Greg Murat (mur-rah)  
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Journal October 2003       Journal  Archive   Flash Poem  Archive

October 29 I did not make it to the Men's meeting up at the Israel Farm last night as there was an intense wind storm and our power went off twice. Once I decided to stay home the storm subsided. Andie and I had a good time playing music and Andie practiced You Take My Breathe Away. She sounded good and doesn't flinch when I change keys. She has a good ear. Terri called and she sounded fine, all things considered. We did enjoy Ohio and our new friends there. We are thinking at some point of looking for a new home somewhere else. There is something about the Northwest that makes it hard to leave. Just yesterday I stopped by the post office and ran into my friend Phil Darden. I hadn't seen him since '96. He is an excellent bassist and we talked about getting together and finishing some projects he was working on. That probably would not happen in Ohio. Then again you never know. We have met people in the most far away places who have seen me play. Music has been good for getting close and touching people's hearts through song.
Josh sent an e-mail with a request to put the pictures of him and Miracle back online. I did, although I would like to point out again, Andie has not edited them yet. Enjoy and thanks for stopping by. Greg
October 28, 2003
Well, I was just thinking of an old saying, Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape. The winds of change blow hard sometimes and we can flow with the wind we are a lot less likely to snap. I think sometime if we don't make a move or a change we need to, God sets the wind to blowing to get us to wake up and move. If we just stand still we might get knocked down. I would ask for some prayer today for our friends grandchild who has cancer. The name is Kayden. I am not sure of the spelling but God knows. We are one family and man, lots of us have some serious troubles. Remember to hold hands, say your prayers and let the people you love know that you love them.

October 27, 2003
We have had an intense emotional time of late. We would appreciate any prayers for my Uncle John for quick recovery from his surgery. He is so far away and yet near in our hearts. We are also holding up our whole Fickel Family in Ohio. We are so close to them all even after so short a time and just wish comfort and guidance to be with them through these days. We are still going to see Dr. Jim and getting better all the time for it. Once again it seems as if days run together like water colors. I feel a sense of calm through all that is going on, when I lose that feeling I am riding the bucking bronco of stress. Yuck! It seems like after all these years Andie and I still balance each other that way, one calming the other. Heaven knows what it would be like if we both "lost it" at the same time. Remember, Love is Kind.
We went to the Love Israel Family Harvest Party last night and were able to sing and play some music. Sarah sang Siempre beautifully. Freedom and I sang a few tunes together and our friends Don and Ellen Quijano came by as well. Josh disappeared just before I called him to come and play. Miracle is giving him a push and shove towards playing in front of people. Andie will sing next time. It was a lot of fun and we all laughed a lot. Liz's friend Robin has fallen right into the tradition of giving me a "bad time" about nearly everything. We all laughed so hard on the way home that our cheeks hurt. Family is good.

October 24, 2003 My friend, Michael Gardner, sent me an e-mail today with a story about unconditional love and acceptance. It brought tears to my eyes. Acknowledging our connection to other humans with a smile and eye contact is a powerful thing, for them and for us. I feel that everyday when I pass the homeless people on the corners with their little signs. If I don't have money I can still smile and exchange a few words as if to say "You are not alone." I can ask God to bless them. A part of each of us is in all of us. I once told a friend, when one of us is down, one of us is up. It is the cycle of life. Our hearts can be broken. Our dreams can be shattered. We can lose someone we hold dear. We can feel like we cannot go on. But in the stillness of such a moment what a priceless gift it is when someone can smile and let us know that we are not alone. God is always here inside us, waiting to comfort us and walk us through, whatever it is, because God's love is unconditional. Acts of kindness are, I believe, the greatest gifts we can give each other and to God. Today I lift up our human family and our friends in prayer for comfort and guidance and the blessing of random acts of kindness and acceptance and the assurance of God's presence.

October 21, 2003 The challenge of time is still a daily undertaking. Labels associated with time can play such a big part in narrowing our perspective. I remember hearing a saying at a gathering of Tribes in Oregon back when I was a counselor for the Small Tribes of Western Washington, "White men made the clock run and now the clock runs the white man." I thought of that saying just after I pointed out what time it was to Liz last night. "It's 11:15!" I said as if it were something profound. Our internal clocks tell the time that is relevant to our spirits but our day to days are so often overbooked that there is little time to listen to it. What makes one day better than another is what we put into it; what contribution we make and the time we take to nurture our spirits. What time is it? Time to wake up and live as Freedom says.

