In the quiet before bedtime, do you remember what your knees are for?
Ms. Annie Sells had the honor of meeting a band of guys who seem to remember what their knee are for. Now you know I have a soft spot in my heart for artists, whether they be musicians, painters, quilters, jewelry makers, multi-media nerds, gardeners, or what.
On a normal Friday night, I was sitting at home just relaxing, okay honestly falling asleep in my recliner. Then a girlfriend that I had hardly seen or spoken to in years started blowing up my phone and said we were going to see a band. What? Who? Where? Seriously?
She was serious. She showed up. I quickly got dressed and we headed out. Prior to those moments I had not heard of Derryl Perry& The Lonesome Devils. Now I am embarrassed by that fact, but it is true.
It seems that they tour the United States continuously, frequently in Oklahoma and Texas. Prayin Out Loud is popular in both states, but is only one in a diverse selection – most of which can be found on Derryl Perry’s YouTube channel and include a mixed bag of good ole rock and country classics.
In Prayin Out Loud, Derry Perry sings that he is with a bartender who does not have a collar, but that will have to do. Because he is desperate enough to send one up, or to pray. He does so for a ray of hope, from the end of a bar, and when he is at the end of his rope. I have to hand it to him, this guy is a pretty damn good song writer. His lyrics just role off the tongue.
His band, The Lonesome Devils, are a group of guys with a lot of raw talent. It seems that the majority of them are new to his tour, but you would never guess it by watching them play together. Ms. Annie Sells is curious to learn more about these spirited devils that know what their knees are for and their boss that is praying and singing for us all.
Take a moment and check out this song, because you will want to be able to look back and say I remember when. As always, if you love it, share it!
“Kicking the Pricks” or a “thorn in the flesh” both sound like an absolute pain in the a$$. But bone deep torment, whether physical pain, psychological pain, or both is for many a fact of life. The Greeks and the Christian Bible speak plainly to what humans must push through. If you want to look into these check out 2 Timothy 4:14, be prepared to see what is real pain.
Prick Kicking and or A Thorn IS NOT horrible punishment or retribution. Did you hear me? Pain, torture, and torment of this nature is not punishment.
You DID NOT do some irresponsible, selfish, cruel, and or unforgivable action that has now forced you to live this way. This bone deep, soul sucking, and excruciating misery — can crush you. But there is always a way out.
Maybe apostle Paul and many wiser than us were correct and we have to push through to take the next step toward becoming our true selves?
Either way, I agree with the most renown psychologists that IF you fail, you must try try again. Yes, I said it. Pain shapes us, breaks us, and often times both. We do not see the purpose, at first.
Reach out a hand or if necessary crawl. Rodney Adkins wrote a great song about hell on earth. Here are a few lines:
If you’re goin’ through, hell keep on going. Don’t slow down. If you’re scared DON’T show it. You might get out before the devil even knows you’re there! I’ve been deep down in that darkness. [We all have or will be.] I’ve been down to my last match, felt a hundred different deamons breathin’ fire down my back, and I knew that if I stumbled, I’d fall right into the trap that they were layin.’ But the good news is there’s angels everywhere out on the street — holdin’ out a hand to pull you back up on your feet. The one’s that you’ve been draggin’ for so long. You’re on your knees might as well be prayin’.
Maybe you or someone you care for is living through their own personal hell on earth or God may be tormenting you. God tormented Paul in Job 1:1-12.
We all want to avoid pain. Paul BEGGED God for MERCY in 2 Corinthians 12:8. Instead God gave Paul more overwhelming GRACE and more compensating STRENGTH.
I believe in 1 Corinthians 10:13. It assures me I will and cannot be tested or tried beyond what with Him I can bare. You too have a purpose. Grace is key.
Check out Paul: A Man of Grace and Grit by Charles Swindoll to learn a lot more. The book can be purchased on Amazon for about $10 and Bibles are free everywhere. There is no shame in going through hell. Just keep on going and most importantly breathe.
