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My Top 5 Inspirations

I’ve been spending a few hours now trying to figure out what to write in my blog today, but it seems as though nothing I write comes out the way I want. On the contrary, everything takes on such a negative tone! I’ve decided that I am going to give in to my currently negative tendencies and see where they take me.

The truth is, the past few days have not been the greatest for me. Several directions that I have been wanting to go with my life have suddenly been closed off to me. I understand that everyone runs into these closed doors at some point, but that doesn’t make it any easier. About the best I can do is look for something that will inspire and motivate me to keep dreaming and searching for that open door.

Inspiration can come from many sources. However, my main sources are as follows:

  1. Other people
  2. The Internet
  3. Books
  4. Movies
  5. The Texas Tenors

Now, the first four are pretty self-explanatory. Still, I would like to give you an example of each.

Other People. Obviously, other people from Neil Armstrong to people I know that have battled and won against cancer can be very inspiring. For instance, there is a girl I work with that is going through a very difficult time right now. I’m not going to go into any details about it, but she has spent the last week in the hospital with a family member. If I were in her situation, I don’t know how I would still be able to get up in the morning. Yet, when I visited her on Saturday, she was still holding her chin up and cracking jokes. Amazing! I want to be that kind of person.

The Internet.  Facebook. YouTube. Google. There’s so many stories, pictures, etc. out there, that you can find just about anything. For instance, I came across the following video on YouTube:

Books. One of my favorite authors is Jodi Picoult. All of her books have an underlying, inspirational purpose. I recently read her book entitled House Rules. This book was about a single mother of two children. One of the children (Jacob) happened to have Asperger’s Syndrome. As if it wasn’t difficult enough to raise them by herself with very little support (monetarily or otherwise), Jacob became a primary suspect of murdering one of the few people he looked up to and could communicate with. Her struggle and perseverance remind me that no matter how bad it seems, there is always hope. It also reminds me that there is always going to be someone out there that is in a worse situation, so I know that I can make it through.

Movies. This is especially true for Disney movies. For some reason, there’s nothing like a classical Disney movie to get you moving. One of my favorites is Mulan. This is the story of a girl who was a disgrace to her family, but in the end, she ended up saving her entire country after going to war in place of her father. I love this clip from the movie:

The best part of this clip, however, is the music. Music in general is very inspirational for me, especially when the lyrics really seem to hit home. Which brings me to my last source of inspiration.

The Texas Tenors. This group has accomplished the impossible by rising through the ranks of America’s Got Talent to become the great success they are today. Of course, that success didn’t happen overnight, and there have been and always will be obstacles in their way.

One such obstacle is the negativity of others. There happens to be a critic named Michael Ross that has been against them ever since AGT. I don’t know why, and I can’t figure out why he won’t put an end to his ignorant (and yearly) remarks about The Texas Tenors. He hasn’t (most likely) seen them since they were on America’s Got Talent. Even though they were amazing on the show, they have improved by leaps and bounds since then. Their current status can’t even possibly be compared to when they were on AGT. Why even bother, three years later, to keep bringing them up?

I believe the answer is because he gets a rise out of fans of The Texas Tenors. Last year, there was a large group of us that responded to his remarks by “telling him off”. We told him why he was wrong, that The Texas Tenors were fantastic, and that he needed to find someone else to pick on. Well, a year later, he picked on The Texas Tenors again. Just like last year, an army of fans responded to him, giving him exactly what he wants: attention. It seems as though we are starting a vicious yearly cycle. Yes, I am well aware that by posting this blog, I’m giving him even more power, but I’m willing to make the sacrifice.

Personally, I see any attack against The Texas Tenors as an attack against me because I believe in them so strongly. They are one of the best things that has ever happened to me, and they will always inspire me to strive to be a better person and unlock that hidden opportunity.

Even though I have felt down all weekend, I am finally starting to look up again. Why? For one thing, I just got done watching The Texas Tenors’ DVD. Where else can I hear my favorite songs and see my favorite trio perform? Tonight, however, two songs really hit me. These have always been my favorite songs of theirs, but they hold special meanings for me right now: “The Climb” and “You Should Dream”.

