Long-distance Love: Accepting the Gift

As Freddy wrote in
Long-Distance Love: A Gift from the Heavens:

“There are many types of love indeed, but to be blessed to have a true love from afar also has to be one of the hardest. There is an old saying that goes, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” You finally fall in love with someone that you can’t wrap your arms around each and every night as you would want to. Then, you have to start from the beginning and ask yourself: Are you really in love at all?”

Freddy and I are blessed to know the meaning and experience of real and lasting, unconditional love. However, it’s true that nothing in life comes easy, and anything worth having is worth waiting for. It’s a personal choice and sometimes a very conscious choice that takes time and effort. But when you find yourself in a relationship worth keeping, it’s important to make that choice as early and as firmly as possible. In other words, either you’re in, or you’re not. You’ve got it, or you don’t. You put the time in, or move on. Moving on is not the same as failing. No one should judge anyone else’s relationship. And long-distance relationships in particular don’t work for everyone. But if you’re in it for the long haul, here are 3 things you must have to make your relationship work.

1. Care.

It sounds simple, and it is. But life has a way of putting up roadblocks, circumstances, negativity, worries, other people’s opinions, and so on. Any number of things can cloud your judgment and make you lose focus on how much you care for your partner. However, that focus on how much you do care is essential, and without it, no relationship can last, whether you’re separated by a moment, a job, or months at a time.

2. Commitment.

You can have all the care in the world. But without the commitment to express it, it’s just lip service. The phrase “put up or shut up” comes to mind. We’re not talking about renting a plane to write romantic messages in the sky. But without some level of commitment in the relationship, you are separated by much more than distance.

In our case, we both knew we wanted a long term relationship. We didn’t start out looking for that with each other. But deep down we knew we didn’t want a fling, someone to party with, friends with benefits, or anything less than an exclusive, monogamous relationship. If you and your partner are not on the same page with your relationship goals, it may be time to move on. On the other hand, if you can agree on the type of commitment you want, and are willing to give, your relationship will be that much stronger.

3. Communication.

I can’t emphasize this enough. Sadly I know couples who live in the same house and sleep in the same room, spending all their days and nights together, who never truly communicate. And it shows in their relationship. They may argue. Or give each other the all-too-noisy silent treatment. Either way the culprit is a lack of communication.

In our age of technology, we have absolutely no excuse not to communicate. It’s no big deal to post pics to your friends on social media; text your doctor, your lawyer, and your mom all in less than a minute; and schedule a meeting by video chat, all while balancing a cup of coffee between your legs (by the way, don’t do that!) We can do all these things virtually without thought, while listening to a podcast or watching a video. And the key is, we think nothing of it. So why can’t we remember to check in with the person we claim to love?

You’ve all got it easy. You can text, chat, post, swipe, tap, and click your way to all kinds of connections. In other words, you have no excuse for the silent treatment. Freddy and I have always had two things: email and phone calls.

That’s right. I said email and phone calls. No text, no chat, no video chat because we can’t see, no social media content, no posting, no likes and shares, no snapping, crackling and popping (Ok, I’m getting carried away here.) But you get my point. For us every conversation has had our full attention.

And in a very real sense, it’s the attention, not just the act of communicating, that has kept us together. It’s easy to communicate. But it can be difficult to communicate clearly and well. Especially during stressful times, it’s important to choose your words carefully, be mindful of your partner’s feelings, and keep your finger far away from the hang-up button. We all make mistakes, sometimes repeatedly. But in a loving relationship, you can share your feelings, your needs, and ask for and receive forgiveness for those mistakes. Without good communication, this is virtually impossible.

Care, commitment, and communication. It couldn’t be simpler. And it couldn’t be harder. Relationships show us what we’re made of, and long-distance relationships do this exceptionally well. It’s character-building if you can bear it. And if you truly love someone, it’s worth every moment, every misstep, and every mile between you. Because sooner or later, Lord willing, your care, commitment and communication will bring you together physically as well.

