Greg Murat (mur-rah)  
  Singer-Songwriter  Guitarist  

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Journal  December  2007 

Kayden hunts for the great Christmas Tree

Rubber boots, rocks and water. Does it get any better?

Jason and Blu in the Ball Jumper

                                         Jason & Blu being Kids                                

December 28, 2007      The past does not equal the future

  It seems my old Powerbook is biting the dust. There are lines across the screen and the images are washed out. Timing is a funny thing. I get myself into these situations. I had a friend of a friend offer to fly me to see one of my grand daughters and I was offended. Dumb huh? That is a strange reaction to an act of kindness. Guess who hasn't seen his grand daughter yet? Andie pleaded with me to let her buy me a new laptop. This one is fine says I. My meandering have become more and more infrequent as it is, but I fear they are soon to stop with the passing away of this old digital writing device. Kayden has been inspired to smack the screen with his fist on a few occasions. There are suspicious fist sized smudges on the screen images. It is best not to punch your laptop screen in case any of you are so inclined. I am grateful for the many hours of creative outlet it has provided me.
   Let me say Happy New Year to all in case the demise comes sooner than later. In the New Year I will continue to set goals for renewal coupled with letting go of limiting beliefs and past baggage. I will become a mystic master of letting go and letting God. I will stand on a beach near the house where we live. I will write the best music I have written so far. Blessings. Peace.

December 28, 2007      Dream a little, love a he year is nearly done. I have received a few cheery letters telling of all the wonderful things happening in the lives of friends and acquaintances and I have been just too busy to reflect on this last year. I am listening to an audio book on becoming a better person and it mentions, like all the others, the importance of gratitude. So, before I go into all the reasons I don't feel like doing that, let me say this: I am grateful for my wife Andie. She is my love and my best friend and a great mama to Kayden and a good friend to many people. I am grateful for Kayden and the chance to be a papa again in a different way. He is an amazing human being and we are blessed to have him in our lives. I am grateful for Freedom and his music. I am proud of the papa he has turned out to be. I am grateful for our grand daughter Anjalie, for Sebastian and Natalie. I am grateful for Sarah and her many talents and the way she has wrestled life and continues to out swim and out sail what ever tempests blow her way, for her giving spirit. I am grateful for Josh and the papa he is to Sariah. I am grateful for his sense of humor and his amazing musical talents. He could also be an actor and comedian. I am thankful for beautiful Christina and Sariah and the joy they bring into our lives and the love they show us. I am grateful for Chani and the courage and tenacity she has to be who she is. I love how she has charged after her dreams and dusted off after each fall or sucker punch to rise higher each time.
I am grateful for Liz and all she has taught me and the chance I have had to be a papa to her and now to her son. I am grateful for Faith and the help she gives us with Kayden and for just being there, for taking Andie to the Casino to have some fun. I am grateful for wonderful friends: for Mike Daily and all the work he has put into my nearly 3 CD's worth of songs trying to push me to the finish line. For bailing Andie and I out when our ship was sinking. For Jimmy Culler and his bass and humor and company. For his ear when I needed to just rattle off at the mouth. For Dale and Kathy and all the support they have shown me when I used to play live music and for the cool red wagon Kayden got on his first birthday. For Jason and Blu and the wine, food and laughs and the silly games we play in which Jason and I team up and get our butts kicked repeatedly. For Becky and Dan and their little Tyler and how much fun Kayden has with him and how encouraging Dan is regarding my music. For Rob and his incredible talents and kind spirit. For his help and guidance in the studio. For all my MySpace friends and their unbelievable talents. And the list goes on and on and when I look at the list I smile for there is so much to be thankful. Frank Lloyd Wright said when asked which of the many buildings he built and designed was his favorite. He said "My next one." That is how I want to feel about my songs, my days and my life.
God bless you all and a very Happy New Year

  December 20, 2007      You can be in the storm but don't let the storm be in you. Joel Olsteen
   Had to put the ear plugs in and listen to Tina Malia last night as Andie was watching a Dr. Phil special about autistic children. It was dreadfully disturbing to listen to the horrific things one ten year old child told his mother he was going to do to her. It did make me thankful for the intervention Andie negotiated for Kayden as his early symptoms were so similar this boy when he was much younger. The miracle in Kayden's life is mainly due to Andie's persistence in getting him diagnosed and treated so early. It is life changing for children who are challenged in that way. If they are not drawn out with therapy they fall into a well that there seems to be no escaping. Thank God for Andie. There are some parents when called to deal with a challenge in their child's life say that they can't be bothered. We experienced someone like that and don't interact with them anymore. "I can't deal with it" was their response in what could have been a matter of life and death situation. Creepy. I am learning as I study growth and achieving your potential that there are people who only take and who bring you down and they need to be weeded out of your life. I am not able to write much because I am busy processing and Andie has scolded me for saying too much.

