All Kinds of Kinds


Now some point a finger and let ignorance linger/If they’d look in the mirror they’d find/That ever since the beginning to keep the world spinning/It takes all kinds of kinds . . . ~ Miranda Lambert’s All Kinds of Kinds

People take different roads seeking fulfillment & happiness.  Just because they are not on your road does not mean they are lost.  ~ Dalai Lama

Dalai lama quote

Currently my mind is awash with various ideas that I want to write about but nothing much of value seems to be coming out of all this muddle.  You know that feeling when you have so many ideas that you can’t really settle on any of them?  Yeah, that’s where I am right now.  It’s times like this that I so desperately need to write & yet often when my mind is so overwhelmed like this I sit down to write & the words run away from me the way I run from a snake when I see one.

In all of this madness the two quotes at the beginning of this post keep coming back to me.  I’ve heard that Miranda Lambert song on the radio a few times lately & I keep finding myself looking it up on YouTube to listen to it again because the words strike such a chord with me.  The Dalai Lama quote is something I came across on Facebook last week & instantly loved.  This idea that there is no one right way for everyone is one of those universal truths that as an adult I keep stumbling upon.  I stay stumbling upon because it’s an idea that I really cherish & yet it’s one that I think we all struggle to really remember from day to day.  I don’t have any scientific backing for this, but I’m pretty sure it’s wired into our DNA somewhere to compare ourselves to each other, perhaps women being the worst perpetrators here.  As much as I love the internet & truly believe that social media can enhance our lives for the better, sadly such things can also encourage that innate drive to compare ourselves to everyone around us.  The unfortunate result of such comparisons is usually one of two things.  First, we often find ourselves feeling inadequate because we inevitably see others who we PERCEIVE are prettier, skinnier, richer, smarter, more successful, etc than ourselves.  Second, we often find ourselves criticizing others because we do not agree with certain aspects of our lives.  I believe it is a sign of our own insecurity that we are so often quick to judge others instead of relishing the fact that not everyone is just like us.  Instead of feeling either inadequate or self-righteous when we see others living differently than us, we ought to be thankful that in truth “to keep the world spinning, it takes all kinds of kinds.”  Just think how boring the world would be if we were all alike?  One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in life is that when I open myself up to new ideas, new ways of thinking, & new experiences, that is when I really learn & that is often when I feel most alive.

Now I realize this thought process could lead to some dangerous territory if we took it too literally.  Obviously there are some things like child molestation & murder that as a society we have to reject as immoral.  We cannot accept ALL behaviors or else the world would be even more chaotic than it already is.  As with almost everything in life, it all comes back to “everything in moderation.”  I truly believe if we could all learn these concepts, the world would be a better, more peaceful place.

As I’m writing this I sincerely hope I don’t come across as arrogant or preachy.  I’m as guilty of not following these principles as anyone.  But I’m working on it.  And that’s what matters: the everyday continual process of effecting change, & that process always starts inside each & every one of us.  As with everything, some days it will be easier than others.  And some days it will be harder.  I am grateful that I have so many friends from so many different walks of life with so many different belief systems who continually challenge me & help me to become more & more tolerant, educated, & compassionate toward the world at large.  Y’all know who you are.  And I thank you for accepting my Type A, mildly OCD (but only about some things!), high-anxiety, questionably crazy kind.

Things I Learned From Country Music


For those of you who don’t know, I am a huge music nerd.  I listen to music almost constantly & firmly believe everything in life is better with musical accompaniment.  I love all kinds of music though I usually spend more time listening to rock than any other genre.  However, I go through spells a couple times of year when I also listen to a lot of country music.  I suppose that is somewhat inevitable when you live in the South & grew up in a small town.  This past weekend I got a notion that I should try out a short blog series featuring “things I’ve learned from such & such genre of music.”  Since I’ve been on a country kick lately, I decided to start with country music.  It was hard for me to choose only a handful of songs that have great meaning to me, but I don’t want these posts to be ridiculously long so I limited myself to five songs.  I’m going to attempt to write one of these posts for every major genre of music (though I’ll admit rap might not happen but I will give it my best effort).  For those of you who think country music is only about wearing cowboy boots, fishing, skinny-dipping, or drinking beer, please check out the songs listed below which I hope will serve to broaden your horizons a bit.  I have conveniently included YouTube links to each song because I am awesome like that.  😉

follow your arrow

  • Follow Your Arrow by Kacey Musgraves

    • No matter what you do, there will always be naysayers & one of the greatest lessons in life is that you truly cannot please everyone. Thus it’s better to just do what you know in your heart is right for you because at the end of the day you are the one who has to answer to yourself for your own life. I think in small towns this sentiment is especially true because everybody knows each other so rumours & gossip can start & spread so easily. I like how Kacey points out that life is often viewed in extremes; for example, “If you save yourself for marriage, you’re a bore/if you don’t save yourself for marriage, you’re a whore-able person” (great play on the word horrible, isn’t that?) when in reality the truth often falls somewhere in between such extremes.  And, yes, this is probably one of the only country music songs to ever openly support gay rights, which I love.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kg4YdXUaCg0 P.S. This entire album is AMAZING & you would never guess that Kacey is a mere 25 years old. Her song-writing skills & insight into life are superior to many who are two or three times her age. Even if you don’t usually like country music, I beg you to look up Kacey Musgraves on YouTube & give her songs a listen. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

  • I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack

    • This is one of those classic songs that just never gets old because it’s so beautifully written & the message is one that bears repeating. This song reflects on the importance of never losing the wonder of being alive whether it be standing in awe at the sight of the ocean, dancing every chance you get, or learning that love sometimes hurts but it’s worth the chance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV-Z1YwaOiw

  • Bleed Red by Ronnie Dunn

    • This is one of the most powerful songs I’ve ever heard. The message is so simple but so beautiful: we are all human beings with struggles, scars, fears, hopes, & dreams trying to make the best of our lives. We all make mistakes & need forgiveness from time to time. At the end of the day despite differences in race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, or any other “external” factor at our deepest core we are all the same: “We all bleed red.” If every one of us took this song to heart every day of our lives I’m quite certain we could end (or perhaps even avoid) a lot of conflicts, including everything from squabbles between husbands & wives to international wars. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AMcwxAug1Q

  • Life Ain’t Always Beautiful by Gary Allan

    • Gary Allan’s rough voice adds to the magic of this song for me because it seems to perfectly match with the message of the song: “Life ain’t always beautiful but it’s a beautiful ride.” Truer words have never been spoken for indeed life is often difficult, challenging, & scary but in the end it’s still a fascinating, wonderful journey & the hard times really do make us stronger & wiser. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VDNMtn0t2A

  • I Drive Your Truck by Lee Brice

    • The best way I can describe this song is achingly beautiful. I heard it for the first time as I was driving into Appomattox on 460 for my dear uncle Robert’s funeral. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. The song is written from the perspective of someone who lost a soldier friend but the feelings behind it are applicable to anyone who has suffered the loss of a close friend or family member. I love that the song addresses both the pain of such a loss as well as the anger that we all experience as we beg God/the universe why it happened because no matter the circumstances death is never easy for those left behind. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCSMCgqlc-0