Related

My Greatest Gift

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From Healing Sounds to Healing Songs

Sound healing and harp therapy are not new ideas. As far back as Biblical time, the harp has been used as an instrument of healing, stress relief, and transformation. In more recent decades, the practice, study, and certification of harp therapists has brought this healing work into clinical and scientific communities. But this story is not about research – those interested can learn more about harp therapy from many wonderful books and organizations. Rather, this is my personal experience in a harp therapy session.

In July, 2010, I attended a Healing Harp workshop. The purpose was to learn improvisation for use in clinical musical settings. I am not a harp or music therapist, but I was interested in free musical expression and meeting other local harpists. The workshop was a success, and I enjoyed learning new bass patterns, rhythmic styles, and different genres of harp music.

After the workshop Sarajane Williams gave a demonstration of Vibroacoustic Harp Therapy. I can only describe it as full relaxation through sound. Sarajane asked a series of personal background questions, whether I was taking any medications or experiencing bleeding or breathing problems, and where I felt pain or tension. I had a lot of neck and shoulder tension after playing harp all day and also had a mild headache.

After this short profile, I leaned back in a 0 gravity chair. I’ve been wary of dentist chairs before, but after a few moments I got used to laying back with my feet elevated. Pillows cushioned my head and neck, and for longer sessions a blanket was available.

A pedal harp, like you would see at an orchestral concert, was in the room. It was amplified and connected to the chair. When Sarajane played the harp, I could hear the un amplified sound in the room, coming from the harp itself. However, I also felt it as vibrations in the chair. After some testing of which notes provided relaxation and pain relief, Sarajane improvised on the harp. The music was designed, in the moment, to use the notes I found most soothing.

It sounds simple, and it was. However, Vibroacoustic Harp Therapy offered pain relief and a sense of well-being I hadn’t experienced until then. I’ve always been interested in alternative and
complimentary medicine and somewhat in sound healing. But the personal experience of, “The power of sound is mine,” if you will, was always just beyond my reach. After that session, I realized how truly healing sound and music can be.

Since my experience with Vibroacoustic Harp Therapy, I’ve brought healing intentions into my own music. The mystical, connecting, universal nature of sound have become real to me. I believe they have always been there, but my focus was elsewhere – on pain relief, on the “next thing to do,” on other results or accomplishments. When I’ve noticed this and focused on sound as meditation, other outcomes fall away. In sound meditation, I experience oneness.

Science is now validating what mystics, seers and sages have known through the ages: that sound transforms and heals. Personally, I became a Music Minister to share this healing power. We can theorize and philosophize about sound for years to come!

However, nothing can replace your own healing experience, whether it is pain relief, relaxation, sleep, meditation, or mental clarity and a feeling of being refreshed and re-focused. We accept that music touches people mentally and emotionally – you have favorite songs for different moods. Taken further, music is a powerful force that should be shared, and used for good. As a songwriter, my prayer is to do just that.

Mother’s Day Thoughts and Blessings

Mother’s Day Thoughts and Blessing’s

by Frederick Douglass Grimes, III

Love and Peace to all of God’s children. With only four day’s until that special day we call Mother’s Day, I feel compelled to express my thought’s somehow. As far back as any of us can remember, there have always been Mother’s, most notably Mary Mother of Jesus. Now I would Imagine there are few Mother’s of this world who could come close to the mother of Jesus. But in any event, they still deserve our utmost respect and reverence.

For one, they are the one’s who brought us In to this world. Many children of the world are raised by adoptive parent’s, who most times do a much better job than the real one’s. But no child Is expected to be able to determine who their parent’s are, only hope and pray that they love us and hopefully are able to perform the task that they decided to bring upon themselves by either having us or taking us In.

Mother’s Day is by far one of the most respected day’s of the year, and rightfully so. Some of us are blessed enough to have Mother’s who make incredible sacrifices. But sad to say there are some who totally forget the meaning of the title mother. There are many reasons for this sad state of occurrences. But none of them can be blamed on the child, because he or she did not ask to be brought In to this world. There are also children and adults Who sad to say, through no fault of their own, have Mother’s, fathers, and also grandparents who don’t even recognize their own children or grandchildren due to many diseases. These are problems of the world that we have no control over, and only God has the answers.

