Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sweet Dream Baby.....

There are those voices that are instantly recognizable .....
I'm certain no one can disagree that the voice of the late, great Roy Orbison was one of angelic proportions which spoke to lovers, injured or fulfilled, along with influencing great musicians for decades.

Author & musician, John Kruth, has given us the real deal in his latest book, Rhapsody in Black. Kruth describes the roots of Orbison's upbringing as "a chapter in a John Steinbeck book." The vocalist endured a difficult childhood and Kruth digs deep into researching the music & social influences which shaped the presence of the legend.  I've found Kruth's book to be a real page turner and have enjoyed every word that Kruth put to "pretty paper." Being a sensitive mom, it's been difficult for me to learn about the amount of discrimination Orbison experienced as a result of his pop bottle glasses and less than attractive features. But it was Roy who showed those shallow bottom feeders what his true gift was to the world.
Having sadly left our world at the young age of 52, Orbison's life mirrored the woeful song lyrics that melted from his mouth. He suffered much loss which attributed to the musical transformation from sadness to unforgettable magic.

Don't miss Kruth's interview tomorrow at 12:00 Noon CST  -  the show link is below. If you can't listen live, tune in anytime to hear the recorded episode.

My Music Nugget for Today:

Rod Stewart's new release -  "Finest Woman"
OK--Hot Rod hasn't released anything as soulful as his days with Faces...but this little ditty is heading in the right direction. Yeah, it's a little bit of a sell out, not great depth, but it's got some soul & there's a hint of the ole' Rod in there, hopefully minus the myths......
Here is a short clip of the song.....for those of you who can only handle Rod in small doses:

Ask the Intern - with Claire Edwards

"Claire, I know that Roy Orbison was in a "supergroup" called The Traveling Wilburys --What actually IS a supergroup?" from Jim-Buffalo, NY

A supergroup is a band consisting of members that have already achieved recognition in the music scene prior to the formation of the group. The classic example of a supergroup is Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young which is composed of David Crosby of The Byrds, Graham Nash of The Hollies, and Stephen Stills and Neil Young of Buffalo Springfield. All four members of this group have been introduced to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice and have been part of the creation of albums that consistently place at the top of the charts. It is also argued that a supergroup can be a band whose members achieved further fame individually after group disbanded. An excellent example of this is The Beatles since the members went on to have prominent solo careers. However, this definition of a supergroup is not always accepted.

Submit your questions to Claire !

***Hey don't miss my next event--
"Women In Rock" will be my program at Studio 4905 in Henderson, KY!  Last month's event was a blast! Sample foods from my books & listen to my lesson on the influence & importance of women in rock & roll ......  
 Thursday, July 25  ~   6:00-8:00 pm
Studio 4905  ~  4905 Timberlane Dr., Henderson, KY 42420

Peace, Love & Chicago Blackhawks Forever,
Lanea Stagg
Recipe Records Cookbooks
   send friend request to RecipeRecords Cookbook
Radio Show Episodes:

