Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thursday Tales: Fireflies

Dusk passed into night. The trees blocked out the sky, so there were no stars, no moon, no light.

No light save for the sparks from my jar. The light started and stopped, flashes of illumination that threw shadows in the woods.  Shadows that made you see apparitions that may or may not be there. They fed the fears that lay in your heart.

I really couldn't walk any further. It was to the point now that I was just dragging my feet along with me, stumbling through my need to rest. Just for one minute.

Not one step more could I go.  I set the jar down in the middle of the path and laid down beside it, my head cradled in my arms as I stared into the jar's depths. The lights spun around the inside, mesmerizing in the darkness.

I counted the fireflies. One. Two. Three. Six. Ten. Ten fireflies. Ten wishes. I closed my eyes and thought of the things I might wish for on this dark night.

Some said it was foolish to make wishes, dreams with no firmer foundation than a bit of superstition.

But, when you've lost everything, sometimes wishes and superstitions are the only things you have left. The only hope you have left.

And so I wished with all my heart.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

You Aren't The Words


There are a lot of words thrown around at us, and around us, and about us.  We hear those words and we let them become a part of us. We listen to them and we think we are them.

And that would be okay, were it not for the words not always being true. They come out of jealousies and disgruntlements.  They come out of selfishness and misunderstanding. They come out of snap judgments and a lack of love.

You are too fat, too thin. Too sarcastic, too trusting. Too abrasive, too grumpy. Too, too, too, too.

But, these things are not you.  They are not who you are.

You are wonderfully made. You are precious and you are amazing. And maybe you aren't perfect. But, you are you. And you is a pretty wonderful thing to be.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thursday Tales: Letter from Fate

The fog clung to the ocean, like two lovers unwilling to part. The cold seeped through the holes in my sweater and I pulled it tighter against me.

"Sammy!" My golden retriever had bounded into the cold water to chase off the waves.  "Come on, boy! Time to go home!"  He ignored me, but hunkered down in the sand just past the water's reach, something in his paws to gnaw on. As I approached him, a tiny bit of sunlight broke through the clouds and glinted off whatever Sammy had.  "What is that?"

I bent down to wrestle it from him.  Not the driftwood I'd expected, but a bottle.  A bottle with a letter inside.  Really? Does that really happen? Settling into the sand beside Sandy, I popped the cork out of the bottle and let the paper slide into my hands.

To Whomever Finds This Bottle:

First, if you're a guy, could you recork it and throw it back?

Second, if you're a girl, please keep reading.

I guess you could call me shy. I'm not very good at meeting people. It seems harder to meet people nowadays. I can't really stomach the bar scene, and meeting someone through the personals just seems so... impersonal. So, while this doesn't make a lot of sense, I figure that maybe Fate will bring the right two people together, so I'm trusting Fate to put this letter in the hands of the right woman.

I'd like to tell you that I'm a handsome male model with a Ferrari, two houses, and enjoy long walks on the beach in the moonlight.  But, it's probably more honest to say I'm not a BAD-looking guy with an economy car that runs most of the time, an apartment, and will partake in a long walk on the beach in the moonlight if there's promise of a goodnight kiss later, but would be just as happy watching movies on my couch.

I like coffee and reading, will run if chased, and have an uncanny ability to work quotes from Lord of the Rings into any conversation.  This has proven to be both a great party trick and terribly annoying. I apologize in advance.

If any of this hasn't turned you off completely, and you think that maybe Fate could be right...  I'd welcome a note back? I've included a PO box at the bottom.  

Till we meet,

"What a sweet guy," I murmured aloud.  Of course it was silly.  But I slipped the letter back into the bottle, and slipped the bottle into my pocket. Fate hadn't really been much of a friend to me in the past, but maybe she could be given one last chance.

Lord of the Rings was a pretty good set of movies.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Out of the Mud

I like to organize.  My books, my clothes, my shoes, my thoughts. Even just this blog is full of days where I have turned thoughts over and over, examined events and relationships and beliefs, stuck somewhere between wanting to move on and not wanting to let go.  And as long as I was figuring it all out, it gave me permission to not do anything. I convinced myself that I shouldn't act until I knew, that it was okay to stay mired in the mud as long as I was still studying it.

I'm done studying it.

I don't have it figured out yet.  There are still things I'd like to know, conversations I'd like to have, confusion I'd like settled, and questions I'd like answered. I still want to know the why's and the how's and the when's. But, you don't have to know the chemical makeup of mud to know that it's... muddy and wet and uncomfortable. You don't have to know when the mud developed to spray yourself off with a hose.

You can just... get out of the mud.  Simple.  Maybe not easy.  But simple.

You can choose not be muddy. You can choose to wash off. You can choose to let go and move on, even if you don't know everything. Even if you don't have it worked out. What does working it out do for you?  Does understanding it really make it easier on your heart?

It's okay not to understand it. But it's not okay to go on forever letting it cover and strangle you.

Get out of the mud... wash off.  Be clean.

Friday, December 7, 2012

You Mean Something

You mean something to me, and I want you to know that.

To mean something, it feels important. It means we have a reason for being. A reason for getting up every day.

It means being seen. Not just being a face in the crowd, an anonymous someone that would never be missed if they left.

You mean something to me.

I hurt when you hurt. I cry when you cry.
I am happy when you are happy. I rejoice when you are joyful.

You mean something to me.

Don't go through this life thinking that you have no impact. Don't go through it, believing you're unimportant.

You're important to me.

And maybe that isn't Nobel Prize winning. Maybe that isn't Oscars and Grammys and Pultizer prizes.  But you're important to me.

I would miss you if you were gone. I miss you today.

So don't forget... you mean something to me.  And maybe that isn't much, but it's big to me, and I hope it's at least something to you.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thursday Tales: The Escape

Lissa struggled to breathe as the hand clenched tightly around her waist.  He always did squeeze too tight. The door opened, his grip loosened, and she tumbled into her cell. Jessie followed in after her. Lissa drew a deep breath, filling her lungs with air again, only turning when she'd heard the key click in the lock.

"Goodnight, my fairies," came the commanding voice.

Lissa and Jessie both curtsied, their wings fluttering lightly. "Goodnight sir," they chirped obediently.  And then the lights went out.

Jessie straightened her tunic as the door closed behind him. "Ugh," she exclaimed in disgust. "I swear, Lissa. His fingers get more and more intrusive every week. These girls aren't for the likes of him!" She patted her bosom protectively.