    I would like to tell the story of someone who called an acquaintance and said, with tears in her eyes, that she had been treated terribly by an in law on her last visit to see these relatives and their children. She said that this couple needed intervention for alcohol abuse and that someone should go to them right away and intervene on behalf of their children. She said her in law had tried to manipulate her into buying groceries for her and punished her when she chose not to do it. This person enlisted the help of her acquaintance and asked him to say or do something. He made a call and sent some e-mails only to find out the person he was trying to support went right behind him and called this couple to say she missed them, loved them and wished they were all together holding each other in loving arms. She said she had a wonderful time on the same visit she had described to him as a nightmare. She didn't have any idea what the problem was with the person who called them. Her soon to be ex-friend was dumbfounded. He only acted on what he was told by this person. Distance became the answer in the relationships that were wounded as a result of this person of little honor. Termination of a superficial relationship was the outcome. That was of some relief.
   A week afterwards, this same woman had the audacity to send a letter to this gentleman in which she described what a miserable person he was over the years and how unappreciative and ungrateful he was. He calmly tore the letter in strips and said a prayer of gratitude.
"Dear Lord, thank you that this person is no longer involved in my life. Help me learn the lesson from this experience as I learned to let go of this superficial and false friendship." And he did. He learned to go straight to the source regarding an issue with a person. He learned that people who tell you secrets to stir you up are not to be trusted or even talked to for that matter. He learned that the philosophy he has held that all people have worth and dignity and are human beings is a good belief. He learned that people who would beat you with your past mistakes have hearts like that of the Grinch, three sizes too small, and that they need prayers. They need the same forgiveness that they themselves choose not to give. He learned to pay attention and realized he had been punked and not in a good way. But having asked the question "what is the good in this situation" he was given the answer. Love. Always choose love, even in the midst of hate, and you will be okay. Also, know when to walk away. Keep calm amidst the chaos.

December 14, 2007      Search the wind for your highest dream and then let your heart fly free. Lynne Gerard
   Another day down with the crud but one day closer to health. My brain is on a healing sabbatical so I haven't been writing. I am picturing health and abundance, praying for guidance and thankful for the time with Kayden. He has been a trooper through the ups and downs of of his, Andie and my health challenges. He hasn't felt much like doing anything today but lying on the sofa and snuggling and watching Elmo and friends. He did strum the Backpacker guitar a few times this morning.
  I have to put together a slide of Andie's photos of him on our Pumpkin Patch trip this year. She got some cute ones. We didn't really do so good on the Christmas tree trip as the boy was feeling rather poorly. I am wondering what the rest of the winter will be like as it has been so crazy so far. I am longing for the beach and some sunshine. I need some sun on my skin and some vitamin D. Andie is starting to get better. I am so glad. She has really been through the ringer and has barely slowed down through it all. She did sleep most of two days after a trip to the doctor. She really needed the rest. I think that, although brief, did a lot to move her towards healing. She still sometimes sounds like an escapee from the TB ward but she is feeling better. She is an incredible woman, person, mama and friend. Lucky me.

December 8, 2007      Keep looking up. That's the secret to Life. Snoopy
Part II
 It looks like Josh, Christina and Sariah will not be coming to see us for Christmas. Andie is grief stricken. We are holding on to a passionate but thin hope that they may yet be able to make the trip. I see us all peacefully and happily sitting on our deck on Kauai singing and playing guitars and sipping tea in the evening shadows. 

