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


May 31, 2003  Blinker bumpers. The big commute is a chance for spiritual growth or insanity. You pick. One of the Gad flies of commuting is the blinker bumper. This is the person who whips into the lane in front of you and causes you to slam on your brakes to avoid hitting them. The rapid lane change, which takes various dangerous forms, is often followed by a token one or two blink turn signal. These people seem to have missed the page in the driving manual about the function and purpose of a blinker. It is all about verbal tense. Most of us use the blinker as a signal to our fellow commuters to say "I am going to turn." The blinker bumper, however, uses the turn signal in the past tense. Thus, "I turned." Having traveled a bit, I am of the opinion that Washington State has some of the most courteous drivers in the country. But we are none the less challenged by this phenomena. So keep your brakes in good condition and your eyes peeled for the blinker bumper.

May 29, 2003 It was a beautiful morning today with Mt. Rainier in the distance. It makes me thankful for the simple beauty around us that makes us all rich in a real way. Time zooms by. I was singing away in the car last night on the way home. A chorus for the new song idea or an all together new song. "Are you working for a living or living to work? Whether you're a doctor or whether you're a clerk, whatever you do when your work day is done, take a little time to have some fun. Turn that frown upside down and gives us a grin or a smirk. Are you working for a living and or living to work." Andie and I were talking about the "tired syndrome" that we can fall into. It is the feeling that you have nothing left over after the work day is done. It is just a state of mind. Hang up the work coat, take a deep breath, and kick back into gear for life. I was letting the couch call too loudly everyday when I got home. If I answer that call I grow roots and fasten myself to the sofa and nothing gets done, work or fun. Now I am giving the couch a passing glance and I keep moving. I feel better for it. Taking time for the ones we love makes the working part worthwhile. I look forward to that time everyday. Whether it is going for a walk, talking or just sitting together quietly, time spent in that way enriches my life. I am so thankful for my wife, Andie, and the time we spend together living.

May 25, 2003 I dreamed of flying last night. I was perched on a cliff high over a grand canyon like landscape that ended with a beautiful sandy beach and crashing waves. I jumped and fell and as I was falling I realized if I aimed at the beach I could glide. I still was going really fast but as I approached the beach I lifted upright and landed lightly on the ground. Then I was teaching someone else to "fly". I think it was Andie but I couldn't really tell. I said it was important to take aim at a landing point when you jump or you would just fall. We jumped and we were falling so I lifted her up and pointed to the beach and we made it shakily to the sand. It was so beautiful up there. It was a different kind of flying dream. Usually I can fly freely. There are often moments in a dream when I say, "I can't fly!" As soon as I doubt, I begin to fall. Before I hit the ground I regain my belief and I am flying again.
    We had a great time today with David and Daphene Jones. David spoke at church the last three Sundays and we talked and realized we shared a love of music and especially jazz. David and Daphene are excellent singers and it was great fun to go into the studio with them. After Andie fed us some incredible food David and I traded tunes on the guitar. We have similar writing styles and I loved David's tunes. More new good people in our lives. There are many hours of good music ahead of us with our new friends. And Sarah is coming home soon!

May 23 I have a new song brewing,"This Life" inspired by my 3 hour commute home last night. It is about, you guessed it, life. I pulled over and scribbled the words in an old journal that was lying in the car. I have so many things to say and so much that I feel that I could sit here and type all day. So I am thinking about expanding a page for essays. Essay is a fancy word for rambling. At this point the off switch came on in my brain and I have nothing to say. Oh well, here is a preview of the new song.
Wake up in the morning to another day, wipe the sleep from my eyes and I'm on my way,
It's up and at 'em and off I go, Sometimes fast and sometimes slow. Sitting on the freeway twiddling my thumbs saying "Lord have mercy, this is dumb." Here out on the brink, I just stop and think
This life is a time to live, a time to love, a time to give
This life is a gift from God and the roads we trod are leading to an end
Leading back to him, from this life. Ta dah! That's it so far. I may be writing again.
After my "concert" with the band Saturday I talked to Julia and April about the CD "Moving On". They both said it was much too sad to listen to. I said it was an album with a lot of grief. The loss of Jimmy and Loretta's grandchild, the loss of mine, a parent's lament over a teenage daughter's emotional distance. Lost in Viet Nam says it all regarding that song. It's Real to Feel" has a sad overtone regarding being honest with your feelings. And on and on. There is only one way to get beyond grief and loss and that is pass through the door of those feelings till you get to the other side. There are losses in life that will creep back carrying sadness but if you have grieved and let go, they are just moments. Otherwise sorrow can become a way of life. I will soon retire that record from sales. I have offered some of the songs as free MP3's on the chance they could be healing help to someone. There you are. Remember to love each other, hold hands and say your prayers. Greg