Lissa laughed softly. "Oh Jessie, he does not. Come on, we could have ended up with a lot worse owners than Mr Rastin. You've heard the horror stories of other fairies.  He's pretty nice to us, captivity aside."

"I guess. But, it's still captivity. Do you remember what it was like to fly anywhere we wanted?" Jessie wandered to the edge of the cage and looked longingly toward the small window in the room.

"Only a little.  It's been a long time."

Jessie was silent, but the sound of the cage's wire twisting around and around in its slot filled the room. "Lissa." She finally spoke. "Lissa, come here."

"What is it?"

"Lissa, this bar... it's loose. Really loose." Her eyes shone with excitement. "We could get out." With that, the bar popped out of its slot, leaving an opening just big enough for a petite fairy to squeeze through. Jessie tested its size, treading air just outside.  "Come on, Lissa... we can fly out that window right now and be free."

Lissa hesitated. "Jessie, we don't know what's out there. There could be werewolves or vampires or dragons.  And what if we starve? We don't even know how to find food, and Mr Rastin feeds us really well every day. And he provides us with clothes and beds and books and--"

"And a cage!" Jessie glared. "He keeps us in a cage!"

Lissa couldn't meet her gaze. "I'm sorry. I just... I can't."

Jessie turned toward the window. "Well, I'm going. I just can't stay locked up here anymore. I'm going."  She turned and looked back at her companion of so long. "Please come, Lissa. Please."

A tear rolled down Lissa's cheek. "I can't. I'm... I'm afraid."

"Suit yourself, I guess. I'll miss you."  She flew to the window, pushed it open, and was gone.


It had been 40 years since that night. Lissa sat on the couch of her fairy cage and looked out toward the window. She'd always wondered how her life would have been different if she'd gone with Jessie.

She'd always wondered what her life would have been like if she hadn't been afraid to fly.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What I've Learned From Loss and Failure

This is not the end.  Failure hurts, but it is not the end. It is not the end of my life. It is not the end of happiness. It is not the end of success.  It is not the end. The story goes on...

Love and support are crucial to healing, but so is accountability.  It feels really nice to be supported and encouraged and pet on the head. But a good friend knows that there is a time for petting and there is a time for kicking in the butt.  When yours kick you, don't leave them.  Loving you enough to take the risk of you fighting back is more love than you will ever have from anyone else.

Taking stock is important. You need to know why you fell down. What did you do? What did something do to you? How can you change it for next time?  If you don't take stock, it's just one more falling down.  But if you look around first, if you think about what happened, if you think about it how you can change that for the future, then your fall has stopped being a failure and has begun to be a lesson. Learn from it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Picking Up When You've Lost

You lost the promotion to a co-worker.
You lost the boy to another girl.
You crashed the car. 
You bet on the wrong horse.
You lost the friend.

And here you are... broken and beaten. Hopeless and helpless. Without purpose. Just... making it from day to day. Hour to hour. Minute to minute.

You need time.  Time to heal, and even time to hurt. Rushing through it only covers and hides the need for healing, never addresses it.  So, take some time.  Hurt. Feel it.  But, deal with it, don't just sweep it under the rug thinking it will go away.  It won't.  Not even time can heal things that you refuse to look at honestly.  They will come back.

But, eventually, when time has done its job, when you've felt the hurt as much as it can stand to be felt...  eventually, the choice lies before you and you have to choose.

Do you continue to wallow in it? Or do you choose to let it go, turn your face to the sun and your back to the pain, and take a step forward?

That choice can require some brutal honesty with yourself. It requires you to face the hurt head-on. It requires you to face your own faults head-on, your own mistakes, your own blame. Sometimes that hurts more than the original failure did. But, not all pain is bad.

Sometimes a little honesty is all you need to see the whole thing clearly.  To know where you messed up. To know where you didn't.

And to know where to go from here.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Love Isn't About Competition

The message today is simple.

You are enough.
Just as you.

If you're finding yourself in a situation where you are constantly competing for someone's time and attention (and losing), it might be time to consider that relationship and whether it's worth your energy to continue pursuing it? I've heard it said that if someone wants you in their life, they'll make time for you. So, if someone is consistently not making time for you in their life, what is there left to pursue?

This doesn't have to be some grand drama-heavy thing. I think that there can be many reasons why some relationships end up not working out. Maybe you find yourselves in different phases of life or no longer interested in the same topics. Maybe your normal growing and maturing has led you into different directions that don't match up anymore. Maybe you hurt them and they're just holding you at arms' length, afraid to trust. Sometimes it's you. Sometimes it's them. Sometimes it's a bit of both. Sometimes it's just life, time, and change.

But, in the end, you get to choose what you put your time into. You get to choose what you put your energy into. Your love, your emotions. And if what you're choosing leaves you empty-handed, you might need to ask yourself why you're willing to sacrifice so much for so little.

Maybe your answer changes nothing.

But maybe...  maybe it changes everything.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Time to Get Un-Manipulated?

If you had asked me five years ago if I was easily manipulated, I would have flat out told you "No." I would've been wrong, but I definitely would have denied it.  But honestly, I didn't know. I didn't realize it.

I can remember having a conversation with a friend once.  It was private, and I had no intention of sharing it with anyone. A mutual friend of ours later asked me what the person had said.  I really didn't want to share that.  But when they fixed me with a series of hurt "I'm just trying to be interested in my friends' lives" and "Nothing interesting ever happens to me," I caved.  I felt really guilty. I always regretted that.  And this sort of thing happened again and again.

It took me awhile to see it. It took me a long time to be able to see over the friendship to the manipulation that was so prevalent in it.  But once I saw it, I couldn't un-see it.  Not only that, it opened my eyes to the other areas and relationships in my life where I allowed myself to be manipulated, where I succumbed to the guilt trips.  Until then, I simply didn't know that I was so simply controlled.

But once I began to be aware of it, I didn't like it. I really didn't like it. The thought that I was so easily swayed bothered me, and I began a slow process of changing that.


First, I had to learn who the manipulators were in my life.  I needed to understand my friendships better. I needed to understand which of my relationships existed because we actually liked each other, and which merely existed for the services I provided. That took some time and some honesty. The honesty was probably the hardest part of this. It's hurtful to admit that people that you thought loved you were willing to do that to you.