Part I

It is a quiet Saturday morning at 7 and Andie and Kayden are still sleeping. I worked on the new tune until midnight last night. It felt good to put my focus on things I can do something about fixing. I have spent a great deal of time pondering and feeling grief over situations that have arisen over the last few months. Andie warned me that someone we know was going to cause us a lot of grief and she named the person. I couldn't for the life of me understand how that could be. This was, by the way, the same person who has a nice greenhouse in their backyard thanks to Andie. Now I have to move past that because, even being forewarned, the choices I made to be supportive and interventive on behalf of that person led to these feelings I am feeling now. Choices I made. It is time to ask those handy dandy questions: What did I say or not say to cause this? What did I do or not do that led me to this spot? Move on from there.
  Last night as Andie and I sat discussing all the troubles around us, the ones that we did not contribute to causing, I said, "I am so happy listening to the waves outside the window of our house on Kauai. It brings me joy see Kayden playing on the deck with his toy trains as the sunsets in a beautiful burst of colors in the background. I feel peaceful as I reach over the railing and pluck a banana from the tree growing there. This or something better is manifesting for the good of all concerned. That felt so much better than fretting over (an extremely long list of derogatory adjectives placed here) people that reek havoc on our other wise loving family. Yes I am soaking up those rays on our island paradise. Ah.

December 6, 2007       Life is like an ice cream cone, you have to learn to lick it. Charlie Brown
  I was talking to a friend who quoted the news saying "Winds up to 150 miles per hour on the coast, waves up to 40 feet tall, a hurricane force storm, I-5 closed 10 miles south of Chehalis and under 10 feet of water. Why don't they just call it a hurricane?" Another friend countered with the statement that on the East Coast a hurricane is called a typhoon. Whatever. We got our butts kicked here pretty good. We had nearly a foot of water on the back and sides of our house. Driving was a bear because the wind was kicking up and knocking cars all over the road. I have never seen it rain so hard or been on the road in such treacherous conditions. But alas it is past now. In our neck of the woods Highway 522 is still partially closed. There are something in the neighborhood of 16 bridges shut down due to flooding. Mama Nature has had an attitude for sure. Now Andie has pneumonia and is having a very tough go of it. She is so Irishly proud and bound to overcome anything but this illness says you will lie down or you will fall down. She is sleeping now thank God and having a little rest. Kayden nearly feel asleep in my arms and he told me he loves me as I tucked him into bed. "I love you Papa." What is that worth? Priceless.
  I was thinking about honesty today and in a timely manner perhaps. The old adage if you always tell the truth you won't have to remember what you said. If you screw up own it, admit, apologize and get out a pen and paper and ask yourself what did I do to cause this. It is important to evaluate so you don't wind up making the same mistake again. Ask yourself what the cost will be when making choices or taking action. It can prevent a great deal of heartache down the road. Nice is good but sometimes honest isn't so nice. For example if you told a friend you were going to get a green house from some people you know who were planning on moving and that you had had your eye on it for some time and then your friend asked for all kinds of details about the greenhouse including the location. Later you stop by and find that the green house is gone. It went to your curious friend's house. That is not much of a friend at all. That is the kind of person that you need to watch your back around. Confronting the person would be a not so comfortable experience but it might at least chip off their false sense of innocence regarding taking advantage of a friend. Being honest means most of all being honest with ourselves. We are responsible for our choices. An ass is something we sit on, a donkey or an attitude someone chooses. Choose nice. Given asses as much distance as possible.

December 2-4, 2007   
Happy Holidays to everyone.   
Here we are in December and we have a beautiful tree. We have had our first snow and the holidays are coming fast.

Andie has pneumonia and is only mostly in control of the whole thing. She is so powerful but I think she has reached a time when she needs to rest a bit. I sure hope she will. Kayden and I could take of her for a change. We flooded. We had hurricane force winds and I-5 is closed south of Chablis. Busy month so far.

Chani is on the mend and still loving her work at Hidden Hand Tattoo. Hope to see her this week. Her man Knuck has been so supportive through all the changes. It is good to see her happy. She does it well. Knuck is an excellent song writer and singer, lead guitarist. His band, Drag Strip Riot is hot. They are going through some changes as most bands do but Knuck is very professional and believes in his dream. That is one of the biggest parts.

It snowed like crazy Saturday. We had Jason and Blu over for dinner and they spent the night because of all the snow. We had a lot of fun. Andie and Blu made Lasagna from a recipe in a gourmet food magazine. They improvised of course and it was delicious. We played the new Cranium game and laughed our fannies off. I will probably never hear the end of jokes about my attempt to draw a sock monkey. After Kayden went to bed and after we were done playing games Jason and Blu both got into the plastic balls in Kayden's Jump-o-lene. They were instantly kids again. There are 1200 balls in there now so you can totally submerge. It is very comfortable to lie down and relax surrounded by all those colorful balls. But when I do that Kayden climbs on the edge of the Jump-o-lene and jumps onto my tummy. This morning Andie made us breakfast and we just sat around the dining room table chattering. Kayden came over and took Jason by the hand picked out a movie (Peter Pan) and led Jason over to the couch to sit and watch the movie with him. Kayden really likes Jason. He even showed him his play spot in the vocal booth.