John's Blurb - by Jude Southerland Kessler

I’ve discovered a pattern. Each week, I sit down to write these blogs based on the quotes of John Lennon. I find a quote that speaks to me. And then I disagree with it. Ninety-five percent of the time, that’s the subject matter of these scribblings – my disagreement with John over fairly important issues.
Yesterday, I was interviewed for an emotionally taxing hour by a very cool sociologist who is doing a remarkable book about The Beatles (I won’t divulge what kind of book it is and give her idea away, but it’s a GREAT one). And she kept asking me over and over, “Why? Why are you dedicating your life to writing about John Lennon? You seem to disagree with his early politics, question his time with the Maharishi, and reject the drug culture…so why John? WHY?”
There’s an old quote that says, “You like someone BECAUSE. You love someone ALTHOUGH.” And that pretty much sums up the situation.
When you love someone, he (or she) can be 180 out. Or you can be 180 out, however you choose to look at it. He can be a jerk, on occasion…okay, perhaps on many occasions. She can see the glass as half full/empty while you insist it’s half empty/full. (Circle one.) He can master the jab, the sardonic sneer. And still…
The last line of Cynthia Lennon’s 2005 book, John, is this: “But the truth is, if I’d known as a teenager what falling for John Lennon would lead to, I would have turned right then and walked away.” But I don’t believe her. I don’t believe her at all. In fact, I think that’s bushwa, as they say in Liverpool. Cynthia loved (loves) John ALTHOUGH.
John once said (and here’s the quote I’m going to disagree with this week): “It matters NOT who you love, where you love, why you love, when you love, or how you love…it matters only that you love.”
Honestly, that’s just crazy! It does matter WHERE you love…try it in Central Park, and you’ll wind up behind bars for indecent exposure!
And it does matter WHEN you love. Don’t bother me at 8 a.m. or you risk life and limb. I’m only sleepin’.
And of course it matters HOW you love! There are volumes written on the incompatibility of love languages. Match up a “gift giver” with a person who needs “words of affirmation,” and you’ve got big, capital T-Trouble! Match up a person whose love language is “physical touch” with an individual who expresses love via “deeds of service,” and general panic ensues!
And WHO(m) you love…well…those who have be abused, cheated on, ignored,  swindled, or threatened will tell you it matters a very great deal whom you love. WHOM changes your life, for better or worse. Ask Cynthia. She’s written two books on the subject.
But I think John’s main point is:  You get no say in matters of the heart. Love happens. And love – even the worst of it – causes us to grow, change, understand, have patience, be strong, and be courageous.  It empowers us to step outside of ourselves.
Lord Woodbine, who accompanied The Beatles to Hamburg in August 1960, once denigrated John in my presence, and I angrily retorted, “Hey, don’t talk about John like that! He’s like a big brother to me!” At that outburst, Woody broke into his hearty West Indies laugh and shouted to the group, “Hey, she says John Lennon’s like her big brother! John Lennon?! Pfffft! Lady, you have one VERY strange big brother!” And all right, that may be the case.                                              
But John Lennon has been a part of my family since I was 9 years old, and although we disagree on many subjects, and always will, it changes absolutely nothing.  And maybe, just maybe, you have someone in your family with whom there seems to be no point of agreement, no place in which you two can “Come Together,” no shred of concord in sight.
“It only matters that you love,” John said. That part, he got right. I’ll give him that.

It’s a starting point.    -  Jude Southerland Kessler
          Author of The John Lennon Series
(pre-order Jude's next book N O W  !!!!! )

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

It's A Rerun......

Last week's radio show had to be canceled due to an unforeseen power you are invited to tune in hear Dave Thompson chat about Bob Marley, reggae music and other random information probably relating to vinyl record albums.
Dave will be on at 1:00 p.m. cst (2:00 pm est). You can find the show at this link:
And remember--if you can't listen live, you can hear the archived show anytime after 1:30, the show records instantly.

    I'm going to Rerun my blogpost from last week about our friend Dave...check it out here:

I'm adding another nugget to my weekly blogs.... my weekly music pick which will feature whatever song I'm thinking you should know about, or perhaps simply recall it for its great glory. This week's song is a hot new hit by a French band that is getting a lot of attention, so I felt compelled to feature it. It's called "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk. The tune is catchy and it reminds me of 1977, rollerskating at Johnny's Roller Rink with the disco ball spinning.... 
My Abby thinks it'll be a fer sure hit for the casino circuit ;)

Lanea's Music Pick of the Week:

Check out this delicious website that features sinful confections (you'll soon see a feature on their site about someone very familiar......)

Peace, Love & Sugar......

