Tag Archives: career

Hope Wins

19 Jul

So I’m finally able to get to the computer after a couple days of wanting to get on here and blog about a few different things that came together in my head about having faith and pursuing our dreams.  Things can get frustrating sometimes and it can be easy to feel discouraged.  It is a continuous battle to try to remain positive and hopeful about the future.  One song that popped in my head when thinking about this was “The Impossible” by Joe Nichols.  Here is the chorus:

Unsinkable ships sink.
Unbreakable walls break.
Sometimes the things you think would never happen,
Happen just like that.
Unbendable steel bends.
If the fury of the wind is unstoppable,
I’ve learned to never underestimate,
The impossible.

This song is just a great reminder that even when we can’t see what will happen and we don’t know what steps to take next, we should not give up hope.  “With God, all things are possible.” (Matthew 19: 26)

I mentioned in my first blog post in the middle of May that Adam had recently had some revelations about the direction of his music career.  That same weekend, my dad was driving to visit my grandparents in Northern Indiana and while listening to Adam’s recent songs, he saw the sign “Hope Wins” outside a church.  He decided to turn around a take a picture of it to send to a friend who was going through a situation and had expressed that she was losing hope.  Little did my dad know that this would turn out to actually be a significant message for Adam.  About the same time that this picture was taken was when Adam was being questioned about what his vision is for his music.  Adam had been very discouraged before this and a light bulb went off in Adam and his passion and motivation was reborn!

The picture that my dad took on his phone 🙂

I’ve come across some inspirational quotes, recently, that I also thought would be motivating and appropriate to share.

“Take care of yourself and continue to persevere.  Do not allow doubt to creep across your goals.”  -Gary Caplan

“Each of us has been given a destiny and a light to shine.” -Marie Jones

“I believe 100% when your heart and  your mind are in the right place and there is no pretense, great things will come.  It’s that simple.” -Jimmy Wayne

“God does not discipline us to subdue us, but to condition us for a life of usefulness and blessedness.” -Billy Graham

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3: 5-6)

“Be patient.  God knows what He’s doing.  God knows what is best for you.  He can see the end result.  You can’t.  All those problems, heartaches, difficulties and delays–all the things that make you ask “why”–one day will all be clear in the light of God’s love.” -Rick Warren

“To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.” -Robert Louis Stevenson

I’d like to wrap up with a prayer from a book that I just started reading on my Amazon Kindle called, I Do… Every Day: Words of Wisdom for Newlyweds and Not So Newlyweds by Cynthia Bond Hopson and Roger Hopson.

Lord, with you we know that anything and all things are possible.  We claim and believe that you have plans for us–plans to nurture us and give us a future.  Direct our paths to the right people, places, and things to help make our dreams come true.  Help us be patient, prepared, and purposeful.  Amen.

God has plans for each one of us.  How wonderful this world would be if we all would strive to seek His will and pursue our gifts!  Anybody have any dreams of their own that they are following?

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9 Years of Dreaming

7 Jul

This month will be 9 years since Adam packed up everything and moved to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue his dream career in music!  He has often said that he would give himself 10 years to make it, and we are approaching that mark pretty quickly.  This time limit doesn’t really mean anything, though, because we are not going anywhere and Adam is not giving up on his musical aspirations.  Adam would not be “Adam” without his musical talents.  He does not have a back-up college degree.  This is what he was born to do.

Adam Lee singing with The Players in 2006

While thinking about this today, I recalled what Matthew Kelly writes in the beginning of The Rhythm of Life (pgs. 9-11):

If you don’t know what you want from life, everything will appear either as an obstacle or as a burden.  But one of the great lessons of history is that the whole world gets out of the way for people who know what they want or where they are going.  Be assured, if you don’t know where you are going, you are lost.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Do not say, “I am too old.”                                                            

Do not say, “I’m too young.”

Tiger Woods was three years old when he shot 48 for nine holes on his hometown golf course in Cypress, California.

Julie Andrews was eight years old when she mastered an astounding four-octave singing range.

Mozart was eight years old when he wrote his first symphony. […]

Bill Gates was nineteen years old when he co-founded Microsoft. […]

Thomas Jefferson was thirty-three years old when he wrote the Declaration of Independence. […]

Oscar Hammerstein II was sixty-four years old when he wrote the lyrics for The Sound of Music. […]

Nelson Mandela was seventy-one years old when he was released from a South African prison.  Four years later he was elected president of South Africa.