October 20, 2003 There was a warm rain falling this morning. Leaves blowing in the wind fell around me as I looked out into the fall air. Our little dog Spot reluctantly walked down the steps very catlike in her displeasure at getting her feet wet. I wrestled with thoughts of "Another Monday" and tried to focus on the moment, the sound of the rain, the porch light on the cobblestones. I felt a warm sense of gratitude spread through my heart. The Water is Wide was floating through my thoughts as I smiled at the morning, retrieved missy and delivered her back to snuggle with Andie. Quiet thoughts in the new day, I am thankful for all that God has given me, especially my wife, family and friends.

October 17, 2003 Had a good evening last night with Josh and Miracle. Another fantastic dinner by Andie. We laughed a lot which I am so thankful for. Not long ago I wondered if we would ever get to see Josh. I am excited that he is approaching readiness to sing in front of people. He is so talented and we love him so much. Andie sang Autumn Leaves for him to show that shyness is just something to overcome. He said it was beautiful. Click on the link to look at some photos of Autumn and Josh & Miracle. We loved meeting Miracle and look forward to more visits soon.

October 16, 2003 Had a good session with Bill Spies last night. It was one of those times when you don't get something recorded but you grow and learn and get more present. It was a time of getting more relaxed and focused on the purpose of the project. Connection is so important when you are making music. Every time I hit the record button I discover new things. I went into the vocal booth last night after our session was over and recorded a rough of Just You and Me. I am really loving how this song has evolved. I was really tired but I just wanted to start on this new CD of Greg Murat. If not now, then when? It was fun.
    We got to see Sarah's friend Liz who we haven't seen in a few years. She is a card: very funny lady. Andie and I are starting to look for a little vacation spot for about a week in November or December. Man, are we ever ready.
    This morning I am listening to Scott MacGougan's Family Album. I made a CD from the cassette version of the album. It was labeled just "Family Album" so I thought it was Andie's Photos. I was searching for pictures for the website when Mr. MacGougan began to sing. What a treat. He has been like a brother to me all these many years. I am just glad for my life today and feeling pretty good physically thanks to Dr. Jim Burton and God for bringing us together. I plan to get our daughter, Liz in on Saturday. Josh is due to come over for dinner tonight and bring his friend, Miracle to meet us. She sounds like a lovely person. Now it is on with the rest of the day, a moment at a time as the Washington rain falls outside.

October 15, 2003 Wednesday already and the week has been an exercise. I have been going to see Dr. Jim Burton of Burton's Family Chiropractic Center in Eastmont. He has done a wonderful job of reducing my pain in my neck and back and arms. I feel better in many ways than I have in years. I am still having the headaches but I have only been a few times. It has had the most profound affect on my Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. Yea Jim!
   I visited Josh at the Love Israel Farm again last night. It has become an event I enjoy very much each week. It is heart warming to see the growth In Joshua Murat. His good hearted kindness is ever more evident. He has not lost any of his sense of humor and that is great. He showed me some beautiful chord progressions he is working and we talked about writing some songs together. Andie is so supportive of our Tuesday nights. I am very tired and she says honey it's time to go to you men's meeting. She is the best.

October 13, 2003 I am embarking on a new experiment. Since I play every weekend and work in the studio night and day I have decided to drop my mental focus on weekdays and weekends. They run together seamlessly and that kind of thinking can be depressing. So I am just taking each day as a day, a moment at a time, a task at a time, a breath at a time. This will be quite a spiritual undertaking but the old approach leads to stress and what good is that? We can only do 5 or ten things at a time when we multitask, but that isn't really true. We shift attention from task to task and set actions in motion but each phase is one thing, one moment. It is amazing how much the pace slows down from this perspective and how much more peaceful I feel. The day to day is heaped with responsibilities but they shrink in their appearance when I take on one at a time and don't look ahead or behind. So that is my blanket task this week: the one thing.

