My Heart Belongs to a Troubadour

snapshot_smaller Adam B. Carr is a troubadour of country, rock, blues, and folk music. A diamond in the rough and a master at his craft, he’s always prepared to give a great live performance with his “Bag of tricks”. His rich, mellow voice compliments his eclectic genre of musical styles. He is well seasoned in acoustic guitar, banjo, and bamboo flute.

Adam’s love of music began when his grandfather, John (descendant from a long line of Kentucky moonshiners and coal miners) first introduced him to the acoustic guitar at age 3. He began to master classical guitar at age 11. By the time he was 18, Adam knew that music was his unique way of connecting with others. Between 1990 and 2000, he also performed solo in Destin and Ft. Walton, Florida, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Richmond, Virginia. His passionate voice led him into a profession when he lived on South Padre Island, Texas from 2000-2005, where he sang lead and performed nightly with the well known local band Late For Work.

Today, Adam lives in the Great Smokey Mountains, where he is writing and recording music for two upcoming albums – one a collection of sultry, country hits, and another that brings his sexy, mellow style to some old favorites in rock, folk, and blues history. Both albums are expected to be available in the spring of 2013.

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The best Christmas ever

redgreenlove When I was a child, I used to think that Christmas was a time for getting a present. I thought the better the present, the sweeter the Christmas. I was amazed by the decorations that my grandparents and parents always put up every year. I was taught that it was a day we celebrated the birth of Jesus and that Santa Claus, who was at the mall, traveled the world with flying reindeer, creeping into peoples houses, giving presents to every boy and girl who was good all year.

When I was a little older, maybe a teenager, I thought that Christmas was a time to give and get presents. I also thought that Christmas needed a tree, wrapping paper, bows, and candles. I came to expect my moms horrid fruitcake that weighed twenty pounds. Ironically, she used an angel food cake pan for the mold. It took an entire afternoon to make.

When I was in my 20′s and 30′s, as a mother, I thought Christmas was about giving and watching my children’s eyes light up as they experienced their “best Christmas ever”, which was an end result of my year long hard work at cutting coupons, saving every dollar that my (now ex) husband made so we could provide them with clothes, shoes, a couple of their favorite toys, and I could make all the family dishes that they came to remember as being part of “Christmas”. I tried to carry on the tradition of Santa at first, but by the time my third child was born I was overcome with the guilt of lying to them. Half the time we couldn’t fill their wish list anyway, so why make them think that a magical deity would fly there, land on the house with flying reindeer, sneak into the house at night and bring them what they wanted? Telling them the truth was better anyway. It made Christmas more meaningful because Christmas wasn’t just about gifts, it was about family. I lived and breathed my children as a stay at home mother for their entire lives. That was hard sometimes, and my spouse never made it easy either, but somehow it worked.

When I was 41, my husband of 17 years threw me out of the house with nothing but the clothes on my back, and while I was destitute and homeless, he filed for divorce. I had no lawyer and he had the most expensive one in town. The only reason I wasn’t living under a bridge was because a friend took me in. The judge awarded my ex-husband everything…custody of our children, the house, the vehicles, the finances. I mourned the loss of my children, crying every day, sometimes off and on all day, for months. I wanted to tuck them into bed, read them a book, wake up with the smell of their hair under my nose as they buried themselves in my body with that first hug good morning. I wanted everything back except my abusive husband. That first Christmas was a day of sorrow. I couldn’t even speak to my children because their father didn’t allow it. I got very drunk, cried myself back to sleep…slept the day away.

I’m 42 now. Reunited with my best friend Aaron, who is now my life partner, after twenty years apart. I’ve grown accustomed to the parental alienation that my ex-husband has created. Aaron and I live in a tiny travel trailer. We barely have money to get by, so we were not able to by anything for each other. No hint of Christmas here. No tree, decorations, no presents, wrapping paper, bows, or candles. No family….and yet, it’s the best Christmas ever. I woke up this morning to read a text my 16 year old daughter sent me overnight, saying she was sorry she missed my phone call. That means she knows I love her, her brother and her sisters. I cooked a meal for Aaron and myself out of what we have. It’s not a turkey or ham, but its made with love. We’ll take the guitar and visit our friends later on today, and give them the gift of music. I’ll try again to call my children.

The miracle of Christmas is not a deity, or Santa Claus, or presents, or decorations and a tree. It’s just love.

