Saturday, December 29, 2018

We'll Take It From Here

For nearly 18 years my wife and I have raised twin girls (two of our four kids...with boys on either side).  Most of that journey has been us trying to make the best decisions we could for them so that they would thrive and become competent, productive, and kind adults.

While I can't pinpoint the date, at some point in the past year it changed from guiding and making decisions to watching and giving advice.

...from "What should we do?" to "We'll take it from here"

...and that's a wonderful feeling.

This photo of them during our Christmas getaway at my brother's cabin, to me, reflects that reality. They are in front, forging their own path, independent, yet close enough to each other for support.

One is certain and sure and is headed straight to her target.

The other is exploring which path to take....which will be most fulfilling and satisfying.

I love that.

Of course we will give observations, facts, multiple points of view, but in the end, this is their they have already accepted and "own".

I love them to pieces, and I can't wait to see which path each decides to embark on...and I won't have to wait long...they decide in just a few months!

Whatever they decide, they know we will support them and cheer them on...but they also know it's not going to be perfect. There will be pain, troubles, fear, doubt, and sadness. But then, that's true about everything in life.  Those moments of hardship help them learn, improve, and make their eventual triumphs even that much more rewarding (I should remember that myself)

...and while they are finding their own path, in a way they'll be out there together...I'm so grateful they have each other to lean on while they are out there in the wild.

Here's to 2019...a year of amazing changes and adventures for us all.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

A Coach, An Athlete, And The Temporary Team

My daughter just killed it at her Regionals gymnastics meet. This was the best-of-the-best across region 4 for XCEL gymnastics division, Diamond level (7 states including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Nebraska).

She won 4th all-around, with a super awesome 1st on Floor with a 9.7, 2nd on beam with a 9.45, and a 4th on bars with a 9.025.

But that's not all that impressed me that day…


It started with a coach.

A coach my daughter had never met.

…and a team that, at least for a single meet, included my daughter as one of their own.

My daughter qualified for regionals, and ended up being the only athlete from her team to compete. She was placed with Twin City Twisters team for the rotation.

When they arrived at their first event, Vault, I watched in amazement as the TCT coach asked my daughter her name, then called his athletes over, introduced my daughter to them, and while I couldn't hear everything, I heard fragments that helped my daughter feel included, "in the know" for what to expect, and he even gave a rundown of the team's personality.

Then it was her turn to compete:

To my amazement, as she started, I heard a full barrage of, "Come on, Julia!", "You Got it, Julia!", and when she stuck her landing?  "Way to go, Julia!"

I was stunned.


Proud...of my daughter, her temporary team, and a coach that instilled a "we're in this journey together" quality into that team. Now, at that moment, I didn't know how this coach was in teaching gymnastics skills and performance, but I could tell through the behavior of these other young ladies on this team that he was an outstanding coach.

With all I see and experience with 'loners', 'competitors who focus on themselves', 'win with whatever it takes' in the world, instead I heard…

…team bonding - towards someone not on their team

… a coach who led by example, led by befriending a lone athlete and led by encouraging his team to do the same.

…and a lone athlete who, in turn, cheered on this team … as a temporary member

As a result?

She had a cheering section she started her beam:

...with more claps and cheers as she stuck her leaps and spins...

When she was done?

The lone athlete had a team to celebrate with after her 2nd place 9.45 beam score.

And for her last event, Floor, with her temporary team, she was encouraged, cheered on, and she started what would be her best score ever…
...with a team watching and cheering...

...encouraging her through her tumbling pass...

...shouting excitement at her leaps...

...clapping as she stuck her jumps... her just that extra confidence to push herself... leap with extra bounce...

...and finish knowing she did the very best she could...maybe even a little better with all the support this temporary team gave her during the event.

When the score posted, and the athlete saw a 9.7, she doubled over in awe with her own awesome coaches...

Then celebrated with a member of her temporary team:  
(it's not lost on me that this particular team member had to care enough to watch my daughters performance, know her name, scan the score board, and once the score appeared, walk towards my daughter to help her celebrate...even though this team member still had her performance to prepare for)

 Finally, when it was all done, they even got to share the podium together:

In the end, my daughter had an outstanding experience at 2018 regionals, got a lot of well-deserved awards (including 1st on FLOOR!), and some great moments of team bonding with a temporary team coached by an outstanding coach.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Raw to Polished - "Just Beneath The Surface" - Song Insight

"Regardless of the ambition, joy, kindness, or wisdom a man projects, it's what lies just beneath the surface that reveals his true nature"

I have several "Song Insights" blogs for songs I've written...kind of a "what's the backstory". For the next few songs, I captured the very first spark of the idea, record it into my phone, and once once the final recording is done...I provide you with a "Here's the raw idea I started with and here's how it ended up"

Song: "Just Beneath The Surface"
Composer: Greg Hintermeister, ©2018
Arranged: Greg Hintermeister
Performed by: Greg Hintermeister
Recorded: 2018 in Hint of Light Studios
Emotions: Anticipation, Ambition, Hope....with an undercurrent of sad, even disturbing threads

Finished Recording

It all started 9 or 10 years ago with some "piano time" with my then-young daughters (they're 17 now). I came up with this piano riff, and thought it was interesting enough to capture it on my phone.

