October Snow

Today marks the first snow of the season.

Snow has now coated the roads, the grass and the trees with their unfallen leaves still in the process of changing.

Some people don’t like the snow. All it reminds them of is the slippery roads, the cold, the fact that they’ll have to clean their cars off and the idea that snow is basically a nuisance.

Others, like me, love the snow. The first snow means the beginning of winter. It brings memories of warm sweaters, cozy blankets, soft hats and scarfs, hot chocolate or a warm cup of tea, snowball fights, building snowmen, taking a winter walk and admiring its beauty as each flake glides to the ground.

I always think there’s something special about that first snow. It’s like a first kiss – winter’s first kiss.

And it’s beautiful and breathtaking as it happens.

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Hope in the Dark Places

“Hope is the anthem of my soul.” – Switchfoot

Hope lives in the dark places.

It lives in the broken, cracked recesses of our world. It lives in the tragedy and despair. It lives in the natural disasters and the wars.

But like the moon during the day or the sun at night, each still exists – much like hope. Even though it might be difficult to see, hope is always there.

I think that it’s during the hard times, the tough experiences, in our lives that we choose to see either the darkness or the light. It’s at those times that we can choose to despair and be dragged down into darkness or choose hope and rise into the light.

It’s been my personal experience that it’s easier to see the negative rather then the positive. It’s easier to allow the bad to overpower the good, but it’s at those times, I believe, that we have to fight a little harder.

These personal moments aren’t the only times hope is alive. Not only does hope live within us, but, sometimes, a single person can be the hope for someone else.

This hope can be the doctor for a patient, a stranger helping someone in need, having that person in your life who’s that positive, bright spot or a variety of other situations.

The hope that lives in this world can be seen everyday, if only we’re willing to open our eyes. And, sometimes, it’s that little nugget of hope that gives us the strength to keep going.

The Beautiful Chaos of an Aftershow

The buses were still parked in front of the venue – The House of Blues.

Switchfoot’s gear was still being loaded into the trailer.

A small crowd of people lingered, knowing the possibility of what could come next.

They were waiting for him. They were waiting for that Tweet, that Facebook post, those wonderful words that would prolong the magic of the night.

The crew continued loading the band’s gear as people stood, scattered, on the sidewalk near the buses with their eyes on their phones. After an hour, the message came through. Anyone who understood Jon’s tendency for doing aftershows knew what was happening as soon as they saw a mass of people moving toward the back end of the Red Sox stadium – The Green Monster. Sure enough, Jon had a few more songs left in him.

He walked down the sidewalk, guitar in hand. People followed and surrounded him. He crossed the street, scouting a place to stop and sing, eventually coming across a pair of plastic trash cans which he climbed on top of in the way only Jon would do.

That’s the chaotic beauty of an aftershow, you never know what’s going to happen. People crowd around, not knowing what songs he’s going to sing. Sometimes he doesn’t even know what songs he going to sing. He’ll ask the crowd what they want to hear. He’ll give them option and play a song based on what the people say.

The songs are stripped down, acoustic. There’s something special about there only being a guitar and a man’s voice to carry the notes. Most times people will lend their voices too and raise the notes higher as the melody floats through the night.

That’s the beauty of an aftershow. There’s no drums, no electric guitars, no microphones, no lights, no stage. There’s simply a single guitar, voices and the gift of music.