Thursday, June 26, 2014


I make it a habit NOT to do the math when it comes to calculating how long ago something happened,
because it shocks me 
every. single. time.  

But I can tell you that 1988 was 26 years ago ...

even though it seems just like yesterday.
26 years of happy yesterdays and many more years of great tomorrows 
with my best friend and favorite person in the world calls for celebrating, 
so LtDan and I took off for a mid-week getaway for our anniversary ... 
when we left the house, the kids threw rice at us :o)
I love those kids.
26 years ago I didn't know ... I had no idea ... how much you could like your own children.

But as crazy as we are about our kids, 
we left them at home and headed for the Dallas Rockwall Hilton, 
on the east shore of Lake Ray Hubbard.

This is a gorgeous property right on the lake ... 

If you ever stay here, ask for a room with a lakeview and a balcony, it's totally worth it.

The pool is huge and there are plenty of spots to soak up the sun.

We had a fabulous dinner at The Oar House, and loved sitting on the patio and the live music.
Everyone on the patio seemed to know each other - it was a really fun atmosphere -
 so great for an early summer evening.

My only experience with Rockwall heretofore was driving across the lake on the way to Arakansas, 
when the highway was under construction.  
I always just wanted to get past it as quick as we possibly could .... 

but that was - well, let's just say several years ago - and the construction has long been completed.  We discovered Rockwall has a resort kind of feel down around the lake ... we totally loved it.  

On this evening they were preparing for an outdoor concert by the lake ...

We watched the deserted pavilion area turn into a packed out party 
for a free concert presented by the Rockwall Concert by the Lake series.  
We caught the end of the concert from the patio of Dodie's Diner, 
because we had other plans for sunset ...

We took a cruise on Lake Ray Hubbard on The Seawolf.
The wind hit the sails and I was completely smitten.


We spent a little time doing some light-hearted shopping... 
I found a perfect souvenir to remind me of how blessed I am to be happily married to my best friend, 
a reminder to stop every once in a while and love life  ...

because I do.

We took home a painting from Kirkland's as our anniversary gift to each other ... 

Although this canvas is beautiful and would work fine over our fireplace, it'll go some place else.
We still love the painting we got in SantaFe back in 1992.
It's kind of funny to see that our tastes haven't changed all that much in ...
how many years?
Never mind.
I'll just go with 26.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

This just in ...

You know how it feels when you're working on something,
 and you have no idea how it's going to turn out?

We've been in that limbo of wondering for six months, my friend Jeannie and I.
If it hadn't worked out, I suppose I could've said it was all her idea ...
because it was.
She thought it would be awesome to give students at our homeschool co-op an opportunity to showcase their musical talents in a concert, and then offer the concert proceeds to our co-op benevolence fund.
I told you a little bit about that }here{.

Jeannie and I encouraged each other through the growing angst of not knowing
if anyone would actually come to the concert,
and we pumped each other up
when rehearsals didn't seem to come together quite as well 
as we thought they should.

And just when it seemed the concert would NEVER get here ...

it got here.

Our students were ready to rock.

Five extraordinary kids, off the chart talent, and a show that astounded everyone who came.

We were exceedingly blessed to have the opportunity to perform 

The Sanctuary is a new two story event venue that can seat up to 250 people.
The staff was accommodating and extremely helpful, and the place is gorgeously elegant.  

And elegantly gorgeous.

When we arrived to set up and do sound check,
 there were eight magnificent guitars from The Guitar Sanctuary next door 
up on the stage.  
If you love guitars, this store is like no other and you should check it out.
Just look at their website }here{ and you'll understand.

After we   c a r e f u l l y  helped move the guitars off stage,
we were ready to set up.

There were moments like this ...

And then everything started falling into place.

After six months of working on pulling a concert together, these kids just blew it away.  

Nathan (yes, that's my son!) and Justin kicked things off with "YYZ" by Rush.

and then went right into "Wipeout" where Zach could show his stuff as a drummer. 

Does he look young to you?  
He is. He's 13 ... that's 7th grade ... 
Although he's a self-taught drummer, Zach held his own.

Pretty awesome for 7th grade!

Justin, who's been playing guitar since he was 5 years old, 
and came in second last year at the International Guitar Show, 
played some real guitar manifestos, 
including "Crystal Planet" by Joe Satriani, 
"What Lies Beneath" and "Into the Storm" by Andy James, 
and "Scarified" by Paul Gilbert, 
in addition to one of his original works called "Perpetual Anomaly".  

His technique is flawless ... sometimes you can hardly see his fingers, they're moving so fast.

Nathan played "Summer Song" by Joe Satriani, "After Shock" by Andy James, 
"Jordan" by Buckethead, and "Ya Dig" by John 5.  
Together, Nathan and Justin played Joe Satriani's "Crowd Chant"
and Andy James' "Eyes of the World".

LtDan was taken aback ... it's one thing to hear the guitar through the walls at home,
and altogether another to see your son playing on stage like he belongs up there.
LtDan knew our boy was good, but he didn't realize he was that good.
Your wife can tell you that you won't believe how good,
but until your son is up there on stage ... you just don't recognize.
We were both so proud!

Aavery was our bassist.  
This young man's incredible musical talent extends to just about every musical instrument.
He joined our rehearsals four weeks before the concert,
and we were amazed at how his bass rounded the sound out
and made every song that much better.

In addition to his musical talent, 
Aavery brought his positive attitude and collaborative spirit to the group.
I would like to bottle up and sell that stuff.

And also:  his smile can light up any room.

Then there's Kate.
Her voice is beautiful, haunting, and distinctive.  

She plays the piano, already performs on her own nearly every weekend, 
and writes her own music.
She sang originals "Scarred with Ink", about not judging people by superficial things like tatoos, 
"It's Time", an oh so poignant song written when it was time 
to move out of the house she'd lived in her whole life,
and "Highway Lights", about moving on to new things.

She also performed "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (Santana style) with Justin, 
"Clocks" by Coldplay, and "At Last" by Harry Warren (think Etta James).

Aavery accompanied her on the keyboard for a beautiful rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Alleluia".

As collaborations, the kids chose "Shine" by Collective Soul
((( YEAH )))
if you know the song, you know what I mean :o)

And my favorite, "Far and Away" by Slash ...
It was soulful and bluesy with awesome guitar solos.  
Better than the original ... sorry, Myles Kennedy and Velvet Revolver.

Can a girl pull off singing the Guns N Roses song "Sweet Child O Mine"?
Oh yes, for sure, this one definitely can.

They finished up with Stevie Ray Vaughn's "Tightrope" ...

and were rewarded with a standing ovation.

We had an amazing, enthusiastic, supportive crowd of about 80 people, 
and we were quite pleased with the turnout,
particularly since nothing like this had ever been done
through our homeschool co-op before.
If anyone came with the preconceived notion that homeschoolers are nerdy,
they left with a new opinion.

It was an awesome, incredible evening.

I keep having concert flashbacks.
I'm a total groupie.

At least one if not all of these kids are going to make it big someday.
You can say you heard it here first :o)