Posts in Listen to some of this
passion counts.

A few weeks ago, Michelle asked the following question to her readers: Do you believe in passion?

Friends, I implore you, if you are doubting the existence of passion, please watch this:

What I love about this video is that you get a really great angle on the band while also being able to see the crowd. The crowd that is in love with these guys on the stage. The crowd that cannot help but to be swept into the musicians' own passion for what they're doing.

There's the word: passion. And if you try to tell me that true passion doesn't exist in this world, I'm going to call bullshit.

I'm going to call bullshit and then say this: if you are doubting the existence of passion in this world, in your life, if you are thinking that you are incapable of finding something you're passionate about then you're doing it all wrong.

If you haven't found your passion, you just haven't found it yet.

My advice: start living differently NOW. All of those things you always do because you've always done them? Stop. Do them differently. RIGHT NOW.

All of those things out in the world that you're curious about, but surely would never try: like archery or salsa dancing or painting or rock climbing or hiking or sailing? All those things? Go do them! Find a class or a group or a friend and get out there and start living your life.

If you don't have your passion yet, make it a priority to find it. And then get on it, because you might have to try out a lot of really fun stuff before you find that one thing that makes you feel so alive, so sparkly, so in love with life and with yourself that nothing can touch you.

And then come back and let's talk about if passion exists!

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decide what to be, and go be it.

We saw the Avett Brothers Saturday night (which was not when this photo was taken) and oh boy, did they rock the house!

Ever since then I've had some lyrics from their song "Head Full of Doubt, Road Full of Promise" stuck in my head:

If you’re loved by someone, you’re never rejected
Decide what to be and go be it

I LOVE that. Decide what to be and go be it. Such simple words, but really so powerful.

This line leads me to play a game of "What if..." with you (my favorite game ever!):

What if someone said that the power was all yours to decide what you wanted to be? What if all you had to do was make that decision and then work towards your goal and it would happen? What if this person said that the power behind your decision was so strong, that no matter how many times you stumbled, no matter how many roadblocks you came upon, no matter how many mistakes you made you could still be what you wanted to be?

What would you be then?

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it's not where I am, it's who I'm with.

I've been listening to A LOT of Avett Brothers these days. Between painting the kitchen and the road trip to Phoenix, they've been playing pretty much playing nonstop on my ipod.

Here they are performing one of my favorites, "St. Joseph's," live from a gondola in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Beautiful.

We sat at Lake Junaluska
And cried over where we would wed
If it’s this place or any other
It’s not where I am…it’s who I’m with

-The Avett Brothers

I really love that sentiment: It's not where I am, it's who I'm with.

PS. Phoenix hit 119 degrees today. Yes, it really is that hot. And, yes, I do realize that some people live here all the time.

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where's the joy?

I know I've mentioned them before, but have you checked out The Avett Brothers yet?  They're my favorite band all around and have just been signed by Columbia Records! I'm sure they feel like they're dreams are coming true.

One of the things I love about these guys is the beauty in their songs, the poetry in their lyrics.

Take this line, from their song Backwards with Time:

I was young and love was fun
Now it's so serious
Now all the fun has equal pain
There's something wrong with this

Wow! How true is that? Why is it that as we grow up, we're supposed to stop having fun? Everything's so serious, so "grown-up." Can we bring back the joy? Can we start laughing? Out loud? A lot? No, really, all the time.

How often do you laugh out loud? Try to do it more. Make laughter a priority, a goal of living. Cultivate laughter and joy in your life. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh. And then realize what happens when you welcome such delights into your life.

And then spend some time with the Avett Brothers. They won't disappoint.

Video courtesy of YurpleBliss
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sweet dreams and finer things*

On Sunday, I went with my mom to see James Taylor at the Greek Theater on UC Berkeley's campus. What an amazing venue to see such an incredible artist!  It was such a wonderful evening: sitting outside, watching the sun set over the bay, and listening to James Taylor all night.

