Verdant Reflections

 I find myself feeling quite reflective this week. As I've been outdoors, seeing the leaves about to burst open on our miniature crabapple tree, and cleaning up the dead grasses from last fall, I am flooded with memories of our first spring here. Those first months I was daily overwhelmed by the richness of having a whole house to settle into, unpacking games and books that had been in storage for 2 years while we lived in limbo and watching sunsets from our westward windows every evening. Going back just a bit farther in time I think of the wonder of temporarily settling into my brother's house on the farm in the spring of 2010, relishing the quiet, scenic countryside and the pleasure of having neighbors who knew our names and faces. The gals at the one grocery store in town had time to ask how I was while I bought our fruit and milk and Miss Pam in the children's department of the library located hard to find books for me and planned free, fun events for the oldest kids in my house who had just moved away from all their friends. There were folks in 2010 who had Ted come to Kiwanis clubs and community events, and churches who invited Ted into the warmth of their services to play Christmas music. Ted's college roommate connected us with art festivals and pastors and businesses through that first year of full time business and folks shared our business cards and youtube videos with their families. Friends gave us marketing advice and free photo shoots and strangers sometimes purchased $100 worth of CDs just when we needed to buy diapers and groceries. But despite all these wonders, the most amazing thing we received in those years was you. So many of you began to share your heart and stories with us. Your emails trickled in after Fan Friday videos were released, often sharing laughter, attaboys, and sometimes even tears. You watered the seeds of hope in our hearts that the uncertain future ahead could be full of good and plenty and helped us cast off the notion that any artist (and his family) must be a starving one.

 It was a time of foundation building for our family and for Ted's business. I have vivid images of the beginnings of Fan Friday, birthed there amid the hay fields in the summer and our living room throughout the winter. We hung quilts on the walls and tried desperately to light the low ceilinged room well enough that you could see Ted's face when we filmed in the shadows of the midnight oil. I find myself reflecting on those years as we pack Ted for the Go West 2015 tour this May because we are still talking about the same things we were then- how to manage our time, how to set up good work habits and family time, how to better connect with the folks who enjoy Ted's music, and how to express our delight in continuing to raise our family in this business.

 Ted just did a house show just last weekend that reminds me of those first years and of the treasure of our connection to you today. In January a thoughtful wife in MI secretly began planning a house show for her husband, to surprise him on his birthday in April. She cleverly disguised the plans as a potential upcoming house show they would host in July. But just a week or two before the secret date this wife's best friend suddenly died and she had to reveal to her husband her plans so they could deal with all of the unexpected changes taking place. Amid the upheaval they still had Ted come, and they blessed his socks off with their humor and spunk and the enthusiasm that packed their house to standing room only with guests who have now become our friends too. When Ted comes home and tells me the stories, I find myself wondering if he will ever pursue many large concert halls because of the huge fulfillment that comes from having time for personal interaction with you in house shows. Most nights like this I am choked up with the wealth of having such generous, open-hearted people our lives.

 So this one's for you. Because whether you're playing your CD for a neighbor or hitting the like button on facebook, you are sharing your time, your talent, and your loved ones with us. Like the spring leaves about to unfurl on our apple trees, these little actions are soon becoming a glorious extension of verdant life and joy. And hope is carried outward and upward from person to person, contagious, sparkling and vibrant.