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"Dear Eliza"... The conspiracy theories that divide 

This is a song in the works. I don’t remember a time I shared a song like this while it is still being completed, but I feel like being vulnerable and putting it out there today! This song is unique for me on several levels. For one, it’s the first time I named a song after a person – Eliza. Second, I typically sit on songs for a while before I ever put them out; however, in this case, this is a fresh song, still in the works, and this is me just sitting down at the piano and playing through it. You are experiencing this new song, as am I. In some ways this makes me feel uneasy, but I feel like I can’t hold it back because it is from this time in our history, and it makes sense through this lens of us – right now -- experiencing this history together. Another difference, I don’t usually provide the context of a song (unless you’re watching me live – then some stories come out!), rather just put it out there and let anybody who listens try to figure out the puzzle. In this case, though, I will give some context. I do not want to offend anybody with this, but I can only tell this story from my perspective, and I can only call it as I see it. 

I was talking over the phone to a lady in North Carolina. Her name is not Eliza, but I changed it to respect her confidentiality. I’ve been making calls to help get out the vote. It’s no secret to any of you how I feel about the upcoming election, and we were discussing this. She was so perplexed about her own feelings, and very open with me. It sounded like she really needed someone to talk to. Just days before, the family had buried her aunt who had just died from coronavirus, and she was hurt and confused why her neighbors would not wear masks to go anywhere, saying they didn’t have the virus so they didn’t need to. She comes from a family of military service, and she did not understand the blatant disrespect for those in service. She said she is pro-life, however she understood that supporting women’s access to healthcare and birth control is necessary to prevent unwanted pregnancies that lead to abortion. She did not understand the disrespect to women, in general. She also did not understand how people who are pro-life can be ok with the hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths to coronavirus. With all of this being said, she said she was just so confused why her friends kept telling her that she has to vote Trump if she was Christian. THEN SHE TOLD ME. Despite all of these things that were not aligned with her own beliefs, she said that they are all worried about the Democrats’ plan. She said that the Democrats are using coronavirus to kill all the world’s population except for 5 million ‘elites’, and so she said that she just needed to do some more research on this. I was floored and caught myself literally on the phone frozen with my mouth hanging open. 

This is what we are all dealing with right now. Reality is being twisted and truth turned upside down. Everyone is being targeted. The wild conspiracy theories that you may see in your Facebook feed or across the web are specifically tailored to you. I have seen this in stark, almost unbelievable terms as I’ve been talking to people around the country. Believe me, whatever demographic you are – you are being specifically targeted to your vulnerabilities, and we ALL have vulnerabilities. The things that “Eliza” and her friends see in their Facebook feeds – I have never even heard of! This experience really opened my eyes to the problems that we are currently experiencing regarding truth and fact. No wonder people are having a hard time finding common ground! 

So, I keep “Eliza” in my heart as an example of a good person, trying to live her faith, dealing with the loss of a loved one, and struggling with her understanding of right and wrong in the face of these attacks on reality. It is sometimes even hard to follow what your heart tells you is ‘right’ when you are surrounded by people or stories telling you that you are wrong. If “Eliza” hears me now, I want her to know that I hear her, I see her heart, and I understand her struggle – I empathize with her. 

In the days ahead, these attacks on reality could get even more intense than they already are. My advice: check sources, check each other, listen to others with different views, and talk with one another. Let’s remember that we are all human. May we lift each other up to seek truth and common understanding in these strange times.