Lanea Stagg
Recipe Records Cookbooks

Friday, June 14, 2013

Dads Are the Original Hipsters Indeed

Thank goodness I have a daughter who sometimes tosses me a nugget of coolness. She recently wowed me with a hilarious book which she found at, of course, Urban Outfitters: "Dads Are the Original Hipsters"  by Brad Getty. Hipsters are quite popular these days, and after viewing the classy pics in this book, it dawned on me that yes, Dads are the original hipsters and thanks to my sister, I'm able to share a hipster photo of my dad..... Not sure what year this would've been, but Clint Eastwood is on the tube & looks like he has a lot of dark hair...

Happy Father's Day to my Daddy-O ... and thank you for all you do for us!!!!!! xoxoxoxo

...I'll be talkin' 'bout a Revolution
this Monday night (June 17) at McCullough
Library in Evansville at 6:30 pm.
You must register to attend
(limited seating)...and can do so by going
to this site:
Since my blog audience has increased exponentially this year, I'd like to share my post from Father's Day 2012..find it at this link:
Peace, Love & Rock & Roll,
Lanea Stagg
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John's Blurb - with Jude Southerland Kessler
If you’re a Christian, you’re familiar with the concept that the most important among you are those who humble themselves and serve others. They put their own needs second to the needs of those around them. That, in a nutshell, is what Jesus did when he said, “I am among you as one who serves.” (Luke 22:27)
And in that light, consider the case of Fred Lennon. He was John Lennon’s father.
John was born in 1940, while Fred was away, working on a World War II transport ship – shuttling soldiers from New York City to the war front in Europe. So Fred never had the opportunity to bond with the infant, to watch him take his first step, to hear him say his first word. He missed all of that…those early tugs on the heartstrings that imprint a baby on your heart.
When Fred did return home at the end of the war, he found a four-year-old whom he had never known (a precocious, uncontrollable, go-go-go little boy with his eyes and his wit…a bright young stranger) named John living NOT with Fred’s wife, Julia (who relinquished the boy for days at a time to her sister, Mimi, and to Mimi’s sweet husband, George Smith) but living with the boy’s aunt and uncle. And so, Fred took the boy away from that situation. Asking no one’s permission, he packed the boy’s things and took the child to live with him on the shore in Blackpool where Fred began to work, raising money to spirit John away forever.
Fred had pled with his wife, Julia, to return to him and to make a home for the child. But during the war years, Julia had fallen in love with someone else, the man of her dreams, John Dykins. Returning to Fred was not an option.
So, by himself, Fred tried to rear a little boy. He found daytime babysitters (an elderly couple, the Halls) to watch the boy while he worked. He saved his money to buy two tickets to New Zealand for John and himself. Without a wife to help him, and without a lifelong connection to inspire him, Fred Lennon gladly took on the responsibility of rearing his son all alone. You see, Fred wanted the boy more than he wanted his freedom or an easy, uncomplicated life. He wanted his son more than he wanted his “own way.”
But you know the story. Julia discovered their hiding place. She appeared in Blackpool, demanding her son. Fred made one more effort to convince her to come back to him, but when she refused, they made John choose. They put the little boy in between them and made him decide. “Which one of us do you want, John? Your Mommie or your Daddy? You decide.”
Let the record show that JOHN chose.
He first picked his dad…the man with whom he had been digging in the sand with him on the shore, riding the Ferris Wheel, wading in the surf, and watching the painted Day Trippers strutting along the boardwalk. The man who had been reading aloud to him. The father who had just begun to teach John to whistle. 
But when John heard his mother walking away in tears, he ran after her screaming, “Mummy, mummy…don’t goooooooo!”
And Julia took him back to Liverpool where she deposited him that very afternoon at 251 Menlove Avenue, the home of Mimi and George Smith. And Julia drove away in a taxi.
Fred had tried. He had tried to be a father to his son. He had tried to “complicate” his life by taking on a little boy to love, to nurture, to protect, and to rear.
And even after he was rejected, Fred continued to write letters to his son, letters that Auntie Mimi tore up and tossed in the trash – letters (she thought) that would only complicate the boy’s life with something he couldn’t have. So Fred thought that the boy had decided on his own not to write back to him. And he endured. And he suffered.
That is a man who subjugates his own needs to the needs of the one whom he serves. It is the action of a man whose love is greater than his own selfishness.
Now…lest you think Fred Lennon was an angel, he was not. He drank. He was raising the funds to take John to New Zealand by getting involved in the black market stockings trade. He was arrested for jumping ship at one point during his life. He was involved in many barroom brawls. The man was not blameless. And who knows if John’s life would have been better with him? It might have been much worse. One thing is certain: John would not have turned out as he did. The outcome would have been far, far different.
But Fred Lennon was a father, in every sense of the word.
John never really forgave his father for “abandoning him.” Years later, they made several attempts at reconciliation, and they never truly grafted. John always considered Fred a bum.
And in truth, Fred wasn’t perfect. And maybe your father wasn’t either.
But maybe, just maybe, your father’s story is NOT the story you think it is. Maybe he, too, had motives you don’t understand or complications you were never told. Maybe your father lived in a nameless pain to which you were never privy. Maybe.
On Father’s Day, consider the possibilities. For John and Fred, it’s too late. But not for you. You can still change your mind. You can hear the story. You can take the journey. You can still learn to whistle.
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Ask The Intern 
I'm very honored to introduce Claire Edwards to you. She is joining me this summer as an intern in my various writing projects. I first met Claire when she was in 1st grade & I would help her open her milk each day at lunch. She's grown up & is heading to college (as all these young lions do) and I couldn't be more proud of her. Claire is going to join the blog once a week & try to answer your burning questions about music.
PLEASE submit your questions to "Ask The Intern" at:
Read all about her:

