Tag Archives: Lessons

A Childs Nightmare

I released this song about a month ago now.

I hope you guys have been enjoying it!

If you haven’t heard it yet, take a listen here:

It is a song that kind of came out of no-where. I was not planning on writing a song at all. In fact I was playing my guitar earlier that night and was just frustrated with it so I put it away.

My son was in bed one rainy night and woke up crying and screaming uncontrollably. I thought at first that it was a night terror and that perhaps he would go back to sleep. Well, after a few moments I realized that he was definitely up.
He had this severity and urgency in his voice.
I walked into his room and he stood up immediately, reached for me and began to exclaim “Daddy come here!”. I picked him up and he just wailed on my shoulder. He threw his arms around my neck and buried his head in my chest as if his life depended on it.
I asked him if he was ok and he replied a very shaky, tear filled “yes”.
He couldn’t really remember what he was dreaming about, or maybe he was too scared to express it, but either way, it was real, it was intense and it was scary.
I was just glad that I was able to be there with him.

We eventually sat on the floor and he sat in my lap with his back up against my chest. His breathing was beginning to slow back down to a normal pace with the exception of a occasional sigh.

To watch my son experience this just broke my heart, but the moments during and after this are things that I hope to never forget.

Children really are a blessing and they remind me of that in the strangest times!

I can still quite vividly remember some of my nightmares as a child. And to this day, they feel quite real, quite intense and pretty scary. While I don’t know much about nightmares, I feel like they have their purpose, their place and their meanings. In some ways, they remind me of something so much bigger than our mundane day to day activities.
As a result of this night and all of these thoughts, I picked up my guitar fairly late that night, and this song came out of it.
I really like this song and am quite excited about it.
I hope that you all enjoy it to.

Please let me know what you think! I would love to hear from you guys!

Until next time.

Be well!

Jonathan.

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Unexpected Lessons

Balance and Creative Outlets:

 
    As some of you know, my family and I went to Lake Tahoe for a week of much needed vacation. We packed up our Volkswagen TDI Jetta and hit the road. No cargo box on the roof so it was “cozy” inside this little car.
     With a pregnant wife and a two and a half year old in a car seat, there wasn’t much room inside the car, which is where I keep my guitars on trips since the climate is regulated. In Flagstaff it was a balmy 74 degrees, 110 degrees in Las Vegas and the highs of Tahoe were 68 ish.  Not what you would call “ideal” for instruments during travel. So, I opted to leave the guitar behind. Good call I would later find out!
     I felt so inspired while I sat and reflected on the surroundings and the conversations that Shaila and I had. The time with Noah was just amazing. It is really nice to spend the week with the family, uninterrupted and undistracted, although I feel like my mind and soul are on sensory overload from all the things we saw and experienced. The desolate bad lands, crystal clear blue water, fourteen thousand foot peaks, rushing water falls, beaches and the constant interactions with my family, just to name a few. I really have a hard time expressing my thoughts in voice but I am learning that a pen is sometimes just as mighty as a guitar.
   When I do not have a creative outlet I begin to become a bit frustrated, impatient and antsy. Think of a volcano just before the top gets blown sky high because it has nowhere to vent its lava…. ..
Ok, so it’s not that bad; I completely exaggerated there! Haha The first day or two were the hardest for me without my guitar, but then the opportunities to write became available and the pressure began to subside.
     I am usually so focused on one thing that everything else gets blurred out. Sometimes that is not a bad thing, but the word “balance” came to my mind many times throughout the trip and in my writings. I think that was one of the focal lessons from this trip and something that I am really going to explore these next few weeks.
    All in all, this trip was a great time “away” from my distractions. No car failures, no major blowouts with the family and a ton of laughter at the expense of myself, my wife and my son.
 
What’s your creative outlet for things inspire-able or challenging? I would love to hear how you express yourself!

The News of Another Son

This song title came from the fears, excitement, joys and hopes that come from expecting a second child. In some ways, I am not as freaked out about what is coming, but in other ways, I have no idea what to expect. This particular song was written as I thought about the joy of what is coming.