But once I figured out who they were, I had some decisions to make. I had to decide essentially how to curtail my exposure to them. Were they friends that were fringe-y enough that I could just fade out of relationship with them and no one would really notice that much?  Or were they people that I had to figure out how to deal with?


Second, I had to learn what acts of manipulation worked on me. They aren't the same for everyone and you can't recognize it when it happens to you if you don't know what to look for.  These are the things that are really difficult to un-see once you've seen them.  As I went through this, there were so many "I can't believe I let this go on" moments for me. I couldn't believe that I had never seen these things before, and I felt ashamed and really mad at myself.

Some common methods people use:

  • Projecting their own superiority on a matter, minimizing your ability to contribute anything useful
  • Making you feel that you are unworthy, unable, or stupid
  • The "After everything I've done for you, you can't just do one thing" approach.
  • "You have so much and I have so little."
  • Using your weaknesses against you
  • Using their weaknesses as leveraging tools
Do any of those feel familiar to you?


Finally, I had to set some boundaries with those people and stick to them. This was definitely the hardest part of the whole deal.  When you start to resist the manipulation that has always worked on you before, they won't be happy.  After all, it used to be so easy to get you to do what they wanted.  Of course they won't be happy.  The trouble is, they'll work harder and use every trick they know to get you to go back to the status quo. They will treat you like you are the wrong one, the unkind one, the disrespectful one.   You are the one being unfair. 

You will have to stand your ground and be strong.

Be Strong

Friends, you deserve to be respected. I'm not saying that you or I deserve OUR own way all the time either. But, it's not unreasonable to expect to be respected. It's fair to expect to not be used by those in our lives. You are not wrong for standing up and asking for that respect.

Don't lie back down in front of them. You can do this. Seek out those friends who care for you just for being you. Ask for their support and encouragement.  You're probably going to need it as you learn to not give in.

But, when you come out the other side... and I pray that you will... You'll be stronger and more amazing.  

And I can't wait to see that.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thursday Tales: Waiting for a Boy

Rachel dropped the brush back into the bottle and blew on her nails. He would be here any minute.  Applying a layer of lipstick, she made a kissing face at her reflection in the mirror. Did she look okay? Something always seemed to go wrong.

She checked the window, but the street was still empty.  The clock said he would be here in five minutes or less. Five minutes or less.

Rachel eyed her reflection one more time.  Her hair was perfect. Her make-up was perfect. Her outfit was perfect. Everything was perfect this time. Nothing could go wrong this time.  She heard a motor and ran to the window.

His car stood in her driveway.  He climbed out and glanced up at her window. He was so handsome. Tall. Dark. And very Handsome. Rachel was so transfixed that she jumped when the doorbell rang.

She ran down the stairs and pulled open the door. "Hi Jacob," she greeted breathlessly, leaning against the door in what she hoped was an inviting pose.

Jacob nodded.  "Hi Rachel.  Good to see you... again."  He unbuttoned the bag in his arms and pulled out a box. "You guys having a party or something? You're sure ordering a lot of pizzas."

Rachel blinked. "What? Umm... yes.  Yes, a party. That's it." She smiled up at him. "Do you want to come in?"

Jacob shook his head. "Sorry, I have to work.  Pizza delivery, you know.  But I'll see you around, okay?"

Rachel gave him the money for the pizza and waved goodbye as he walked down the path to his car.  Closing the door behind her, she wandered into the kitchen and tossed the pizza onto the stack already delivered.  He said he'd see her around.

Picking up the phone, she pressed a few buttons and waited.

"Hi, Pizza Hut?  I'd like to order another pizza..."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Both Happy and Sad: How Can That Be?

Everything isn't simple.

I am both happy with and frustrated by the events of my life.
I am sad for the losses of friendship but grateful for the lessons they taught me.
I am hurt by the betrayals but glad for the situations they helped me avoid.
I am delighted with the experiences I've had and jealous for the ones I missed.
The same events bring me joy and envy, grief and solace.

And I don't always know how these things can be, but they are equally true.

To hurt so much for things with one part of me, but also to be so grateful for the same things.
To know that the losses were right, but to grieve for them as well.
To be happy for growing but to grieve the roads I took to get there.

Life is full of contradictions, and it is okay and real and true for them all to exist at the same time.

Everything isn't simple.
In fact... few things are.

But, perhaps it's their very complexity that make life interesting and fascinating and worth getting up for.

So, perhaps today I will be happy and sad.
I will be anxious and calm.
I will be broken and whole.

And that will be my life, which I will embrace wholeheartedly.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Afraid to Trust You

You hurt me.

Or maybe I hurt you, too.  I don't know anymore.

I forgave you for that. I know I tried. I hope you forgave me too.

But when it came to trying again, when it came to putting myself at your mercy...

I held back. I couldn't give you that power.

I'd been hurt once.

That's not even all the way true.  I'd been hurt a lot of times.

I'm not sure you even cared.

I was afraid to trust you. I was afraid to be hurt.

Because, you see, the words you spoke and the things you did, they didn't match up.

I didn't know how to separate the truth from the lies anymore, and I wearied of trying.

I am not a very discerning person. I am often fooled, often hurt.

Some people call that gullible. Some people ridicule that and make me feel that believing people is a shortcoming.

Maybe it is. Maybe it's naivete to hope for and believe in the possibility of the good.

All I know is not being discerning means I'm wrong a lot.

Not being discerning means I hurt a lot.

And I was afraid of hurting again.

So I decided not to trust you.

That remains a decision filled with pain and doubt and sometimes regret.

The past can be loud.

And misleading. We don't always remember the truth, often just a twisted version of it.

But I decided.

And forward is the only direction left to go. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thursday Tales: My Pirate Story

It happened about three years ago.

I was first mate on a merchant vessel, and we were cargoing fine linen from Italy to London.  Well, that isn't 100% honest.  We were shipping fine linen. But the real money was in the Italian wines we had stowed away in the belly of the ship to smuggle into England. Liquor taxes took the profit of sea travel right out of the equation!

It was my eighth run.

There was always a danger, once we got into English waters, of getting held up by the Customs officials. But, we'd all gotten pretty good at being convincing in our story. I could lie with the straightest of faces, and the Captain's young wife could make a man quickly forget whatever it was he was there to do with a toss of her head and a slipped button.  And she did, too.

