Life is short, be exceptional.

Hello friends and Ted Heads,

I've been working really hard these last couple of months on ideas and hopefully albums and greatness in my music. I've also heard stories from some of you about the changes that you've had this year so far and most of them just in the summer months here. 

For Donna and I, we had a really good friend pass away this last week. She was a wonderful human to say the least. Her husband played piano at our wedding and they have been involved in our lives for well over 20 years off and on. They knew me when I was 16 and later they knew Donna when she was about 18. Then Donna and I met and they did a lot of marriage counseling with us. They were also very instrumental in our lives once we moved back here to Indiana from the Chicago area back in 2010. We started talking with them about my music career and what we wanted it to look like. Through that time they coached us spiritually and in business. We spent many days laughing, planning, and in general sharing life together. Dawn's body will be laid to rest soon and then their family will be changed forever, never to be the same.

I know what that's like, although my brother Mike and I were the only ones at home when my dad died. But I do know how a family dynamic can change after one of the parents die. Our family took on a totally different feel and we had some growing pains.

I spent some time with Jeff, the husband, yesterday. I just wanted to get him out of the house so that he could talk about whatever he wanted. As he was sharing thoughts and memories with me, we laughed, cried, got angry, and sat in silence. It was wonderful. Dawn left behind 7 children, all at home, ages 25 down to 8. One story that he shared with me was a conversation between the oldest daughter, 25, and the youngest, 8. 

Oldest: "I'm so sorry that you lost your mom at such a young age. This must be really hard for you."
Youngest: "I think it's harder for you older ones. You have more memories with her."
Oldest: crying now..."I need a hug."

Such wisdom from such a small child. :)

I know that you all have had losses and pain in this life. I've talked with many of you about those times. I've even dedicated songs to some of you to help with the memories of it all. I'm always reminded at how simply short this life is. Time goes so fast and we really never know when we will leave and go to our real home. 

For me, I think of my kids, Donna, and of course all of you. What have I done to deserve all of you and what have I given and what will I leave you? For you I hope it's more than just music. Some of you are hammered dulcimer players that I've taught or shared times at festivals with. Maybe I've even inspired you to get better and love sharing your music more. Some of you just enjoy me, my family, and my music. Hopefully that music has touched you or encouraged you.

For any of those I'm so grateful and humbled. I'm just a simple man with many issues, and Lord knows I'm nowhere near to a reasonable human being. But I know that I've been given a gift and I work hard at making that gift something that can be used to reach whoever will be placed in my sphere of influence. I was challenged 4 years ago by God to "get good" on my instrument. If you're curious about that conversation, let me know and I'll share it. But since then, that's what I've been trying to do. Be exceptional. In life, in work, and in love. Okay, that sounds horribly Hollywood but it's true. 

Jeff and Dawn are and were exceptional people. In life, in faith, and in love. I hope that I have shown you exceptional music, love, and life these many years and I hope I've encouraged you to do the same. 

Lord bless all of you wherever you are and in whatever you're involved in. I love the Hebrew word Shalom. If you don't know the meaning of it, you should look it up. It's incredible and I wish it for all of you while you're here on this earth being exceptional.

Shalom,
Ted

5 comments

  • Bruce

    Bruce Arlington, TX

    That made me cry. When tempted to get in the dumps or resolve to self-pity over the "whatevers" of life, just read something like this and know that we aren't alone and there is always someone out there who is going through something more devastating...look for that person and help share the burden that they are carrying.

    That made me cry. When tempted to get in the dumps or resolve to self-pity over the "whatevers" of life, just read something like this and know that we aren't alone and there is always someone out there who is going through something more devastating...look for that person and help share the burden that they are carrying.

  • Ted Yoder

    Ted Yoder

    Amen Bruce. I do the same thing. We as humans always navel gaze and it's times like these when we remind ourselves of the burdens others are carrying. That's what we're here for, to carry one another's burdens.

    Amen Bruce. I do the same thing. We as humans always navel gaze and it's times like these when we remind ourselves of the burdens others are carrying. That's what we're here for, to carry one another's burdens.

  • Shawn McCausland

    Shawn McCausland Florida

    Linda Ronstadt did a song years ago called "Goodbye, My Friend." that I was reminded of by your comments on the passing of your friend. Give it a listen if you're not familiar with it. It came out around the time my grandfather, who was basically a second father to me. passed away after a short battle with cancer. It's still hard for me to listen to sometimes, but I've rarely heard anything so good at summing up what that experience is like. Sometimes you just gotta sing the blues.

    Linda Ronstadt did a song years ago called "Goodbye, My Friend." that I was reminded of by your comments on the passing of your friend. Give it a listen if you're not familiar with it. It came out around the time my grandfather, who was basically a second father to me. passed away after a short battle with cancer. It's still hard for me to listen to sometimes, but I've rarely heard anything so good at summing up what that experience is like. Sometimes you just gotta sing the blues.

  • Gayle Graverson

    Gayle Graverson Indiana

    Dawn was one very exceptional woman. She is so missed by so many that she ministered too. We can all only hope to be an inspiration to others as she was. So excepting, loving, and passionate about her Savior. What an incredible family. Thanks for sharing

    Dawn was one very exceptional woman. She is so missed by so many that she ministered too. We can all only hope to be an inspiration to others as she was. So excepting, loving, and passionate about her Savior. What an incredible family. Thanks for sharing

  • Amy Vredevoogd

    Amy Vredevoogd Michigan

    Dawn loved her Yoder family dearly and spoke so highly of you too. What a treasure, inspiration, and blessing she was to countless number across the globe. Praising God for the promise of heaven and praying for you and your ministry till we all get there.

    Dawn loved her Yoder family dearly and spoke so highly of you too. What a treasure, inspiration, and blessing she was to countless number across the globe. Praising God for the promise of heaven and praying for you and your ministry till we all get there.

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