Welcome to Sunday Morning Selfie. My name is Joe Bryant, I am a Seattle area teacher and broadcaster and I blog about my life and lifestyle and use this exercise in self reflection as a way of being accountable to myself as I strive for lower weight and better health in 2017. So how is that going? Read on to find out
A Blessed Graduation
In it’s own unique way every minute, every day, and every week is special but, lets face it, some moments and some weeks are more eventful and memorable than others. This is one of those weeks I will remember for as long as I still have a memory.
On Wednesday my daughter Emily graduated from Newport High school! This is the same school I graduated from as well and was bound to be a special moment. But I had no idea how blessed and special we were talking here.
Just walking into Alaska Airlines Arena under streamers of Newport Knights red and gold was a bit surreal for me. This was the same building I received my diploma and addressed my class in back in 1981. I know from the program that the title of my speech that day was “Was it Worth it?” but, since this was pre-camera phone and even before most people had video recorders, as far as I know there is no record of what I said and I frankly can’t remember.
But whatever I did in 1981 was certainly eclipsed by something Emily created on the exact same stage 36 years later.
While the student and faculty speeches were all great it was fairly standard Graduation fare until the moment when a group of Senior Choir members took the stage to sing what is quite literally THE song of the Century. (The 20th Century that is)
As this group of incredible young performers came up to the microphone one by one and sang the words of Imagine by John Lennon tears began streaming down my face, and I know I was not alone.
To hear a song of peace and unity performed by our future adults in these turbulent, uncertain and divisive times was enough to elicit emotions from everyone. But for my family Imagine holds an even more personal and special meaning.
The drummer on this timeless song, as many readers know, was Alan White of YES. Before Alan joined YES he was the drummer for John Lennon’s Plastic Ono band and recorded, Imagine and MANY more classics. He also helped out former Beatles George Harrison quite a bit so I suppose an argument could be made that Alan was actually the fifth Beatle!
But in addition to being a great music maker Alan is also a great man and he and Gigi are long time family friends. When Emily was around five Alan gave her a little keyboard for Christmas that helped spark an interest in music that still is being nurtured with weekly piano lessons and stage and choir performances. Now Emily has worked her way up from a little keyboard to a Grand piano and here is a photo of Alan giving her some pointers a few years back.
After hearing Emily sing, watching her walk and receive the diploma from my Alma Mater and then start the crazy search to find her in a sea of red gowns, I figured the most inspired and divine moments were behind, but little was I to know how much more the Big Guy had lined up to really take these next few hours over the top!
I am a BIG believer that things happen for a reason and that God talks to us if you will just take a moment to listen. God was done some pretty serious talking to me this week and it came in the form of an incredible Rainbow that appeared over the top of the Arena much like a halo after we located Emily and went out to take family photos.
It almost felt like this moment was being given a heavenly blessing of approval as the below photo would indicate.
However, as soon as this photo was taken the vibe changed considerably as a street full of protesters appeared carrying Black Lives Matter signs and chanting the name of Charleena Lyles, a Seattle woman from the nearby Sand Point neighborhood that had been shot by police. The sights and sounds of caps, gowns and people carrying signs and bullhorns all mixing in front of Hec Ed under a Rainbow really made the words to Imagine ring even louder in my ears.
As was John Lennon, I am a “Dreamer” and my dream is that Emily’s generation will do a better job of bringing the globe to a place of peace and racial and economic equality than past generations have. I hope for the world to “live as one” but there is much work to be done. As a parent and teacher I am getting to know this next generation pretty well and I see many reasons to be optimistic that THEY will be the people to put discrimination based on sex, race, sexual preference, gender identity etc. in the history books and in our nations rear view mirror.
OK, so by now you may be thinking I am reading a little too much into a song sung at graduation and a rainbow, but sometimes God really clobbers you over the head to drive home a point and that is EXACTLY what happened the following day when I went to the mailbox and received THIS postcard.