Merry Christmas…

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Keeping it real

It’s not a surprise to many that I’m not a fan of “dubstep” or computer generated music. I’m a old fashioned girl at heart, brought up in the country. I remember when I was very young, no one in the family having money for musical instruments (or for anything else for that matter) and using anything laying around the house that could be used to make noise, which me and my cousins would use to form a band during family reunions. There would be always be someone with an empty jug, grandma would grab a saw and spoons, and my dad used an upside down aluminum trash can,which made the perfect drum. When I was older, I remember there being an old guitar and used stand-up style piano in the house. Grandma found the guitar and my mother, the old piano (which was dated 1881). I learned to play the piano by ear, never learning how to read music.

As the years have gone by, my taste for music broadened, but I never lost the love of the old fashioned, unedited, clean sound of southern acoustic. My life partner, Adam, feeds my southern roots with his rich, mellow voice and natural gift for classic guitar, harmonica and “chicken pickin”. May I suggest, grabbing a cold beer and listening to him.

Adam%20B.%20Carr

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10 Heartfelt Gifts for Christmas That Won’t Break Your Budget

ImageBelow are some ideas I have used over the last few years.  Christmas has always been hard because I’ve never been well to do, but that’s OK because it’s not about fancy gifts, fancy bows and gift wrap. It’s about love, giving from the heart, and making someone smile. The thought of re-gifting is easy, but if you need help with how to do it in a creative way….

  1. Make a photo calender using your computer and your printer paper. You can spend less than $10 and make multiple copies to send out to family as gifts. If you don’t have the spiral hole punch (like the majority of people don’t), take the calendar pages to Kinko’s, they can bind it for you for less than $10 a copy.
  2. Make a recipe book.  This can be added to year-round and given at Christmas, or it can  be put together quickly  You can use a scrapbook folder available at most department stores in the photo frame or craft section. Make sure and add any drawings or photographs to your recipes.  Add short family background stories to your favorite dishes. Make them personal.
  3. For your spouse: Go to a thrift store or flea market and find a rustic picture frame.  Write out and frame your wedding vows.
  4. Quilting never gets old. Surprise your loved one with a blanket made of your old clothes that have been cut into squares, lined, and stuffed.  Every square has a story and a memory that can be shared.
  5. If you have a skill in a particular area, such as music or dancing, hair design, nails, make up – offer a lesson for free. Give a homemade card that includes the invitation to “take the class.”
  6. Make a candle. Don’t be intimidated, it’s not as hard as it sounded to me at first. Do you have an old pot that you don’t mind melting wax in? If so, you can find everything you need to design and pour your own candle at the nearest hobby store. If you have small children that want to be involved, just buy the wick and sheets of beeswax, a few cookie cutters for designs, and you can make a very simple, rustic candle set, without heat, without mess, and in just a few minutes.
  7. Make a “coupon booklet” filled with things like “Doing the laundry”, “Babysitting”, “Sitting with grandma”, “Dinner’s on me!” and other personalized love offerings.
  8. Do you have puzzles that you don’t do anymore, have all the pieces, and are in good shape?  Collect all the pieces in a Ziploc bag and either give it away to a child, or donate that puzzle to your nearest assisted living/nursing home or orphanage.
  9. Do you have any knowledge of how to make a video using the Windows Movie Maker on your computer? Make a digital scrapbook. Make a short video out of embedded pictures and music, narration, scanned copies of family heirlooms, letters, graduation caps, etc.
  10. Write and perform a short skit about what you think life will be like in twenty years. This can be done alone or as a group. You can do this with your children, work buddies, church groups, or take the stage solo.

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Perception

ImagePerception is all in the mind.  It’s how we sense things. It’s an opinion, and an expression of the ego – there is no standard.  There is no wrong or right way to perceive a smell, taste, sight, sound, touch, or heightened sense of awareness. How we perceive things all depends on where the feelers of our brain will choose to put emphasis – and that depends on what makes you comfortable and what doesn’t.

Is the sight of a rose pleasant, or does it make you want to leave the room because it reminds you of someone? Does the smell of manure make you wish you didn’t have to be exposed to that filth? To most people, that would be the case, but to a farmer, that distinct smell means growth and a bountiful crop.  Maybe you hear rap music coming from a car that’s next to you at a stop light. It’s so loud you hear the thumping of the bass through the windows, which are rolled up all the way. It could be obnoxious to you, but to that person, its the escape they need after a long work day. It’s their comfort food - their macaroni and cheese.