The bigger danger, though, was Pirates.  Customs had to follow protocol.  Pirates could do whatever they damn well pleased.  A few slit throats meant nothing to them, and if you had cargo they wanted, they'd board you, slice you to pieces, and take off with your entire ship. Although, I suppose you wouldn't care all that much about the thievery if you were lying there dead.

So, it was with a bit of panic and dread that I woke up that night to hearing Billy, who was on lookout, cry out, "PIRATE SHIP!!" I shoved my legs into a pair of breeches and ran out of my cabin, still tugging on my boots.  I nearly knocked the captain down in my rush to get to the deck.

"Sorry, Captain," I said to him.

But, he just nodded at me.  He was a man of not many words.

We reached the side of the ship and looked behind us into the mist.  Sure enough, Billy was dead on right.  A dark ship slid behind us in the water, black flag at its mast.  I glanced up at our own sails and then behind us again, judging the speeds of the two vessels.

"We can't outrun that, Captain," I said.  But again, he only nodded. We watched as the pirate ship came alongside us, our swords drawn.  Just waiting.

Someone on the pirate ship threw an anchor over the side of their vessel, anchoring the two boats together.

"ARGH, Matey!" came a growl from across the way. "You have been caught by the dreaded Pirate Greenbeard!"

I raised an eyebrow and muttered to the captain, "Greenbeard? You ever hear of a Pirate Greenbeard?"

The captain shook his head and shrugged his shoulders.

The pirate's announcement continued. "We are the scourge of the Mediterranean! We've captured dozens, nay, HUNDREDS, of ships! Burned them to pieces!  Took their women! But we are in a fair mood on this night...  Simply pass over your cargo and we will let you pass!"

I looked to the captain. It was his ship. Finally, he spoke. "Nay! Come over and get it if you want it so badly!"

"Captain, is that wise?" I said under my breath. "They're pirates."

His eyes never left the pirate ship. "If I'm going to lose my life savings, and even my life, I'd like to look the man responsible in the eyes while he's doing it." the captain said quietly.

There was a long pause.

"If you don't comply, we will take your ship for ourselves!"

The captain called back. "Try it."

A crack sounded and we were suddenly overrun by Pirate Greenbeard and his... crew.

Not that I'd seen a lot of pirates, mind you, but these were the shortest pirates I'd ever seen.  I'm talking, four feet tall here.  Snow White and the Seven Dwarves tall.  I admit it.  I started to laugh. The thought that I'd been so scared of these pirates?  Hysterical.

The captain tried to hide it, but he was chuckling under his beard, too.  He bowed with a flourish, mirth still in his eyes. "Ah, welcome to my ship, Pirate Greenbeard. Please forgive me if I don't hand over my cargo at your say-so.  I was prepared to fight a real pirate to the death to protect my livelihood and the lives of my crew and wife.  But, somehow I don't think that's going to be necessary."  He gestured to a cabinboy. "But, I would be happy to have you all escorted back to your ship, with a bottle of wine for your trouble.  A gift of thanks to you for providing me with a much-needed laugh tonight."

Pirate Greenbeard frowned. "I'm afraid that won't be necessary."  He nodded to his first mate. "Gentlemen?"

I'm frankly embarrassed to tell you what happened next.  We were grown men. Sea-weathered. TALL grown men... with swords and daggers and cutlasses. They were... dwarves. Comically short. I don't know how it happened.  One second we were drawing our swords, the next they were stabbing at our legs. I'd never fought anyone who attacked that way.  Grown men can't reach that far down, I suppose. But it was amazingly effective.  Soon, we were all bloody from the thighs down... and...

Tied to the mast.

We watched helplessly as the pirates ran up and down from the deck into the hull, taking every bottle of our precious Italian wine. And as the pirate ship left us (alive, at least), they sang, "Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a pirate's life for me!"

A lone voice, maybe Pirate Greenbeard himself, started the cheer, and as the ship disappeared into the mist, I heard them all.

"Short people can do anything!!!"

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Apologizing When You're Not Wrong

"I'm sorry."

Two little words that honestly can make such a big difference.  Perhaps they're not enough by themselves.  I've instructed my children to apologize often enough with sullen acquiescence to know that just saying the words isn't enough.  But, I've also been in relationships enough to know that the absence of the words can be equally hurtful and damaging.

When we're in conflict with each other, it's right to apologize. Maybe they're just words, but they're also words that communicate a desire to be right with each other.

But what if you don't feel wrong?

It's easy to say you're sorry when you feel like you made a mistake somewhere along the way. You have something to apologize for, then.  (Hard on the ego, maybe. But, still doable.) But, what about when you don't feel wrong? What about when, in fact, you're pretty darn sure that you are/were in the right? Why on earth should you be the one to apologize?

The Whys

--What is more important -- The relationship or your rightness? Sometimes we just have to decide that the health of the relationship, the existence of the relationship, is more important than us being right. It's more important to still be friends and care about each other than it is for us to win. Being right simply isn't worth the price. Sometimes you have to choose the high road.

--When a relationship is in conflict, it's shaken up. Trust gets violated. Belief in each other gets shaken. Doubts creep in. An apology gives your relationship a chance to heal.  It isn't an instant-fix.  Any apology needs to be backed up with actions later on in the course of things.  But an admission of regret over what happened gives the conflict enough of a reprieve that the relationship can begin to heal. Trust can be slowly sewn back together. Doubts can be assuaged. Belief can be strengthened.

-- You could be wrong.  Oh, I know that you're pretty sure you're right.  In fact, you're completely sure that you're right.  But, could you be wrong? I think that, for most of us and in most situations, there's a chance.  And oftentimes, when time has passed and we're able to look back with clearer hindsight, we can see that we weren't quite as right as we thought we were.

The Hows - Simple

--Don't lie. People know when we're lying, and we don't want to damage the relationship further with lies and untruths. Sincerity is important.

-- Apologize honestly for what you can.  If you're sure that you were right in your actions, is there a part of it that you can be honestly regretful over?  Maybe you're sorry that what you did or said hurt them. Maybe you regret not taking the time to consider how your words or actions would affect them. Maybe you wish you had consulted them before acting.  Somewhere, you can surely find something that you can be honest about, something you can convey sorrow and regret for.  Apologize for those things and mean them.

Because the relationship is worth it. Because your care for each other is worth it. Because being part of each other's lives is worth it.