“The Climb” is very relevant to my current situation. Just listening to them sing it makes me want to break down and cry because it hits exactly on how I feel.

Every step I’m taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking
But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high

Every step I’m taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking
But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high

Then there is “You Should Dream”. That is such a powerful song. I don’t know if I have the words exactly right, but I know they are at least close:

Tell me who hasn’t felt lost when you’re not where you thought you ought to be

Tell me who hasn’t felt discouraged by their reality

Tell me who hasn’t walked a thousand miles just to find they’ve gone the wrong way

Tell me who hasn’t thought tomorrow was just another day

But I’m telling you

The tide is gonna turn

The doors will open when you finally learn

You should dream

Let the voice inside you sing

You should dream

Let your wishes take wing

Close your eyes, feel your heart’s desire

hold on tight and set the world on fire

Be the living reason for all to see

You should dream

Need I say more than that? I know that, even though things seem hopeless right now, there is an end around the corner. I just need to hold my head high, keep dreaming, and keep searching for the better future that I know is ahead.

Now it is your turn. What inspires you?

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Posted by on August 27, 2012 in Music

 

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Memories

Well, it’s finally the weekend. As I look forward to the upcoming week, I also find myself looking back. It seems as though there have been a plethora of postings on Facebook lately with inspirational quotes and sayings meant to keep people looking toward the future and living in the present. For instance, I find myself dwelling on one such posting made by a friend of mine:

“Learn to appreciate what you have before time makes you appreciate what you had.” ~Anonymous

Today, I have spent a lot of time reminiscing about my high school marching band days. This could be due to the fact that I keep hearing people talk about marching band camp and looking forward to the upcoming season. Or it could be partially due to the picture I came across on Facebook that combines two of my interests: kittens and the Phantom of the Opera.

You see, during my sophomore year of high school, my high school marching band (The Pella Marching Dutch) performed Phantom of the Opera. Our performance, in my severely biased opinion, was nothing short of outstanding. I’ve always been extremely proud of my marching band days, but this performance takes the cake. For those of you that are interested, you can view our performance here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4538031108703268286.

My favorite part of the entire performance is right at the end (around the 8:00 mark in the video). Our band worked tirelessly to perfect that part, and we never quite got it right. Until that performance, when it was near perfect. It also happened to be the last competition for my band director as he decided to retire that year. Talk about amazing! It gives me goosebumps every time I watch it!

Ever since, I have been completely obsessed with Phantom of the Opera music. It definitely ranks up there in my all-time favorite music list. Aside from owning the CD (which my college roommate and I spent several roadtrips listening to–even meowing along with the songs at one point!) and movie, I’ve even been to several live performances of it, including one at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London.

Her Majesty’s Theatre during the day

A close-up

At night

Imagine my delight when I got to Planet Hollywood in October 2009 and heard Marcus Collins and Barbara Padilla sing “All I Ask of You” as a duet! Can you think of anything better? I can’t!

Marcus and Barbara, courtesy of http://www.facebook.com/thetexastenors

I had flown out to Vegas with my mom and Aunt Lynda, and my cousin Jeremiah came from Arizona to meet us there. It was Halloween, so we got the pleasure of seeing some people dressed up in very strange costumes…

People walking into our hotel

At the actual performance, we were fortunate enough to be seated at the tables up front. There were three runners jutting out from the stage: one on the left and right, and one in the center. I was sitting just to the left of the center one, so that when Marcus came out on it, I had to turn backward in my seat. I could have reached out and touched him if I wanted to! Could it possibly get any better than that?

The answer is: yes. Three years ago, I never could have imagined that I would eventually get to the point that I could call The Texas Tenors my friends. In fact, I never expected I would see them again. How ironic is it that the first (and last) time I see the show America’s Got Talent, I fall in love with a group that becomes such a major part of my life? Just imagine if I hadn’t happened to tune into the show at that point! Would I have ever discovered them? Who knows?!