What’s 18 years old, on the left side of this picture, and is terrible at writing introductions? That would be me, Claire Edwards. Although I was raised in Evansville I will be moving to Indianapolis this fall in order to attend IUPUI (Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis). I will be pursuing a career as a music journalist because the complexities and capabilities that music has never ceases to amaze me and my goal is to learn how to share this adoration with others.

Claire's first question has been submitted by Ludwig  von Buble':

Claire, what is Music Journalism and why is today's music so crappy? 

Mr. Buble’,
Music journalism is the study and analysis of the many aspects of music and the culture that surrounds it. It is the spread of ideas and opinions associated with music and a way to expose others to new elements of the music scene.
Secondly, the short answer: it isn’t. However, many people still hold the same expectations of music as they did forty years ago. Just like our means for transportation and communication, the way people express themselves musically has evolved rapidly. Technology has become a huge part of modern music and many people argue that this drastically decreases the music’s value. It is common to hear someone complain about how music isn’t like it was in the past and therefore isn’t as good, but what is not taken into account is that there are still many musicians who continue to produce music with an older sound but the majority of them are labeled as copy cats and written off. Because why listen to a band that sounds just like Nirvana when you can listen to Nirvana? So the real challenge for modern musicians is to develop a sound that is unique without being so bizarre that it no longer has any value to most listeners. On many occasions modern music ends up repeating something that’s been done a million times or trying so hard to be different that the finished products sounds like aluminum being microwaved. However, there are musical artists who manage to find the happy medium between these two extremes but due to modern technology most listeners are constantly bombarded with the worst of this generation’s musical output and the worthwhile musicians are often difficult to weed out.
Mr. Buble' have no fear....I think you would enjoy listening to "Hold On" by the Alabama Shakes, because of the way this group (who released their first album in 2012) blends older & newer musical styles to create a unique sound.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

If You Like Bob Marley...

Author Dave Thompson continues to prove his vast knowledge of all things music in his recent book, If You Like Bob Marley...(Here Are over 200 Bands, CD's, Films & Other oddities You Will Love) 
Thompson hooks you into his very complete book by writing about one of the most important musicians in our lifetime: reggae artist Bob Marley, and then provides a textbook which will appeal to fair weather & serious reggae fans alike. Dripping with references to artists who endured the political environment of Jamaica and created the country's own sound, this book is all you need if you are ready to study reggae. It was particularly interesting to read about the Rolling Stones' stay in Jamaica in the early 70's, resulting in the influence not only in the band's work, but also Keith Richards' solo work on many other recordings, such as Wingless AngelsThompson also delves into the effect reggae had on the punk scene, namely The Clash and also Eric Clapton's thoughts on releasing a cover of Marley's "I Shot The Sheriff" into the world of mainstream music.   