Do you ever have those days where something that you have seen or heard rattles around in your head? I have sent 100’s of emails, processed tons of invoices, answered more questions that I can count and have been BUSY. But all day long, as I have gone about the business of life, these two items just would not get out of my head!
Item #1 – 19 Julian Smith’s first of 19 Thoughts about Finding Your Purpose –
“Those who win are producers, not consumers. The first thing you do each morning should be active, not passive – no Facebook, no email. Whatever you choose should put you in a state of mind for the rest of the day. Choose carefully.”
I will be the first one to admit that the difference between an off and an on day is how I start my day. On the weekends, or rather off days, I will start my day with quiet stillness and coffee. You will not get me moving without it and odds are you will not get me online or on the phone, unless it is to post a blog or column article. My perfect day begins with me sitting on my huge front porch sipping on coffee, processing my dreams from the night before, and letting the world slowing drift in one sight and smell at a time.
However, on days are a little different. I wake up as close to when I have to leave as possible (I mean minutes), go to the bathroom, jump into clothes, grab my stuff and make it to the car. I crank the ignition that doesn’t require it (out of habit), drive to work (usually in silence), come in, load the coffee pot and plug in. Plugging in includes turning on the computer, connecting my mini-computer to sync (phone), logging into at least two email accounts (sometimes 3 and throw in social media sites for good measure), checking the voicemails (on at least two phones) and many times putting on my headphones (for tunes).
How do you start your days? What is the difference between your on days and off days?
Item #2 – This quote,
“When you internalize facts, you begin to internalize a conception of the world. You begin to try to fit new facts into a network of old facts. You begin to operate in a liminal space that taps both conscious processing and broad intuitions.”
How goes it you say? It is only Tuesday and it has already been a Hella week at work. I am currently almost a week behind in my graduate school studies. I have a sick cranky teenager that only just got home from his father’s, where he was at for six weeks for summer vacation. The little man just might be making life more challenging than necessary. But I am so glad to have him home that I could just hug him and love him and kiss his and squeeze him. You get the idea.
But back to already a Hella week… so I am a trainer and instructor for a juvenile (obviously I mean in development) trucking company that hauls expedited produce, seafood, and chicken. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE my work and the challenge of helping a company with a fantastic business model to grow into their big boy pants.
For you see when I started working there 11 months ago, they had a bout 75 trucks in their fleet. As of me finish up the training class today, the company is now sitting with about 200 trucks in their name and 185+ running.
Some of the challenges they currently face have to do with basic logistics. They may have plenty of trucks and most of them new. They may have hired enough staff to service them all or not. But they still only have the toilets for a baby company … three toilets. A third was put in prior to COVID 19. That is for the 16 and 4 bay shops and all that staff. Then for the 200 drivers that are in and out, the company has one toilet that is in a water closet with one tiny shower and one sink. This is also the restroom utilized for onsite drug screens, so it can get a little crowded when as a safety compliance officer, I am trying to do randoms, and new incoming drivers. In short, there are now four toilets for all. That is also for the entire corporate headquarters of 35+ people.
Did I mention that the growing company, with four toilets is still trying to use one small dumpster for all of the above? And they collect their cardboard in a stock trailer? The country life! Did I also mention they have no shred services for the mountains of paper with sensitive information that has to be shredded weakly?
That’s okay I carried it home to the Cluck G Sells Homestead and used if for compost for 20 months. There were much more in basic requirements that were not yet being addressed, as a part of their explosive growth. The whole building the plane while you flying in it concept – I loved the challenges!
This week in a room the size of a large kitchen, I am training 9, new to the company drivers, finished another 1 from last week for 10. Add to that group, an aging father that also sat in for class today and two service animals and we are up to 12. Oh, and then there are the two safety staff, one risk management staff, three recruiting staff, two other directors, four dispatcher, and the owner for a total of 25 people in and out working in my “room” today! But I am told we are building an orientation facility that will be 2,000 feet, so fingers and toes crossed.
