How Music Paves the Way To Success

by Monica Zamora-Lawrence

Since I was a small child, I always had a desire for music. At a young age I began studying the piano. I became an advanced pianist for my age and felt a sense of peace when I played. In 2001, my family and I moved to Kansas to be closer to my mother’s side of the family. This is when my life started to change in ways I could never imagine.

I remember walking in to my new middle school, feeling an extreme amount of fear. Different state, different school, different people, and a completely different culture. I had no idea, once again, what I was doing. For a tween, that is a terrifying feeling! Especially if that tween was just as shy as I was.

The day I decided to join band, I found a special place of belonging. I found an amazing group of friends within that class. I found a different kind of confidence within myself as well. (Don’t get me wrong, I was still awkward, but it was a “band geek” awkward.) Transitioning in to a school was hard, but finding an instrument that could help me get through all the “new” a tween could handle, was something my soul was absolutely searching for.

Going in to high school, I still actively participated in band. I thought I had found a safe place for the last 4 years of my childhood, but I was wrong. There were people outside of band, and even in band, that became bullies towards me. I thought the nick-names that they had made up for me, were special for a moment, until I found out otherwise. “Big Red” is the one I remember the most, and it wasn’t until one of the bullies came up to me and explained the reason why they all called me that, that I realized I was actually being made fun of by a group that I thought I could call a second family. I was extremely hurt, embarrassed, and humiliated. I went home that evening and cried my eyes out. After I had let out all my sadness, I turned to my instrument. I went back to school the next day, and owned up to the nick-name “Big Red,” but this time, in a different way. Now I would no longer be known as the bigger girl with red hair…no. This time, I was going to focus on my music and show them the talented, unstoppable, I-don’t-care-what-you-think-of-me, “Big Red.” Eventually I became lead of my section, but soon found a different kind of calling.

Right next door to the band room, was a choir room. As I was walking past the choir room one day, I heard the most beautiful harmonies. Now, I knew I loved to sing, so I contemplated joining at first. Then I made my decision to be bold and just go after it! Well, I made it! And not only did I get an offer to join the choir, but several members of the high school show choir asked me to join them! And that’s when, I became a member of the most amazing group of people I have ever met. This group truly showed me the meaning of how a school group family really cares about each other. I found my voice, and I found out I could dance as well! Who knew?!

My junior year of high school, I began suffering from major depression and anxiety. I continued with schooling, and kept going without anyone ever knowing how much I was actually suffering. I kept turning to music. Always, turning to music. Every time I felt low, angry, bitter, etc., I turned to music. Any kind of music. There is always something out there that makes a person realize that others have either been there, or maybe have seen a loved one go through whatever is ailing them.

Over the summer, that year, I tried to take my own music away. I had ended on a path that I couldn’t see my way out of. I thought the music had died for me…I couldn’t sing the songs anymore. But when I woke up in the hospital, with all my friends and family around me, I felt foolish. How could I think the music ended? I had so many more symphonies to write in my life. So what did I do?! I got up, and shook it off. I declared that no matter how bad my depression and anxiety got to me, I would ALWAYS turn to music.

Ever since then, I have written many varieties of songs: hate, pain, loss, heartache, hope, friendship, break-ups….but above all, LOVE. This is the reason music is so important to us individually, and especially our youth. Music builds a person up, from beginning to end. Music is always in our souls. Even our hearts beat to their own drum. Music creates a path to a successful life, and a road to walk down to share every emotion with.

Now, I am a Certified Surgical Technologist with an Associates Degree in Applied Science, a part-time teacher in the Surgical Technology Lab, I work with mentally disabled consumers and mentor them through their ever day struggles, and I’m buying my own home! Every day I thank what music, and my teachers, have given me….

My own, personal, musical of a life!

So the next time you’re unsure of where to turn…turn on your favorite song and remember that you have plenty of time to create your own symphony for you life, and the building blocks of all the little ones’ lives. Let’s give them some hope for their precious future, and expand their minds to what wonderful things music can bring to their lives.