Emily had traveled to New York in February with the Newport Drama class on a field trip and dropped this post card in the mail to thank Kelli and I for giving her the opportunity. I guess it must have been lost but somehow it got found in time to be postmarked from NYC on June 16th and to show up in our mailbox the DAY AFTER Emily sang Imagine at her High School Graduation. Why did she choose THIS particular card to send from NYC? Why was it lost in the mail for months? Why did Nancy Fisher, Emily’s wonderful choir teacher choose Imagine as the song to be performed during graduation exercises and where the heck did that huge rainbow come from? For me the answer is simply God. You can call it any name you want but I have no doubt there is something guiding our actions and talking DIRECTLY to us. You just have to be perceptive enough to listen.
I was also thrilled to receive this gesture of gratitude from my daughter even though it was delayed a few months. My guess is she was wondering why I never mentioned the nice thank you she sent!
Before I move on I will share this photo with you. I not only forgot the speech I gave at graduation by apparently forgot my razor that day as well! Congratulations Emily and Go Knights!!!
I am a bit bleary eyed this morning after having the pleasure of seeing Roger Waters perform at the Tacoma Dome last night. This was my fifth time seeing the driving force behind Pink Floyd and all five of those shows rank in my top ten concert experiences of all time!
With all of the graduation activity I was unsure if I would be attending this show but making the last minute call to go was a GREAT one. I not only experienced a historic concert event but got to do so from one of the best seats in the house at a considerable discount.
The age of instant transactions and ticket downloading has dramatically changed the concert ticket buying dynamic. Back in the day I would literally camp out to buy a ticket that would give me the right to camp out to try to get a good seat at a festival seating event. Now I tend to jump on Stubhub or a similar site a couple of hours before showtime and take advantage of someones change of plans. In this particular case it was a nice guy from Boston who had just broken up with his girlfriend and listed a single FRONT ROW, side seat for a fraction of the list price.
If you missed the show the good news is the tour is just beginning and there are more opportunities including a Vancouver BC date in October. I HIGHLY recommend you check it out but be warned that Roger is fired up and pulls no punches. Even though songs like Pigs and Money were written in the 70’s you would SWEAR these were custom made to be performed in the age of Trump. Even The Wall has a whole new relevance and none of this is lost on Waters as the photos indicate.
What is particularly incredible about Roger Waters is his energy and commitment to his art. At 73 years old he could be doing “Pink Floyds Greatest Hits” and taking a career victory lap but his new music and spectacle of a show has him at the top of his game. How does a guy old enough to be a Great Grandpa get the energy? Well I did notice from my excellent seat that there is not an ounce of fat on the man which brings me to….
My Current Weight
I started this blog in January as a way to be accountable and try to lose some weight. I write about many more topics, but the premise of Sunday Morning Selfie is that I weigh myself every Sunday and watch the scale numbers drop. My goal was to be under 200 lbs by this time which I revised to be at 217 to honor the Class of 2017. My current weight this morning is …. drumroll…. 225 lbs. 😦 This is the SAME weight I have been for quite a long time now. It is much better than where I began but also not where I want to be. I have had a tough time focusing and following thru on ANYTHING with some very turbulent life events and changes that have been coming at me in waves. More on that some other week.
But while I have dropped the ball repeatedly the past few weeks I have to thank 30/10 Weight Loss for Life. I know that I would never be where I am at without that program. I also know that it TOTALLY works if I let it work.
I have not been dedicated to doing that and, with a celebratory rib feed today and long vacation with Emily to follow, I don’t see myself making lots of progress over the next couple of weeks. So my NEW PLAN and deal with myself is to give my brain and body a break. Maintain in the 220’s until post 4th of July, then go back at it 100% to knock the crap out of that scale and break thru to new milestones in time for school and football season to start. This may also mean a couple of weeks away from the blog. We shall see.
If you are STILL reading this thanks SO MUCH for your support and interest. While I enjoy writing I also feel I am best at getting my ideas across by TALKING. I am currently developing a plan that will have me doing that on a regular basis on the radio and none too soon as my typing fingers are getting sore!
Stand by for more details and God Bless…. because I know for a fact based on so many events and circumstances in my life, that God truly does bless.
Until Next Time, Joe