It’s in the Way

‘It’s in the way’ by Dean Snider

“It’s in the way that you hold me tight,

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Darlene ‘s gift of laughter… laughing with me (and possibly at me) in Donegal, Ireland.

It’s in the secrets that we share at night,

It’s in the warmth of your loving arms…

that I submit to your tender charms.”

 

Love is a wonderful thing! I penned this song in what seemed like 10 minutes. The music is simple, and the lyrics flowed easily from a very grateful place within me that has experienced them first hand.

My new favorite thing… dancing around the living room to this song with the one who inspired it.

Cheers,

Dean

Long May You Run Old Friend

 

And then there were two.

Sometimes referred to as the ‘Empty Nest,’ our home now has two birds living in it. Although our youngest, Bailey, is still in college it does seem our three fabulous young women have left us to return to Canada. Oddly, the last to leave, however, was not one of our girls at all but rather the family car that was the icon of their childhood.

‘Woody’ was there for the family trips. He transported our three girls and dog Diefenbaker to woody christmasBC or Saskatchewan for family visits and to the Gulf / San Yuan Islands for camping tips. He carried the Christmas tree home each December and helped teach the girls to drive. He was high school transportation. He was the 20-year identifying feature – at first in our driveway and then later on the street in front of the house. And he was loved… almost as if this marvelous hunk of machinery were a real person. If you ask any of our girls… he is!

young Bailey with woody

To put it in perspective, Bailey was less that one year old when ‘Woody’ joined the family. Later this month she will go travel Europe with friends… without us. I love these two pics of Bailey with this car (family member) that she loved so much.

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Madison was first to pass her driver training course in ‘Woody.’

Kennedy was the first to drive him away alone.

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This past fall when Kennedy moved back to Vancouver after a lovely year (lovely for us, probably frustrating for her) at home it was only a week or two later when ‘Woody’ went to live “at the farm.” A nice man in a neighboring town came and picked him up. He had the tools, know-how, and patience for a little restoration project.

Long may you Run old Friend!

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Woody in Water Colour

It was a sad day. Darlene and I actually cried together when he drove away. Of course, it was not just the loss of ‘Woody’ but rather the symbolic end to a wonderful period in the life of our family. This ending, however, is also the start of this new and wonderful ’empty nest’ life that Darlene and I now share together.

three crazy girls

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So, although it may have been sad to see Woody move on, it is also really great to see these three fabulous young ladies launch into adulthood. And beyond that, it is my great privilege to start and finish each day in the arms a most fabulous love and friend, Darlene (Martens) Snider.IMG_1793

It was this thought, in October of 2016, that was the origin of this song. The Neil Young reference is intended.

Enjoy!

‘Arms of Love’ by Dean Snider
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This embroidered image was Madison’s creation, a handmade gift to me for Christmas 2016

Equal Pay Day

 

Today is national Equal Pay day. Although this post and song don’t relate directly to compensation, I thought it relevant enough to share.

By some serendipitous event last week I had the opportunity to sit at a table with Darlene and four other strong, independent thinking, female leaders; each with their own distinct strengths, communications styles, and spheres of influence. What a privilege… an opportunity! I spoke some…but felt compelled mostly to listen and to learn about the real experiences, thoughts, and ideas of these remarkable women.

It struck me that these women, all different in style, individual strengths and even perspective, each had a unique and essential voice… that needs to be heard! None of
these individuals speak for ALL women yet each voice is vital and adds something of great value to the conversation… any conversation; personal, local, national or global.

All too often the masculine action of choice is to speak up, speak loud and take charge. I was reminded in this recent conversation that, preferably, my role as a male feminist is to stand alongside, to listen and learn, and advocate when an opportunity presents… probably in a setting where the female voice is, for whatever reason, not present. If provided a seat at the table there are a vast array of individuals, each with a shared experience as women existing in a male-dominated power structure and also uniquely different in strengths and approaches, that hold many essential keys to making the world a better place for our children and grandchildren. If I can be a supportive ally and help along the way, if I can follow and point out the path that they are forging for themselves and the next generation, I think that is a good outcome.

I have heard it said that when women do well, everyone does well. I believe it to be true!

Consider this post an encouragement to my male friends out their…  look for an opportunity to listen to and learn from the strong, independent and free-thinking women in your lives. I guarantee you will be better for the experience.

And ya… they deserve nothing less than Equal Pay!

Emotive Man by Dean Snider

This song began as a way of poking a little fun at myself for being an emotionally sensitive man. Perhaps because I do value this trait in myself, the song somehow morphed into a satirical statement on a man’s role as a feminist and a caution to myself (and perhaps others) from patting myself on the back too readily for being ‘outspoken’ as a male feminist. I think it is a little bit funny. The subtle Carly Simon lyrical reference is intentional and I particularly like the way the third verse contradicts itself in juxtaposed halves… an example of my dark humour  🙂 Please take as tongue and cheek…

Cheers!

Dean

A time to reflect

Time is constantly moving. Yesterday while enjoying a beverage with Darlene at a local watering hole a Steve Miller Band classic played in the room. The unforgettable funky guitar riff, the 70’s futuristic synth runs and ‘do do dodo’s’ were followed by the familiar lyric that runs throughout… ‘time keeps on slippin slippin slippin, into the future.’

How true this is. Time just keeps going… it stops for nothing…  not for life changing events, nor for life-ending events… significant happenings, small joys, deep wounds or wonderful jubilations can all take place and time will not stop to acknowledge any of it. Time really does keep ‘slippin into the future’…

Left unchecked that is really an alarming thought!