The Intriguing Story Of Good King Wenceslas

Good King Wenceslas looked out 
On the feast of Stephen, 
When the snow lay round about 
Deep and crisp and even;

Brightly shone the moon that night 
Though the frost was cruel, 
When a poor man came in sight, 
Gath’ring winter fuel.

‘Hither, page, and stand by me, 
If thou know’st it, telling 
Yonder peasant, who is he? 
Where and what his dwelling?’

‘Sire, he lives a good league hence, 
Underneath the mountain, 
Right against the forest fence, 
By Saint Agnes’ fountain.’

‘Bring me flesh and bring me wine, 
Bring me pine logs hither, 
Thou and I will see him dine 
When we bear them thither.’

Page and monarch forth they went, 
Forth they went together, 
Through the rude wind’s wild lament 
And the bitter weather.

‘Sire, the night is darker now 
And the wind blows stronger; 
Fails my heart, I know not how, 
I can go no longer.’

‘Mark my footsteps, good my page, 
Tread thou in them boldly: 
Thou shalt find the winter’s rage 
Freeze thy blood less coldly.’

In his master’s steps he trod, 
Where the snow lay dinted; 
Heat was in the very sod 
Which the Saint had printed.

Therefore, Christian men, be sure 
Wealth or rank possessing, 
Ye who now will bless the poor 
Shall yourselves find blessing.

So, have you every wondered what the story was behind this interestingly named “King Wenceslas?”

Well, let’s shed some light on it for you by sharing the story of how it came about.

Wenceslas was a 10th-century Catholic Duke of Bohemia also known as Vaclav the Good, and was martyred after being assassinated by his wicked brother, Boleslaw the Bad. Wenceslas’s remains are interred in St Vitus’s cathedral in Prague, and he was recently made patron saint of the Czech Republic. His Saint’s Day is September 28.

This carol was written in Victorian Britain by John Mason Neale to a traditional folk tune. It was written in the town of East Grinstead, in the county of West Sussex, at Sackville College where he was staying at the time. The story in the carol is about the King (or Duke) of Bohemia (an area in Central Europe which is now part of the Czech Republic) from over 1000 years ago, seeing peasants, on Boxing Day, from his castle and taking food and wood to them. The story in the carol was probably completely made up! In fact the real story of King Wenceslas (907-935) is rather gory!

Wenceslas’ father was the Duke of Bohemia and a Christian but it’s thought that his mother might have been a pagan. His father died when he was 12 and, as he was not old enough to become Duke until he was 18, his mother took control of the land as regent. During this time his grandmother, Ludmilla, took care of Wenceslas and brought him up as a Christian (she smuggled priests into the house to help teach him). It’s thought that His mother had Ludmilla banished to a distant castle where she was murdered by the Queen’s guards!

Wenceslas was still a Christian after this and learned to read and write, something which was unusual for even a King/Duke in those days! He had local Bishops smuggled in at night to teach him the Bible. When he reached 18, Wenceslas took control of his dukedom. He then defended Bohemia from a couple of invasions by Dukes of neighboring regions and legend says that he banished his mother and her pagan followers from his castle.

Wenceslas put in a good education system and a successful law and order system, so the parts of the carol story about him being a kind King are certainly true!

After four years of happiness, when Wenceslas was 22, his brother Boleslav, became very jealous of Wenceslas and plotted (possibly with the pagan followers of their mother) to kill Wenceslas. Boleslav invited Wenceslas to celebrate a saint’s day with him, but on the way to the Church, Wenceslas was attacked and stabbed to death by three of Boleslav’s followers!

The (fictitious) story told in the song was written by a Czech poet Václav Alois Svoboda in 1847. He wrote many ‘manuscripts’ that tried to prove that Czech literature was much older and more developed than it really was. The poem was written in three languages, Czech, German, Latin, and was called ‘Sankt Wenceslaw und Podiwin’ (Saint Wenceslas and the Crocheteer). The Poem found it’s way into the UK in the 19th Century where JM Neale put the translated words to the tune of a 13th century spring carol ‘Tempus Adest Floridum’ (‘It is time for flowering’) that was came from a collection of old religious songs called ‘Piae Cantiones’ that was published in 1582 in Sweden/Finland!


