Wednesday, January 30, 2008

As sure as I'm standing here... never have to be afraid.

One of the greatest fears in this life is the fear of rejection. The Bible says that fear grips us. And for me, that's the best example of what it does. It grips us and keeps us from moving forward and claiming all the promises and the blessings that this life has to offer. Being afraid of rejection sometimes causes us to pretend to be someone we are not. It causes us to run from vulnerability and fear that if we wear our true selves on the outside we will surely be rejected.

But then someone comes along that doesn't walk away. They see the real you and they embrace it. They inspire you to become all that you can be and they take that journey with you. And slowly, but surely, the fear leaves and you begin to trust. We all need someone like that in our lives. Someone who lets us experience our dreams and stays with us through all our failures. And as Barry's song says...

As sure as I'm standing never have to be afraid,
Texas Fanilow

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

You win... win. I have had to enable the "moderate comment" feature on my blog. Let's just say that people find it very easy to attack me here without having to identify themselves or use an email address. That's fine. If it makes you feel better.

So don't bother posting comments if you are going to attack. They will just get deleted. This is my blog and the one place that I can voice my opinion without being silenced.

All I can say is you will reap what you sow...

It had to be said.
Texas Fanilow

Monday, January 28, 2008

I Want to Be Somebody's Baby...

I wanna be mothered and fathered
And sistered and brothered
It's gonna be gruesome and grand
I swear I'll keep you worried and sweatin'
And busy and bothered
You'll run around wringin' your hands

I'll call you at three in the mornin'
Wailin' my woes to the sky
I'll slip out of sight without warnin'
And return with a gleam in my eye

Do you ever feel like you’re always the one that’s strong? I sure do. There are days when I feel like I’m going to explode with the weight of the world on my shoulders. Today was one of those days. I don’t know why it happens. It’s just some days it overwhelms me. I’ve been that “go to” person my whole life. And there are days that I resent it and wish it were different.

I discovered this song a few months ago and I was amazed to find the frustration and even anger nestled in a rather upbeat song. I suppose Barry felt that way many times. And perhaps he still feels that way at times. And I can’t help but wonder what he does when he feels that way. Does he vent to someone? Maybe he penns a song, just like he did with this one. For me, I write. It gives me a release and keeps me from taking out my frustration on the people I care about. Listen to the song some time and pay attention to the words.

Right now I wanna be somebody's baby
Let somebody worry 'bout me,

Texas Fanilow

Friday, January 25, 2008

I Am Your Child

This song just does it to me. I was recently watching a video of that song. Just the first three chords send goosebumps up and down my spine. When I was watching the PBS Special this week it had the same affect on me. The emotion that Barry uses in this song just blows me away.

It's not a very long song, but it speaks volumes to me.

I am your child
Wherever you go you take me to
Whatever I know I learned from you
Whatever I do you taught me to do
I am your child
And I am your chance
Whatever will come will come from me
Tomorrow is won by winning me
Whatever I am you taught me to be
I am your hope
I am your chance
I am your child.

The song reminds me that our children (and not just our own children but all children) learn how to be citizens of this world from the adults in their lives. They watch us and they learn how to love and even how to hate. They learn how to treat their spouses from their parents. They learn how to treat us as we age by how we treated our own aging parents. They learn how to react to difficult life choices by how we react to them. They learn how to care for others by how we treat our family, our friends and even strangers.

When I hear this song, I think about the adults in my life and what they taught me. I think about the adults in Barry's life and how they must have raised him to be kind, generous, compassionate and loving. How they taught him to care for his mother, his friends and the people he works with on a daily basis. And how he cares about the world around him and kids in a band in a middle school in Palm Springs. How he always pays it forward by giving back as much as he has received and more. All that he is, he was taught to be. And we are the beneficiaries of that teaching.

This song makes me think about what I say and do and how it affects my children and one day, my children's children. It's not so much what we say that matters, but what we do that makes all the difference.

Contemplating my responsibility tonight,
Texas Fanilow

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Beautiful Music

Out with the negative..I'll find a positive way...

Today I have been listening to "Beautiful Music/I Made It Through the Rain" combination from the Live in Britain CD. Several lines from both those songs ring true in my life right now and as I've listened, once again the music has ministered to me.