The Raw Idea
(take a listen - originally called "Rain Storm"):

Recently I traveled quite a bit and the car rental had Sirius so I dialed in "Chill Electronica", and was reminded how much I love this kind of music.

I wanted to get back into a regular pattern of composing and recording, so I took this chance to explore what my studio could do for electronic music. Specifically, I wanted to see how what Logic Pro, on my iMac, could do.

I was quite pleased! Not only could I take advantage of the loops, I could still customize and compose exactly what I wanted with the various sounds available to me (including a killer analog synth sound that makes an appearance at 1:38).

Then, with the help of my youngest, who loved the idea of going from minor to major, I got a decent middle section.

Captured Mistake
At minute marker 2:35 I was recording the beginning of the C Major piano section, and my brain slipped and I played a diminished Ab chord instead of a G chord. I loved the sound so I recorded it proper, and then added a second moment of it at 3:40.

About The Title
This was originally called, "Rain Storm", since it seemed the raw idea mimicked a storm and would work well with electronica style. The captured "mistake" made me rethink what to call the song since those diminished chords complicated the simple "Minor to Major back to Minor Rain Storm" theme I was originally shooting for.

Well, the day I declared this song "Finished",  I unfortunately, and surprisingly, unleashed my true nature towards a loved one...said very hurtful things in a very uncontrolled manner.

It instantly undid months (years?) of togetherness, kindness, bonding, and all the "I'm here for you" comments that now seem quite non-genuine. This will take a very, very long time to repair.

Now, listening to this song again, the jumping from minor to major and back again, along with the disturbing undercurrent captured by the Ab diminished, actually reflects my greatly flawed heart, hence the title and the quote.

Friday, April 6, 2018

"You're Better Than That"

Instant regret.

I could have said any of the following:

"You did great!"

"I believe in you…"

"How do you think you did?"

Or even…

"You did great…if you want to try again just prepare, practice, and you'll rock it!"

Or just…

"I love you…I'm here to help you succeed".

But nope. I blurted out "You're better than that".

I could see it stung instantly. I quickly said, "Sorry, that was a bad thing to say". Without hesitation, she responded…."Yes, it was".

It more than stung, it wounded her. In an instant, 6 months (or 17 years) of encouragement, support, guidance, and advice cut down by 4 words.

It was in the middle of a room waiting for a college tour…she had commented on her ACT score…which was already above what most get, and the paper she was showing me listed a range…she just finished saying that even with her off-the-charts GPA she thought about taking the ACT test again, and for some reason, my inner Neanderthal said…

"I agree. You're Better Than That".

It's been a few days, and I think we're OK, but I can't stop thinking about it.

My thoughts?
  • She IS better than that…she is not just a score on some standardized test.
  • She has proven herself over and over that she has grit to get great results.
  • Her personality, attitude, what she's overcome shows me she is definitely better than a stupid remark suggesting her identity is labeled with a single score
  • I am better than that. I KNOW how to support and respect and encourage and challenge my kids, and I know this phrase is only hurtful. I should say this phrase as a reprimand for myself
  • Oh, and my multi-year sadness of finding purpose and value in my life in vain should tell me that test results, scores, and all the other "people pleasing" I thrive on is NOT the key to a joy-filled life.

So what do I do?

Think before I speak…learn from my failures…

And possibly turn the phrase into a mission statement my Ladies can grow from…

"You are better than that...that single measurement…in fact, no matter how you are measured…for school, work, society, friends, lovers…you are better than any small measurement. You are so much more. You are a gift…a unique creation…and while school and work need to create measurements that are common across all that want to participate, you need to realize your uniqueness is special and can't be measured. No one will have the same journey as you…the same observations…the same successes, failures…and no one will experience this world in the same way as you.  Embrace this, explore your uniqueness, learn what interests you, challenge yourself…create something new every day. Wake up each morning with a passion to improve yourself in some small way each day… Make the phrase, "I'm Better Than This" a war cry … that in the next 18 hours, you will improve yourself… Make this a self-fulfilling prophecy: You will be a better version of you at 10pm than you were at 6am...on December 31st than you were on January age 58 than you were at 48"

In the end, I hope she knows I love hear dearly, I would do anything for her, and that I am greatly flawed. I asked for forgiveness, and she gave me forgiveness. Maybe with the mission statement above I can also give her a perspective she can use for years to come.

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