"It is our nature"...A thought for the times 

I have wondered how I can sing when our nation is on the brink of self-destruction? I can feel guilty enjoying anything knowing that American democracy is on the line. On the other hand, how can we not? “It is our nature”. We find enjoyment in what we can, as have humans throughout history in more difficult circumstances. This quote from C.S. Lewis on the brink of WWII puts it into perspective beautifully and so I put it on a pretty background to share. We continue and hope. So I will continue to create, but with that being said, I want to state my recognition of the severity of current circumstances - people hurting badly (some truly fighting for their lives) and our nation on a path of self-destruction. Another four years of this will endanger the freedoms that we hold dear and that are so easily taken for granted. The right to fight for our country’s direction, this rather young experiment, will not be the same - not my original thoughts but those of history. Through every song I write or note I sing, know that I have not forgotten the gravity of the challenges we now face- quite the opposite. I hope that our common celebration in humanity will allow the best parts of ourselves to prevail in a better and more just nation and world.

Love, Tolerance, and Respect on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 

Today honoring all activists standing up for justice and civil rights, but especially Martin Luther King, Jr.!  Wow, what an impact this one person has made, inspiring each of us to continue the fight for what's right!  


I wanted to repost this message-song-video that I did a while back named "Tolerance" as I've needed some reflection time to even better understand what I was trying to say! When I first posted it, someone questioned me on the title because 'to tolerate' means to put up with something or someone that you may not really like.  Thank you, because this made me research the definition and think.  Because really, we would love for all things to start with LOVE rather than just having to 'tolerate'.  But as we all know, this is just not reality in many cases, when people are not showing love, sometimes we must move forward with justice and civility, attaining this through peaceful demonstration, and hope that mutual love will eventually show itself.  But it may not, and it is certainly not the role of our government to control who we must love; however, it is the role of our government to enforce equal rights for all of us.  
  
I remember being in Mrs. Clark’s class in 4th Grade when we were studying about slavery.  I stood up to put my arm next to the boy’s arm in front of me.  Although he would be classified as ‘white’, his skin was darker/redder than my own and I thought, well even here in this classroom we all look so different.  As a child, after learning in school about these injustices, I remember wondering where was the line that people were drawing to be prejudice? Exactly what shade did you have to be in order to receive the effects of racism and why?  And what if, one day, somebody decided that I was the wrong shade of skin? Something totally beyond my control!  My hair was dark, what if that was a problem to somebody along the way?! It sounds silly perhaps, but this has all happened time and time again, people discriminated against by the way they look, where they were born, their ancestors, etc.  And who knows at what point that it may be my own ‘look’ that is on the wrong side of history.  
  
When people are different from us-whether in physical appearance, race, religion, culture, language- and we may find that love does not come naturally, perhaps it is the TOLERANCE and RESPECT that must at least come first.  Open minds and hearts are so difficult when we are comfortable in our own ways, maybe fearful of change, and I honestly find it very challenging to understand people sometimes- even from small town to big city in America can create a great cultural divide- and I have lived these experiences first-hand! Maybe it's a self-defense mechanism, or maybe it is pure hate for some people, but I do think we sometimes have to force ourselves to be tolerant and respectful, hopefully planting the seeds of love in each other’s hearts.  So, all I'm trying to say is, go for love first, if it's not coming easy, try tolerance and respect, I bet love will soon follow.

Democracy 


Proud that I got involved in this election's ground game and the democratic process! Over the course of the election, I made 1200 calls for @hillaryclinton because I truly believe #strongertogether and I thank #hrc for her lifelong and continued service for the good of our already great nation. It was great to be able to talk to people all over the country about their concerns and issues important to them. I think most all of us have more similar beliefs and values than not, but fear has harnessed some troubling emotions. Since our nation's founding, Americans have had a fighting spirit, loving to stand behind a cause. Believe me, I understand and I have a fighting spirit as well! I want us all to be fighting on the side of freedom and goodness, and now more than ever, be vigilant and alert to protect our democracy and the rights we hold so dear. We must ensure a free media and also ensure that political opponents, or any one of us, or our neighbors, are not afraid to express our opinions, concerns, and truths. We must respect our democratic process and never take democracy for granted. Without our democracy there are no other issues to discuss.  #bevigilant #democracy #usa #fight #freedom #freespeech#freepress #respect #president #debatedonthate