The Cowboy Rides Away

Front row seats at a George Strait concert doesn’t happen to just anyone. Last evening I was lucky to have one of those front row seats in the comfort of my own home. CMT was airing a special, the final George Strait concert from Texas, “The Cowboy Rides Away.”  This final tour ended this summer for George with over 105,000 faithful, delighted fans in attendance.  The biggest indoor concert to date in history. George is not retiring from country music; just country music touring.

With my life size George Strait cut out, which stands by my TV screen, I captured a photo of the special event for you to view.

I was in my glory as I sang along with George’s sixty number one hits. He had nine friends stop by to sing with him. Some of the biggest acts in the genre. Each capable of selling out stadiums in their own right.

As George ended his concert and was about to leave the stage, he threw his signature cowboy hat out into the crowd (something he has never done before). I knew I had just witnessed a historic event not just an ordinary concert.  I recalled the first time I saw George Strait on stage in Minneapolis, I was the age my son is now. I have no idea how the years can go by as quickly as they do. Music truly can lift one’s spirit. Thanks George for the memories and songs that linger forever!

Until next time with more Sweet Conclusions,

Rosie

 

 

Where will it all end?

Imagine a world where one could watch the news and smile afterwards, a world where only good things happened and where all people, no matter their color or religion actually cared for each other. Wouldn’t that be something?

Sadly that’s not the world we live in. The number of people forced to flee their homes across the world has exceeded fifty million for the first time since the Second World War. Half the world’s refugees are children, many traveling alone, often falling into the clutches of traffickers. This world is a scary place.

Just yesterday American journalist James Foley was cruelly beheaded by a British jihadist. Thinking about what this man went through breaks my heart, knowing it was a British citizen that committed this heinous crime causes my blood to boil. Even, I as a published author cannot imagine the hell James was forced through, the hell his family went through, are going through right now.

The world really has gone too far and life appears to mean so little to so many. How is it possible to kill in the name of religion? How can anybody ever justify slaughtering men, women and children in the name of God? James Foley was a journalist. He wasn’t there with a gun, wasn’t there to kill, wasn’t responsible for government policies in the Middle East. He was just a reporter, a simple man who happened to be an American. The only weapons he carried were a pen, a note pad and camera.

Rest in peace James Foley.

It’s important though to remember that hundreds of thousands of people are facing death as I write; that countless numbers have been murdered in cold blood, slaughtered in the name of religion. I am not against religion. I am a proud Christian. I just wish religion didn’t have to be used as a weapon to destroy lives.

Until next time,

Gavin

author web site

Off the Beaten Track

Sitting here right now, the sun on my back; mug of coffee in hand, it’s difficult to believe summer will soon be giving way to autumn. The older we get, the quicker the years rush by. Isn’t that the story of life? Last week this time I was still in America, still in Litchfield Minnesota, my home from home.

It’s been an eventful summer, a summer of meeting old friends and of making new ones, of completing my latest novel, of editing, of promoting my books and Sweet Conclusions.

Six weeks passed like wild horses and in just a few days’ time, I’ll be back at work here in Sweden. I always cherish my time in America; always look forward to visiting new and exciting places, places the average tourist doesn’t usually get to see. I have friends who have traveled from New York to Orlando, from Seattle to San Diego. Some have flown from Sweden to Washington DC or Minneapolis while others have experienced Dallas or Denver, Phoenix or Las Vegas. I’m not really a city person though; don’t really need to see streets lined with shops and tourists packed in cars and on buses like tins of sardines well-passed their sell by date.

If you want to see the true America, you should take a step back, leave the tourist tracks and head off into what is for me, one of the most amazing countries on earth.

You can find a McDonald’s or a Burger King, a tacky clothes store or and shoe shop in pretty much any city on the planet and surely, once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. I always make a point of visiting small towns, discovering new watering holes, mixing with the good people I meet on the way. As much as I would like to take a road trip from New York to Orlando or from Seattle to San Diego, I think I’ve seen and will keep seeing the best of America!

  Until next time with more Sweet Conclusions,

Gavin

 Gavin Hill author web site

What have you seen in your backyard this summer?

Do you ever pause long enough to enjoy the lovely sounds of nature? The earth has music for those who stop and listen!

This is what I found waiting for me to capture recently. 