While orienting and coordinating the aforementioned, I am also working on converting all of our training material for orientation to an online delivery system, doing the paperwork to set up employee files, and payroll files, as well as the onboarding for all new hires. I also collect all the health and emergency contact information for all employees. I am also the liaison for company benefits. And I not sure what all else but being only Tuesday night, I have already worked at least 24 hours, on the clock, in the building while suffering a horrible migraine headache.
About an hour before dispatching the last driver that completed orientation, I see a missed call in red come up on my notifications, on my infernal computer that I call a phone. Oh shit!
It is the program I have been in for two years through my divorce and all the fun that goes with that. See I set up the program when my income was technically four times what it is now. Take away the ex-husband and we are to 50%. Take away the great government job and we are to 20% ish percent, but then add in child support and we are back up to the 25% of income that I was at two years ago when I first set up my income-based program.
So, it goes without saying that I am NOT paying in over a week’s pay a month to these folks and they refuse to lower my payments permanently. So, I call every 8 weeks and do a revised schedule, where I THINK I will be able to make all the deposits and we keep trucking.
I had this voicemail and once I crawled into my 2012 Jeep Liberty … my trusty stead that carries me 45 minutes both ways up over and across the Ozark National Forrest, into civilization where I can earn a living, and interact with other humankind.
I get stopped on the way to my burgundy stead by a driver whose tractor and trailer are parked, taking up almost the entire parking lot, because he cannot figure out how to operate his onboard computer system. He has to pick up a load an hour away and then driver 1/3 across the next state and has less than four hours on his clock.
My driver is sweating bullets and it is his second day on a new job, driving a truck he has never driven, to customers he has never heard of, sleeping hopefully in a truck stop in God knows were, and in a bed he has never slept in – without any bed clothes! All of this, after being in a tiny classroom with ME and those 25 other people, I may or may not have mentioned. So, I throw all my bags into my Jeep, switch the AC controls to high- high, and close the door.
After I take a deep breath, I light a cigarette because since I got up at 6 AM I have had two and it is after 7 PM. Then I crawl up onto the steps on the side of his rig, advise him to close his door so he doesn’t loose all his AC, and I grab up his computer.
After some instruction, a few well placed questions, and showing him how to fix his unit, I smile reassuringly, tell him to be safe, and to call me when he needs help, and I close the rig door. My trusty stead awaits, and it is down to no more than 80 degrees in the baking Oklahoma heat with the AC on full blast.
I gingerly check the mirror all the way around, as I strap on my seatbelt. Phew no one in sight. Six new messages on my phone … I respond back to the boy and see the missed call from the number in red and think to myself “Not now Annie, right now you just need to get home.”
The drive is much safer in the light of day, because you are far less likely to hit an animal like the deer that jump out in front of me all the time. I have only hit or run over two in the year that I have lived in the forest and driven back and forth to civilization.
Alright time for reverse, yeap good not going to back into a semi-tractor and I am out of there!
I take one look at the radio dial and my phone and think hell no … the whistle of the kayak racks on top will be fine for the drive home.
I finally make it into “town” and think, “when in the hell is the last time you checked the mail?” I couldn’t remember so I pulled in, turned off the key, and went into the tiny post office (a room full of boxes) and take another deep breath, insert the key, and peak in.
There are two garbage magazines, two NSF charge notifications that my phone told me about last week, and a letter in a plain white envelope with type writing from Texas.
I think “Well shit! Now who is suing me?” But I flip it over and there is this interesting insignia on the back, so I slide me key along the back, and pop it open before I even get to the stead.
I look and it is a type written letter! So, I sit in my driver’s seat, with my keys in my lap, and begin to read. Someone is sitting on a hated loveseat … love it. Then in the next two sentences there is Fucking French and a kiss off from a French woman … hook set.