Ref: [1] [2]

She Went From Military Petty Officer To Magic Intimacy Coach

As many of you already know: I love learning. My favorite thing to learn about and from are people. Their stories illuminate truths that resonate within ourselves. On a deep level, we all share the human story. We all share commonalities that connect us in ways that aren’t always made clear until we recognize them in other people.

Today, I got talk with a very interesting person. She went from adhering to the strictness of the crispest branch of the United States military (the Navy), to now coaching individuals in how to find a better intimacy level with life. Julia Minden will open your eyes to new ways and opportunities for approaching your life in a way that is full of happiness and inherent pleasure.

Thomas McGregor: What is the beginning to the story that is yours?

Julia Minden: The military seemed like a great way to pay for college. Plus at the time I wanted to be an engineer and it looked like getting a security clearance would be a smart idea for my career.

TM: Why were you motivated to go into the Navy?

JM: The military was an opportunity to learn new technical skills hands-on.

TM: Were their skill you felt you needed?

JM: Well engineering classes, especially the math ones, can be a lot of theory. I felt like they weren’t being taught in a way that women understand. So having the opportunity to go work on equipment and just do it without 18 months of theiry classes really appealed.

TM: What did you find to be the contrasting factors between the different ways education was conducted in the military versus conventional education channels?

JM: Normal college is like a party. You can study on your dorm room with a pizza in your pajamas if you want. In the military, if you didn’t finish taking the notes you needed to take, they put you on mandatory night study so you have to sit in a silent room in your uniform and finish, and they decrease your liberty card status, so you basically can’t leave base on the weekend unless you have a million liberty buddies and go out in uniform. AKA you just don’t go anywhere.

TM: So which is better, in your opinion (and why) ?

JM: Normal college, for sure. You can choose your instructor (if you register early enough). You have way more resources, in terms of tutors, instructor suggestions. You’re only limited by your motivation to learn. (Mostly, anyways. I did fail Calc II 3 times, and didn’t go back for a 4th.) And you can wear almost whatever you want. But I still don’t think they currently teach STEM classes for the female mind.

TM: What do you mean the female mind? And, what could universities do to achieve this?

JM: I feel that women learn differently. We remember content more easily if it’s shown in relation to something else we understand. Most STEM classes are taught in a linear way that introduces a simple foreign concept at the beginning, and then gradually becomes more complicated all semester. So figuring out WHY you make a certain calculation, and when, is a giant frustration. It’s not in relation to anything, or with examples that make sense. We’re not at all less capable as women. But we approach from a different angle that’s unfamiliar in the male-prevalent STEM world.

TM: Did, therefore, your transition from the military into intimacy coach  stem from this mis-understanding between how men and women communicate, both; verbal and physically?

JM: The transition was more like a breakdown. I knew near the end of my time in the military, as I was totally burnt out and minimally going through the motions, that things had been more difficult for me in the military than it was for other people. And not because I was a woman, but that nearly every activity made me so exhausted. I knew that I wasn’t any less capable than anyone else, I made it through Bootcamp at the practically ancient age of 25. I’m basically Super Woman. But I wanted to sleep for a million years. And I felt squandered. The military doesn’t want anyone’s mind. They want you to work, they want some person to fix this and do that, and be a pair of eyes at a desk asking to see ID’s, and mop floors. They didn’t want ME. So I started doing research. Why was I so tired ALL the time. Why do I feel like The Princess And The Pea about every single element of my environment? Why did I always know when someone else was stressed out? Turns out I’m what’s known as a Highly Sensitive Person. A genetic trait that cranks up the volume on my whole nervous system. All of my physical senses (sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch) have the volume turned up. And not just that, I’m also an empath. I feel other people’s emotions and their energy whether I want to or not. So I went on a quest to find what to do with those traits. I refused to see them as a weakness. I wouldn’t have them if they were a disability, they are supposed to be used for something. It took 3 months of sobbing on my couch in Alaska to start digging. Even longer to find answers. Turns out people like me are well suited to be therapists, life coaches, consultants, healers, and entrepreneurs. And after researching life coaching, I was like, “I think I’ve actually been coaching people without their permission since I was 9.” I coached a bunch of things before I started coaching sexuality. I coached other sensitives. Then I coached sales/client attraction. (That was a terrible fit.) Then dating for a little bit. But it kept coming back to sex. I had a really solid sex education as a kid from my parents & their book collection. So I had pretty healthy ideas and attitudes about sex from a young age. And as a teen, I took full ownership of my sexuality, put fake covers on sex books and read them during silent reading time in class, which resulted in a great arsenal of skills to use with my high school boyfriend. I’m rarely single. People tell me that’s uncommon. And I’m unashamedly amazing in bed.