Before I knew that I was blessed
When I was just like the rest of the people
Who never let dreams in their minds

I never was a dreamer really. People would call me a realist. Although, I am most always optimistic. I tend to see the glass half full, instead of half empty. I felt dreams never really did come true for the most part. That we had to make our own way in this life and it usually wasn't very much fun.

Before I knew what good could be
When I couldn't see the need or the reason
For trusting in me or my star

I always felt that most of the choices I made in life were not the best ones. Wishing upon a star was for children. You got what life handed you and you made the best you could with what you were given and lived with the consequences of those bad choices.

When friends are hard to find
And life seems so unkind
Sometimes you feel afraid

Fear is the emotion that grips us and keeps us stuck in limbo. We can't move. We can't change. We feel like we are the only ones and that nobody understands how we feel.

and when I heard about hurtin' and healin'
beautiful words about beautiful feelings
what lots of believin' could do
beautiful music, I knew it just had to be true

It's miraculous what music can do. It can heal our hurts. It can motivate us to dream. It can make us believe in things that to most might seem impossible. And when we begin to believe and trust our hearts and "chase our fears away", that's when we can see that all our dreams are merely God's way of building our faith.

And now I laugh and now I cry like a baby
Livin' and lovin' each day and just maybe,
For all the good things that come true
Beautiful music
The best of my blessings is you

And so the music did what it always does, it worked its magic and reminded me that dreams really do come true. That no matter how impossible those prayers might seem or how out of reach something might appear, all we have to do is let go of the fear and believe. All we need is some faith and some belief in ourselves and our dreams. Then one day, when we least expect it, the "sun appears and we come shining through those lonely years".

Thanks Barry, for years and years, of "beautiful music" and for showing me that dreams really do come true.

Texas Fanilow

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A "New" Song..for a "New" Day

Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name
Make known among all who doubt what he has done
Sing to Him, Sing praises to Him
Tell of all the wonderful acts He has done.

Glory to His Holy name
Let all the hearts of those who believe rejoice
Look to the Lord and His strength
Seek His wisdom and His power always.

Remember the wonders He has done
His miracles and the battles He has fought and won
As descendants of those who have gone before us
Of the great Fathers of our faith who were also chosen by God
We remember the Lord our God and his blessings are always in our lives.

He remembers His promises to us forever
The Word he gave for an eternity
The covenant he made with you
The oath he swore to me
He confirmed it in his Word to us
An everlasting promise, a contract.

The voice and prophet prayed
And he led the songsmith to speak at last
And use his voice as an instrument of peace.
God took the enemy and dealt him a swift blow
And led them out into the light
So that others might see the mighty works that God had done

He remembered his covenant, His promise
And he led them out singing with joy
His chosen ones grabbed hold of God’s plan
Singing their hearts out and releasing all of God’s love so that others might be free.

He made them a gift of those whose lives they touched
He helped them seize all the blessings He had promised them
So that they could do everything He told them-
And follow His plan to make them Peacemakers and instruments of His Peace!

Sing to the Lord a NEW song...
Texas Fanilow

Those Funny Faces...

There's nothing that makes me smile more than a Manilow facial expression. I love catching those magical moments at a concert and capturing them on film. I think as Manilow fans we are the luckiest in the world. We can take as many photographs as we like without hesitation or harassment. And...even greater...we share them with one another. We share them with those who have never seen Barry live. We share them with the lucky ones who get to dance with him so they can capture that moment on film forever. We share them with each other so that we can keep those memories close to our hearts.

So when I feel down, (like today), I just pull up some of those expressively funny photos and they make me smile. It's a simple thing..but there's nothing like a funny face from the one who makes the whole world sing to brighten my day.

Thanks for the smiles and every day,
Texas Fanilow

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The 80's Album's happening. The Clive machine strikes again and we are going to have the pleasure of another decade album. I have to admit, the 80's were a decade that was devoid of pop music for me. My mother was battling cancer, my kids were babies, and my life was in constant turmoil. I turned to Christian music: Amy Grant, Sandi Patti, Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman and others to survive.

