Saturday Night Serenade–Thankful

Where has the time gone? Seems like it was just summer, and here we are just days away from Thanksgiving. 2019 has been a wild year for us. We’ve battled a serious financial downturn, spent sleepless nights worrying, struggled to hang on to our house, realized we had to let it go before it pulled us under, faced the uncertainty of ‘now what‘…

Even so, I can honestly say that I’m thankful. I believe that everything happens for a reason–nothing is random or willy-nilly. There’s always something to learn, an opportunity to grow.

I’m thankful we were able to sell the house and walk away with a little money in our pockets. I’m thankful for the cute little apartment we found in a really cool neighborhood. I’m thankful for the possibilities ahead of us.

I suppose most of all, I’m thankful for us. Throughout this entire ordeal, the best thing we had going for us was each other. Turns out, we make a great team, even through thin.

So Thursday, when we sit down to Thanksgiving dinner (with my son who’s coming in from Omaha! 🙂 ), we have a ton of reasons to give thanks.

For tonight’s serenade, I had to go with Kelly Clarkson’s Thankful. I hope you enjoy it, and that your Thanksgiving is special. Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Easter Thoughts

Happy Easter!
Don’t you just love a long holiday weekend?  And the chance to get together with friends and loved ones to share customs, traditions, and a nice big dinner?

Easter is really a tale of two holidays–one all about hidden eggs, colorful baskets, and fun treats, the other about something a bit deeper.

Mr. R and I consider ourselves to be more spiritual rather than religious.  To my way of thinking, spirituality is more about being grateful for your blessings and wanting to pay it forward, and less about following a rigid set of regulations and judging others who don’t quite measure up.

I love Joan Osbourne’s One of Us.  It poses an interesting question: What if God was one of us?  What if that homeless person asking for spare change was God?  What if that person on Facebook with different politics was God?

Would we treat them differently?  Would we be more kind, more compassionate?  When Jesus was actually on earth, we weren’t especially kind.  Something to think about, anyway.

For Easter, I also want to share my favorite song of the holiday.  It’s a moldy oldie by the late Keith Green.  When I was a teenager, his music meant a lot to me.  Sadly, he died in a plane crash in 1982 at the age of 29.

Whether you celebrate Easter or Passover, I hope this holiday weekend finds you surrounded by loved ones.  Be sure to tell them how much they mean to you.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Keeping It Simple

Are you ready to ‘Spring forward’?  It’s my least favorite day of the year.  I won’t be right for about a week.  What is it about one little hour that impacts so much?

Time changes and time zones are complex.  I teach English online.  During standard time, China is 13 hours ahead of my time zone, but when it’s daylight savings time, they’re only 12 hours ahead.  I forgot about the time change and now I have a class booked at 9pm next Saturday night.  And military time?  Forget about it.  Even scheduling this post required me to count on my fingers, LOL.

It’s nice to boil all of life down to the simple things.  That’s what Thomas Rhett does in tonight’s serenade, Die a Happy Man.  Ever stop to consider what’s really important to you, those things that matter more than anything else?  I’ll bet they’re not things.

So remember to turn your clocks forward before you go to bed tonight.  Your phone and other electronics will do it automatically, thank goodness.  And say goodbye to that lost hour of sleep.  Sigh.

Be sure to hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

P.S. If you’re interested in finding out more about the easiest side-hustle you ever did (you can even do it in your pajamas), hit me up.  😉

Saturday Night Serenade–For All the Lovers Out There

This week, we’re celebrating Valentine’s Day.
Yes, I know, it’s a huge commercialized event, one big promotion for cards, flowers, candy, and diamonds.

But suppose we boil it down to its simplest form.  I think it’s a day to appreciate the ones you love, be it a spouse, significant other, parent, child, or friend.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.

For tonight’s serenade, I’ve picked a few of my favorite love songs.  I always love Ed Sheeran, and Thinking Out Loud is one of his most romantic.

But I just melt for John Legend’s All of Me.  This video has over 1.4 billion views.  Guess I’m not the only one.

Finally, who wouldn’t want to be Truly, Madly, Deeply in love?  Yes, it’s One Direction, but I have a guilty-pleasure thing for boy bands.

What would be on your Valentine’s Day playlist?

While you think about it, be sure to hug those you love, especially your Valentine.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Happy New Year!

Here we are at the end of another year.  Which is crazy, really.  Where did the time go?

If I’m honest, 2018 has not been particularly kind to us.  It’s been rough, actually.  A handful of real estate deals have gone south, plunging us into economic uncertainty.  We’ve spent a lot of sleepless nights trying to figure out what to do.   We’ve each taken second jobs just to pay the most essential bills.  We may end up selling the house to prevent its foreclosure.

Then what?  Who knows.  But here’s the thing.  We could look at it as a failure, as some huge misfortune befalling us.  Or we could look at it as a big do-over.  A chance to clean the slate and start again.

Surely we’re not the first people to find ourselves in this position, and we won’t be the last.  But we’re luckier than many, I imagine.  We have each other.  We’re a team, and if I have to go through such a scary time, I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone but Mr. R.

So this weekend, join us in raising a glass to the possibilities of the brand new year.  May 2019 bring you all the best of everything, surrounded by those you love.  Be sure to give them a hug.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Christmas Blues

Only two more weekends until Christmas!  Have you finished all your shopping?  Here at Chez R, we have not.  Finances being what they are, we’re scraping up what we can to put together what will be a lean Christmas for our loved ones.  Everyone should manage to get a little something, but it won’t be like it has been in years past.