October 10, 2003 We talked on the phone yesterday to our friends Randy and Terri in Ohio. It was so good to hear their voices. I love the fact that friendship is timeless. Bonds are not affected by time or distance and we feel as close to them as we did when we first met. We see that they, like all of us, are busy with that rush of life that has become the modern way of life.
I visited Josh at Love Israel farm on Tuesday and saw the other side of life once again. It is so beautiful and serene on that land. We walked in the field where the Garlic Festival took place and talked about life and music. Josh has grown so much since staying out there. He actually sang some of his songs for me in the parking lot just before I left. I am so proud of his growth and the way his writing is maturing. He has always been an incredible story teller and that gift is translating, in a very clever way, into his music. He also told me that he is a Murat and those were very powerful words, for in the not too distant past, he did not relate to that side of his bloodline. I hope and pray he will continue to mellow and give wings to the powerful spirit he is and share the pureness of his true self and the God will continue to enfold him in His grace.

October 8, 2003 So, as time goes by and teenagers develop, there comes a time of Tribal Rivalry. It is the phase when the teenager instinctively wants to finish off and take over for the parent of the same sex. It has always been, and it happens over and over again in families everywhere. It mostly involves verbal combat, thank God. The intent is still the same, through out the world the battle cry is lifted, "You're not the boss of me!" Moms and dads sigh in frustration and mumble the feeble but honest response, "I just don't know what to do anymore! I just can't take it." There are, of course, interludes of cease fire and time of peace that are savored suspiciously. Then, just when you get used to the quiet, a disagreement over the name of a food dish unleashes another onslaught of battle. Since I am the civilian on the sidelines of the present rivalry, I find it best to keep silent mostly. If I do get involved a bond of agreement instantly forms between the women, "Calm down!" accompanied by looks of bewilderment at my input. That is the point where if I had such an inclination I would go drink beer and play pool at the tavern. But since I don't, I just retreat behind my guitar and look forward to the next cease fire.

October 6, 2003 Another week begins. Life swings like a pendulum, up and down and side to side. Life is often like the weather here in Washington. We get all four seasons in one day sometimes. I am referring the emotional climate. One minute you are sitting in the sunshine and the next you are in a raging storm. I wouldn't go through the teenage years again for anything. Things are great and then awful with no warning and no clear reason. Sometimes you just have to ride out the emotional storm and don't give it a lot of significance. Sometimes there is just no understanding what someone else (or even ourselves) is going through. The changes in Liz have been nothing short of miraculous and I am so thankful for that. I think the rough spots we hit now are called being human. If we keep kindness in mind when we are interacting with others it goes so much better and oh yes, have a plan before opening our mouth. What is the outcome we are hoping for. There will be a result but a little planning puts a map into the picture. Still, sometimes we just have to let things go and move forward with love and keep an umbrella on hand.

October 2, 2003  Morning. I feel tired but peaceful today. I am listening to the water trickle in the fountain. Thinking of and thankful for friends and family. Fall is creeping in and there are some heavy fogs now. Yesterday, downtown was veiled in mist for most of the day. I stood in the drive way yesterday and watched as Liz drove away with Andie. She was going to a Pep Rally. It seems like yesterday that she was taking a bath in the kitchen sink and mumbling baby talk. Life is a miracle and a wonder. As we pass through time there is so much to see and feel for ourselves and then for our children. We all have our paths, first crawling, then walking, then running and then driving. We prayed for miracle with what Liz was going through over the last year and as I watched her drive away I thanked God for answering our prayers.

October 1, 2003  October just jumped in the window. I visited Josh up at the Love Israel family last night and went to the Men' s night meeting. It was good and Josh was pouring his heart out to me in the parking lot after the meeting. It is beautiful up there and much more in tune with nature and the calm of the countryside. He is growing in a good way and it is comforting to see. I am learning some new old spiritual exercises regarding slowing down and shutting off the mind and going to that still place where you can hear when God speaks. I am just scratching the surface but already I feel a calm and a peace when I am still and even when working throughout the day: just taking care of each present moment and the task at hand. It is a great way to change perspective and minimizes what would normally seem like problems. These are good exercises for the soul, listening to the quiet. That is the place where songs live and come from, that is where creativity thrives. That is where my new songs are waiting.



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