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

August 29, 2003 While we were at dinner last night we met Bob and Sue formerly of Dallas Texas. They are planning to have a large scale Jazz Festival in Everett next year. It is funny how God just moves people into our lives like pieces on a chess board. They have some great ideas about promoting this show and it might be fun to be involved.
  Playing phone tag with our friends Randy and Terri in Ohio. We have surely been busy. Miss seeing Jim and Penni as well.
Missed church a lot this summer because we were not around. There is a new pastor now and that is always an adjustment. Most everyone seems happy with Pastor Eric. At Lake Stevens Covenant we have made friends with some very sweet spirited people and they have been great support through Andie and my health challenges over the last year. Now it is off to the doctor for both of us today. My hands don't seem to want to work and Andie hasn't been feeling too hot ever since her first trip to the hospital. I am ready for a change! I have working on some new songs but I have a lost a few to short term memory. That did not used to happen to me. May be they will come back on a different day.

August 26  It seems like this month has flown by. The leaves are starting to turn on the trees. Autumn is on the rise. I love the colors of fall. It is God's way of easing in the winter. It is a shifting of energy. It is time for winter preparation and summer reflection. What a summer it has been. As time goes by I like the cold less. Although I do love that you can bundle up and keep warm and toasty. When you are too hot, you are just too hot. Our household shifts like the earth's plates. Dad in Texas, Sarah home. Liz gone for much of the summer, now home. Josh, here, kind of, but not really. Still it is good to see him once again. We are contemplating moving somewhere new. There are so many choices but for now we will tackle our pre-winter chores and enjoy the extended summer while it lasts. Gather with friends and thank God for another year.

August 24 I am glad for a lot of things today. I played a beautiful wedding this weekend for Steve and Maggie, with lots of their lovely family and friends. It took place on Lake Tapps with a view of Mt Rainier in the background. It was busy over the weekend and I spent Sunday in the Studio with Don and Oman Quijano. I heard some inspiring musical performances. Andie did the Freedom Festival and the Evergreen Fair. The missing her was the down side of this weekend. I love being with Andie best of all. Josh, Sarah and I were able to see Freedom's concert in Bellingham and it was so fine. Driving to Bellingham on a Friday night wasn't what I thought I would be doing. Andie was volunteering at the church so I missed her again. Freedom is performing a much more acoustic set these days and it is my favorite. His voice is fine and emotion filled and I enjoyed several songs I hadn't heard before. It is humbling to see the amount of talent the Lord bestowed upon my children. It is a wonder to see them blossom as growing human beings. They are always in my prayers and it is a welcome when we get to see them. I am so glad that Sarah has chosen this time to spend with us and for all she brings to the household. I am also glad that Josh has returned to the family fold and I look forward to his continued growth in life and in music. Chani is also making big changes and is so very independent. I remember when she was a baby I feared she would starve she was so insistent on feeding herself, even before she could put a spoon in her mouth. I hoped some nutrition would soak through her face since that is where most of her food ended up until her aim improved.

August 21
  It is a bluesy kind of day. I have been feeling so tired lately. Some days just seem long. The weather is so beautiful outside. That is probably not helping since I am inside with no windows. I am missing both of my sons. Josh has been by after all this time but is leaving again. He is such a good player. Freedom is incommunicado. I doubt if I will see him before he leaves on the road once more. We Murats develop at a very slow pace when it comes to the regular day to day stuff of life. We thrive artistically, but the rest of life seems to be hard. To make music is such a splendid gift and Josh and Freedom do it well. I hope and pray they have peace with God, love in their hearts and respect for the loves in their lives. Some one to love and be loved by really irons the wrinkles out of life. Thank God for Andie who loves me through to the other side of these blues.

August 19  We had the company of Scott and Deb MacGougan this weekend. Scott helped me hang the new cabinet faces in the kitchen. As always there was so much happening. Andie and I were in the mad "home improvement" mode. Scott and Deb were in town to attend the memorial party for their friend John, who recently died of cancer. We didn't even get to venture into the studio this visit but Scott woke up on Saturday and picked up my classical guitar and a song was waiting for him inside. It was a beautiful morning tune. I am sure it was so early in the morning that my guitar thought he was me. Deb and I rustled up breakfast while Scott played us the new song. Andie was working and will have to hear it next visit. Scott has been a great friend for so many years now. I wish we lived closer. Time goes by and each time we get together we say we are going to do it more. Then life happens. Scott MacGougan played all the instruments except guitar on Far Cry From Love. As is his style, he did it all in a few hours, if that. I am thankful this morning for friendships, for faith and for family and for every time I get to visit and play music with this immensely talented musician and good hearted man.

