Life & Lemons

The idea that you can make lemonade when life hands you lemons is total bullshit.In order to make lemonade, life has to also hand you water and hopefully sugar or some other kind of sweetener. And some kind of container to put it all in. You can't just make lemonade out of lemons only.

And furthermore, what's so bad about lemons? Why do you have to improvise at all? You've got lemons. Be happy with them. They are fruit.

Also. I need to clear something up.

A few days ago I wrote a post about bricks and hearts and people dying and sadness and all that. My friend Lauren disagreed and reminded me about the mercy of God on his kids, and how, essentially, he won't let you drag around a sack of bricks forever, constantly tugging at your heartstrings and bumming you out.

I think you're right Lauren. I shouldn't let things bum me out, especially before anything happens. Especially when I can't really do anything about it anyway.

Life is good, and I love every single second of it.

And I am not complaining.

Life didn't hand me lemons, it handed me glory.

Waterdeep @ The Prophet Bar

During the show we didn't speak to each other at all.Immediately afterwards, as the band was packing up the stage, and the crowd was returning back to the surface of the Earth, all I could manage to say was

That was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my entire life. I don't want to talk about it.

It is a waste of time to try to explain to someone who doesn't listen to them how majestically beautiful they are. How do you explain a sunset to a blind person? It makes no sense.

Waterdeep is really just Don and Lori Chaffer, and sometimes they tour as a full band (with drums, bass, keys, etc.), but this tour it is just the Chaffers, which is exactly how it needed to be the other night in Dallas. I can't be distracted by a drummer when something much more amazing is happening at the front of the stage.

They opened up with one of their more fast paced songs Life of the Party and I think it put everyone in just the right mood for the rest of the show. During the first song most of the crowd picked up their chairs and moved them up front for a more intimate feel. After that a lot of the people that were in the back came and sat on the floor right at the foot of the stage.

2420

It was obvious that Don & Lori were warmed by the crowds warmth. It was love being sent up to the stage and love sent right back down. The Waterdeep crowd is the kind of crowd that doesn't just kinda like the band, they know all their music. All of it. They've got the records and bootlegs and stickers and they know Don & Lori's kids names (Miles & Ruby). They've watched the YouTube videos of them in their PJ's doing silly cover versions of their parents songs.

So when a band that is really just an extension of your own family takes the stage and sings things like

Oh God it hurts so bad to love anybody down here

there is no hesitation of love or sympathy or honesty. It just permeates the room. The bartender even seemed to soften up to it.

Don's writing style is so clear and obvious that you might think you've heard the lines somewhere before, and then you realize that you've only heard them in your own head as the jumbled mixed-up confusion of thought that never makes sense to anyone else when you try to say it out loud. But Don writes it and there it is. All laid out for your to add to the database of your mind for quick and easy reference when you have no idea what else to say. Its just true. Some things need no further discussion.

And Lori.

How do I say this?

Lori could sing anything, literally anything, and it would instantly vaporize your heart into a buttery pool of emotion lying vulnerably on the floor. She could open up a biology textbook and just start singing it and I would cry for years. At certain points during the show, if you can manage to take your eyes off Lori while she is singing and look over at Don, you can easily tell from the expression on his face that he is just as awed by her beauty as the rest of us, sitting there breaking to pieces in our cheap bar chairs as the outside world moves by all around us. I think a rhinoceros could have busted through the back wall of the bar and no one would have ever noticed.

And then, just when you think you are at the pinnacle of glory and beauty, she starts to loop her voice. One of top of the other, climbing and building like a Chinese pagoda made out of cheese and sausage and love and wine. Ten or twelve tracks deep, Lori's voice charges from the stage like a tidal wave of ___________ (there is no word for it).

I can only hope the second coming will sound anything like it.

After the show we got to talk to them for a few minutes, which was nice. They are just regular people like us, really. Taylor and Peyton and I walked out of the bar dazed and high from the ambush of glory we had just experienced. We each got a beer in a bag and sat in the parking lot to debrief, but we ended up just smiling and staring at the stars, satisfied.

A Room of Dudes

So I've been going to this thing at a church here in town called Men's Fraternity. It's basically a three semester thing for guys that essentially guides you into a more meaningful life of being a man.The first semester is all about what it means to be a man, the second is about "Winning at Work and Home", and the third is called "The Great Adventure". Right now I am doing the third one.

Anyway, as you might suspect, the third semester deals mostly with enjoying your life to the fullest and living the adventure of life with excitement and great expectations. Its strange to me, although completely unsurprising that this many guys would gather this early in the morning, every single week, to hear some other guy talk about how to enjoy your life. Its sad, really.