Be willing to apologize... even if you're sure you're not wrong.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Respect Yourself Enough

Respect yourself.

Do you find yourself always sacrificing because you think you have to?  There's a difference between being kind to others and letting them walk all over you, and it's really important for us to find where that line is. I think we often confuse humility with self-degradation.

Respect yourself enough.

Do you ever find someone using you for a doormat simply because they always know that they can? If you let them, they will keep on doing it... forever.  Why would they stop?  You're there, you're easy, you'll let them. You'll do whatever they ask you to do.  They won't stop unless you stop lying down in front of them.

Respect yourself enough.

Do you find yourself in situations where those in your life refuse to take responsibility for their actions because they know you will take care of it? You don't have to fix everyone. Help?  Sure, maybe. But, others' choices aren't your responsibility. Your choices are your responsibility. Their choices are... their responsibility.  And if you continue to take on the consequences for their choices, everyone loses. Even them! We're meant to take our own, learn our own lessons, grow and mature. If you take away the opportunities, they can never grow.  And you end up paying their prices and never getting around to your own lessons.

Respect yourself enough.

Do you allow those close to you to guilt trip you into getting their own way because they know you will cave? Don't let them lay that on you. Be strong enough to do what you know is right. People who guilt trip are manipulators. Don't... do not... let people like that dictate what you do, what you say, what you like, how you feel. Don't give in.  Every time you do, you give them a little bit more power over you. And that is not the kind of person you want having influence over your life.  They don't care about you at all. Why do we let those kinds of relationships into our lives?

Respect yourself enough.

You are strong, so much stronger than you think you are. And you are amazing.  I guess that's the thing.  You don't think you're amazing. You see all the places that you think you lack, and those places seem so big.  They dwarf, for you, the places in which you shine. They make you think that you're lesser and that you aren't good enough. They make you think that you don't deserve respect from anyone, least of all yourself.

But I think you're wrong. You do. And you're better than all that. You don't need to let people walk all over you. You don't need to let people use you. You don't need to let people make you think that you aren't okay if you don't drop everything to give them their way.

You're better than that. You're stronger than that.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Shaped by Our Pasts

I refuse the idea that we are defined by our pasts. Stubbornly. I reject the notion that who I am today is nothing more than a predetermined result of the experiences I've had, the trials that have been put upon me. I am not a victim. We are not victims.

At the same time, those experiences do help to shape who we are. I suppose this is a good thing. After all, it's in the way we push through and survive our trials that we are able to grow and become stronger people. Our experiences and hardships are a part of who we are.

I think my resistance to the whole thing lies in the idea that our pasts have a dictatorial say in who we become. I have a friend who recently wrote about how her parents' divorce made her anxious and instilled a need in her to exert extreme control on her life. I have another who spends so much time bitterly blaming her past that she can hardly see the blessings in her life to move forward. For myself, the crash and burn of some of my recent friendships has made it really hard for me to trust anyone, and very easy for me to cocoon myself in social isolation.

All these things are true. Our lives are definitely influenced by our pasts, Who we are is shaped by our pasts. But I can't leave it there. I just can't.

We still get to choose how we respond to those pasts. We can choose to let go of the control we've convinced ourselves we need to have. We can choose to stop blaming our pasts for every little thing that's wrong in our lives. We can choose to trust, even if we've been hurt before. We get to choose how we respond.

I'm reminded of an experience I had in college. It was an early education class and we were discussing our own childhood experiences. The girl next to me recounted how her parents had divorced and she'd become a second mother to her younger siblings. She was very bitter and angry about this.

It struck me because I had the same experience. My parents divorced when I was 9 years old; my sisters were 6 and 2. Being positive that my dad had no idea how to take care of children and with my mom going back to college, I also took on a 2nd Mom sort of role with my sisters -- only bitterness was the last thing I felt over it. I was glad for the close relationships with my sisters that resulted from the situation. I was grateful for the skills and qualities that had been bred in me through the experience.

Same past. Different choices in how we responded.

We all have that choice. Our pasts do shape us-- but we still get to choose our responses to those pasts.

We get to choose.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thursday Tales: The Fairy Wishes Management Meeting


The bell sounded and the employees shuffled in.  The rustle of taffeta and tulle, silk and satin filled the air as the morning's staff settled into their chairs around the conference table for the morning meeting.

Also, the flurry of wings.

Percy Pixiebottom, an unfortunate name for such a distinguished fairy, stood at the front of the room, adjusted his tie and cleared his throat. "Good morning, folks!"

The group mumbled a return greeting, sleepily.

Percy tried again. "I said 'Good morning.'"

"Good morning, sir!" Jenny answered cheerily. Some of the others rolled their eyes. Jenny was always so perky.  Even for a fairy.

Percy clapped his hands together. "Alright, let's get started. Jack, an update on the children's division?"

"Mr Pixiebottom, things are going well." Jack, manager of the Children's Division, stood and adjusted his glasses. "Wishes have been coming in at a normal pace, our call completion rate is at an all-time high, and morale is up. We've had a somewhat higher-than-normal request surge for puppies and candy, so we're going to need to find somewhere in the budget to allow for that. Other than that, we've had the usual request list of video games and cell phones. But, so far, we're on target to hit all of our quotas."

"Thanks, Jack.  Good work as always."

"Video games and cell phones?" A creaky voice came from the back of the room.  Someone groaned.  This speech came every week. Charles Dustinem struggled to his feet, his wings struggling to help him up in his old age. "Back in my day, children didn't wish for video games and cell phones. Back in my day, we stocked swords and shields and arrows. Back in my day--"

Percy interrupted. "Thank you, Mr Dustinem. Of course, we all miss those days. But, unfortunately, even the Fairy Wishes Division must advance with the times. And if the children of the world are wishing for Xboxes and iPhones, well, we must go along with it." He scanned the room for the next update. "Jenny? How are things in the Mother Division?"

Jenny smiled brightly. "Oh, things are wonderful, sir! Wishes are coming in faster than you can beat your wings! Of course, our wishes aren't as easy to grant as puppies and candy."

Jack mimicked her behind her back. Jenny never did give the Children's Division enough credit.

She continued, "We have just brokered a deal with Starbucks to make sure that all harried mothers get a little extra syrup and caffeine in their lattes at no additional charge, and we're very excited about that.  We've perfected a spell to lull children to sleep at naptime, and we're working on a collaboration with the Teenager Division to trade a dip in adolescent surliness for unpunished curfew violations."

