F O C U S on S T R E N G T H S

Songwriting as Life Spark

“The possible’s slow fuse is lit by the imagination.”
Emily Dickinson

When veterans attend a SongwritingWith:Soldiers retreat it can be difficult to describe how they feel immediately after writing a song. They have unexpectedly connected with someone they didn’t know and then created something entirely new, together. Something profoundly personal and beautiful—a song, out of some of the worst things they have been through. It’s a big deal.

What we often hear them say are things like, “that’s amazing…I never thought I could do something like this…” and “thank you…” Sometimes their voices are soft and thoughtful, sometimes booming with relief.

What we see is direct eye contact, ease of posture, tears wiped from cheeks and wide smiles.

And then what happens? […]

Making a List, Checking it Twice: For Me and For My Hero

It’s Christmas Eve. A day of dancing between wonder and stress. A few days ago, I promised myself I’d pause on Christmas Eve to “get centered,” to put things in perspective by reflecting on the good — in myself, in others, and all around the world. So, this morning I decided to focus on strengths. Read more about Making a List, Checking it Twice: For Me and For My Hero[…]

Ode to My Hero, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Who are your heroes? How can you emulate them? Today I write in honor of one of my heroes, my favorite author of all time, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I rarely state a favorite of anything, preferring to keep the possibilities for unyielding love wide open. I find it impossible to choose a favorite color when Read more about Ode to My Hero, Gabriel Garcia Marquez[…]

The Power of Support

  “I am standing here today because of SongwritingWith:Soldiers.”   Sgt. Nikki Shaw shared these moving words as she introduced Half-Horse Town at our September SongwritingWith:Soldiers fundraiser, a song she co-wrote at a retreat with Darden Smith and Radney Foster. We want to share this video of Nikki’s speech because, in truth, her tribute belongs to all of Read more about The Power of Support[…]