kindness - Less cruelty
  49. More value - Less hassle
  50. More giving - Less taking
  51. More negotiable - Less hostile
  52. More assertive - Less aggressive
  53. More deliberate - Less tentative
  54. More hope - Less despair 
  55. More in-bulk - Less packaging
  56. More solutions - Less politics
  57. More unique - Less* copy-cats
  58. More sexual-responsibility - Less sexual-repression
  59. More empowering - Less power-mongering
  60. More curiosity - Less* assumptions
  61. More integrity - Less scandal
  62. More shared-abundance - Less need
  63. More grace - Less shame
  64. More compassion - Less blame
  65. More role-modeling - Less preaching
  66. More mercy - Less condemnation
  67. More simplicity - Less chaos
  68. More space - Less clutter More focus - Less scattered
  69. More lean - Less fat
  70. More tone - Less flab
  71. More praise - Less criticism
  72. More creative - Less excuses
  73. More authenticity - Less posing
  74. More experimentation - Less derivation
  75. More substance - Less hype
  76. More charity - Less condescension
  77. More hummingbirds - Less* crows
  78. More butterflies - Less* rats 
  79. More corporate environmental accountability - Less* oil-spills
  80. More common sense - Less stupidity
  81. More homemaking - Less neglect
  82. More stir-fried - Less deep-fried
  83. More negotiating - Less fighting
  84. More Main Street - Less Wall Street
  85. More sustainable - Less disposable
  86. More prudence - Less risk
  87. More reliable - Less flaky
  88. More modesty - Less exhibitionism
  89. More creative community - Less cult of personality
  90. More social concern - Less social media
  91. More eye-sparkle - Less bling
  92. More bike-paths - Less pollution
  93. More urban town-centers - Less fossil fuel consumption
  94. More coal-mine regulations - Less* coal-mine tragedies
  95. More reaching out to others - Less* lonely people
  96. More prioritized city budgets - Less* pot-holes
  97. More financial intelligence - Less debt
  98. More patriotism - Less nationalism
  99. More little-guy/gal general stores - Less WalMart
  100. More affordable health care - Less hospital bill-initialized financial ruin
  101. More general practice physicians - Less* cosmetic surgeons
  102. More American made exports - Less* job losses
  103. More research for cures - Less disease re: Alzheimer's, Cancer, Huntington's Korea, Multiple Sclerosis - et al
  104. More real music - Less Lady Gag Me
  105. More Mashable - Less wasted time lost meandering on the world wide web.

*I know, I know. The correct word in this case is not "Less," but "Fewer."

Please add your own More and Less.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"Quilted Icon"

Seth Godin's business blog post, "I Quilt", reminds me of my grandmother, Cora Bess Campbell, and the patchwork quilts she made for all her grandchildren.

The youngest of twelve, born and raised on an Arkansas farm, Cora Bess Yingst (age 16) married LeRoy Campbell (age 19) shortly before they hopped a train to California. Roaming like gypsies, picking crops with migrant workers up and down the West Coast, they fished, camped and made life-long friends along the way.

They settled in Rialto, California. Nightly, he used Lava soap and a brush to scrub the auto-shop grease from off his hands and under his fingernails. Even before he'd spent a chunk of his weekly pay at the bar, it was hardly enough to feed, cloth and house a family of five. Cora Bess chose to rise to the creative challenge of turning scraps into things of beauty, form and function.

Grandma Bess, a meticulous seamstress, made my large, colorful quilt out of little scraps of material left over from the perfectly-fashioned cotton dresses she'd made for me from flour sacks. I'd sit on the floor next to her, cutting fascinating buttons from old clothes I'd never seen, and add them to the glass jar of her enormous collection. I'd sort and stack various sizes of empty wood thread spools while her fingers expertly guided the flowered fabric under the bobbing needle of her foot-powered shiny, black Singer sewing machine. I was enthralled by her talents. I can still conjure up the aroma of pinto beans, cornbread and greens cooking while she taught me how to take remnants of seemingly worthless material, and come up with a creative, beautiful and functional design.

Seth's, "I Quilt", helped me view circumstances and/or relationships like precious scraps of unique materials with the potential of special uses and re-uses. Cora Bess's gift to me is now a "Quilted Icon" - symbolic of my perpetual option to create beauty with whatever, as little or as much, is at hand. Like scraps of varying weights, textures, weaves and sources of materials are sometimes difficult to stitch together; so, too, are some jobs, people, and circumstances. I'm grateful for the compatible remnants with which I've been able to design, handle and stitch a life together. I want to make the most of what I've been given - and I'm remembering how to do that by visualizing my grandmother creating my very own "Quilted Icon".

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sex Appeal for the Cause

Mary Travers gave “If I Had a Hammer” sex appeal with her silky, swanky, swinging blond hair – those amazing Cleopatra eyes; and that expressive mouth and gravelly voice. It seems to me that her sex appeal helped deliver the “Peace and Equality” message of my generation. Sex appeal helped the movement to magnetize and reach critical mass.

Peter, Paul and Mary, JFK, Bobby, Martin Luther King, Dylan, Baez even Mother Theresa and Ghandhi had it! So what is my definition of sex appeal? Sex appeal is not about the appealing for acts of sex. Sex appeal is that God-given mysterious transmuted powerful energy-source that once harnessed to visions and goals, can help accomplish great things.



Like Mary Travers, I want to use all I am and have been given for the benefit of my circle of influence - however large or small that is.