August 17  Love makes time rollover. The future, the present and the past are seamlessly interwoven in a single embrace. When you love, all time is mingled with your lover. There doesn't seem to be a time when memory separates you. It is as if they were there your whole life. All views are a perspective of two. One plus one equals one in love. Two humans going through their life holding hands physically and spiritually. The completion that love brings to our lives multiplies our capacity to give to the world around us. In that case, one plus one equals a kazillion. This is an example of floating math. Why is this all on my mind today. It is Andie and my anniversary. A time to celebrate the completion of my spirit with my wife and best friend, Andie. All these feelings I have are because God gave her to me as a partner. That in itself is proof of the generous spirit of God. So happy anniversary my love. I love you now and always. Happy Anniversary.

August 14  As children we were filled with wonder, with patience and tolerance and with unconditional love. Our adult perspective of the child who still lives within us, can be distorted. If we could call up the magic and innocence of those times, we would not dredge up so much pain. It is so easy as adults, caught up in the cares of the day to day living, to see only the sorrow of our early lives. I believe once is enough when we go through our trials of fire in life. Whatever we were victims of, we were innocent. That is the important thing to remember. If what we go through makes us who we are, we should absorb and move on, eyes open to the wonders God has created. I saw the most spectacular sunrise this morning on my way to work. Bursts of color, purple, pink, peach, and lavender, glazed the eastern sky. For a moment, I felt the wonder of the young boy who used to run for hours in the woods and stand in awe of the beauty of nature. As Freedom says, throw down your armor. Many of our inner defenses that we developed early on for protection against the world, only serve to box in our hearts and keep us from the wonders of love and life. Open up! See the wonder, remember the joy. Our prayers go out to all the people without electricity and to Jim and Penni for their troubles with real fire.

August 13  The wee hours of the morning are my favorite time. The world is asleep and thoughts flow freely. Thoughts of coffee mostly. I feel like it is time to make a change. I know I was given the gift of music and writing to use and develop. Finding the time is the challenge. I would like to make the move to music full time and leave this other stuff behind. There is family first and therefore we talk and plan together. There is so much I want to share and to say. Lyrics God has given me flow through my mind during the day and I wonder at how often in my life I didn't pay attention to my own words. Last night I was singing So Much Love. I wrote that song a long time ago before Andie and I got together but she was part of the inspiration. "You're making me rise up to all that I can be, The road is open wide ahead and I want you there with me. I want you there with me." And it finally happened. I have talked to other writers who agree that songs are often written before the subject they are about has happened. I have full faith in the Lord and know we will make the right choices. We miss our new friends Terri and Randy and their family too. Music brought them into our lives, just as it did Jim and Penni and so many others. God speaks clearly through music. What a band there must be in heaven. I grow more grateful with time that God gave me the gift of music and direct line for inspiration. My hope and prayer is for a map on how to proceed from here.

August 12  So much has happened over the last month it is hard to absorb. I was thinking yesterday about my friend Jimmy Culler and the Papa Murat band. Jimmy is a great friend and a very talented musician. He has volunteered to play with me for so many occasions I could never repay him. He really shined at the Garlic Festival and we had a blast jumping around to You Wear A Mask and The Club Americana. The other night when just he and the other core member of the rhythm section, Mike Daily, were rehearsing, I thought we would all develop stretch marks on our faces from smiling so big. Music_Joy Joy_Music. Our performance at the Garlic Festival was one of those moments you know you are so fully alive and right exactly where you are supposed to be. Jimmy is the reason I ever went to the Garlic Festival in the first place, after years of prodding and low and behold my son Freedom was headlining. Some people in your lives will always be there and Jimmy is one of those people. Andie and I had to do the stumble in the dark to the restrooms in the middle of the night while we were camping and there wondering around in the dark was Jimmy soaking up the whole Garlic experience. He was like a little child too excited to sleep. He was up and at 'em in the morning and did part of my set with me in the pouring rain. He did wait to see if I got electrocuted first. Just kidding. I am excited to do some more performances and recording with Jimmy , Mike, Dale and Roger. I was grateful to Jimmy when I was playing Djimbe with Joules, when I was watching Freedom play, even when Sarah and Andie and I were dancing together. Friends are the true gold of life. Music is the healing balm. I am glad I can share that with my friend Jimmy.