What determines a good and decent child of God Is a person who can somehow rise above parents such as our mothers who might not treat us with the love, care, and respect that we certainly deserve. Being a true child of the Lord, not just In name only, we show our mother’s and whoever else the love and respect they deserve. At the end of the day, it makes us better human beings.

To all of those mothers who somehow cannot be with their children, because of circumstances that are out of their control, remember one thing. The Lord put mothers on this earth for a reason, and no child ever forgets to love their mothers, even If not with them In the human sense. But there Is and always will be a spiritual bond between them that will never be broken. Only the good Lord knows our future.

God bless all of the Mother’s of the world! And a very blessed happy Mother’s Day!

Sincerely,

The Blind Poet, Freddy G.

Lost

I’ve lost things in a moment,
And yet, I still must say
That, looking back upon it,
I haven’t lost a thing!

I’ve loved a person dearly,
But it was not to be.
And so I lost my someone,
But I am glad and free.

Oh, I regret but nothing,
Not one thing I have done,
For despite all life’s trials,
I haven’t lost, but won!

I’ve won because I’ve learned from
Ev’ry experience.
I’m not a football player,
But I play good defense!

I see the glass as half full;
I rarely empty it.
In my life there’s a motto:
Try! Ask! Then deal with it!

I’ve lost things in a moment,
And yet, I still must say
That, looking back upon it,
I haven’t lost a thing!

No, I regret but nothing,
Not one thing I have done,
For despite all life’s trials,
I haven’t lost, but won!


I wrote this poem in high school, and it still holds true today!

Smiles: What the World Needs More Of

Smilemaker Lyrics

Smiles: What the World Needs More Of

by Frederick Douglass Grimes, III

Blessings to all of Gods children. The definition of a smile is, “An expression of the face that shows pleasure or amusement,” a show of joy so to speak. Other terms are a smirk or grin. But a smile Is never defined as a frown or any other show of sadness or displeasure.

I have always heard that It takes more face muscles to frown than to smile. Growing up I remember this song that goes, “When you’re smiling the whole world smiles with you,” and I believe that to be true. In a world of turmoil and confusion, smiles are needed now more than ever before.

One of my favorite groups Is one that calls themselves Earth Wind and Fire, the elements of the universe. In one of their songs, there’s a verse that says, “Every time you smile you bless a child.” I have always thought those words to be so profound. One reason Is simply this. Think about this for a minute. Any time you greet a child, the first thing you do Is smile. To any child that means you are a friend and someone they can trust, who will show them love and friendship.

As adults some people learn that a smile Is not always as It seems. For a blind person any time we greet someone, After a while we can Instantly feel the presence of a genuine smile compared to a fake one. I honestly believe the good Lord has truly blessed us with a sixth sense of some kind to make up for what we have lost. To me It’s just another one of the Lords many blessings to us all. For myself personally, I make It a habit of smiling each and every day that the Lord above has made It possible for me to make It thru the night. And see the world with spiritual sight, which Is much more of a true blessing than human sight.

Smile every day, for we always have something to smile about. May God bless us all.

The Blind Poet, Freddy G.

Click here to read more.

My Greatest Gift

On this December 20th, I must say that despite its ups and downs, or more accurately, downs and ups, 2017 has been a good year for me. But as you read the following, remember I said downs and ups. And also remember it was a good year.

I spent January through March eating vegan food, carried over from October, 2016. It was my second try at veganism, and I don’t know whether I failed, or it’s just not for me. I also don’t know if it matters.