Percy nodded. "Excellent.  Dads Division update, Pete?"

Suddenly, the door opened, and a young fairy boy came hurtling into the meeting. "Mr Pixiebottom! Mr Pixie bottom!"

Percy frowned. "Michael, is it? You realize you are interrupting the Managers' meeting? Can't this wait?"

Michael wrung his hands. "I know, sir. I'm very sorry. But I needed to tell you that... well...  You see, I was flying a load of dandelion seeds to the factory. You know the ones that people can blow and get wishes?  They were to be distributed according to plan to meadows around Europe next month. But..."


"I dropped it."

A communal intake of breath sounded throughout the room. Percy spoke carefully. "You dropped it.  Where did you drop it?"

Michael winced. "Along Sycamore Street in Allanstown." He kicked his feet. "Half a block from the new elementary school."

A groan filled the room and Jack hustled to the door. "I'm on it, Mr Pixiebottom.  Although I don't know where I'm going to find the extra fairy staff at this time of year." He stopped to fix young Michael with a look of disgust. "Nice going, Michael. Do you know how much work you just made for my team??"

As the fairies all shuffled out to help take up the slack, Jenny paused at the door to pat Michael on the shoulder.

He looked up miserably. "I'm sorry, Mom. I'm never going to make it as a fairy."

"It's alright, dear. Some of the best fairies were the worst apprentices. You should have seen the messes Jack made when he was your age. Once, he got puppies and elephants mixed up.  You should have seen the look on the mother's face when her son won an elephant at the circus. Keep trying, darling. Look on the bright side.  You can only get better."

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thursday Tales: My Darling Michael, I Miss You

"My darling Michael,

I miss you. It's been 48 days since I last laid eyes on you, and I miss you so much."

The pen scratched across the paper as she wrote at the desk in the morning light.

"They still haven't told me why I'm here.  I don't know what I did. What law have I broken that they keep me locked up? Oh, they're very nice about it. Sickeningly nice, always asking if I'm comfortable, always asking if I need anything.  But, they never understand that there are only two things I really need.  I need to know why they're keeping me a prisoner here.  And I need to see you.  They never let me see you. They won't even tell me where you are, how you are.

Always lies. Always excuses.

I know it's been 48 days.  I count every tick on the wall before I sit up in the morning.

Do you remember the night we snuck out and watched the stars come out above town?  It was so beautiful. I can still feel how big your hand felt around mine, the strength of your arms around me as we took in the millions of tiny lights in the sky.  My mother nearly killed me when you finally took me back home and she was waiting up.  But, it was worth every moment of consequence, Michael.  Every moment.  I knew that night I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you.  I knew.  Did you know too?

I just didn't know it would be so short.  Did I tell you that I miss you?

How I wish you would come and get me out of here. The security here is insane.  I've tried every way I can think of to escape, but they always find me. They always bring me back. I don't even know if you know where I am. Do you get these letters?

I get through every day by thinking of you, hoping you're alright, hoping you'll take me out of here.  I love you, darling.

Ever Yours,

She folded the letter and slid it into an already-addressed envelope, licking it shut. Carefully tiptoeing to the door, she cracked it just an inch and peeked out. A man was sitting on a bench outside.

"Psst.  Psst!" she hissed.

He looked up and smiled. "Good afternoon, madam."

"Shhh," she whispered, glancing nervously at the security desk down the hall. "They'll hear you. Sir, could I trouble you once more to slide this into a mailbox on your way home? It's very important. Please don't let them know."

He put his hand on hers and looked seriously into her eyes. "Of course.  It will be our secret."

Relief flooded through her. "Thank you, you're so very kind.  I don't know how I'll ever be able to repay you.  Maybe someday when I get out of here...." she trailed off.

His smile faded a little, but he nodded. "Maybe someday."

Beth smiled and shut the door, retreating to a windowseat in her room and a book.  Occasionally, she stopped reading to glance out the window.  She watched the man walk to his car, turning to wave up at her, before getting in and driving away from the compound.


He passed a mailbox on his way back to work, but he didn't stop to drop off the letter.  Instead, he pushed open the door of his building and made his way up to his office on the seventh floor.  He nodded to his secretary, grabbing his messages on the way.

Dropping into his office chair, he pulled the letter from his pocket and broke the seal.  The paper was violet and smelled of roses.

"My darling Michael," he read. "I miss you..."

The phone rang, interrupting the letter.  Reaching for the TALK button, he answered, "This is Michael. How can I help you?"

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Be Okay As You Are

If we never grew and never changed, we'd be stagnant and stuck.  It's the changing and the learning and the growing that makes life so very interesting.

But, while you're going through all that changing and growing and learning, know that you're pretty wonderful just as you are right in this moment, too. You're smart and funny, kind and generous.  You're thinkerly and wise, even while you're going after more wisdom.

You're not broken.  You're not finished, but you're not broken. You aren't who you're going to end up being.  But, who you are now is worth something. Don't shortchange that person into thinking they're not.  

Love you now. You're amazing now.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hearing Through Our Bitterness

It was a friendship that had begun to sour.  Actually, it was past the souring point, but we were still in the phase where you dread the drama of the actual "break-up" enough that you're still friends on social media and you're still hovering in each other's circles.  Not because you're still a part of each other's lives... but you just don't want to deal with the trauma that will ensue when you hit the "unfriend" button. And as long as you don't, there's still that possibility of reconciliation.

There was a day that I'd said something.  Maybe I hadn't worded it right. Maybe I hadn't taken the time to read it with other tones than the one I wrote in before I hit Send. Suffice it to say that she heard it much differently than I said it.  We're talking MILES differently here.  The venomously responsive status of her own was the moment I knew. It was the moment where I knew that there was so much anger harbored there that she was no longer able to see anything I said through anything but a haze of bitterness and hatred. It took me aback. I didn't know until then. It was also the moment I knew for sure that there would never be any reconciliation between us.

It's funny about that.  Since then, I've really noticed how the way we think of someone colors how we hear the words they say and write.  If it's someone you really like, you're more apt to hear their words through a veil of positive thoughts. You assume that their tones and intents are ones of peace and goodwill and humor, and you hear them accordingly.

On the flipside, if it's someone we don't like... or someone that we've come to have bad blood with, our perceptions of how they say things change.  No longer do we assume that they meant well.  Instead, we assume that they didn't. We hear snark and pettiness and self-pity.