I had a conversation today with my best friend. She is a fan of 80's music. You really feel old, or completely lacking in "coolness" when you can't recognize any of the groups or songs being mentioned: Journey, Phil Collins, Richard Marx (never heard of them). I was able to recognize Cyndi Lauper, and a Bette Midler song. However, the rest was Greek to me.

When the album comes out, I won't be judging it based on previous versions of the songs. I have nothing to compare it to. I'm sure Barry will work his magic and fill it with tremendous ballads and love songs that will take my breath away. I've read the lyrics to "Open Arms" and I have to admit, there is potential there. And...since I missed the 80's (for all intents and purposes), I'm looking forward to reliving them through Barry's new album.

An up and coming 80's music fan,
Texas Fanilow

Friday, January 18, 2008

Can we hold on through what lies ahead?

At times it appears that our happiness hangs by a thread...
Can we hold on through what lies ahead?

Charles Dickens starts his book Hard Times--it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The characters in Harmony were experiencing those times when they sang the words to this song. Looking ahead facing separation and death all they had to hold on to was each other.

Life really is like that. At times it seems that our happiness hangs by a thread and that we can't find our way. We feel lost and alone and we reach out to the constants in our lives: God, our family, our friends, and the one constant that always seems to be there for me: music.

I don't know if Barry reads this blog. But if some day you're surfing the net and come across this, I would just like to say "thanks man". Thanks for giving us a lifetime of music that is connected to our memories, our struggles, our hopes and our dreams. Thanks for inspiring us to "pay it forward" and to give back. And thanks, for being you.

Holding on,
Texas Fanilow

Friday, January 11, 2008

TOP TEN favorite lines from Barry's songs...

Someone on the Bnet (amazingly) brought up this topic today and it really got me thinking. What are my favorite lines and why. Since they limited it to 5 I chose five of them, however I prefer to pick a TOP TEN here and elaborate as I so often tend to do.

1-All The Time: "wanting to be me, but needing to belong.."
We've all been there. Pretending to be someone else so that people would accept us. Thinking that all we have to do is conform to what they want and they will love us. But finally realizing that if you lose who you are do they love you, or just the person they want you to be?

2-I Am Your Child: "all that I am you taught me to be"
This song has great significance for me because it was one day that I realized after someone using the words to that song that I didn't have to live with guilt any longer. That I had done everything I could possibly do for some loved ones who had literally died in my arms. And that realization set me free once and for all and made me realize that I did exactly what they would have wanted me to do.

3-Stars in the Night: “are we fools to see the hope that's gleaming in the skies…”
There's a verse in the Bible that says..hope deferred, makes the heart sick. Without hope we can't live in this world. Without hope we can't dream. And without our dreams we can't reach beyond the stars and grab hold of all there is for us..more than just a piece of sky!

4-Where You Go: "where you go I will go, maybe scared, but together.."
Friendship means everything to me. We need each other. We need to hold each other's hands through hell or the promised land and walk it together. We might be scared and we might be hesitant to take that leap, but there is strength when we hold on and don't let go.

5-Mandy: "you came and you gave without taking"
This is the truest picture of unconditional love. Giving and not expecting anything in return. These simple words speak volumes of what love is meant to be.

6-Where I Want to Be: "truly is the finest love I have to give, I ask the same of you.."
These words remind me of God's love for us. And how he only asks that we love Him and each other in the same way.

7-Weekend in New England: “I feel a change coming, I feel the wind blow..I feel brave and daring”
The last year has been a brave and daring adventure of faith. And most recently, these words were the call words for some great miracles and for some marvelous moments that I will never soon forget.

8-Every Single Day: "was that the bridge we should have crossed, the one we burned?"
Regret. We all have it. This song reminds us that you have to risk it all for love. Because when you love from the tips of your toes to the top of your head, it's worth the risk.

9-Show Me:
“I don’t know how to begin to let myself let you in, but you, maybe you could show me"
We all put those walls up. Those walls keep us from loving and being loved. But for some of us, God sends someone to us that helps us see that its ok to let the wall down and open up our hearts to that love. Sometimes all we need is someone that is willing to love us unconditionally.