Look at all those backs, all those heads, all facing the same direction. There are doctors, teachers, lawyers, construction workers, managers, cooks, students, and everything in between. Guys of all ages wanting desperately to figure out why the hell life is so hard and how in the world can we figure out how to relax and enjoy things a little more.

This semester we are only three weeks in and all three sessions have been about how difficult it is to go to work day in and day out and never ever see the light at the end of the tunnel - retirement. Or, if you actually get to retirement without having a heart attack, how difficult it is to do anything at all other than rest now that you are probably in your sixties and simply worn out from having to work so hard all those years.

I can only imagine what it must feel like to be one of the high school guys that come every week. If I were them I would be planning my escape from the real world as soon as possible.

There are basically three categories of guys at Men's Fraternity:

1. Students

2. Workers

3. Retirees

I obviously fit into the second category most easily, but I don't really consider myself a "worker". I am in a very unusual group of people who actually enjoy my job and life so much that I literally feel like I have been on vacation for almost a year. To some guys this sounds miserable, but to me it means rest, relaxation, and enjoyment. If any of you reading this have ever wondered what it is like to do something that you truly love, please believe me when I tell you that

it

is

fucking

amazing.

Please believe. If you are sick of your job, GET OUT OF THERE.

No one should ever have to be a slave, especially to money. Do what you want. Do it now. You are currently wasting your time. If you don't know what you want to do, figure it out.

Figure it out.

Please don't end up like the gray haired dudes in this picture. I'm sure a few of them have lived a happy and fulfilled life in their job, but not many. Most have lived a long life of struggle and toil and have nothing to show for it except (hopefully) a happy family who appreciates their hard work to provide, which is a noble thing, no doubt, but I submit to you that there are all kinds of ways to provide for your family, millions even, and if you are lucky enough to end up in a career that allows you to do so while completely enjoying yourself, you've got it made.

My greatest fear in life - seriously, my greatest fear - is that I will have to go back to work.

The life I live right now is one of total uncertainty, fear, worry, anxiety, and satisfaction. I went to the ER the other day because I had so much anxiety that my stomach was completely flipping out and going crazy on me. I thought I was having a heart attack. I actually passed out Monday morning because of it. No kidding.

The only reason that I have made it a full year doing what I love is because I lost two jobs in one month, and after frantically trying to find some realistic way to make some money for my family, Jesus threw me off a cliff with a parachute called photography.

I have never been happier in my entire life.

For Aaron B. Reddin (& Others, I Suppose)

Ok, you're right. I've been posting awesome videos and pics on here a lot lately with no actual writing; but I have something of an actual reason for this. Here it is:

1. I have been 1,000% inspired by music lately, as you can see from several of my posts below.

For those of you who know me well, you'll know that there is no other time of year more exciting, thrilling, and inspiring to me than fall/winter. Lately, I have been amazed with the music that's come my way again - namely, Cat Stevens, Phish, UB40, and the amazing African jams that Scram has been throwing at me. With the exception of the African stuff, I have loved the others tremendously at some other point in my life, and trying them on again is like putting on an old pair of Chacos, they know me like an old friend. And together we roll through the streets with great ambition and excitement, as the cool wind from Canada tumbles between the buildings and through the treetops of Arkansas September.

2. I am about to embark on a major adventure.

Some good friends and I are leaving on a (somewhat) epic road trip next Thursday after everyone gets off work. Our destination is the barren landscapes of northern New Mexico and possibly southern Colorado. We will camp and hopefully avoid all major metropolitan areas as much as possible. We will sleep directly under the stars and wonder what it must've been like to be an Indian sleeping in the exact same place before we came over and spoiled everything for them. This, naturally, makes me so overflowingly excited that I can only express myself through other peoples guitar solos. Trey Anastasio, for example. Like I said, just listen.

3. I have been rather busy lately.

This of course, is quite a good thing. During my days the past few weeks, I've been listening to the above mentioned jams, editing pictures, and dreaming about New Mexico. Since I'll be gone for four days, I need to knock a bunch of stuff out before we head. But as my boy Fatty just said to me about his workload: "I am almost buttoned up".

4. Also:

During the changing of the seasons, especially summer to fall, I find that there is not much to say at all - just a calm, resting peacefulness that settles in on me and causes me to just sit and smile, knowing what is to come next. Cooler. Brisker. Chillier. Frostier.

The car is cold in the morning, but the heat feels so good.

The coffee goes down warmer, and slower.

You have to snuggle up to your sweetie pie at night because the sheets are cold at first.

People hug better.

You get to break out the fleece again.

Your toes are cold but your neck is warm.

Ahhh, is there a better time of year?

No. No there is not.