It strikes me that rather than letting time slip away I could instead ‘make time’ to reflect on what has happened in my past, what is happening now and what I want for my future.

I know many would agree with me on the value of reflection. Many choose a weekly church service as a reflective practice. That is no longer my way. Rather, my ‘church’ may be sitting on my front steps with guitar in hand and, expressing a meditation musically, allowing what’s inside to come out. Sometimes it takes place while connecting with the beauty of nature. Sometimes, in a quietly shared moment with my closest friend and love.

However it happens, I find that I need to be intentional about taking time to reflect. I need to plan for it… do it on a regular schedule. Because if I don’t stop to reflect on my life –  what I value, what I need, who needs me or where I am headed – indeed ‘Time’ won’t do it for me.

On one such occasion, my reflection brought me this instrumental piece. I recorded it yesterday and offer it to you today.

How have you built a reflective practice into your life? I would love to hear about it!

Cheers,

Dean

Cognitive Surplus

Have you ever had a thought, or a series of musings, that would not leave you alone? Has your mind ever subjected you to a seemingly endless working of some question, challenge or problem? Did it persist throughout the day and into the night? Have you tossed and turned in your bed as your semi-conscious brain struggled to find a solution? Has a dream or semi-lucid state presented you with an answer that, by morning fall, had been reduced to a haze of incoherent images or ideas?

Yes? Me too!

I’m so damn tired I’ve been thinking when I should be sleeping. I’m so damn tired got to change up these hours I’ve been keeping…

… Cognitive Surplus

Trey Anastasio of the band Phish described a similar experience in ‘Sleep,’ a short track from their 8th studio album ‘Farmhouse.’ The lyric begins:

I can’t describe the feeling when
I’m in my bed asleep and then
I wake up with a vision blurred
and all my efforts are deterred
to reconstruct this image lost

On one (of many) such occasions, after a long night of semi-conscious problem solving, I awoke with only a vague memory of some brilliant (it must have been right?) solution. ?Rather than simply accepting the futility of this ‘mental pollution’ that had invaded my sleep I decided to fight back. I chose to make something out of nothing. I rolled out of bed, walked straight to our music room, grabbed my guitar and, within an hour or so (‘or so’ because I kind of lost track of time) wrote ‘Cognitive’ Surplus.’ This was only the second song that I had penned at the time. It attempts to capture this ‘vexation,’ shared by so many, in creative expression rather than just merely resigning to it.

“A helpful reprieve, this mental vacation until my next vexation”

In grappling with the lyric, I was intrigued by a phrase coined by my good friend Ron Pike. In one of our many (and dearly appreciated) conversations, Ron spoke about “confronting the saboteur on your shoulder.”  In a discussion about the pursuit of achievement he was referring, I believe, to the need to fight the debilitating effects of self-doubt.   As I considered Ron’s idea of negativity as a  ‘voice on my shoulder’  it occurred that there is another voice within as well… With this powerful notion in mind, and I thank Ron for his role in sparking this thought, I completed my lyrical bridge.

I like this song as it takes a fun and not so serious look at a shared human experience. I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed writing and recording!

Cheers,

Dean

‘Together’ … a song to my Valentine.

This woman, Darlene (Martens) Snider…

 

… has been my partner and best friend since we were both… img_1382

 

 

… quite young.

 

 

 

She is a wonderful mother and role model to our three daughters.

And these strong, intelligent, and thoughtful young women have grown in her likeness.

 

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She is Fun…

 

… She is Beautiful

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… She is Adventurous…

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… she carries herself with Grace…

 

And she is smoking Hot in her BMW Riding Jacket!

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Happy Valentines to my love, life partner through thick and thin, and best friend…

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This woman, Darlene (Martens) Snider, has loved me at my best… and at my worst… I am full of humility and gratitude to have her in my life.

Darlene, please know that you are deeply loved. Be mine forever, as I will be yours!

Dean

Faith and Doubt

I have not met a human being that has never experienced doubt. I am pretty sure I don’t want to. Doubt, it seems to me, is just part of our shared human experience. Faith is also a shared human experience. Humans around the globe have ‘faith’ in common. They may place their faith in different entities – God, Allah, Science, Atheism, etc… –  but they do have ‘faith’ in common.

When it comes to Faith and Doubt, there is no shortage of perspectives. A quick google search reveals how differently people think on the topic.faith-and-doubt-cant-live-in-same-mindSome would argue that faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind. They suggest as the Thomas S. Monson quote depicts, that one will necessarily ‘dispel the other.’ To follow this logic, faith would leave one without any doubt about the object of their worship.

anne-lamottOthers, such as Anne Lamott, would suggest the exact opposite. Lamott argues that certainty rather than doubt is actually the opposite of faith. Philosopher and theologian Paul Tillich suggests that doubt is an essential “element of faith” (Dynamics if Faith, Tillich, 1957).

 

faith-and-doubt  Given this line of thought, it could be said that faith actually NEEDS doubt. One definition of faith is ‘a firm belief in something for which there is no proof’ (Merriam Webster). In the absence of proof can there really be a certainty? I think not although I know many who believe there can be. They are certain of it.hand-in-hand

I like the picture of Faith and Doubt, as if they were characters in a story, walking hand in hand. A leap of faith, I believe, is only a leap of faith if there is doubt. Absent doubt, it would be better characterized as a leap of certainty.  Certainty scares me. There have been too many atrocities committed in the name ‘god’ by folks who were certain they were doing the right thing…

Anyway, I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic. I wrote some of my thoughts on Faith and Doubt into this song. “Is the struggle what it’s all about? In the darkness just trying to see…”

Cheers!

Dean