Monday, April 20, 2009


My favourite poem:

Written by Max Ehrmann in the 1920s

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My son The aspiring Pianist

I've raised many kids. I actually had two families. My older three kids were in their teenage years when the younger two were born. Now they are adults with families of thier own. My younger two are 14 and 10 and will be home for a little while longer.

The surprising thing is this, my younger two are both strongly interested in music. My son Gabe is a guitarist and I've spoken of him on this blog already. My youngest boy, Kurtis, is the piano player. He practiced for a while on a toy piano learning his hand placements etc. Then one day we had a chance to get an upright piano for the cost of moving it. Naturally I jumped at it. It now sits in my livingroom. I've paid to have it tuned and need to replace a few strings but what counts is the fact he can now practice whenever he wants on a decent instrument. Repairs will take time. We are not well off by any means and every penny is dear but what kind of mom would I be if I didn't try my best to encourage their interests?

It's a joy to listen to kurtis play on this old piano. It's very old having been built in 1897 but it still holds a tune reasonably well. if it wasn't for this gift my son would not be able to pursue his hobby. I'll add some pictures in a few days of Kurtis and his piano. He's improving all the time. Luckily his Grandmother is a music teacher and gives him lessons every Thursday. Her sons were not big on learning so she must be thrilled that her grandson is loving every minute of it :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Twitter, Ashton, Hugh and Slash

I've joined up on twitter. I've kinda been holding off but then I saw the CNN article about Ashton Kutcher and CNN battling head to head for 1,000,000 followers. I figured what the heck and I created an account. Of course I went and added Ashton Kutcher to my watch. He has promised to donate mosquito nets to kids who need them that's incentive enough for me. Anything to do with kids is fantastic in my eyes.

Then I stumbled across Hugh Jackman who is offering to donate $100,000 to a charity of one person's choice they just have to sell it on twitter. I do so hope it goes to a children's charity.

So anyways I then decided to see if Saul Hudson was on Twitter since in many ways the man saved my son's life. That's Slash formerly of Guns and Roses for those who are wondering what I am talking about. Well he's there too. What's real cool is the fact he uploads images daily. My 14 year old son is in his glory right now. He's is eating everything up and I'm encouraging it.

You see Slash saved my son from a very hard life. No he didn't speak with him or do anything like that. Heck he doesn't even know that Gabriel exists.

You see my son has not had an easy life. He has severe learning disability and because of this he has always been picked on at school for being different, called dummy, stupid and many other things. He’s had a very hard time dealing with all that through out his young life. That would have been enough for most people to handle but he is also ADHD. He has a hard time focusing on anything and is extremely impulsive often thinking after he has done something instead of before. I must admit though he’s always spoken up and accepted the consequences of his actions which makes me very proud to be his mom.

Anyways we were dealing with all that and the separation of his father and I. It wasn’t easy but we managed and he was a happy kid for the most part except when forced to go to school. Then the worse thing possible happened to my poor boy 3 weeks before his 11th birthday. He went to his father’s house for a weekly visit and found his father dead. He had hung himself in the basement of his house. It destroyed my son as he loved his father very, very much. After this incident my son was like a hollow shell walking around. He became violent, not towards others but towards himself. He destroyed his room many times, tore up his mattress, pulled apart the walls and physically hurt himself. He was hurt so bad inside that there were many times I thought I would loose him.

I did everything I could for him, I held him and I would have listened to him as well except he went silent and refused to talk about it. I was loosing my son. Not physically but mentally. I sent him to a grief councilor for two years and although he started smiling somewhat again he wasn’t himself.

Then a miracle started. My older son had a beat-up old electric guitar hanging around. Since Gabe has always had a knack for fixing things he gave the guitar to him. It didn’t work right and was really beat-up but it was like gold to Gabe. He started playing around with it, taking it apart to understand how it worked etc.

A month later Christmas came along and with it came Guitar Hero 3. Gabe then met Slash. Not in person but through Guitar Hero 3. Suddenly that old beat-up guitar was working. Gabe managed to fix it. He would listen to songs and try to play them. He wasn’t bad either. I must admit he made that poor old beat-up guitar sound good. He really didn’t know what a chord was. He’d just listen to a song and try to play it. Day after day he played that beat-up guitar when he wasn’t playing it he was playing Guitar Hero and listening very hard to the songs. He’d then try and reproduce them on his old guitar.

For his birthday 3 months after Christmas I managed to save up enough money to buy him a Wal-Mart guitar and amp. It was the best we could do for him. You know what, that beat-up old guitar still sounded better. He started searching utube for videos of guitarists playing, mostly Slash videos. He wants to play like Slash. I don’t mean that he wants to be Slash he wants to be himself but play with skill and passion like Slash does. I don’t know if he ever will but I do know this, it doesn’t hurt the ears to hear him play and play is something he does every single day since he got that old guitar working.