I've been there too, and not just on the receiving end.  Sometimes I'll hear the words of someone through my own veil of bitterness, and I have to be very proactive about asking, "Is that fair?  Are you hearing honestly?" Many times, the answer is "No." I have to pull myself back from hearing through my hurts.  They do color, and they color dishonestly. They make you hear things sometimes that just aren't there.

I guess there's a part of us that wants to believe that the people who have hurt us are bad. We want everything they say and do to be a support of why we're right and why they were wrong, and why they continue to be wrong.  It's some sort of weird self-validation.

But I guess it's not really fair to them.  So it's good to be aware of it, to know it's there. When you find yourself awash in that bitter ocean, sometimes the awareness is as much of a lifesaver as you need to pull yourself back to the shore so that you can listen honestly and truthfully.

Photo Credit: John Mallon

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thursday Tales: I'm Fine

I opened the door of my apartment for my sister. I'm on the phone, I mouthed with the phone tucked between my head and shoulder.  "No, Mom.  It's fine.  I'm fine.  Really."

Really? I had no idea, she mouthed back. I thought that was a growth on your shoulder.

I stuck my tongue out at her.  "Mom, Emily's here, I have to go.  Yes, I'll call you if I need you. I promise...  Okay.  Love you too, bye." I followed my sister into the kitchen.

"How long has she had you on the phone?" She put the wine by the fridge and slid a giant box of chocolates across the counter toward me. "Never mind, I don't even want to know."  Emily fixed me with a no-nonsense glare.  "Alright, spill.  What happened with Doug?"

I sighed and slid onto a stool, picking at the chocolate. "I don't even know exactly, Emmy.  Things have been off with us for awhile.  We were both getting irritated with each other over stupid little things." I shrugged. "I guess the cord just snapped and we couldn't hang on anymore."

She put her hand on mine. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine."

She raised an eyebrow at me.

"I'm fine. It's fine."

Emily seemed like she was going to argue, but she just said, "Okay."  

We spent the evening, flipping through old pictures of our parents, trying to put together a photo book for their upcoming anniversary.  We laughed a lot, talked.  It was good to take my mind off of things.

That evening, we sat on the couch and drank the wine Emily had brought.  I rested my head against her shoulder and whispered, "I'm not really fine." The tears spilled onto her skin.

"I know."  She kissed me on the head.  "But, you will be."

Monday, October 15, 2012

Beautiful Girl

Did you know that you are beautiful?

Yes, I'm talking to you.

You are.  The way your eyes sparkle when you're excited and the way your smile makes your whole face light up.  You're beautiful.

Oh, I know you don't feel that way some days.  Even most days. You get up and you look in the mirror and you see parts.  You see eyes that are too big and too little defined. You see the acne on your chin that persists in sticking around, even though you're pushing 40. You see the lips that are too thin and which certainly lack that perfect cupid's bow that seems to grace the face of every model in every magazine you've ever read.

But, you only see parts, and never the whole.

I don't see parts.  I see you. And you are beautiful.

On the inside, yes.  But not just on the inside.  That's something we make up when we're trying to make someone feel better, isn't it?  I don't mean "just on the inside," though you are beautiful there, too.  You are beautiful.  Your hair, your eyes, your face, and your heart.

I know you can't see it. You're afraid to see it.  So, I will see it for you until you can.

It will be my secret, this beauty of yours.  And when you are ready to know, come visit me. If you could only see you the way I see you, you would know just how very beautiful you are.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thursday Tales: Canvassing the Neighborhood

Michael could hear the doorbell reverberating to the back of the house, and he waited for someone to answer the door. This was the last house he had to solicit for donations before his shift was over.  His foot tapped in mild impatience.

Finally, the door opened to reveal the cutest little old lady. Her hair was pulled into a haphazard bun on top of her head, but only half of it had made it there. The rest sprung out in every direction. None of the pieces of her outfit matched and her glasses sat crooked on her nose.

Michael smiled his winningest smile. "Good afternoon, ma'am. My name is Michael, and I'm here from the local homeless shelter..."  He launched into the speech he'd already given a hundred other times that day.  He wasn't even paying attention to the words that came out of his mouth anymore.  He put on his best puppy-dog eyes look and ended with "And I was wondering if you could possibly spare a donation for the cause?"

"Well, of course, young man. Of course I can."  Her voice was old and thin, like a sound of an old gate, rusty on it's hinges.  She opened the door wider.  "Please come in while I find where my son left my checkbook."

He protested, "Oh no, ma'am.  It's alright, I can wait--"

"Nonsense!" she fixed him with a look that would not be defied.  "You'll come right inside and sit down."

Michael reluctantly followed her into the living room and settled into the vinyl-covered loveseat. She tottered into the kitchen and called back, "Don't mind the kitty, now.  His bark is worse than his bite."

"It's alright. I have a cat of my own at ho-- Oh god."  He hadn't noticed the cat when he'd come in the door. He couldn't un-notice it now.  There he was, sprawled out on the windowseat -- the lion.  The animal opened one eye to look at the new visitor, and Michael couldn't help noticing the size of his paws or thinking about how easily that animal could jump across the room and bite the head off of his neck.

"Oh now, sonny.  Don't you worry.  He's just a big softie..."

The lion stood up on the window seat and stretched. A softie?  Michael didn't care if it was the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz. It was a lion, and he preferred his wild animals to be outside of... killing distance. His eyes widened as he watched the lion jump down and pad softly over to him. "Ma'am?" he called. "Ma'am, help?" He couldn't move.

The animal shook his mane and then sniffed at Michael's hand.  He looked up and almost seemed to smile at his prey.  The lion knew. Michael knew. They both knew who had the upper hand. The giant cat yawned, taking his sweet time, letting Michael take a good look at the size of his mouth, the sharpness of his teeth. Michael sat frozen and helpless as the lion looked him steadily in the eye, licking his chops.

He heard the woman came toddling back into the room, check in hand. "Oh Daniel, you've met our guest.  I hope you've been good!"

The lion almost winked at Michael, licked his hand, and then made his way back to his bed at the window.  Michael grabbed the check from the woman, mumbled his thanks, and practically sprinted out the door.  He was completely out of breath by the time he made it back to the car, his partner leaned up against it waiting for him.

"You knew, didn't you?" Michael demanded.