A hungry bluejay with its beak open waiting patiently for some suet.

A baby cardinal enjoying some safflower seed.

 A beautiful swan protecting her young.

Did you ever wonder why there are so many types of bird beaks or bills? The most important function of a bird bill is feeding, and it is shaped according to what a bird eats. The bill is one of the characteristics used to identify birds. You can learn about bird behavior by looking at the bill and thinking about what it eats. Then you may think about where it lives, and so on.

We have the most beautiful hummingbird grace our presence daily.

Hummingbirds have long, tubular bills that resemble straws, which they use to sip nectar from flowers and sugar water from feeders.

We recently found this woodpecker in our tree.  Sadly the city crew had to cut down our tree last week due to Dutch Elm disease. Woodpeckers have strong beaks which taper to the tip, forming a chisel for pecking holes in trees for food or nests. Most feed on insects which live under the bark.

 A cone shaped bill is found in many birds such as finches and grosbeaks. They have a strong beak used for cracking seeds. We enjoy this grosbeak when he arrives to the feeder. We have a catbird watch over us daily.  Sometimes he comes close and sits in a branch near our table when we eat outside.  This week Gavin saw a fawn run across our backyard … a very rare occurrence for our neighborhood.  What have you seen in your backyard this summer?

I will leave you with a John Burroughs quote:

I go to nature to be soothed and healed,

and to have my senses put back in order …


Until next time with more Sweet Conclusions

Rosie

 

Eden Valley Area Library- an inspiration to all (Part Two)

It’s always fun meeting and working with children, educating and guiding them, filling their young minds with creative thoughts. At the William Gray & the Family Next Door event though, we also met many amazing adults. The Eden Valley Area Library really does know how to reach out to the young. William Gray & the Family Next Door was the first of two shows, the second being a mad scientist. Well, that’s what he was billed as. He was actually a science teacher, just another adult with a burning desire to teach and to interact with the young. The world needs more teachers, more educational storytellers, more adults who want to reach out and help others.

Last Saturday Rosie and I had an adult event at the exact same place. It’s always fun to stand behind a podium, to open the heart and to offer a little inspiration, to gaze into the eyes within the crowd, to see the smiles and to feel the warmth. None of us are invincible. We might think we are and we might believe we possess the strength to purely go it alone. Life’s really not that simple though is it?

Rosie’s heart-rending story brought many to tears, the constant struggle of a woman who has fought every step of the way, who is unable to eat and to drink as we do. My life story has always caused others to think about their own lives, about how they conduct themselves and about how they perceive others. Mine is a story of determination against the odds, of becoming something most thought to be impossible. Hers is a story of sheer courage, a heart-breaking story of a woman who in spite of everything, still manages to get up each morning and to smile defiantly in the face of adversary.

Sometimes we all need a helping hand, kind words and a gentle heart, somebody to inspire us or just to tell us we’re doing okay. If life was easy it would probably soon become quite boring. There is a reason for everything, a place and a time. We all face challenges, all feel sad or lonely sometimes… it’s part of life. We cannot run or hide from our pasts and all of us have done things we dearly regret. I know I have, and that’s why I chose to become a motivational speaker. Rosie chose the path for a different reason.   

But we can all motivate others; all bring joy and words of wisdom into other people’s lives. As long as we can come to terms with the things we have done or the things we are, as long as we can turn it all around, use our mistakes or adversaries as tools to help others. As long as we can find the positives within the negatives and allow our experiences to enrich others. Then we are all motivational speakers.

Schedule  Gavin and Rosie to speak at your group event in America or Europe by contacting:  sweetconclusionsgr@yahoo.com

 Until next time with more Sweet Conclusions,

Gavin

Author Web Site

Sweet Conclusions Web Site

 

Eden Valley Area Library – an inspiration to all

The world is full of amazing people, people who inspire and reach out into their communities, striving to make it the best place they possibly can. Rosie and I were at such a place today. My children’s story, William Gray & the Family Next Door was performed today in Eden Valley, Minnesota. Rosie and I arrived yesterday with the backdrops and we had been told there might be three or four children who might like to be involved. There were in fact, eight and all of them were eager to join in the fun. We sat a short while and went through the storyline, each child choosing a character to portray.  

