"If you were not"
By Phil Bennett
If your energy was subtracted from our midst
On a day such as this
The sun would not seem as bright
The trees would not reach as high
The void would be emmence.
If you were not then all that's left
are memories that you were here.
But instead we gather to celebrate
and share the bliss
Of all the things that we would miss
If you were not...Karmen.
Karmen turns 26 today. She is talented, beautiful and funny. What else could you want in a niece??
My Step Dad Al is a bit older than Karmen, but I know that he can work circles around any 20 year old. He is probably the hardest working man I know. I am pleased that he has been in our lives for over 12 years now and he takes wonderful care of my Mom.
Happy Birthday to you both!!!!
Sunday, March 29, 2009
An early freeze back in October 2008 killed a philodendron that was in a basket on our front porch. I was so heart broken that I killed my plant that I didn't have to heart to take it down and throw it away.
This week I walked out on the front porch and noticed there was a nest built in the dead plant. I also noticed a red-breasted robin watching me intently from the front yard. I went inside and watched from the window as the mother robin returned to the nest.
I snapped a picture this morning of the mother robin on the nest. In a few weeks, I bet we get to watch as she feeds her babies. I plan on taking more pictures and posting them in the future.
From the death of one of God's creations, life is born.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
As most of you know, I attended the funeral of a high school friend this week. While it was a sad occasion, it was good to catch up with some old friends. I found out that I am aging quite well, plus I left with a good feeling because I was following my dreams. I was proud to say that I moved to Music City to pursue my songwriting career.
I am so glad to be in Nashville, living the dream and loving what I do. I don't know why our friend was taken from us, but I know that I am not wasting a minute of the time I have here on Earth.
Take the time each day to love yourself, love others and send love to those who need it. It will return to you one hundred fold.
Peace and joy to all who read this,
Monday, March 23, 2009
Let me tell you how I had the pleasure of meeting Jeff Allwood.
I met Joe Allwood on the first day of kindergarten waiting for the bus. We were best friends all through school and graduated together. Joe's little brother Jeff was always there with us after school and on the lucky weekends when I got to stay the night at their house. Jeff, Joe, Johnny Warren and I sang in a barbershop quartet in high school. Their Mother Judy Allwood was my music teacher starting in third grade until I graduated. Their Dad was our high school principal. They were truly my extended family.
Jeff, Joe and I were like the three stooges at times. We would laugh and joke until we ran out of laughter, take a break and do it all over again. When I was 17, we started a country band and Jeff played lead guitar. We played several gigs together, including one for the entire Clopton High School where I graduated.
Jeff taught himself to play guitar, piano and eventually any instrument with strings. He was probably the most talented musician I have had the privilege to share a stage with, an event that happened way too infrequently. But I cherish every second I spent with the other two stooges.
Miss Judy was our biggest fan. She said our harmony was like that family harmony that is so rare. I have not sang with the Allwood brothers since the late 90's I guess. I always thought we would do a reunion show at our old high school when we were old, gray and wildly successful.
That show will have to be in some other place and time because Jeff passed away March 20th, 2009. He was an inspiration to us all by always pursuing his dream of playing music for a living, which is all he ever did.
I am going to miss my friend. Life is short folks, don't waste a second.
Peace and love to all,
Friday, March 20, 2009
She said Daddy I think I know what heaven's like
and I hope I get to go again tonight.
I wish that you could come with me,
I would love for you to see.
Cause when I dream, I'm running. When I dream, I'm free
Running round the playground like I don't have a care.
When I dream, I'm free.
I know it's not you fault that I'm this way
and I think I'm getting stronger everyday
but when I finally have to go don't cry at all, cause you know.
When I dream, I'm running. When I dream, I'm free.
Dancing on a giant stage like nobody's there.
When I dream, I'm free.
Nobody has to wait on me, nobody has to care for me,
nobody has to push my chair around.
Cause when I dream, I'm free.
(This is some lyrics from a song I am waiting to record)
Monday, March 16, 2009
Some see the glass half full, some see it half empty, some can't see the glass at all for all the drama in their life.
I see the glass full of life-giving water and am thankful for every drop. I see the reflection of a beautiful sunrise, an image of a child running through a sprinkler on a sweltering summer day, a boat dock with a father and son sitting there fishing, a young couple washing their first brand-new car.
I see a young boy being baptized by his father. I see a doctor washing his hands just before delivering my child. I see her mother giving her a bath for the first time.
So, yeah, my glass is half full.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Gratitude is one of my secrets to staying happy, upbeat and positive. I bet I whisper, "thank you" under my breath 100 times a day. When I get up in the morning and my feet hit the floor, I say "thank you".