  I performed at the Gage Academy of Art on Saturday December 1st and it was good to be playing out again. I learned that to not be disappointed by the experience in the future I need to ask people (even assuming they might be art instructors) to cease their loud conversation during my performance or take it outside the classroom. I found it disrupting. There were only 12 artists in the room sculpting clay busts of a model in "The Thinker" pose. Some of the artists seemed to share my discomfort with the droning and continuous monologue of one of the people. I am learning to either ask for what you need or accept the responsibility for its absence. Had I shared my feelings and had them ignored, I could have comfortably put my guitar back in its case and headed for home. Outside snow had been dumping steadily for about the first half an hour of my two hour set. So given the weather, leaving early would have worked out fine. The energy the year before with thirty or forty artists drawing while I played and sang was amazing. That was mostly due to the amount of planning my daughter Sarah put into my portion of the event. She planned everything in regards to my performance, including having two models in separate poses and areas and putting me in the largest room at the academy. Unless Sarah is involved I am pretty sure that was my last performance at Gage. The Annual Art Jam is still a wonderful event and a incredible bargain for ten dollars. I played my heart out and was acknowledged and thanked by the best artist there and I made it home safely. I am grateful.

   Sunday morning my friend Casey Garland drove out from Seattle to help me do a dump run. What a guy. It was pouring cold rain through our whole adventure. There was so much snow and ice on the road but Casey was flying along in his van. I am not that comfortable in the snow so I slipped between white knuckles and being one with the moment with the high speed but he got us there and back safely and in record time. Casey is working hard at lining up more shows for his new group. He is working with a very fine vocalist Elaine Skeffington. He is excited about the possibilities. I hope to catch his show on the 8th of December at Soul Food Cafe in Redmond. I am not sure if that is the name of the place.

  I have been talking to Josh nearly every day. He is so excited to be coming up and he and Mike Perillo are planning on making a CD at Silent T Studio while they are in town. They are extending there stay so they will have time to visit us and Tenzin and Clarity and work on the CD. He told me he received a check a couple of hundred bucks from Freedom for the Gig in August in Ojai. I said bravo to Freedom for coming through. Josh's daughter Sariah is a pill. She is such a little ham and so much fun on Skype. She sings right along with Josh and she is so dramatic. What a beauty. Josh just cracks up and it is obvious how much fun they have together. They will be up here for a little more than three weeks I believe.

   At the end of November I got a phone picture from Freedom of a healthy and chubby Anjali. Freedom will be playing on Maui in January. Check out his site to see a poster that has the details of the event. Anjali looks like she is thriving and Freedom looks ever the proud papa. Anjali has fire in her eyes and looks like a force to be reckoned, perfect for her spirit warrior papa. I hope the holidays and new year bring peace and joy to Freedom's lovely family and the rest of us as well.

  It is a new day and thank God for family and friends and the chance to communicate and share the good and the bad. All of us have lives we are experiencing and troubles and responsibilities. If we aren't careful we can get so involved in our own lives we forget that other people have lives too. They don't know if we're grateful. They don't know that we love them unless we let them know. Sometimes you just have to put it on the wind and let it go and be thankful for the chance to feel at all.

  Sarah called from New York and said the tree lights and Christmas decorations are lovely in Manhattan. She said the tree, once light, was beautiful. She is really enjoying her stay and is getting a lot done on her film. She sounds great. She is really amazing. I really wanted to be in France with Sarah but didn't see a way, or the means or the time while she was there. I would have had to go alone and I didn't feel right about it. When I do go to Paris once again, I hope Sarah will be a part of the trip. Sharing is what it is all about. Now I am so looking forward to seeing her when she is home for Christmas.

I am ready for a vacation big time. I take responsibility for the fact that we have missed another opportunity to have one. I am really good at missing things. It is a specialty. What is wrong with me? Andie says "You are a seven of spades and that is what they do. Go around asking over and over what is wrong with me." The funny thing is that she asks me that question more than I ask myself.

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Greg Murat (mur-rah)  
  Singer-Songwriter  Guitarist