I take another look at the address typed on the letter and dammit. I know this guy! He is funny and authentic as hell. I like this dude! We have never met but this guy is my kind! Freaking fantastic and I remember some time back seeing a project of his where he writes letters for Letter Day.
On a lark, I sent him my address (it is a post office box). What is the worst that could happen?
Well I’ll be damned and here I am sitting in the parking lot at the post office. Slap my leg and call me Sally. I fold up the letter, place it back in the envelope, and secure it in the side pocket of my purse.
I pull into the driveway and garbage is strewn all over my front yard and among it is my bathroom rug! Again! Obviously, my son has been on his computer and not paying the slightest attention to our dog that is a huge puppy! Once in the door the mess continues, so I go and sit down all my bags and glance at my letter, with a smile and take another deep breath, then holler for the kid and the script starts.
Out of the deal, I got help picking up some of the torn-up garbage. Yes, I am talking about the garbage starting in the front yard and in a trail all the way to the back door. I also got help putting up a new hook for my hanging light on my closed in back porch.
I sit down to turn on my trusty laptop to reply to my real-life letter and am faced with Windows updates! So while I am waiting, I sweep up the egg shells on my “office” floor, open out the pub table because I need MORE room to work on grad school, and realize the underside –now the top of the pub table has mold growing on it. Yuck!
A scrubby and an old dishtowel with Dawn materialize, some scrubbing goes down, and I dry off the table. Oh look, we are up to 32% on the upload. Where are my cigarettes?
Computer up, letter in front of me, I sit down with my cigarettes, a cold drink, and my letter and I read.
I read Annie I don’t give a shit. I was slut to the man for too long. Like everyone in my family always has I get called Sister and asked if I can handle my shit? Well yes. Yes, I can. Some days I wonder, but in all it’s crazy I am doing it. I am told that you are not paralyzed, well neither am I Brother. And all I can say is I hear you on the IBS. The fight or flight of survival mode that becomes our modus operandi takes its toll. That is a pied piper that will be paid. Keep hanging in there and do you! Build your empire. Go for the throat.
Jim, you said you are glad to see that I am out there or here as it seems. You are no different than the artists and entrepreneurs that I have worked with my entire career. You are a man with a passion. With a burning desire and a gut full of grit.
You don’t give a shit about the stupid shit or what people might say, but you certainly give a shit. It seeps through in every word, but a part of you resents that you care at all. It is like the weak spot in a knight’s armor, but it is just part of the suit.
In the past week I have worked with ariel artists, yogis, flame breathers, fire jugglers, other photographers, mermaids, and more traditional small business owners and independent contractors. I have consulted on social media for several professional musicians, including a band that is on their fist tour in California out of Nashville, Tennessee.
Did I mention that was all in the last week?
Do you know what you have in common with all of these folks Jim? These people that I call my people?
Jim you are a freak. Chris Brogan would say that the freaks shall inherit the Earth. One of his examples is Marie Foleo and oh yes you can bet I have been following both of their careers, throwing support their way, sharing their genius and have been in their tribes since before Facebook was cool!
It all comes down to embracing who you are, what you REALLY want, cultivating self-discipline, accepting that you don’t know everything, embracing challenge and that includes failure, and cultivating your community.
That includes using whatever you need, including media, to find your tribe.
But most importantly act, don’t wait for the right time, be brave, be bold, and do you!
Keep playing anywhere and everywhere you can.
Keep standing up and reading until you can’t stop.
Hang onto that long view, but for goodness sake record some of your shit … all of it: blog writing, letter writing, playing, poetry reading, what the hell ever else and post to your YouTube!
The mini videos and photos, like you share to Instagram, use them and cross post them to YouTube.
If you don’t want to do it then work out a trade in your network and find a social media manager to do it for you.
Rocker you are missing the boat and there is a whole world full of people like us that will eat you up!
Take it or leave it that is my two cents and a colorful snapshot into my day.
Like I said you can call me Rockette or Sister but I am calling you Freak!