May 22 We had a lovely dinner with Jim and Penni last night. It started off a bit whacked as those days do when everything seems to go sideways. I sat for an hour and a half at the wrong restaurant and both Andie and I forgot our cell phones but in the end it was good company and good food. It is always a pleasure to spend time with people like Jim and Penni, they are enjoyable company and even more, they like each other. Sometimes it seems like a lot of couples don't. I was thinking of that song that Liz used to sing when she was little, " Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold. We look forward to more time with our new friends.
I heard from Chani yesterday. She is doing good and also going through some changes like we all do. I am proud of her independence and her talent. She has a great future ahead of her in art. She is truly gifted and she works hard at improving. I have folders full of her early sketches and it is fun to see how she has grown over the years. She is one of a kind.
I was thinking this morning about the teenage years. We all go through them twice. Once on our own and once again with our children. I think both are tough. Which is more difficult is relative to where you are standing. It is hard from both sides. It is a time of passage, of letting go. It is hopefully the prelude to the birth of a butterfly from a caterpillar. Love sees us through all things. Sometimes I think it would be nice if we had heart Band-Aids that we could patch on when our hearts are bruised or broken. One thing for sure, life goes on and teenage years pass in time.

May 19th  I scraped frost off my windows this morning. What is that about? I have always said Washington is one of the few places where you can have all four seasons in a single day. Hi to Sarah Maria. She wrote and told me of a beautiful Thai sunset. It reminded me of a memory I have of being on the coast of Thailand and realizing as the sunset in a burst of color, that it was one of the those moments I would always hold in my heart, like I hold Sarah Maria.
H. David Jones spoke at church Sunday about forgiving our fathers. What a powerful speaker and message. Healing wounds with our parents and ourselves through forgiveness opens the door to closeness with God.

May 15 & 16   Had a double good day on Saturday. Scott and Deb MacGougan and our son Freedom. Freedom stayed and visited with Andie for a few hours after I went to my gig. Deb and Andie fed us way too much good food. Freedom is such a good example of total faith in God's care. As he carries his message to the people, he goes where his heart calls and the Lord always provides. I hope someday he will be able to spend some time in the studio with me. We talked about life and music and how his brother Josh enjoys the Washburn guitar I gave him. That was good to hear. He is off and gone again, but here in my heart.  
Played in the Mr. Right Now Band Friday and Saturday night. It was a lot of fun! Lonnie Mueller rocked out on guitar. Scott Drexler played percussion and harp. Mike Daily was on Drums and Jimmy Culler on bass. Some young people were out on the street and I heard them say "There is some kind of Latin Rock Band in the Green Room." It was us. I loved it. Saw my buddy WD. It was good to see him. He used to come in on many a Mellow Monday and play guitar with me at Bickford's Steakhouse. Saw Julia and April. I also got to talk on the cell phone to Crystal who I have known for many years. What a treat that was. Hope to see her soon. A good time was had by all. It was a "Mur-Rock 'n Roll" evening.