Reggae music hasn't really appeared on my radar until recently when my daughter shared some great tunes by Bob Marley & the Wailers with me. She & my niece, Annie, even ditched me at the Beatles festival so they could take in a couple hours at the Reggae Festival in Louisville......So, if the music is appealing to these hip youngsters, then it's gotta be good.

Don't miss Dave's interview on my radio show tomorrow. The author is full of incredibly interesting facts and he shares it with great pizzazz.

You can find tomorrow's show at this link:

I highly suggest that you listen to Dave's last interview on my show, where we talked about his book If You Like Led Zeppelin. It was a hoot.....

Peace, Love & Reggae.....

Lanea Stagg
Recipe Records Cookbooks

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John's Blurb with Jude Southerland Kessler
                            Author of the John Lennon Series

Don't get me wrong. I live in a modest (though quirky and  very peaceful) condo. But across the street from my house, there is a breaktaking mansion…you know, the kind with a sweeping staircase a la Gone With the Wind.

This morning, the history of that gorgeous home was printed in our local paper, The Shreveport Times, and a couple of lines in the story made me stop in my tracks. Goosebumpy.
The home, it seems, was built by A. C. Steere, “a revolutionary who changed the face of Shreveport, Louisiana, by being a developer of high repute. He began to grow the city in different directions than it had ever been.” And the article goes on to say that in the 1920’s Steere created 5 of our city’s major subdivisions…subdivisions that are still here today and grace our town with amazing beauty: neighborhoods full of one-of-a-kind brick cottages and Tudor two-stories and swings-from-a-tree kind of homes that make you curb-crawl in utter delight. 
He also built parks. Each afternoon I run in the Central Park look-alike Betty Virginia Park behind my house created by Mr. Steere (and named for his two daughters). Arched bridges, winding paths, crepe myrtle and magnolia trees, spacious fields, and paths of daffodils: it is a place of deep beauty. And each day thousands of men, women, and children in Shreveport flock to it to run, picnic, stroll, play guitar, gambol, workout, ride bikes, and just be.
But A.C. Steere never knew all of this. Because on 1 July 1930, he went to the pool behind his mansion and shot himself in the chest.
Why? Because he thought that the oncoming Great Depression (whose severe effects he could read so clearly…or so he thought) was going to destroy him and his employees. And he couldn’t face firing people, cutting salaries, and watching the world he had built so lovingly destroyed.
But get this…here is the line in The Shreveport Times article that rocked my world. It reads:
Steere committed suicide “thinking the spreading of financial panic called the Great Depression had financially ruined him. As it turned out, his company only had a temporary setback not requiring filing for bankruptcy.”
Things would have been fine, had he waited. Had he waited, things would have been okay.
Whatever is haunting you today, whatever is making you sad, whatever is breaking your heart…wait. Whatever is dragging at your hem and pulling you down…wait. Whatever is pushing and pulling you in a thousand different directions…wait. You don’t know the end of the story. And it is never what you think it will be. WAIT.  DON’T GIVE UP.

John Lennon said, “I’m going into an unknown future, but I’m still here. And still, while there’s life, there’s hope.”

I wish A.C. Steere had known that.
But at least you and I do. Wait. And I will wait with you.
Jude Southerland Kessler




Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Let Him In

Along with 140 other Louisville music fans, I took in an intimate performance of the "son of royalty," James McCartney, who is promoting his latest cd release "Me."

We all know that the phenomenon of  being a "star child" is as much a curse as it is a blessing.  While we can't ignore the fact that James is the son of perhaps the greatest living musician at this moment, birthright isn't what defines him.
He is his own musician.
And that musician is multi-layered, dripping with talent.