Ms. Annie Sells
P.S. Trainer I appreciate you. Keep the good stuff coming, and please work me back into Letter Day. Much has changed since I first composed this letter to you and I think you will find that I have been trying to take my own advice and yours to build my empire.
Joseph Shackelford is a classically trained rock violinist and Nashville based touring musician. When he played in Corinth Mississippi May 26, 2018 he was referred to as ‘The Jimi Hendrix of Violin.’ He is an unassuming humble musician that wrote on Twitter November 23, 2017 “I’m thankful for the opportunity to create and share music and [for] all of the people I’ve met and conversations that have come from that … most of all, I’m thankful for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and a country where we can worship Him freely!”
Live Laugh Love Nashville wrote September 25, 2017 that Joseph Shakelford is taking violin to a whole new level. The article describes this artist as entertaining, epic, exhilarating, with remarkable talent, and describes his playing style as fun and engaging. They noted that he has performed on the same bills and alongside 3 Doors Down, Ben Folds, Dwight Yoakam, Barret Baber, Whisky Myers, and the list goes on.
Today, Good Friday April 19, 2019, Ms. Annie Sells is thankful for the opportunity to meet and work with Joseph. #AGirlAndHerCamera met Joseph while he was playing two shows with Derryl Perry and the Lonesome Devils. He came with a smile, his carbon fiber violin, and excellent coffee. It was my great pleasure to shoot him two nights in a row. I enjoyed just siting in the sound booth and visiting with him and the rest of the band between sets.
Ms. Annie Sells celebrated her son’s birthday by encouraging him to show respect to his great grandmother, among other activities. She passed from this world as spring was about to sprin, just as it is now.
In her last weeks, my son and I went each Sunday and spent her last days with her and my mother. My son was very close to his great grandmother just as I was to my grandmother. She was human, but she was also a warrior to the very end.
Grandma passed days before her birthday, just as the daffodils were beginning to bloom in her meadow, below her home – on the family mountain. The same meadow where I married my son’s father and the same meadow she toiled in as a child and in again in the final years of her life.
Days before she passed, my son went down and brought back a single bloom. It sat in a glass of water on the bedside table to her death bed. It was the last flower she saw in her life, on this earth, was a gift from our Abba and from my son.
So today as we took the scenic route to his birthday party, we stopped at her grave and transplanted blooming daffodils onto her grave. Just he and I in her final resting place. They were the children if daffodils that originally grew on the family mountain.
Life and death are full of trials, sorrows, and pain. But we can find joy and meaning in the little things in life – like a flower that connects four generations.
Ms. Annie Sells is curious if you have ever seen what 20 pounds of hamber patties looks like in a resturant kitchen.
Just in case you have not, then feast your eyes on this. Instead of enjoying the moon light of a beautiful Sunday night, this is the sight I beheld tonight.
No one ever said that reaching your dreams and goals was easy. No one ever said that embracing your true self and fighting the good fight would be moonlight and fairies.
Be blessed, work your ass off, and if you have to moonlight then do it and be proud of the hard work that you put in. I know I am.
Ms. Annie Sells has worn many hats and among them in 20 years of experience in the restaurant, hospitality, and service induatry. So when I got a call asking if I could fill in a few shifts here and there I thanked my Abba father and said sure.
What are you doing to reach your goals and dreams? Are you going the extra mile to be your true self? Are you putting in the hard work?
It is no secret that television is not Ms. Annie Sells thing!
My mother did one hell of a job protecting me from mass media especially via television until I was 18 years old. But we sure learned to appreciated good literature, strategy games, puzzles, and classic movies. Nevermind I read my way through many a library! Many thanks Momma.
Now if television isn’t your thing… if you, like me, long ago gave up on RSS feeds and you hate getting tons of subscription emails in your personal email, then I would like to recommend Flipboard.
Flipboard is a fully customizable app that allows you to keeping your finger on the pulse of things.