Update on Dale. Dale is now in Intensive Care and could really use your prayers. He is a sick puppy. Haven't talked to Kathy but I will pop a note in when I hear more. Still haven't heard about Dale, I will try to reach Kathy today.
Freedom did a drive through yesterday and I heard he was in town after he left. It looks like I will be playing at the Garlic Festival. I spoke to Beauty Israel today. I added a link on the home page to the Garlic Festival site, but the site is down at the time I write this. I decided to leave the link in hope it is just a maintenance thing. Thank you for your time. Hold hands and say your prayers.

May 14, 2003
Pay attention, that is on my mind today. My thoughts are with our friend Dale, who is suddenly ill with some unexplained condition. None of us know from one day to the next what will happen to us. Our health can change in the blink of an eye. I think it is so easy to forget that each new today is a once in a lifetime experience. Dale knows that. Dale is a good friend and he is in our prayers. This is all so sudden. We hope and believe that he will come through all of this all right. I have never been rich in money, but I am rich in love of family and friends. I am grateful to have someone in my life who loves me like Andie does, Dale has Kathy and so I know he knows what I mean. It seems like time goes by faster each day and it becomes more and more challenging to make the time to show the ones you love how special they are. Today I will take the time. None of us know when our time is up, only that it is coming. I love the phrase "Seize the day." Today Andie and I will seize the chance to visit our friend Dale and see if we can be of help and comfort his wife Kathy. The thing about love is this, it makes your heart more full and rich and spills over onto those around you if you let it. But you have to pay attention. So if you could, hold hands with someone you love and say a prayer for our friend, give thanks for your health and as always pray for World

May 7, 2003 I watched the sunrise this morning. It was pink and lavender with purple clouds sprinkled across the sky. It faded into a soft peach color. It had Shibumi, simple understated beauty. I was thinking of our daughter Sarah's description of sunsets in Indian and wishing I was watching the sun rise with her. She is such an amazing person, so intelligent and well traveled and talented musically and artistically. I treasure the times we get to spend as she is gone so much of the time. Riding some bus in the mountains of Columbia, traveling by train through India. I know she sends us love and mental pictures and sometimes I feel like I am there. As a parent with any child, grown or little, you also feel their pain. I know she misses us as we miss her. The sunrise and sunset are very healing experiences and spiritual moments of closeness when shared with someone you love. So today I was sending love her way and hoping she will be home soon for some rest, some music, some good Columbia Winery Wine, some family love and some beautiful Washington sunsets.

May 5, 2003 What a blast this weekend was! We met some great new friends, Jim and Penny, and we look forward to getting to know them better. Province's was too much fun. It was great to see Dana again. Andie sang beautifully. Kelly and Aaron were out together and Kelly did a whole set with me. I have it all on mini-disc and it turned out great.
Sunday we went with Columbia Winery on the Spirit of Washington Dinner Train. We pulled up at 5:29 PM (not recommended) and noticed everyone pointing at us as we walked towards the train. The whole trip Nancy reminded us that we had held up the train! Oops! We met and dined with Bluesette and Jason. I led the car in singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow with the help of Sharon Peterson. And that was the start of a host of sing along songs. We had people coming down from the other cars to see why we were having so much fun. Paul, our waiter, said it was the first time that the passengers had entertained him. The wines were fantastic. Thank you Gary Law, for the invitation and to Jesse and Karen for the hospitality. We had such a good time I was hardly aware that we had only slept a few hours the night before. Think about joining the Columbia Winery Cellar Club. They have lots of events planned for the summer and there are plenty of benefits to joining.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

May 3, 2003  No one gets out alive. Life is like a video game, no matter how good you play' you die in the end. It is what happens between the beginning and the end that matters. There is that saying that the uncontemplated life is not worth living. Well, I think the day to day makes it pretty challenging to contemplate the deeper meaning. Spirituality seems to take the back burner to the cares of the day. As years go by I try to come to terms with this mortality thing. I believe in eternity and have faith but the part where this ends is so hard to grasp.

