Greg Murat (mur-rah)  
  Singer-Songwriter  Guitarist  

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December 29 Blink and the day is done! It has been a full week. We had fun at Dale's 50th birthday party. He and Kathy had a full house on Christmas Eve. I never go anywhere on Christmas Eve! Andie and I sang a bit for the birthday boy.
    All the young ones except Freedom were home on Christmas Eve. I was watching some of the video that Andie shot and thinking about the years that have passed. Our house has become an artist's haven. Andie shot some footage of me playing a new song with Amishaddai. Mish plays flute beautifully. Andie has the same gift with moving pictures that she has with stills. We are still working on the audio part but the shots were magical. It is good to have music in the home. I have spent so much time playing alone, and I still do. I love the chance to share music with other artists. I love hearing Andie sing. John Matthews came to Provs the other night and sat in with me. It was great to have the percussion. John is the person who once told me a story of someone's troubles and then simply said, "Life." That sums it up so often. Some are happy, some are sad, some are rich some are poor, some find love, some never do. And on and on. Life. John played percussion on several tunes from the Room With A View CD and was there for several of the vocal sessions as well. He mentioned listening to the CD on the way to Provs and talked about how much he was moved by the music. I have heard that a lot. Then came the "Do you think you guys will play together again sometime?" Life. I think the hardest part of music for me has been playing with people like Jamie, or Deirdre and having that harmony and synergy and then going back to playing solo. I tend to silence up and peek out at the world instead of reaching down and pouring out my heart. And I have plenty of heart. The same God who gave me my talents is standing by my side and is in my heart so I am not really alone. I forget that sometimes. Then "life" happens and I remember.

December 24 Christmas Eve. I have been remiss in writing in my journal. I began this morning and just felt empty space between my ears. It is another Christmas here in the Northwest. We will have more members of the family around than usual this year. Sarah and Chani will be at the house at the same time. That almost never happens. Freedom remains in New York mixing his and Rob's CD with Matt Stein. He sounded great when I talked to him. I have watched Andie going to town for everyone. She reminds me of George Bailey's character in It's a Wonderful Life. She gets a lot of joy from giving. We have been laughing through the trials and looking forward to having more time with the two of us. I love Andie's mom, she is such fun at Christmas. She gets as excited as a kid and it is so good to have her here. I miss Dad and the family at home in Florida, I wouldn't mind an 80 degree Christmas some time. We have so much to be thankful for this year. Our faith and family and friends, our music and art, our home and studio and love. It is good to have love. I pray for peace and the return of our young men and women overseas, for the homeless. For healing in broken hearts around the world, that someday we will learn to love each other. I hope the wonder of the season will keep our eyes open to the preciousness of life and the gift we have been given by being placed here and given this chance. I wish you all a Merry Christmas filled with the love and comfort and a warmth in your soul as you recall the reason for the season.
Click the title to read the Lyrics for my Christmas tune, Keep The Christ In Christmas.

December 16 Another day closer to Christmas and as the rain falls on Seattle I wonder what is next. Sarah should be coming home pretty soon to work on her music. Josh is beginning work on a CD of instrumental music. I am learning my way through new recording software. Liz is busy being a social butterfly. Chani is trying to break the record for the most credits taken in one quarter at college. Freedom is in New York mixing his album. Andie and I are trying to keep pace and longing for the time we can spend more time together working in our studios and just having fun. We wrapped presents together the other night. Sometimes we just take to task and work without talking much but we both are comfortable just being together. At times I think both of our minds run too fast to find words. Sleep takes a low priority on our to do lists just so we can have more time together. We have been so busy with the day to day that we have missed church for a while. I think we both feel the effect of that pretty fast. We are both entertaining the idea of finding a new place to spend with God on Sundays. It is tough but if you pay attention you go where you are called. I am glad it is the holiday season. For some reason I always get a touch of the blues but I have managed to put them on the back burner most of the time. I think I am sensitive to all the people who don't have the blessings we have. The lost and lonely souls who feel their condition even more this time of year. But this is the time to celebrate all the blessings we have and to renew the hope that began that first Christmas and continues to this day. I love the lights, the music, the films (like It's A Wonderful Life), the gathering of friends and family. In the words of Tiny Tim, God bless us, everyone.