Michaelangelo was seventy-two years old when he designed the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. […]

Dimitrion Yordanidis was ninety-eight years old when he ran a marathon in seven hours and thirty-three minutes, in Athens, Greece.

Ichijirou Araya was one hundred years old when he climbed Mount Fuji.

Whether you are sixteen or sixty, the rest of your life is ahead of you.  You cannot change one moment of your past, but you can change your whole future.  Now is your time.

I love what Matthew Kelly writes about here.  I think we often give up on our dreams too soon because we don’t value our gifts enough and truly believe that God can do anything at anytime.  In Adam’s case, he often feels like his weight is holding him back.  He has struggled with this for a long time and it prevents him from thinking he deserves his chance to be successful yet.  Even though he writes amazing songs, has an outstanding voice, plays several instruments, and is very knowledgeable about different aspects of music and performing, he still lets this one thing hold such a significant place in his mind.

People are capable of amazing things with God’s grace.  He wants us to use the talents that he has given us.  Our dreams are what make us unique and give us purpose.  We just need to learn to have faith in God’s timing and have confidence that he will lead us to where we are meant to be.  This, of course, is easier said than done, but Adam and I are not going to lose hope!

The Sweet Sound of Harmony

20 Jun

Adam and I had a conversation last night about how he feels like something is missing as a solo artist – harmonies. He feels that his music is not all he can offer to an audience without other voices accompanying his own. His songs are more powerful and dynamic with striking harmonies.

Adam has told me numerous times about how he loves singing harmony. He even wanted to be in a pop boy band in high school when Backstreet Boys, 98 degrees, and NSYNC were popular. He loved singing in groups for high school concerts. He would arrange songs and make sure everybody knew what part they were supposed to sing.

Adam has been blessed to grow up with musically gifted parents. He played drums in a band with them and took turns singing backgrounds and lead vocals with his mother and father. There is nothing like the sound of family harmony! Adam has really been missing this and feels that God is putting it on his heart to follow this path in some way.

Adam has also always loved team sports and being part of a group. He has fond memories of playing football in high school. He almost doesn’t like to think about it because he misses it so much! He is more motivated when working with people and enjoys encouraging others. He loves learning from other people and sharing about what he knows. Of course, it is still not clear what God has in mind for Adam, but maybe Adam is getting an idea of what brings out the best in him and makes his music unique and worth listening to.

And the journey continues…Good night!

ADHD: A Gift and a Curse

13 Jun

Most people who know Adam already know that he has Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.  Adam has always been open about this and the fact that he takes medication for it.  Granted, there are a lot of children who have had this diagnosis officially, or unofficially, slapped on them, when what they really need is some structure and discipline in the home.  At the community mental health center where I work, I’ve seen too many parents think that all their kid needs is some medication and then they will be a perfect angel.  Of course, there are some, like Adam, for whom medication has made a world of difference.

Adam started taking Adderall his sophomore year of high school.  He went from earning C’s and D’s  to making A’s and B’s in classes.  He graduated high school as one of the ten most improved students academically.  He is the “poster child” for a medicated person with ADHD.  When he takes his medication he has more motivation and focus.  He also has much better impulse control.  Trust me, we have quadruple the arguments when he does not take his meds consistently!  It is a much happier home when he thinks before he speaks (and can handle my occasional freak-outs more calmly)!  It also avoids some version of the following conversation (that we have had too many times to count):

Me: I didn’t know that you were going to (fill in the blank).

Adam: I thought I told you.

Me: No, I would have remembered that.

Adam: Oh, I must have forgotten.  Sorry.

Adam struggles sometimes, though, with whether or not he should take his medication based on what he needs to do/how he wants to be perceived.  Often, he is more quiet and withdrawn when he is on his medication.  He feels that he is not as funny or creative.  People can often tell when Adam has taken his medication vs. when he has not, based on his demeanor.  There are definitely pros and cons to both sides.  If he wants to come across to an audience as more outgoing and witty, he may not take his meds, but he may risk forgetting the words to a song.  He has tried a lower dosage but he does not feel it works as well, so it will probably always be something that he will have to deal with…

Whether it is labeled as ADHD, or not, this is what makes Adam creative and talented.  It is part of who he is and what he does.  Adam would not be Adam without this mixed blessing!