I think what I love the most about children is their inborn innocence and innate curiosity. Yesterday a little girl asked if she could be Lucy Brown and I told her she would have to be sad because Lucy Brown is sad. She looked at me with wide eyes and all of a sudden, I could see that Lucy Brown was not the character for her. Finally she looked at me and said, ‘but I don’t know how to be sad’. Imagine if we as adults could say that same thing. She chose to be Max the cat instead.

Rosie and I arrived this morning at 9 a.m. The children arrived soon after, put on their costumes, sat waiting for the show to begin with smiles that cheerfully spread from ear to ear. And what a performance they put on as well. I read from the manuscript and Rosie played the songs, each character being brought to life by children who performed for children. There are seven songs in the story and although both the manuscript and the lyrics were written by me, the music was written by music teacher and good friend, Martin Lignell who lives in Sweden.

Each song has been written in such a way as to reflect the character and the situation. The most important song though is without a doubt, the final song, Stop Bullying and Pointing at Color. There really is no room in society for bullying and it’s so important to teach the young the importance of showing each other love and respect. The eight children, who helped me today stood and danced, laughed and spread the word out across the audience. It really was beautiful to see.

              Until next time with more Sweet Conclusions,

               Gavin       Author Web Site

              Backdrop and stage used for William Gray & The Family Next Door


 

 

Ring of Fire!

We attended the traveling Broadway show Ring of Fire at the Plymouth Playhouse in Plymouth, Minnesota.

The musical started the same way Johnny started his concerts with a simple,  “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.

John R. “Johnny” Cash (February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was a singer-songwriter, actor, and author, widely considered one of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century.  

Ring of Fire captures Johnny and his music.   From his boyhood years to the Grand Ole Opry and fame, to his dark years. The show ends with redemption and celebration of his life.

We thought the show was fantastic and highly recommend it.

We decided to watch the American biographical musical drama film, Walk the Line, last evening and enjoyed that also.                         The Johnny Cash Signature USA Postal Stamp was released in 2013

  Making for a great keepsake.

Until next time with more Sweet Conclusions …

Gavin & Rosie

 

First Time for Everything!

We were invited to go fishing at Great Northern Lake which is located between Cold Springs and Richmond, Minnesota. We had the times of our lives!  The weather was perfect and the fish and laughter was plentiful! 

First time for Gavin to catch fish in America and first time for Rosie to ever go fishing!  We both were very excited! We caught Sunfish, Catfish and Gavin caught a large size Northern Pike!  Next time fishing our goal is to catch some Walleye!

Our friends grilled us a tasty meal and then it was time for more fishing! Did I mention we had a wonderful time?! :)

Here is a view of the beautiful evening sky while fishing.

 

Bye for now – time to fry up our fish from last evening for lunch!

Until next time with more Sweet Conclusions …

Gavin and Rosie

Empowering Peaceful Shorelines

We feel very fortunate that we only have to walk a few blocks from our home to stroll along the beautiful shores of  Lake Ripley.

Watching the pelicans has become a daily, peaceful pleasure …

Look at how clear the water is when crossing the bridge area …

Recently we saw a full rainbow over the lake. On one end of the rainbow three pelicans flew – what a glorious sight of new hope and wonderment to view together.

It reminded us of the verse Gavin wrote and we use on one of our Sweet Conclusions wall arts:  This verse is from Gavin’s sixth book in the Maze series, The Tale of the Golden Casket. This book is at the publisher being edited for publication for all to soon to enjoy!

Eyes lifted to greet it,

The delicate crest of the rainbow

Just touching it with faint embraces …

                      Until next time with more Sweet Conclusions,

                                 Gavin and Rosie

Mark Your Calendars!

Two special events for youth and adults in Midwest Minnesota at the Eden Valley Area Library – don’t miss out on meeting author Gavin Hill bring to life his meaningful anti-bullying children’s story of “William Gray and The Family Next Door” on July 23rd at 9:30 a.m.

The Eden Valley Area Library has a special treat for you on July 26, at 10:00 a.m. Meet Gavin Hill and Rosie Hartwig. They will share their inspirational stories. This is a unique opportunity you do not want to miss!

Hope to see you in a few days!

Gavin and Rosie

Sweet Conclusions Web Site

Author and Motivational Speaker Gavin Hill Web Site