Mr. R and I are last on the list, but that’s okay.  We have what’s important anyway, the kind of thing that can’t be wrapped and put under a tree.  And I’m perfectly content with that, as long as we get something out to the family.

I’m looking forward to Christmas Day itself.  It should be calm and bright, no hustle or bustle.  In fact, it will be the first day I can plan on sleeping late for the foreseeable future.

As content as I am, I’m still in the mood for a little Christmas blues, so I’m starting out with the incomparable B.B. King.  There are many versions of Merry Christmas Baby, but his is the best.

The second helping (the B-side, LOL) is Jon Bon Jovi with Please Come Home for Christmas.

I hope you’re snuggled warm and safe with those you love.  Be sure to give them a hug.  Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–R.E.S.P.E.C.T. for the Queen

We lost the Queen of Soul this week.
As sad as we are, the remembrances have been uplifting.  Who didn’t love Aretha Franklin?

She transcended musical genre, gender, race, and politics.  She was born in Memphis in 1942, but lived most of her life in Detroit.  She won 18 Grammys over the course of her career and was the first-ever female artist to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Tonight’s first song is Chain of Fools, one of my favorites.  It featured prominently in the John Travolta movie Michael, but I chose this 50 year old television performance of the song.

I also couldn’t resist this joyous version of Think from 1980’s Blues Brothers.

So how about you?  What’s your favorite?  Comment below and keep the respect going.

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Down at the Twist and Shout

Hello, August!
It’s the middle of summer, but I always used to dread August, because that means Back-to-School.  But now, while my teacher friends are gearing up for battle, I’m ready to release my 9th book, and I’m 25k words into the next one.  There’s enormous freedom in giving up a steady paycheck for a career that nourishes your soul.

So this Saturday finds me feeling light and happy.  I’ve pulled up an older song that makes me feel the same way.  Mary Chapin Carpenter released Down at the Twist and Shout in 1991, and it won a Grammy the following year.  It just makes me want to go to a country bar and two-step all night.

Look closely–she’s backed up by members of traditional Louisiana cajun/zydeco band BeauSoleil.  I saw them perform once in downtown West Palm Beach as part of a free outdoor concert series, Sundays at the Meyer.  Then-Mayor of WPB (now US Congresswoman) Lois Frankel went through the crowd handing out chocolate chip cookies, which is the part my kids most remember.

I’m tucking in a little BeauSoleil just for fun.

I hope you’re having a relaxing summer weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Mamma Mia, Here We Go Again

I’m so excited!  Ten years ago, Mamma Mia, the Broadway musical based on the songs of 70s group ABBA, was made into a movie.  It’s not Shakespeare, okay.  But if you ever wanted to see a movie that just makes you feel happy, this is the one.

A decade later, the entire cast is back for a sequel, and with a few additions, most notably Cher, as Donna’s (Meryl Streep) mother.  Mr. R is imminently glad that my best girl Mo and I have plans to go see it this week.  I suppose it’s a chick flick, but don’t say it like it’s a bad thing.   I added a sneak peek from the new movie below.

The world has become a very scary place.  Up is down, right is wrong, and you never know from one day to the next what the hell is going on.  So let me go sit in a cool, dark theatre for a couple of hours with a bucket of popcorn and a vat of Sprite while I may or may not sing along to songs that make me happy.  Feel free to join me on the next recliner–not going to one of those moldie-oldie theatres, no thank you.  I know there are those who are avoiding this movie, angered by something or other Meryl Streep said a while back.  To that, I say, Good!  More room for me and Mo.  😉

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend doing things that make you happy.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Mr. R’s Birthday

We’re celebrating Mr. R’s birthday this weekend!

His birthday happens to be the same day as one of my brothers’, and that’s really neither here nor there.  But around this time, I always start thinking about how thankful I am to have him in my life.

I always refer to Mr. R as my ‘happily ever after.’  And he is.

I spent a long time married to my nightmare.  Last week, I alluded to my #MeToo story.  Nightmare is the star of that tale.

After that ended, a few years down the road when I had my feet under me a little, I thought it might be nice to meet someone new.  I wasn’t looking for someone who made me happy–I didn’t aim that high.  I just hoped for someone who didn’t make me unhappy.

But my broken road led me to a man who makes me laugh every day, from our first date, when he ordered a strawberry daiquiri with an exaggeratedly deep voice, to the songs that he intentionally butchers (most recently, changing the words to We Built This City to We Milk These Titties), and more than I could possibly tell you about.  He brings me flowers all the time, just because he wants to.  He makes me feel loved and cherished, honored and protected.  And I’m beyond thankful for him.

That’s what I think of when his birthday rolls around.  I have a couple of gifts for him: a nice leather messenger bag to use in his real estate work, a Starbucks gift card for his espresso, and a bakery decorated carrot cake (in spite of the fact that he’d diabetic).  But really, on his birthday, I’m reminded that he is a gift to me.

We’ll be going out to a nice dinner Sunday night.  We have reservations at the Capital Grille, and they know it’s his birthday.  Tonight, we’ll just chill here at home.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.  Hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

“Bless The Broken Road”
(originally by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band)

I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn’t see how every sign pointed straight to you

[Chorus:]
Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you
(Yes He did)

I think about the years I spent just passing through
I’d like to have the time I lost and give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand
You’ve been there you understand
It’s all part of a grander plan that is coming true.

[Chorus]

Yeah.

Now I’m just rolling home
Into my lover’s arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you.

That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you.