Class of 2001

10 Jun

Adam and Me - 2001

I just can’t wait til my 10 year reunion
I’m gonna bust down the double doors
And when I stand on these tables before you
You will know what all this time was for
– “No Such Thing” by John Mayer

I’m sure these lyrics summarize what Adam secretly thought when he graduated high school.  And now it’s here – the Concord High School Class of 2001 Ten-Year Reunion… Adam won’t be attending, though, because he will be out on the road.  I know that part of him would like to be there, but the other part is not satisfied with where he is at in his music career.  (Don’t we all wish to be living our dreams when we attend our first reunion?)  Adam is definitely a proud husband and father, but I know that he would feel like he hasn’t been as successful as he thought that he would be at this point in his life.  He wants to be able to support his family doing what he loves – singing his own music!  Of course, everyone measures success differently.  The fact that Adam moved to another state by himself to pursue his dream at 19-years-old is pretty courageous.  Adam is able to play music and sing professionally.  He works off-and-on at a well-known rehearsal facility in Nashville.  He has written (what I and others believe to be) some radio-worthy songs.

Even if Adam were where he wanted to be right now, there would be no “Toby Keith ‘How Do You Like Me Now?’ moment”.  The vast majority of people who have known Adam and have heard his voice have believed that he would be a star someday.  He was voted “Most Likely to Succeed In Music” in his senior class.  He performed original songs for two graduation ceremonies and a choir concert (which was extremely rare, if ever done before).  I know that a lot of people in the town of Elkhart, Indiana are rooting for him!  Please continue to support him!  I know that he appreciates any encouragement he receives!  It can be very frustrating and discouraging at times to feel like you have come so far, but have so long to go!  There is no sign of giving up, though.  There is no “plan b.”  The dream is still alive!

We have no idea what God has planned for him.  We are open to His will, but the difference now is that Adam has a focus and a mission to let God inspire and bring joy to others through his music and singing.  Adam’s confidence has grown so much in just the past month, because  as long as he is following what he believes is God’s path for him, then he knows that’s all that matters.  He cares about how God views what he’s doing more than what anybody else thinks.  How can a person go wrong with an attitude like that?!

Performing "Tell Me It's Real" by K-Ci and Jo Jo for Pops Concert (2000). That's Adam with the bleach blonde hair!

Idealistic Visions – A Good Laugh!

8 Jun

Today, I was thinking about how naive and idealistic I have been in the past about some things in regards to Adam’s music career and my life as a mommy…

I was fortunate enough to have a mother who was able to stay at home with me since the time I was born.  So for most of my life, I pictured myself as a stay-at-home mom, as well.  When I graduated college and got married, I figured I’d work for a couple of years and then be able to stay home whenever our first child was born.  I thought,  “Of course, Adam will make it by then and be able to support us on all the money he will be getting from his record deal!”  Then, after our first daughter was born, I thought, “Well, by the time God decides we’re ready for a second child, Adam will probably be successful enough that I won’t have to work outside the home then!”  Here I am, two children later, and I still have a full-time job!  (I do enjoy my job as a supervisor at a community mental health agency, though.)  Sometimes I get discouraged, but I feel so strongly that God has given Adam his musical gifts for a reason, that I continue to have faith that we will both be able to pursue the dreams that we have for our lives.  I feel very blessed that God has provided a way for my daughters to be taken care of by my husband and parents when I am working.  Adam usually has a flexible schedule during the week, since he is gone several months out of the year on the weekends.  It is nearly a miracle that my parents live close to us.  My dad retired unexpectedly early and my parents moved down to Tennessee only four months after our two-year-old was born!

Another instance that makes me shake my head, is in regards to an interesting story about Rascal Flatts.  When I was in high school, several of us loved this group that was up-and-coming at the time.  Adam, a friend, and I found out that they were going to be playing at a 21-and-over club close by on the night of my 18th birthday.  My friend’s mom and one of her friends decided to go to the show, so we recorded a video for them to give to Rascal Flatts about how much we loved their music.  Adam sang an original song and we all wrote our phone numbers and addresses on the VHS tape, as if they would contact one of us immediately and get Adam a record deal!  Ha!  I think it is absolutely hilarious that we thought a new group would actually be able to/want to pull strings for a 19-year-old guy in Indiana based on our videotape!  Like they didn’t have enough to worry about with getting their own career started!