James performed an acoustic show, sharing his original music via guitar or keyboard. As obvious as the rising sun, McCartney's musical talent is undeniable. His voice (yes, if you close your eyes does remind you of that someone we all know), refined guitar, and my personal favorite, his brilliantly full piano work does produce superb music.  

Most of the show included the beautiful songs from the just released cd, but also included his popularly performed cover of Neil Young's "Old Man." Curiously, James' encores, including, "Thinking About Rock & Roll" are what sparked audience enthusiasm which almost broke through that invisible wall which seemed to protect him. For just a moment he cracked a smile and seemed to let down his guard.

James' new cd is chock full of delicious songs that are pieced together magnificently. His lyrics convey many messages and emotions that we presume to be applicable to his life.  Along with containing great music, the "Me" cd credits original artwork & illustrations to the multi-talented James and his gorgeous art makes the cd even more pleasing. 

Like all great songwriters, James draws upon his life experiences to create eloquent prose. It seems that he wants to acknowledge where he comes from, but he's afraid that no one will take him seriously. Being a fan of The Beatles and a jillion other bands, I personally feel that folks already welcome James and his music into their world...but they must see a little more from him than just his musical expertise. We want to see his personality--which perhaps is very reserved, however, these Southerners need a little slice of charm on the side. As they say, you attract more flies with honey than with vinegar....
I'm sure the reality of growing up the son of one of the most famous musicians in history has surely been a weight for James, but isn't it possible to look past that and try to enjoy performing your art with true music fans? James is making obvious declarations that he is making his own statement, as shown by naming his latest CD  "Me." After reading many reviews which suggest that James is depressed, I watched with great interest to see if my psychological evaluation would produce the same diagnosis. I couldn't help but feel that perhaps James is fulfilling the requirements of a record label or even someone's direction that he "pay his dues." His heart doesn't appear to truly want to connect with fans and share in the appreciation of his heritage and celebrate the talent that he obviously embodies. I certainly wish for him to welcome the comfort in sharing his talents.
James, I guarantee you have us BEFORE "hello," however, ya gotta tell us "hello" at some point in order to keep us hangin' on.....

The close of the evening found my friend Marla & I in a very long line to get an autograph from the musician. However, when someone screamed that a member of the audience was unconscious and needed CPR, my friend didn't blink an eye as she ran to help. Needless to say that disrupted our chance to enjoy meeting James, however, he seemed very eager to exit the venue & less eager to chit chat, which is what we would've preferred .....  The horrible accident that occurred immediately following the show was an enormous reminder to me that life is fragile and it can be completely turned around in an instant.

Peace & Love,
Lanea Stagg
Recipe Records Cookbooks

Your Raw Health

We all need encouragement to live healthier lives & thank goodness there are experts available like author Lisa Montgomery, who sift through all of the material and share with us only what we need to know. These days I continue to be on a "need to know" basis....

Lisa is not only an author, but a certified raw chef instructor & holistic health care practitioner and she will be my radio show guest tomorrow. Not only will she educate me on the benefits of adopting a raw food lifestyle, but she'll share information about her new cookbook Raw Challenge, which is the perfect tool to implement raw food dieting. 

The show begins at 11:00 a.m. CST tomorrow - please call in with your questions for Lisa

If you miss the live episode--go to this link to listen to the archived episode anytime after 11:30 a.m. tomorrow.

After significant health challenges due to allergies, Lisa became passionate about health and wellness, which led her to the raw food lifestyle.
Lisa's first book Raw Inspiration, Living Dynamically With Raw Foods was released in 2009. Raw Garden, Liquid Raw and Raw Potluck were released in 2011.
You may go to Lisa's website and/or facebook page to keep current.
Find all of her books at

Take the 30-Day Raw Challenge and Discover a Happier, Healthier You!
Raw Challenge makes it fun and easy to adopt a healthy, raw vegetarian diet... in just 30 days. The Raw Challenge program guides you, day by day, towards a healthier way of life and takes the guesswork out of your raw food experience.