I loved what Robert Frost said, he summed up all he learned about life in three words,"Life goes on." Andie and I were talking about how old people don't see themselves as old. We are quickly heading for a new phase with new choices and that is scary and exciting at the same time. I am grateful for the time I have had and the time that remains and hope to grow more at peace at the whole reality of the terminal end to this life. I look forward to the next adventure. Some things about life are so hard, I know there are many people longing for release. So much of the best parts of being here on the planet are free. The sunrises and sunsets, the sound of waves and rain on a roof, the sparkle in a loved one's eyes. So I think again, hold hands and say your prayers and keep you eyes open to life, and what to the beauty and love around you. No one gets out alive, but love and memories go with us when we leave.

April 29, 2003 Relationships. I think one of the most important things about relationships is paying attention. Not to just what you hear but what you perceive. If you are not paying attention, you miss signals that tell you what your partner needs. I say this because I have been reflecting on all the signals I miss. So I am making a goal for the future for my mate. I will see Andie swim with Dolphins. I will see Andie working in her green house that I am going to build for her. I will walk through the archway in front of our cobblestone sidewalk, the one she has wanted for years. I will help her landscape the back yard and plant flowers in the elevated gardens we build together. I will scuba dive with her in the Caribbean again. I will visit the Lavender Gardens with her. We will look at the cost of Log Cabins together. We will have lunch in Paris, after attitudes settle down. I will see her shooting digital movies. We will make a CD together. That is the beginning. My dad and I were talking yesterday and I said, if you set goals you reach them. If not, time just keeps on passing. As for me, I plan on paying attention because Andie is the better part of me. I want our relationship and love to last. I've gotta go buy some lumber.April 20th Happy Easter. We had a great time today with Kathy and Dale and Lars, Andie's mom, Faith, Liz and her friend Rachel . We had a fine Easter meal, good visit and an Easter egg hunt. Ate too much food probably. Family time. I love my family. I love my children. I mostly think of them from a distance since they are travelers or just too busy to drive out in the sticks. Of all my blessings I am most grateful for the privilege of being a father. Although it is bitter sweet at times, what an amazing thing. I remember when Aaron was just a baby and I would hike through the woods with him on my back in a back pack. I talked to him and had him touch the leaves and the trees. I realized not everyone was excited about parenting as me. I remember a lady talking about her children and she said "When they are young they step on your time, when they are teenagers they step on your heart. That has been true in some ways but it is the coming of age. I can't help but believe that the transition need not be so angst driven and painful. This next phase of life is exciting as we get the chance to know each other as adults and drop all the role playing labels that may have slipped in over the years. This is my favorite time especially with Sarah, Aaron and Chani. I am hoping in time Josh will come around. Liz is making her way through that teenage roller coaster state of mind, sometimes graciously, sometimes not. I am proud of them all and glad to know and love them. One day at a time. I love my family.


April 23  I heard from Sarah today. No good red wine in India apparently. I miss her so much and look forward to her return. What a kindred spirit. Happy Birthday on Saturday Sarah Maria! I also talked to Aaron this weekend and he seems happy and content to be in the Rocky Mountains. I miss his face as well. I also spoke to Joules yesterday. We talked about the state of the world, her tour and life. She asked "What happened to love?" We were talking about the hearts of people in general and in power. We are inundated with rules and boundaries that seek to separate us from our oneness as a human family. Love lives in the heart of each of us and we can make a difference, one person at a time. I was just thinking of a poem I wrote when Aaron and Sarah were little and I was trying to make peace with myself.
The beauty that lies within each heart
Is there for all to see
The rainbow hues in sunlight lands
Are restrained only by the bands
We build inside, around and above
The beauty that lies within each heart
That is my thought for this day. Reach down inside where the happy child lives and say "Come out and play!"