Anyway, to finish the story, the VHS tape was delivered to them that night and I received a birthday card signed by all three of the group members!  About a month later, we drove to a nearby state to see them do an acoustic performance/interview.  We stood in line so we could meet them after the show.  We asked them about the video and they said that they had watched it!  Later that year, after Adam had moved to Nashville, he actually ran into Joe Don Rooney at a music store.  They talked for a little bit and he told Adam that we were lucky he watched our video tape.  He also said that he remembered his voice.   Kinda cool, huh?!

Obviously, after living in Nashville for awhile, we have found out how things really work in this town.  If someone “makes it” soon after moving here, he or she is extremely blessed.  Adam has found that many people like his voice and think that he is talented, but they have not taken any further steps to help him get his career moving.  I think a lot of people who aren’t familiar with the music business in Nashville wonder why Adam still hasn’t “made it” after almost 9 years of being down here.  Adam has spent the last several years trying to find his way.  He has pursued different projects that did not develop into anything and he has improved his songwriting skills.  Just recently, he has learned to trust his talent for coming up with catchy melodies and writing good songs.  I feel that God has been molding Adam and teaching him different things to get him ready for a certain path.  Adam has admitted that he doesn’t know what direction to go and is putting total faith in God.  He is committed to working hard to better himself physically and prepare mentally and spiritually for this journey ahead.  I know that God will bring the right people along to fulfill whatever plan he has for Adam.  It’s all in God ‘s time.  Stay tuned…

Discerning God’s will

29 May

Overall, I guess my blog deals with the question of God’s purpose for my life and my family.  Today at mass the readings dealt with this specific topic, so I think it is the perfect time to discuss this a little more…

Adam and I have been focused on God’s will a lot lately, especially in regards to his career path.  He is starting to make decisions based on using his musical talents to bring others closer to God.  Adam wants to be a positive artist who writes/sings about the real life day-to-day struggles that we all have as human beings and show that there is hope even when things may be tough.  So I was definitely thinking about this when 1 Peter 3: 15-18 was read today, which says, “But in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your  conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.  For it is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than for doing wrong.  For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.”

I’m usually not one to throw Bible verses around, but I feel that this really shows where Adam and I are at right now.  In Adam’s case, he is finally aligning his “artist image” with his “real life image.”  I feel excited about what God has in store for us, knowing that we are trying to keep our priorities in check and we are striving to be better individuals.

One author who talks a lot about being “the best version of ourselves” is Matthew Kelly.  A book that he has written, The Rhythm of Life, is focused on this topic and encourages us to have dreams and discover our talents.  Adam is currently listening to it, since he is not much of a reader.  I’d been encouraging him to read it for the past couple years and finally I broke down and got the audiobook.  It’s all in God’s timing! Matthew Kelly is a great motivator! He also encourages parents to frequently ask their children, “What do you think God is calling you to do with your life?”  In his book, Building Better Families, he states that as a society, we often ask kids, “What do you want to do when you get older?”  Many of us grow up to be unhappy with what we are doing.  Maybe asking a different question will bring more fulfillment and purpose.

For more about Matthew Kelly, you can check out his website:  www.matthewkelly.org.

Good night!  This mommy needs her sleep!

New Direction

23 May

I added a picture to my first blog the other night of Adam and me the summer he moved down to Nashville. He is wearing a black cowboy hat and has a guitar strapped over his shoulder. You may think that he has a twang in his voice, if you didn’t know him! He actually has a pop/rock/r&b voice and has finally been writing songs that fit his vocal style. His melodies get stuck in your head for days, too! He has grown so much since he started writing songs over 10 years ago. It’s fun to look back and see how things evolve. We’ll see how he can break the Nashville mold now. He is definitely not a cookie-cutter artist, so we’ll just have to see where the journey goes. Needless to say, there’s no more cowboy hat (and hasn’t been for awhile)! Check out his music at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Adam-Lee/107793982609919.  He’d love feedback!

Transitions

19 May

So… Adam is a little discouraged today about the reality of having two children and trying to devote time to furthering his music career.  I definitely know it is challenging to get certain things done, but I think it’s all about looking at it with a positive “what can I do today” attitude.  I think we are both getting a little stressed out, because he will be heading back out on the road every weekend for the next 5-6 months starting next weekend.  I am also going back to work after being on bed rest and maternity leave for the past 4 months.  Good thing my parents live close by to help us!  Soon, we will have a routine worked out and a “new normal.”

Hopefully, I can lift Adam’s spirits tonight.  He loves being a daddy and wants to support his family doing music.  I know God can make it happen!