10-One Voice: "hands are joined and fears unlocked..."
Our voices joining hands can move mountains, conquer evil, promote peace and give back hope to the hopeless.There is no fear in love because perfect love drives out all fear.

I love taking a trip down Manilow lane and reminiscing about all the songs that have moved me in 2007. And I'm sure as 2008 unfolds I'll be finding even more gems to inspire me.

Thanks Barry for singing and writing the songs,
Texas Fanilow

Monday, January 7, 2008

For Those That Doubt...

Sometimes it seems that the future is a long time in coming. We can hope and dream and focus on the positive. But when it comes right down to it, it's easy to lose heart. It's easy to think tomorrow may never come and our dreams may never become reality.

For those who doubt, I have some words of encouragement for you:

So do not throw away your confidence now. You were sure of yourselves then. It's still a sure thing! But you need to stick it out, staying with God's plan so you'll be there for the promised completion. (Hebrews 10:35-36)

Sticktuitiveness comes when you keep your eye on the promise and don't focus on "what seems to be". Just a thought to begin 2008.

Looking forward to a year of fulfilled promises,
Texas Fanilow

Las Vegas in restrospect

On Christmas day after the presents were opened, the dinner prepared, and the dishes washed and put away, I hopped on a plane to Barryland. The anticipation of a week of concerts was dampened the week before by the unexpected cancellations. But, as usual the week would not disappoint. It offered some unexpected moments of "Manilow magic" and some moments that had me scratching my head in disbelief.

Friday night was one of those rare moments in time that you relive over and over again, pinching yourself and asking if it all really happened. The show began on Manilow time around 8:30pm. From the first song to the last bedlam reigned. Security did an amazing job controlling things the best they could. During Daybreak a small child under five was dancing in the aisle to the right of me attempting to rush the stage. On the left of me a crazed fan ran toward the stage with a rose in one hand and a determined look to reach Barry at all costs. Throughout the course of the evening there continued distractions. Fans were yelling during the silences. Champagne glasses fell onto the stage from the side stage seats. Signs were hurled and waved at Barry as he approached the side stage. A British flag was thrown onto the stage, along with other items. A bouquet of flowers was hurled across the stage between Barry and his backup singers. During the finale a father with a child on his shoulders rushed the stage yelling "Barry, Barry...say hello to my son". There was a sign on the left stage held by a child claiming his first ever plane ride to see Barry and he actually made an attempt to converse with the child while his mother and grandmother grabbed and pulled at him the entire time.

Its been said that Barry hardly showed up for the show on Friday. Is it any wonder? How could anyone possibly concentrate during such bedlam? I could barely concentrate myself. After the show was over I stood there stunned. I have been to numerous shows in Vegas and I have never witnessed such a display of utter chaos. In spite of it all, Barry managed to give some very moving performances of I Am Your Child, Weekend in New England and Could It Be Magic. He reached inside of himself and you could feel the passion in the words of those songs and how much he was determined to reach that "one" in the audience who was actually listening.

After the show, the evening continued in the same vein it began and the events I witnessed along with the unusual conversations I later had bordered on the unbelievable. Suffice it to say that if anyone had witnessed the entire evening from above they might have wondered if a strange script had been written and those who were participating in the drama were reading it for the first time. The messages were received, however unbelievable they might have seemed.

Saturday night's show was the polar opposite of Friday's. The show was perfection and every moment worked like magic. The only slight flaw came at the end during I Write the Songs when Barry was distracted by his conversations with his backup singers and seemed to forget the words. He offered a slight smirk and continued along with the song unscathed. After the previous evening it was a welcome relief to experience a show that was relatively normal and lacking constant disruption.

The remainder of my trip was an unexpected nightmare that lasted for three more days: illness, missed flights, lost luggage and airfare change fees. Needless to say when the wheels touched down on my flight home I was reeling from a week of unexpected moments and unanticipated twists and turns. But all in all, it was a week that would rival none other. In more ways than one Barry was responsible for some rare moments that will never be forgotten, along with some extraordinary insight and some eye-opening conversations.

Starting 2008 off with a bang, not a whimper...

Texas Fanilow

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