There are so many million things to be thankful for. Do the old-fashioned thing and make a list if you need to be reminded. Here's my shortlist:
Kristi...my significant other, Cagney...my daughter, Mitch...my son, Kristi's kids Matt, Rusty and Bryant, sports, music, my guitar, my talent, St. Louis Cardinals, baseball, life, my health, love...and on and on and on.
Take time each day to give thanks. Don't just do it on Sunday or when you think about it. It will really get you on that next level of happy.
Peace and joy,
Friday, March 13, 2009
My brother told me once, "Phil, you have to leave the tribe without them knowing". I have thought about this statement many times over the last 6 years since moving the Nashville.
We all have our own path we dream of following and my path led me several hours away from family. I do miss them and I know I miss out on a lot, but leaving was the best thing I could have ever done. I have grown more as a person in the last 6 years than the previous 39 years. I think having the protection of a family can be a hinderence to personal growth, especially if you are a "pleaser" like me.
But the six-hour seperation makes our family functions even more special. I can't wait for the next reason to celebrate.
I have a fabulous core family and love them very much. But I had to leave the tribe to follow my path to self actualization. It has been an amazing 6 years and I look forward to the future and the rest of my journey.
Peace and joy to all,
Thursday, March 5, 2009
It's a common occurrence. I meet someone at a songwriter night or function and get their card. Later I find them on myspace or one of the other social networking sites, add them as a friend and then what...I listen to their music and read their story.
There is nothing more inspiring to me than to read about someone, the ways they are pursuing their dream and how they got to Nashville. Then, when you listen to their music, you get the whole story. There are some amazing, talented songwriters in town that will never get a cut. I love them all!
I wonder how many times you have accepted a friend request and just moved on to the next website. How many times have you actually listened to their music and taken the time to leave them some love on their comment page or dropped them an email? Have you ever put them in your top friends just because they impressed you? Do you know how much that would mean to them to see you value their talent?
Okay I am lecturing...haha. I just know as a songwriter all we want is someone to listen...an audience. You don't even have to like it...just give us our 15 minutes of fame on your computer. Then...leave a comment. Spread the love, it will return to you ten fold.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Most of you know the story behind the song. It was written in the 1700's by John Newton, a former slave trader. This is a perfect example of a song taking on a life of its own. It has been sung, performed, written about, made into a movie and inspired so many people to thank God for this life we have been given.
I would have to say it is one of my favorite songs. I refer to it in a poem I wrote about my Dad. I sing it sometimes when I am driving or just doing nothing. I have heard so many versions of it and each one is wonderful. It was sung at my Dad's funeral and a bagpipe version was played at the cemetery. Each time I hear it I am filled with emotion, memories, happiness and gratitude.
A friend posted a link to an awesome version by a quartet that I had never heard of. Please click on the link and listen, I was not able to embed the video into my blog. It is truly "Amazing". You won't be disappointed.
"Amazing Grace" sung by II Divo
Peace to all,
Monday, March 2, 2009
I once read an article that said it takes an average of 8 years to be successful as an artist or songwriter in Nashville. I don't read that magazine anymore.
Like I said in an earlier post, our job is to believe. Look, I didn't dream about being a songwriter all my life, preparing my move to Nashville, landing the job that got me here, packing all my stuff to head south, writing more songs, honing my craft and doing all the things to be successful, just to have someone tell me I haven't been here long enough.
To me it is a simple list: write it, record it, sing the hell out of it. If I focus on these three things...the rest will work itself out. A song will find its artist just like two soul mates.
I believe, I believe, I believe.
Peace and keep the faith,
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Here's a quick Wayne Dyer story and a perfect example of the law of attraction. It was 2000 and I was in a horrible relationship, considering selling my guitars (I had already sold one) and never playing music again or writing or anything. I was at the lowest point that I can remember. I was sitting in my living room pondering everything and wondering what the hell I did to deserve all this...pity party. Deep down I still wanted to move to Nashville, write music, perform and live the dream, but it seemed so far away, I was ready to quit.
I was flipping the channels and paused on PBS just long enough to hear Wayne Dyer say, "Don't let your music die with you." Now that made me immediately break down. It was like God himself had spoken in an audible voice straight to me.
So, that week I wrote a song, "Don't let your fire go out.". It was the first of many songs that jump started me. A year later, the bad relationship was history, I was living in Nashville and starting a wonderful journey that has led me right here and now.
It was an amazing experience and I will never forget it. I just wanted to share that with you all.
Keep the faith!!
Peace and love,
My favorite Songwriter Joel Shewmake
Quote of the year...
“Be not the judges of men, but love your brothers and sisters, and find ways to reach out to them in common goals and aspirations. Where there is love in common, the divisions of creed will melt away and reveal the true nature of man’s eternal destiny -- one of unity in purpose, to be perfect as the Father is perfect."
Author Brilliant but Unknown
Author Brilliant but Unknown
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