Little did I know the Ides of March, March 15th, would be such a “lucky” day for me! Looking back that day will always stand out in my memory. That’s when
The Blind Poet, Freddy G.
joined Behind our Eyes, a group for writers with disabilities. I will never forget what I thought: “Freddy G. He’s either a rapper or a sax player.” Well, he is neither, but he does love music. We truly connected through our writing, which is spiritual and inspirational for both of us. We value honesty, positivity, and spirituality, and that is very clear in our writing. Because of this we became friends before I even realized it. Now hold that thought, because Freddy is featured in later events this year.

Starting in February and through Lent, I wrote extra songs, with the encouragement of a pastor and 2 friends. You may know I’ve made the commitment to write one song every week. I am happy if there are extra ones, beyond the one I’ve promised, but usually they are just that – extras. They don’t fulfill the weekly requirement. Well, this year was different. Stay tuned!

April was National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo), and just like last year, I wrote a poem a day, or 36-in-30, because there were some Limerick collections. Also in April I was shaken by the first of 2 car accidents. I was bruised, and the chest pain lasted several weeks. Fortunately, no one in the vehicle was seriously injured. However, I’ve had trouble riding in certain vehicles, and with certain drivers ever since. After the accident I started sharing work with Freddy that I didn’t share with others. It was a gradual opening up that just felt natural.

April was a busy month, as my ordination license renews annually, and I am always proud of that. In addition, I had the opportunity to sing for residents of a local nursing home. I was worried the residents wouldn’t be able to relate to my original songs. But I worried for nothing. I don’t know who enjoyed the afternoon more – me or the residents. One man said, “I could have listened to you all day.” And a woman who heard me sing before requested some songs. They weren’t on my list, but I had to do them. It’s not every day you get requests for your own work; so that was an honor to me.

In May Freddy and I started talking on the phone. Again it was one of those things whose impact you don’t know until later. And it had quite an impact!

Several things happened in June; let’s take the less fortunate ones first. Turning to reach for something, I tripped over a toy truck, knocked into a small table, fell, and sprained my right pinkie. This is the same finger I fractured as a child; so I am blessed it didn’t break this time. I spent 4 weeks in a splint, playing only ukulele because it was easier on that hand. And every day Freddy emailed or called, asking, “How’s your finger? Did you have your coffee? Did you meditate today?” And still I didn’t realize what was happening. For lack of a better phrase, how blind could I be?

A second car accident shook me in June. No one was hurt, though we missed a telephone pole by about 2 feet! Why couldn’t they keep that detail to themselves? It didn’t help my nerves or blood pressure one bit. However, it certainly gave me something to be thankful for. As I said after the first one, “That could have been so much worse!” Not 3 minutes after I got out of the car, Freddy called and asked, “What’s wrong? Are you OK?” Our spiritual connection is the only explanation of how he knows these things, before I even speak.

The week after this accident, I ended a difficult friendship. And later that week, I received the most precious gift of a personal love poem from Freddy. We have been a happy couple since then.

July and August were quiet months. But at the end of August was the injury that inspired the song,
“Give Back to You.”

Freddy also wrote a story about how strong I was during the weeks when I wrote 3 songs instead of 6. Though I did not feel strong, his support and encouragement touched me deeply. Those extra songs from earlier in the year came in handy when I could not play, and didn’t know if I would ever play music again. I do play now, thank the Lord! But my hands need more caution than before.

In September hurricane Irma reared her ugly head, giving Freddy and me a literal storm to weather. And weather we did, with God’s protection and peace. It inspired the song,
“Centered in the Storm.”

That 7 weeks of muscular injury really put a damper on my plans. I had scheduled a trip to Miami for October, but was in too much pain to make travel either practical or fun. So with great regret I canceled the trip. That was another storm we had to face. But I turned 33 and celebrated my first enjoyable birthday in a long time. I got my cheesecake and one wonderful present, a story from Freddy. And near the end of October, songwriting resumed as usual. I remain truly grateful for that!

In November, the season of Thanksgiving, I made that trip to Miami. It was fun, beautiful, sweet, and lasting. It was great to spend time with Freddy and trade the Pennsylvania cold for sunny and 85 degrees, even if only for a weekend.