Tim chuckled.  "About Crazy Mrs Gunderson? Maybe.  Nice cat, eh?"

"You are so dead."

Monday, October 8, 2012

Letting Go of Bitterness: Time and Intention

It only took a moment. The introduction to an old song played on the radio before I could get to the "Off" button, but it was too late. The memories came flooding back. The hurts came flooding back.  But, mostly?  It was the bitterness.

It's almost like a retreat, this bitterness. It's a place of safety when the hurts and the pain come shooting back up. It's a place where you are the victim and therefore worthy of extreme pity. The retaliating thought arrows at those who hurt you... you are given free rein to shoot those here. You reign supreme. You are the king and the queen whose whims and emotions and insecurities must be fed and coddled at all costs.

But you cannot stay here.

You are protected here by your own bitterness. But you were not meant to wallow in all the bitter for your whole life. You were meant for more.

But it's easy, isn't it? It's easy to find yourself here. It is easy to stay here. And it is so hard to leave and to stay gone.

They say that time heals everything.  And I won't completely argue with the sentiment.  Time helps. Time makes the pain softer. Time gives you the chance to pick your head up, pick up the pieces around you, and walk on.  But, I'm not sure that even Time is enough.

You need intention. The bitterness doesn't just leave you.  It wants you to hang out. It wants to be felt and rolled around in and painted on your soul like a tattoo.  You have to be intentional about letting go of bitterness, even if it's only one minuscule baby step at a time.  You have to want it, and you have to continually make the choice to not live with that cloak.  If you don't, it will come back.

I remember singing a song in kindergarten about this family with a cat they didn't want.  They did all kinds of things to get rid of this cat.  But the chorus always went like this:

"The cat came back the very next day
The cat came back, they thought he was a goner
But the cat came back the very next day.
He just wouldn't stay away."

Bitterness is like that. If you are not vigilant, it will come back.  It wants you and you have to be intentional about staving it off.  But, be clear.  You want to stave it off. You need to stave it off. We were not meant to be broken forever. We were not meant to be bitter forever. You can't be who you were meant to be if you become comfortable in your own bitterness. Don't mistake. It will eat you... it will eat us... from the inside out and it will leave us a mere shell of who we were, of who we are, and of who we can be.

Be intentional. Put it aside. Be better.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thursday Tales: The 50 Bandits

The man was dressed richly, the fabric of his clothes obviously expensive.  He sat by the fireplace in the inn with a crowd gathered around him while he spun his tale.

"I drew my sword as the bandits approached. 50 of them! Sword clashed against sword as man after man fell to my skill. They came at me from every direction, but not a one could come out of it alive!"

His younger brother, Mark, stood at the bar and drained his ale. "This story gets longer every time he tells it," he muttered to the innkeeper.

The story at the fire continued. "The last man stabbed through the heart, I threw open the door of the carriage they had been robbing and found a beautiful princess with hair like gold and eyes as blue as the sea. 'My savior!' she exclaimed before she stood on her toes and bestowed me with a kiss. Of course, there were yet dragons to be slain, so I could not be waylaid, even by such a pretty lass, and I sent her on her way." Lord Maxim stood up from his seat by the fire. "And that is the story of the day I bested 50 bandits. Drinks all around!!"

The inn burst out in cheers and applause.  Mark smothered a smile and rolled his eyes at the ceiling.


Mark shoved his older brother up onto his horse and they rode home to the manor. "You know, brother, I feel like I remember that story a little differently. As I recall, we were the ones in the carriage, the lass was the one doing the saving, the bandits were three, and she refused to succumb to your charms because you hadn't bathed in six days."

Maxim glowered.  "Um, shut up?"

Mark chuckled. "You are the worst knight in shining armor ever."

Monday, October 1, 2012

Ryan Kelly

Ryan Kelly (age 35) is an original member of Celtic Thunder. He is the youngest of three children and grew up in The Moy, a small village in Northern Ireland. Before joining Celtic Thunder, Ryan worked as a chartered accountant, but dabbled in local musical theater and nightlife, even taking a stab at an American Idol-esque show, Country Cool.

With his strong background in theater, Ryan is best known for his highly energetic and theatrical performances in which he brings to life the character of the well-loved Dark Destroyer, as well as for his friendly and charming demeanor.

Ryan has released two solo albums: "In Time" in 2010, and "Life" in 2013.

Songs of Note:

Bad Bad Leroy Brown
Brothers in Arms
Midnight Well
Hunter's Moon
Dearg Doom


Solo/Duo CDs

Celtic Thunder DVDs

Celtic Thunder CD's

Celtic Thunder CD

Keith Harkin

Keith Harkin (age 27) is one of the original members of Celtic Thunder. Keith hails from Derry in Northern Ireland and brought a handful of songwriting credits with him into Celtic Thunder.

Skilled as a singer/songwriter, Keith has had his own work in the Celtic Thunder shows since the beginning with the addition of "Lauren and I" to CT's debut product, "The Show." He is an intricate guitarist and possesses a unique accent that sets him apart when it's expressed in song.

Keith recently signed with the Verve label under David Foster and released his first solo album, "Keith Harkin," in September 2012.

Songs of Note:

All Out of Love
Castles in the Air
The Island
Lauren and I
Mountains of Mourne
I am a Man of Constant Sorrow


Celtic Thunder CDs


George Donaldson

George Donaldson (age 46) is one of the original members of Celtic Thunder. The lone Scotsman, he is also the only married man and only father in the group. Hailing from Glasgow, Scotland, George built buses in his former life while chasing after his dream of being a professional singer. For years, he has been a Sunday night staple of the local Glasgow pub, Jinty McGuinty's, where he still sings when he's home long to get the chance.

A talented folk singer, George most often showcases his skills in Celtic Thunder through emotive ballads and raucously up-tempo songs. Also known as a giant flirt from the stage, George is always friendly with his fans and can frequently be found doling out the friendly hugs off-stage.

He released his first solo album "The White Rose" in 2011, followed by his second, "The World in My Mind" in 2013.

Sadly, George passed away in 2014, following a sudden heart attack, leaving behind his wife Carrie, daughter Sarah, and an empty spot in the hearts of all who knew him.

Songs of Note:

Hello Again
I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)
Life With You
My Boy
The Old Man
Scarlet Ribbons for Her Hair


Solo Reviews

Celtic Thunder CDs


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