    I am so stoked that we are having another boy. Truth be told, I was really hoping for a velociraptor, but a boy works too! Hahaha! My wife on the other hand was hoping for a girl, but we knew that we would not be disappointed either way. As we were watching this little guy on the monitor at the Dr’s office, I was just amazed that we could really see this little guy moving around and all of his different parts. Which I have to tell you, one of the first things we saw was his “boyish” features. We both new right away before the technician told us that we were having a boy. Just the fact that we can see this human moving around inside the womb of mommy is pretty incredible. I mean think about it, this lil dude is swimming around right now and we have the ability to watch him do what he does in there. We could see his lungs moving, his blood flow, his heart beat, his hands move and toes wiggle. Just incredible!
    To be a father is kinda scary, but it is the biggest blessing and I can’t imagine life without out my son. Don’t get me wrong, parenting has its challenges, but to watch them grow and figure things out is just amazing. Every day they learn new things, say new things, and do new things. I anticipate that there will be much laughter in our house with the interaction of our first son and his little brother.
    This song is really written from my anticipation of watching this little guy grow up. To see what he will do to test things, how he will learn things, and those really amazing sounds that newborns make, like the shrieks of pterodactyls flying in the sky, or the joyous smiles that have not been tainted from the outside world. I have absolutely no idea what this little guy will be like, but I know that no matter what, I will love him more than I could ever explain. So as I process the reality that we are about to have another child, I can’t help but be overwhelmed with a unexplainable joy for the arrival of this little guy. This is a glimpse into the inspiration of this song.

Mistakes

Mistakes….

So, I haven’t been around a long time, but I have played with some really amazing musicians and bands. Or at least I think they are. Song writers, to folk bands, and even gospel choirs. What we all have in common is our capacity to make mistakes.  No one is immune!
Let me start this off by painting a picture for you. I was leading worship at church a little over a year ago. It was just me and my guitar and a back-up vocalist. I started the worship service, thinking that it would be really cool to start the song out acapella and then come in strumming hard. Yeah, well, that didn’t go so well, I started the song in the wrong key and it got all messed up. We quickly got back on track, but I was less than thrilled to start the sercive out like that. Then halfway through the second song, I got a bit lost and started hitting the wrong chords all together. I got so lost that I had to stop the song all together. I spoke into the microphone, and laughing, said, “well, this is just a perfect reminder of how imperfect we are”. Oh, it was a mess! We just started the song over. But after that, I was completely loosened up and the rest of the service went pretty smoothly.
This might sound weird, but I think Mistakes are good! Im going to say that again,  MISTAKES ARE GOOD! Here’s why:
 I am not saying that we shouldn’t take the time required to prepare, rehearse, practice and polish our chops. But what I am saying is, don’t let a mistake stop you from doing what you enjoy and love to do. It’s easy to get really down on yourself and be tempted to quit altogether when you make a mistake, but that in itself would be a BIG mistake! Here’s what I mean:
  If mistakes don’t happen, then you can’t get better.  We learn from how we mess up.
Who reading this is perfect?………. Oh thats right, none of us are…
Here’s a challenge for us both:  What if, one person in the audience saw your performance, watched you mess up one song so bad that you had to stop and start it over again? What if they needed to see that to be reminded that we all mess up? What if one person is encouraged by that one indication of your humanity?
Again, I have to emphasize that we SHOULD practice, prepare, rehearse, etc. However, even when we practice till we are blue in the face, some days are really good and everything clicks, but some days are really brutal. In music, as in life, accept it, reflect on it, but then move on!
 I say this as much to myself as to you:  Mistakes are not defeats!
    They are fantastic tools to push you to better things.
I can say, that I have seen some pretty bad performances, and have listened to some really bad recordings and songs. But, I will say this, I respect the person who gets up after a defeat(mistake), collects his or her thoughts, rethinks his or her approach, spends some more time working things out and tries again.  It reveals character and perseverance.
Yes, our egos might be bruised after big mistakes, but we really need to learn to drop our pride and let people see our imperfect and real selves. In my experience, you can actually have a deeper connection with a musician (or vice versa, with a  fan) when your imperfection has not been covered up and hidden away.
I hope that this helps you, and maybe gets the creative juices flowing again.
As always, Thank you for taking the time to read this and be a part of this!
How have you used mistakes to help you or to grow your art in some way?  I would love to hear your stories!