Now as I write this, it is Advent. In these weeks leading up to the celebration of Christ’s birth, I truly have a lot to be thankful for. In the words of one of my favorite Bible verses:

And now abide faith, hope, and love, these three. But the greatest of these is love.
–1 Cor. 13:13 (NASB)

May you be surrounded by love this season, from those around you and above all from the Spirit of Christ within you! Merry Christmas, and a blessed 2018!

Give back to You

If you received this post by email, click the URL to hear this song.

Behind the Song

For the past 7 weeks, I’ve been suffering after a muscular injury. I pulled my right arm so much that it still affects my back, neck, shoulder, arm, hand, and especially the fingers on that side. In fact, this is the first week I’ve been able to type more than a few words at a time. My faith, patience, and ability to do simple things have been tested beyond what I thought I could handle. And for a few weeks, I seriously questioned whether I would ever play an instrument or write a song again.

I have written 3 songs since this happened, when I usually write at least one every week. Recording and posting them was delayed, but at that point, rather delayed than not at all. Those songs are
Centered in the Storm,
Love You Like He Does,
and this one, which is truly a testomony and praise song for me. As the song says, “I am not my own.” I belong to the Lord of All, who has plans for us that we often don’t understand, and sometimes do not enjoy. 🙂

However, earlier in the year, during Lent, I wrote extra songs. This is also unusual. I’ve posted some of those in the past few weeks:
Think of Me,
It Took You,
and
Virtuous Woman.

Until now, extra songs have been just that–extra. I was glad to have them, but they didn’t count toward my weekly commitment to write one new song. I.e. extra ones don’t mean I’m off the hook and don’t have to write one next week. 🙂 But the Lord knew more than I did, of course. I believe He gave me those songs to fulfill my commitment to music, even when I couldn’t play.

I’m sure my explanation falls short… But I pray you can understand the divine plan, the hope, love, faith, and healing in this experience. And I pray it helps someone else. I couldn’t share this song without sharing the experience, so may it be an encouragement to you!

Pray with Me

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your everlasting love. Thank you for your presence that is everywhere all at once. In everything I experience, you are there. Nothing happens without your consent, and I am never alone. Thank you for bringing me through this and showing me again what an awesome, wonderful God you are.

I pray that all those going through hard times today and any day, may know your strength and peace that passes all human understanding. I pray you give them comfort during hardship, faith through uncertainty, and love even during loss.

My heart fills with gratitude for those who show us your love, support, and encouragement each day. Thank you for Freddy, who has been strong when I couldn’t be, prayed without ceasing, and shown me your light when I could only find darkness. I pray you send such a spiritual support and inspiration to everyone going through a difficult time. Darkness cannot last forever, and you always send us light when we need it most. For this and each breath you give me to praise you, I am truly grateful.

Bless all your children, dear Lord, and may each one realize we are truly safe in your care. May your will be done in every life, so that we may give you all glory and praise.

In your service, through Christ I pray.

Amen.

Give back to You – Lyrics

1. You gave me my hands
To do your will
And the talents I have,
Your purpose to fulfill.
So when I cannot work,
When I’m feeling hurt,
I brush off the dirt,
Remember their worth,
And I give my hands back to you.
Refrain:

2. You gave me my heart
To sing your song
And the love that I have
To pass along.
So when I hear no sound,
When I’m feeling down,
My heart is found
In your love that knows no bounds,
And I give my heart back to you.
Refrain:

3. You gave me my mind
To think of you
And the knowledge I have
To share your truth.
So when I cannot see,
When I’ve lost the dream,
I reach deep in me,
Where you never leave,
And I give my mind back to you.
Refrain:

Lord, I give my hands,
My heart and my mind back to you.

Refrain:
For I am not my own.
I am yours to shape and mold,
To have and to hold,
It is true.
You are my strength,
And I give my thanks,
And my hands, my heart,
And my mind all back to you.

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You Bring Me Back

The Father’s Child

The Work He Performs in Me

Changed (Because of You)