Yes, I know the last thing you need is another app. But is it not worth a few minutes to check it out? I dare you. http://flip.it/KbXXi
When I am no totally swamped, I try to log in a few times a week, before bed. The key to Flipboard’ s usefulness is keywords and searching by topic.
I have been using Flipboard since October 2012 and pulled together a “board” as a snapshot of some of my interests during that time, for you.
(Hint: It is great for pulling together online resources in one place — students, educators, and business and industry friends.)
Try it out. Create a few of your own and come back and tell us about it.
Arkansas’ Director of Higher Education and President Bill Clinton addressed the 700+ attendees of the last day of the 25th Annual AATYC Conference.
They spoke of the boot-strap mentality of our past Executive Director and our new Executive Director.
They spoke of the work of us all to meet the needs of the students, citizens, and business and industry of Arkansas.
They spoke of making a difference and overcoming trials and tribulations.
They spoke of personal and collective sacrifice.
They also spoke of the growth and expansion in student enrollment to serve almost 90,000 students, at two-year colleges, annually.
It all comes down to doing whatever it takes: politics, policy, service, and education.
Sometimes things get tough. However, just when we are ready to give it up, “that one thing goes right and it keeps you going! We have a lot of work to do, but we can do it if we continue to work together” according to the Honorable Shen Broadway.
It was yet another great conference due to the hard work and dedication of the many servant leaders in Arkansas’ Higher Education.
Many thanks to everyone that made the conference a success! Dr. Ed Franklin, you will be missed, but never forgotten.
Higher Ed – the challenge. We are looking to improve completion rates by 50% by 2020; to increase college readiness; double the number of students who complete developmental ed; closing the skills gap by focusing on career and technical ed; refocusing our mission; embracing entrepreneurial mindset; and to target private and public investments strategically.
Much work to do, but very happy to be at the 25th Annual AATYC Conference.
On our way to a large three-day conference for Mommy’s work, this little guy made use of the arm rest.
Would you even be able to turn your head if you slept like this? I know that I wouldn’t!
Ms. Annie Sells loves this example of improvision and adaptability. In this rapidly changing world that we live in, we could all take a lesson from our children.
It is with age and time that we become inflexible and justify our actions with half – baked excuses. Sometimes as adults, we go so far as to use twisted logic and the hypocrisy, of beliefs held by others, as our ammunition. But it is ourselves that are hurt the most!
The fact is that as humans, we are remarkable creatures. We have the ability to improvise and rise above almost anything. In order to do this, we must be honest with ourselves, correctly assess our lives, set our true priorities, and (at least) mentally prepare for anything.
On October 10, 2013, while doing research for an essay on teams and managing teams, I tripped over several articles on the economic impact of civil war.
I learned that social scientists, such as myself and those far more academic than Ms. Annie Sells, have spent a lot of time and resources studying civil war and have done some pretty extensive research. Why?
I thought you might wonder why. According to reviews of civil war literature, there are 5 reasons civil war is worth studying.
2) Civil war causes suffering; human suffering is extreme, economic development suffers, and political instability is a side effect.
3) Civil war undermines regional stability; it tears up counties.
4) Civil war engages the interests of distant powers and international organizations; others are in the business of countries.
5) Policymakers are re-assessing the efforts necessary to deal with civil war; hindsight is always at least 20/20 and helpful for preparing for the future.
The start of new civil wars has been on the decline since 1994. So why, living in the United States (US), should you concern yourself with understanding civil war? Here are 5 reasons I know civil war is the worth understanding in the US:
1) Civil war is real.
2) Civil war is a problem of the poor and we are getting poorer each day.
3) The Federal Government Shutdown is still in effect, at least the 15% that pays the US’ bills.
4) It has been 148 years since the start of the last civil war in the US; it took at least 700,000 lives, which is only slightly less than the number of people now furloughed nationwide.
5) If it has happened once, it can happen again.
I know we ought to avoid taboos, but come on, if we aren’t, we really should be paying attention.