December 12 It is pouring down rain outside here in the lovely northwest. We got to have dinner with our friend Randy Fickel last night. He was in for a few days from Ohio. We got lost on the way to pick him up and our friend Dale got the Internet and guided us to our destination. Thanks Dale. It was great to see Randy and we had a lovely visit. We look forward to the next time we get to see Randy and Terri. Two days before Rob and Freedom left for New York I wrote a new song called You Are The One. We all sang it together later that evening. I have since rewrote the second verse because I wanted it to be more about Andie and less about my feelings. So it became: You are whimsical like fireflies on a summer night in June. You are lovely as a midnight sky with a ring around the moon. When you stand beside me, your love's forever true. I love you more for who you are than for the things you do. That's it. When we were in Ohio Andie was thrilled like a child because she saw fireflies for the first time. I am so thankful for her and we have grown together over these years. When life seems like a bowl of pits instead of cherries I look at her and I am ready to plant those pits and grow some cherry trees. I feel like she is the best thing that has happened in my life. She also makes me appreciate all the wonderful children I have been blessed to have in my life. So it is raining outside but it is sunny in our home.
   A note on communication. Before we speak we ask, what is the outcome I am looking for? We own our feelings. I feel like, or I think are good ways to start sharing feelings and we stay away for pointing fingers. "You  did this or that , or you  make me feel" are not a good because "you" creates a sense of defensiveness in the other person. It is kind of fun to think things through and come up with a way of saying something in a different way than you are accustomed. The brain is pretty cooperative and if I start with the "what is the outcome?" question it will usually provide some good ideas. Oh and I guess it is important to come up with an answer to the what is the outcome question before pursuing the conversation. If I don't then a conversation can take a lot of detours. Lastly we try to always come from a place of love. That focus makes all the difference. Listen to me go on. For some reason I thought I should write this down.

December 11 Days have been flying by once again. It has been so busy here at the house. Now it seems quiet. No sleeping people and no all night recording. I am ready for the next adventure. The holidays are racing towards us and as usual I am waiting to shop till the late stage of the game. Oh, well. It is funny how my mind works. There was a lot of giving going on here in the last few weeks as Freedom and Rob scrambled to finish their album. I think I hinged too much on being able to turn my Mac back on in the end and getting to work on my project. On the last night when I went to start it up it would not. It is a big hardware issue and will likely cost lots to fix. I immediately went into a funk. I felt terrible and was giving myself a mental bashing. Andie said, think about what you just did for them. You should feel good. It was slow to help. Then Freedom called from New York and thanked me and said how much it all meant and I was okay again. Sometimes I wish I could find the exit sign or the off switch for my brain. I am working on become my own best friend instead of my own worst enemy. And that is the way the cookie crumbles.

December 5 Another quiet morning arrives to find sleeping musicians scattered around the house. Sessions were good last night and at least when I went to bed everything was going good. I have been thinking a lot lately about life in general. Time is a tricky thing. In the wee hours of Sunday morning Rob and Freedom will be off to New York. Josh will remain and perhaps this is a time for healing and mending fences. I feel so weary with the day to day. It is so easy sometimes to get swept up in complaint mode and just start seeing the dark side of everything. Then, if you stop, it all seems so superficial in the big picture. I don't make mention of the "unwary" that is taking place overseas but it weighs on my heart every day. I think of the young men and women put in harms way, for what? I don't spend a lot of time on the for what issue, I grieve in my heart for what they are going through and it flashes my Viet Nam experience in my face. I pray for their safe removal from the ungrateful soil on which they stand. These are troubles times in so many ways and still their is faith, still there is love, still there is hope. When will we learn to love each other?

December 2 This is a journal overwrite. I vented pretty hard yesterday and Andie said I shouldn't have done that here. Perhaps I am just too open with my feelings. I love sharing emotion through song and I also love to write. So I write what flows from my heart and mind with reckless abandon. Sometimes I wonder if very many people will ever hear my songs. I am comforted by the fact that I can freely make some music available for listening and even purchase. I am rethinking a lot of things right now and I always return to the place of Love where I can always find God.
   There is a lot of music happening at home. I have to say that the ride out of the last song on the album is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have heard. It is played by Rob and Joshua. I am so thankful that Josh will be on the album. The guitar parts he played were awe inspiring. It has been my dream to have good music come alive in our studio and it is.
   When we pay attention, everything we go through isn't really good or bad, it just is what it is. I like feeling balance and love and like I am moving steady on. Right now I am happy on the one hand and troubled on the other. What do you do when someone you love does not appear to be growing? I don't like TV and Video games very much or the energy they bring into our house. They both waste so much time when there is so much to be done. Kindness is the essence of loving interaction between human beings. How do you find that in someone who gravitates towards negativity. I guess we each walk our own paths and are responsible for ourselves. If someone brings disharmony and negative energy into your home sanctuary then the time will quickly come for them to move on. We are all so different in our walks. It is a sad day when things start to disappear from your home when loved ones are near and there is no explanation, only a reference point to the past. The past where pain thrives. In the end I grieve in my heart because I want to change the way it is. It is neither good or bad but it may well soon have to be neither good or bad somewhere else. Yet Love may reach through and and turn things towards harmony. That is my hope, that is my prayer.

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Greg Murat (mur-rah)  
  Singer-Songwriter  Guitarist