August 11  What a weekend! The Garlic Festival was all we hoped for and more. I did a recap in the newsletter. It is another Monday morning. I am so grateful for my morning visits with Sarah . She is such a wonder. She cannot comprehend how I do the long commute, but when she is with me, it always seems like we arrive too soon. I enjoy the one on one time. I loved the time with Andie this weekend too. She does happy really good. Andie is incredible at putting things together and because of her we were able to relax and and share the joy. My wife does so much for us all and she was responsible for getting us prepared for the weekend of camping. She told Sarah, " You are staying!" so that Sarah wouldn't leave the festival and Sarah did stay and we had a great time together. Liz and Josh were there and as is typical, we didn't really see them much the whole time. It is good to spend time out in a beautiful setting and let the world go by for a few minutes. Time out from the day to day and time in for the people you love and miss most of the year. I am weary in a good way. We trade sleep for life sometimes, just like we trade life for work. Family and friends are what makes the balance between what life throws at us and the choices we make. Andie and I love a lot of people and pray for their lives to be blessed throughout the coming year.

August 7  New day and new life. So much life. Talking to my father, Joseph, on a regular basis about his new Ibook computer and his website He is getting the hand of things and I know soon he will be making tracks of his music. He gave so much I am grateful for, my music especially. It good to see him walk his faith in Jesus and still see his humanness in fighting the Murat blues and the natural way we seem to gravitate towards stress, at least in the past. Josh called from Lynnwood after 8 months of no contact and I picked him up and brought him out to the house. I expected him to show up at the Garlic Festival but not like this. Had I known he was coming I would have had him play lead in the band for the Friday afternoon concert. He is playing great. Lot of hurt there over the years for both of us but it looks like once again we chose love the rest will work itself out. I long ago put Josh in Jesus hands and just sent him love over the miles. He has a good heart and a ton of talent.
Liz came back from the CHIC Christian Youth Conference positively glowing. I am very hopeful she can retain her faith and attitude now that she is back in the "world". She went to my friend David Jones's class on "Mad at Dad". She said she had to make two columns. I asked if I was in one of them and she said, yea. Been kind of sick since coming back from Ohio, chills, fever all that fun stuff. Hope that goes away. Now I heard today that Sarah is moving to Seattle.#$%^&& How could anyone leave the booming mudtropilis where we live. It is tough, as a father, to see your off spring in relationships that are obviously one sided. You want the to be treated like the wonderful people you believe they are. But I open my arms and choose love, choose love, choose love.

August 4  We made it home and boy are we tired. Had a mix-up at the airport and couldn't find Chani's boyfriend, Jeremy, who came to pick us up. He couldn't find us and after an hour and a half Sarah came to pick us up and drop me off at work. I am too tired to say much other than we have a new extended family in Ohio. We have been adopted into the Fickel family. We are very happy about that. So many fine and fun people. I guess I am a little weary because I donated a quart and a half of blood to the local mosquito population of Ohio. One of the high lights of the trip was watching Andie chasing fireflies in Randy and Terri's back yard. Andie has always wanted to see fireflies and she and Kyla had a ball. I sat on the porch and watched the two young girls at play. We felt so at home it was very hard to leave but we are so much richer for the experience with new friends and memories of the hilarious antics of the Fickel clan. I must stumble to the shower and bed and hit the ground running again tomorrow.

August 3    It has been a great trip so far. Wonderful stories from Randy and Terri. They have made us feel completely at home. Meeting and talking with Aileen and her daughter, Kyla was a fun experience. We all feel like we have always known each other. So much personality in this family. I think Terri should write a book. We did the Lobster Fest and that was nice but the real fun has been singing and playing music till two in the morning. We have to head home soon to get some rest. Love to all . Columbus is pretty nice and we have enjoyed the rain. It is so dry back home. So much to do and little time left. Keep the faith. We get to see Freedom next week.

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