Raw Challenge features a 30-day planner, complete with daily recipes, helpful hints, and words of wisdom from raw food experts. It also includes success stories and easy-to-follow tips to keep you going strong during your diet and health make-over.

Raw Challenge will help you:
• Improve your health and lose weight
• Find the best way to transition to a raw diet
• Prepare a wide variety of delicious, nutritious raw food recipes
• Stay motivated with testimonials and inspiring words
• Stay on track with helpful hints by raw food experts

Raw Challenge features over 50 delicious, original recipes from Lisa Montgomery and her Raw Challengers, including:
• Cinnamon Morning Smoothie
• Smokey Backyard Tomato Soup
• Raw Vegetable Pasta
• Baby Bella Burgers
• Summer Squash Slaw
• Raw Thai Curry
• Chile Con Amore
• Spicy BBQ Zucchini Chips
• Mango Tango Cake
• Green Tea Ice Cream
• And many more!

Are you or someone you know affected by Lyme Disease or other tick-borne illnesses? Please check out the Ticked Off Music Fest - to be held June 15th at the World Cafe Live in Wilmington, DE. The fest is not only going to serve up outstanding musical performances, but also great educational opportunities to learn how to protect yourself from tick-borne diseases & treatments.  The fest is still looking for sponsors---please contact them if you can help-even a small donation is greatly appreciated & will contribute to this great cause.

Peace, Love & Rock & Roll,
Lanea Stagg
Recipe Records Cookbooks

John's Blurb with Jude Southerland Kessler

Three weeks ago, my mom’s bilirubin shot up from .01 (normal) to 9 and then to 19. So now, the first thing I do every morning, even before I put in contacts or sip coffee, is call to check on my mom. Bleary-eyed, I phone.
 Each day, I try to phone my sister in that narrow window between the close of her homeschooling day (at noon) and the beginning of my workday at 1:30 p.m. And when my children are speaking to me, I talk to them a couple of times a day, at their convenience. I make it a point to watch a movie with my grandson once a week, and each night, I call to chat and read a chapter of my new book, She Loves You, to my parents before they go to bed.
 That routine, of course, doesn’t include cleaning the house, doing the laundry, cooking a big supper each night, mowing the yard, planting/weeding/watering the garden, and oh yeah, writing a book and writing/recording a weekly radio show.
 And ya know what? In the world of daily activities, I’m truly a lightweight.
 But this week, I feel as if it’s all too much. Do you? Are you weighed down by a spider web of cares, entangled in too many “must do” activities to enjoy anything, really? John Lennon was.“Everyone wants a piece of you,” he cried out. Everyone!
 But today, someone took time out to help me. She took time out to pitch me a lifeline…and to tie the knot onto which I could grasp. Y’ see, I received a card from my friend Jenn, and inside, she had tucked a prayer written my one of the world’s great theologians, Thomas Merton (whose book, I Asked For Wonder, is one of the greatest books of all time!!).
 And this prayer has helped me find my calm again.
 But before I share the prayer… one thing more: Jenn is the busiest person I know. This week she’s raising teenagers, running a family including her ailing father, writing press releases, working on a book, and organizing an entire Rock Fest to benefit Lyme Disease. But in the midst of all of that, she had time for me…time that she gave happily.
 The card was wonderful. It made me smile. The prayer touched my heart (and I hope it will yours). But Jenn’s example of living selflessly was the real lesson today. She lived as I would like to live and as I will try to live tomorrow…not as John Lennon lived (for once!), but as Thomas Merton did.
 Here is Merton’s prayer. I hope it can speak to you as it did to me…I hope it will help turn your frazzle into something better. But most of all, I hope it will remind us all to be like Jenn…full of hope, encouragement and prayer, happily given.
My Lord God,
 I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But…I believe that the desire to please you DOES in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, I will trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.