April 19th Wow there are a lot of birthdays this month. I just found out I missed Kenny Lee's birthday on the 16th. Happy birthday Kenny. And Aaron's birthday is the 19th. Happy birthday Aaron. I had another great night last night at Province's. Kelly and Aaron are trading off on nights out and so Kelly sang with me a lot. She has learned a lot of the harmony from Room With A View and so I loved it. It was fun to have a chance to sing some harmony myself. I miss that, singing solo.
I hope every one has a happy Easter. I just learned I will be at Province's on the first weekend in May. Dana is coming to town and it is a party on the first Saturday. Be there.
   It was loud last night. There were lots of people and they were having a good old time. My friend Bill Shanks started to leave because of the smoke but got some fresh air and stuck it out till the end. I am taking it easy today so I can have a good night. I think Jimmy and Lonnie are coming to sit in. I am resting my back as I hurt it lifting something on Thursday. I have kept a journal for years. It is a great way to work things out. It is where I have written most of my songs. It is different with a computer. There is not the same energy as with a pen and paper. It is just a perspective really. I am getting more comfortable just letting it flow and writing. Part of the challenge is asking myself, is this the newsletter or journal. I guess I will update both pages regularly so I can relax and write. A lot of new song ideas are brewing. Yesterday on the way to the dump I was thinking of another rewrite of the song Don't Wait. It went something like
Give her love when she wants it, anyway she wants it, any time at all
Give her love when she needs it, show you love her till she believes it
Then you'll never ever have to grieve it, because she won't walk away
If you give her love
I love the song musically but it has never seemed right lyrically,y so I keep coming back to it. It was originally It's Too Late, but I thought if it's too late, who cares. And so on. Gotta run. Later, Greg

   April 19th 2003:  I was born an old.. I knew about everything: parenting, love and life. I used to explain my parenting philosophy to my dad when I was about 5 years old. One of two things happened over the years; either I was born with a lot of misinformation or I forgot everything I knew when I discovered music and romance. Life may have played a part in the lost information: stuff like divorce and Viet Nam. Trying to find what I had lost over the years led to a lot of broken hearts, including mine. I have chronicled the whole journey in journals, poems and songs.
  Life wounds us sometimes. A broken heart is slow to heal. We get guarded. I lost a lot protecting myself over the years. My wife, Andie, has helped me to break the bands and to take down the walls a brick at a time. She has eased me into adulthood. We have had all 5 children in our home and, given the diversity of them all, it was an amazing thing. I am slowing gaining more understanding. The kids are mostly grown and on their own. One thing I have learned is stepparents are the most unsung heroes on the planet. I learned that love is putting others first. I learned that biology doesn't have anything to do with parenting. I have learned that children are their own entities and we are simply blessed with the chance to love them and help shape their lives and then let them go. I have learned they remember some of what I forgot. I learned to open my heart and pour out love. Sure, you get stung sometimes, but what doesn't kill you makes you strong. My whole journey put together led me to Andie and to love, full circle back to what I thought I knew when I was little. I saw the beauty in her heart and she helped me see the beauty in mine. I love her a lot.

April 15th  I was thinking how much fun it is to make music with a band. We didn't outnumber the audience on Saturday night, but it was close. It was the whole gang, Jamie and Becky (who is far more entertaining than we are), Jimmy and Loretta, Mike and April, Scott and Andie & me. Kathy and Dale were there with Lars. I saw so many people that I hadn't seen since the days of The Banana Brothers. What a blast. New week and on we go. I am hoping to be at the Columbia Winery on Labor Day but I will let you know. I am glad to be at Province's this weekend and it should be fun. I hear Kelly is coming in and I am not sure if it is to work or play or both. I am bit confused on what is the journal and what is the news letter so today this is the Photo Journal page. Thanks for the visit.
I have made some new musical friends over the last year, Don and Oman Quijano. They are both exceptional musicians, originally from the Philippines. I gain a ton of knowledge just working around Don, philosophically, technically and musically. And man, can Oman sing! Check out there link below. It is a good thing when life puts you in contact with refreshing perspectives and people. I look forward to feeling better and expanding my musical horizons in the coming days.

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Greg Murat (mur-rah)  
  Singer-Songwriter  Guitarist