The whole show was amazing, but I was really touched when he sang "Oh, what a beautiful morning," from Oklahoma! He introduced the song by saying that he was going to play the opening number from Oklahoma!, and I immediately thought he was going to sing the O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A song.  "Ok, James Taylor does show tunes. I can get behind this." But, I was mistaken, much to my delight and the delight of everyone at the show.  His version of "Oh, what a beautiful morning" was so beautiful and made me think that perhaps it should be my new theme song:

Oh, what a beautiful Mornin'
Oh, what a beautiful day.
I've got a beautiful feelin'
Everything's goin' my way.
I really do think that would be an awesome way to start out each day.

Another thing I discovered on Sunday is that James Taylor is funny. Seriously, laugh out loud funny! I would highly recommend seeing him if you get the chance. He seems so peaceful and really at peace with himself.  As an artist, he's had struggles in his life. Public struggles. And, yet, he still keeps playing and putting himself out there. That takes an amazing amount of courage.

PS. Two of the songs he performed made me cry. 10 points to whomever can first correctly guess both songs in the comments below.

PPS. Yes, I know I'm a total sap who cries at concerts! Your point?

*I know that the actual line is "Sweet dreams and flying machines." But I always thought it was "finer things," and really, doesn't that have a nice ring to it?

Photo credit: Paul Keleher

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Take my hand. We'll make it, I swear.

I like Bon Jovi. A lot. Not like "President of his Official Fan Club" a lot, but "I go see him every year in concert and dance my booty off" a lot. My mom got tickets to their show a few years ago, and I reluctantly went as her date. What a surprise for me to find out that, um, Bon Jovi rocks! They have become one of my favorite acts to see live. Maybe third overall, after Prince and the Avett Brothers. Now my mom and I go see them live every time they're in town. They are fantastic performers and have a really incredible energy. It's really fun people-watching too!   

Pick the Brain had a post today that listed Invaluable Life Lessons from Bon Jovi. I thought this was definitely worth sharing, not just because I'm a Bon Jovi fan. All of this advice is fantastic, and many of the points are things I've been thinking about almost daily as I contemplate changes that I want to make in my life.

I was especially drawn to Point #4: Miracles happen everyday, change your perception of what a miracle is and you’ll see them all around you.  I've been thinking about this a lot lately, how our perception of certain things can shape our experiences. I've also been trying to become aware of the influences other people have over my own thought patterns, both positive and negative. I think that gaining awareness on this can really help show you how both your own perceptions and other people really do affect how you think about things. There are people in my life that bring me down. These are people who seem to always have drama and aren't content with how things are. When I'm around these people, it's easy for me to fall into their patterns and negative thinking.  Alternately,there are certain people in my life who I feel drawn to because of their positive energy, who seem to energize me just with their company. I crave these people and feel so full when I spend time with them. Almost surprisingly so. It's refreshing, really, and I feel so fortunate to have such wonderful influences in my life.

Awareness is the first step. Be aware of how you think about things, how you interpret your experiences. Be aware of how your perceptions affect your mood and your thoughts. Be aware of how you feel when you're around certain people. How do they influence your mood? Do they bring you down, or do they seem to lift you up? It is only once you realize how your perceptions affect you that you'll be able to make active, deliberate changes in your thinking.  And, it's amazing how those deliberate changes in your thinking can change so many things about your life.

Photo credit: ash.hayman
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It's official...

Alison Krauss is my new pretend girlfriend. Sorry Kate Winslet.

(And, yes, in case you're wondering, Tim is still my real-life boyfriend.)

We saw her perform last night at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley with Robert Plant. Wow! What an amazing show! She really had the voice of an angel.

I really enjoyed Rising Sand, the album they put out last year. But, I was blown away by how amazing the performance was last night.

If you have an opportunity to see them live, I would highly recommend it. In the meantime, definitely check out Rising Sand. It's so well worth it.

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