My mother-in-law managed to get him 3 months of guitar lessons so he could learn to read music. After three months there was no way we could afford to continue paying for lessons so he bid his guitar teacher goodbye. Within one month his guitar teacher called saying that Gabe would be given an additional 5 months free lessons. I couldn’t believe it! This came out of nowhere. At the same time his grief councilor called, Gabe no longer needed her, the guitar had pulled him away from the direction he had been heading. It gave him confidence and something to be proud of. At school it gave him acceptance which was so important to him after spending his entire life as an outcast.

After only 6 months of playing that beat-up old thing he was good enough to enter his schools talent show and was voted most likely to have a career in guitar.Well his five months of free guitar lessons ended November 2008. I called his guitar teacher to thank him for everything he had done for Gabe. That’s when he told me he would still be teaching Gabe, that we would take it by ear. His exact words were “Gabe inspires me”. Basically if his classes fill up with paying customers Gabe is out of luck but for now there is room for him.

My son may have only been playing guitar for a year but he has a passion I have never seen in a child before. He plays all the time. He’s in the school guitar club, school band, taking lessons and plays at a local Youth Group. He’s excited, enthusiastic and happy. Not only does he try to play songs by other people but he is always trying to come up with his own. Some of those are pretty good. I enjoy listening to them. He also tries to do his own solos. He doesn’t let me listen to them but every once in a while I sneak a listen to him and he’s not bad considering how little time has passed since he started playing.

I spent 6 months making clay items and selling them until I had saved up enough money to get Gabe a new REAL guitar for Christmas 2008. It’s not much but for $500 I managed to get him a BC Rich Warlock. He really wants a Les Paul but that unfortunately is a few years savings around here but just in case I’ve already started saving.

I don’t know if he will ever have a career in music but I do know the guitar and the influence/music of Slash has excited him, given him new confidence and stopped him from going down a road that would have ended in heartbreak and jail. He has a strong passion and a reason to get up in the morning. He is still getting old pawn shop guitars both electric and acoustic and fixing them up.

He is still practicing daily. For his birthday his step father and I managed to barter a deal for a new Peavey amp for him in trade for computer technical services. That was so cool. Never have I been prouder of a son. I will back him in anything he tries. That goes for all my kids.

Now you can understand why I encourage my son so much. Guitars have made him blossom, given him confidence and made him smile. What more can a mother ask for?

A Son's Gift to Cancer Research

I have 5 beautiful children each unique in their own ways and all of them very much loved by me. As the years pass one or more of my kids always amazes me at the things they accomplish or the decisions they make. Recently my 13 year old son blew me away with the depth of his heart.

The idea was his, he had been teased for so long about his long blond hair. His teachers even joked about paying him to get his hair cut. So finally one day he told his principal sure he'll cut his hair but the money was to be donated to Cancer Research. They were still not sure if he was serious but he persisted so his homeroom teacher agreed to help him organize things. The entire school rallied behind him. In the end he raised more than $1100 for Cancer Research. It turns out his hair was even long enough to be donated for a childs wig. Some little boy or girl who is fighting cancer will be getting this special gift from my son. As a mother I cannot be any prouder.

Now to tell you why I consider this so special. My son has a severe LD (learning disability). He has spent most of his school life being called a dummy or stupid and has had to learn to deal with other kids and their prejudices and ignorance yet his IQ is through the roof. He is the most intelligent person I know. I do not see him as disabled, to me he just LEARNS DIFFERENTLY. Besides I firmly believe that it's the people who ""think outside the box"" that move the world forward.

Now that would be enough but he also has a deformed ear (cauliflower ear). He knew full well that cutting his hair meant that his deformity would be visable. We've hidden it with his hair for years waiting until he is fully grown to have it fixed. So knowing that he would be subjecting himself to teasing and ridicule he still went forward with his plans.

This boy also attends weekly Youth Group meetings for the last 4 years helping out severely physically disabled kids, socializing with them and becoming good friends with these kids. Through this group he has learned how to face society and shrug off all the names he is called.

He also is part of a pilot research project sponsored by the Hospital for Sick Kids in Toronto, Canada that aims to create new learning stratgies for future LD kids. He is tested every few months by hospital staff in an effort to learn more. Finally this same child found his father dead at the age of 10. He has turned it into a strength rather than a weakness and has learned to persevere and overcome where others may have turned to drugs, alcohol or crime to vent their frustrations.

I am very proud of my son Gabriel. he is proof that no matter what hand life deals you work with it and make the best with what you have.Signed: A very proud mother.