I also could never have imagined that I would hear my new favorite group sing a song that brings back as many memories as “Music of the Night”. Those of you that watched the video I posted earlier know that my favorite part at the end was during “Music of the Night”, so that song definitely carries some heavy emotions with it for me. Therefore, it came as no surprise when I practically bawled the first time I heard The Texas Tenors’ arrangement. It was absolutely beautiful–much better than any of the other performances I’d ever heard!!!

A friend of mine (who also is a Tenor fan) texted me recently talking about how things have changed for her so much in the past year, and she can attribute her better state of mind partially to The Texas Tenors. I can’t even begin to explain how or why, but I know that is a true statement for many of their fans, including me. They say in their show that they are “on the ride of their life”. They are enjoying every moment and excited to see what the future has in store for them. I am determined to appreciate them for as long as they are around (which will hopefully be a very long time), and no matter what, I will always be grateful for the experiences I have had as a fan of The Texas Tenors.

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2012 in Music

 

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Hello world!

It’s Monday. Like everyone else in the world, I hate Mondays. This week, however, the reason isn’t because I had to go back to work today. In fact, I had the day off! Instead, this Monday marks the end of a fun and exciting (but Tenorless) weekend.

For those of you that don’t know, I am a huge fan of the music group The Texas Tenors. To date, I have seen 38 of their concerts and traveled over 30,800 miles to see them all around the country. Right about now, you are probably thinking I’m more obsessed than anything. The truth is, The Texas Tenors and their fans have become such a huge part of my life that I don’t know what I would do without them! How does someone become so involved with a music group? Honestly, I have no idea. It just happened. My mom and I became engrossed in the tv show America’s Got Talent in 2009 (the only season we have ever watched). It just so happened that this was the season The Texas Tenors were on. We fell in love with them after hearing John Hagen belt out his long note during “Mountain Music”. It became obvious that these were three talented cowboys.

We gave them our support for the entire season, and after they took 4th place, they went out to Las Vegas to perform for America’s Got Talent Live at Planet Hollywood. Thinking it would be our only opportunity to see them, we flew out to Las Vegas over Halloween. Their portion of the show was spectacular, but meeting them afterwards was the best part. That is when I discovered John used to teach at Wartburg College, which is where I was a junior at that time. It was an instant connection.

Me with the sign from the show.

After we fell in love in Las Vegas, we didn’t hesitate to drive to Valparaiso, Indiana, a few months later to see them perform for a Christmas concert. We’ve been going to concerts ever since!

At this point, The Texas Tenors are more than three singing cowboys onstage. They are my friends. John Hagen, Marcus Collins, and JC Fisher are three of the greatest guys you could ever hope to meet. I cherish every minute I have with them and am always looking forward to the next. They genuinely care about every single fan, and they make a conscious effort to get to know everyone.

One of my favorite parts of following The Texas Tenors is that they have some of the best fans ever. Last October, my mom and I partnered up with Cheryl Stauffer to plan a fan event in Branson. Ever since, their biggest fans have bonded. We go to concerts together, eat together, and laugh together. We even get to hang out with the Tenors together!

A group of fans with Marcus and John at Andy’s Custard.

The Texas Tenors and their fans have been such an inspiration for me. Their music is wonderful. I’m thoroughly convinced that they could sing “I’m a Little Teapot” and make it sound good. However, they are more than the music. They have such passion and emotion that they put into their songs. Their songs tug at your heartstrings no matter how many times you hear them. Their original song, “You Should Dream”, by Dana Lamb, has motivated me to think the unthinkable, believe in myself, and attempt to “set the world on fire”. My goal is to promote their message and make sure people everywhere have the opportunity to know the group that is so near and dear to my heart: The Texas Tenors. If you haven’t already, be sure to check them out on Facebook or their website (www.thetexastenors.com). You won’t be disappointed!

After a concert in Grand Junction, CO, with the guys.

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Music

 

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