That’s why there are so many critics with different opinions, teachers with different strategies of teaching, preachers with different spiritual messages, and scientists arguing over who has the better theory.  You can put a hundred people in a room and give them one short sentence to read, and soon they would cluster into small groups sharing the same opinion about what the sentence means – and even then they would argue.  Something written in black and white can easily be misconstrued, misinterpreted - think I’m exaggerating? Try reading the Bible.  Even better, try reading assembly instructions on a tricycle.  There will always be an extra screw left over when you’re done, even though you think you followed the instructions to a tee – and you’ll always wonder where it goes.  Here’s an example of how something that’s real and tangible can disappear right in front of your eyes.  After seeing that illusion, I no longer doubt that some people can see Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster, even though I can’t.  Another example of how our eyes can be tricked into seeing something that’s not there, is seen here in this video created by Dove. I feel so much better about myself after seeing that!

However you perceive a truth, honor others by remembering that the way they perceive the same truth may be very different than the way you do.

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Daily Prompt Challenge: Connect the Dots

Image“I knew in a heartbeat that the last chapter of our lives would be spent together.”  - page 82, third full sentence.

This is an excerpt from a story I wrote. The book, My Secret: Memoirs of Love & Survival, was first written as a personal diary, and then it was reformatted for paperback publishing in the fall of this year. I wrote it as part of my own healing process, without any expectations. I had no idea that others would read it later on, and find reflection and healing for themselves. The words above were written as I reflected on the day that I stood reunited with my best friend, giving myself completely in his embrace.  Life had sent us traveling down different roads for a very long time. We were high school sweethearts when we were neighbors growing up, then he and his family moved away when we were 17. We reunited for a short time when we were 21 years old, when he came home to visit me, and we had a life time of love in those few days. He and I had conceived my oldest child during our affair, and I had no way to tell him because he lived in another state and no one knew how to find him.  Years went by, and my heart was filled with the love of being a mother. Eventually, I became lonely. I settled for less….marrying another man.He wasn’t the one I needed, but I had three more beautiful children with him. I wanted to be the wife he needed me to be, but that meant killing every aspect of myself, without dying.  For 17 years, I died a little everyday. I mourned the loss of my self. Some people call this process “depression”.  My husband convinced me that I needed psychiatric help, and at some points I was even medicated for this.  The medication never lifted my spirits, it simply caused me to feel the death I  imposed upon myself. No one seemed to understand that all I needed was to be myself.

Two years ago, the secret of who really was the father of my oldest child came out. It rocked the planet. The miracles that unfolded were put in black and white.

Since then, I’ve relearned how to be myself.  There were many things I had to relearn as I healed. Only one person could have understood everything I needed, and that was Aaron.  Still, when I look back on his return into my life, I tear up.  I prayed to be able to find him, and then at just the right moment,  he found me.  You can bet that as life unfolds, I will be writing part two of the book.  The miracle isn’t “finished” yet.  It’s progressing in God’s good timing.  My job right now is to learn patience.

So many times in the past two years I have witnessed God, in ways I never expected to see God.  Rediscovering myself has given me the ability to love myself, love others, and it has strengthened my faith.  The real me loves being alive, and experiences a revival everyday.  And I thank God for every tomorrow, because I get to wake up next to my best friend.

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The blessing of giving back

Thanksgiving dinners all over the country of the United States are giving America a pretty nice aroma right about now. I have always loved cooking for others, especially for this holiday.  To be honest, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy much of today since I’m away from my family, but Aaron and me set a simple plan into motion that made it possible to be away from family and still feel that joy that comes on this holiday – by feeding our neighbors.

We started cooking around 10 a.m. – green bean casserole, yams, stuffing, corn, mashed potatoes, gravy, honey glazed ham, buttery yeast rolls, and cranberry sauce.  By noon, we prepared covered dishes for four people who we knew would appreciate the surprise knock at the door, and we set out on foot to hand deliver the meals.  It wasn’t much….just a little reminder of home to others like us who are away from their families on a day like today.  This day can be very hard for some – especially with the economy the way it is.

It felt so good to be able to do that, that I think I want to make it a yearly tradition.  Maybe next year, I’ll try my hands out on a turkey.

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