TM: What do you look for first when talking with perspective clients?

JM: Several things. Do they know what outcome they want? Some people have issues in their sex life but they have no idea what they actually want instead. Are they motivated, and can I see what motivates them? No substitute for motivation. And are they someone *I* want to work with?

TM: How do you know what motivates them?

JM: I tend to read people pretty well. And if someone is hard to read, I ask. But usually as they’re describing what’s going on in their intimate life, they’re telling me what they miss, and that’s very illuminating.

TM: Do you find it more fulfilling to work with men, women, or couples?

JM: I tend to work mostly with individuals who are in relationships, but they want to work on their side of the street. But male or female doesn’t matter.

TM: What has been the top 3 things you’ve learned being an intimacy coach that came from the military?

JM: 1. Mindset runs deep, and it’s powerful. 2. Heal your lineage, be free to be yourself. I had a parent in, and a grandparent in, and more generations before that. Healing that part of myself, I have the freedom to be myself and really own my dharma in the world that I don’t think I would have been free to do before. 3. It’s not about what you have in life, but what you let yourself receive and enjoy. If you have an amazing meal but only 12 minutes to eat it in, is it really an amazing meal, or just something you ate to stop feeling hungry?

TM: Amazing! Thank you for speaking with me. I learn so much form you!

JM: Thanks for having me.

Learn more about Julia and her mission by clicking HERE.

When We Realize We’ve Let the Arts Down

After my performance yesterday at the 3rd Annual Eudora Charity Event I met this 87 year old beauty of a soul that went on to tell me that both her and her mother played violin. After my performance yesterday at the 3rd Annual Eudora Charity Event I met this 87 year old beauty of a soul that went on to tell me that both her and her mother played violin. She had played violin from early on, her brother trumpet, and her mom piano and teaching violin. She told me stories of when they would get together in the evenings as a family and play music together. They would laugh, dance and make up music. The joy in the household was so infectious, in fact, that neighbors would often pop in to join in with the evening festivities. As a result, relationships and ties to the community were extremely tight. They could rely on each other to be entertained and musically stimulated. “We did away with our radio when I was 13 because we never used it.” She went on to tell me. “My mother bought music books with the money she made from selling the radio.”

How times have changed. And, without soap-boxing, tainting this magnificent story of music in the home, I will say this; does your current home entertainment fulfill you past it’s expiration date ? You see, light shimmered in the eyes of a woman that lived these events eight decades ago. That, my friend, is entertainment that fulfills past the expiration date. It fulfills because of deep connection. The connection we all search for with each other.

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What it Takes to BE Motivated — Consistently


Let’s face it — We aren’t motivated all the time. We go through peaks and valleys of motivation. When we are in a valley we tend to try to pull ourselves out by locking onto things that will motivate us. This might include things like listening to motivational speakers, reading motivational books and even attempting to change our state via chants and incantations. But question still remains; How does peak performers keep their state elevated day in and day out? The answer is simple, but may be more complex than most will be ready to commit to.

Before we get to the strategy of peak performer consistent motivation, let’s first examine our current state — and how we view it — our perception of how we feel. So, how do you feel right now? Your answer is a tell-all sign as to your readiness to take control of this peak and valleys process that we all seem to be victim of. If your answer was negative, then you may be the very thing that is holding you back from altering your motivation level. If your answer was semi-positive, then being on the fence is a sign of lack of focused decision making. If your answer was positive, then your ideal motivation state is higher than where you currently are. But simply becoming aware of HOW you answered the question is a very strong indicator of how you view your state. This tells you that you are judging yourself in some form or fashion, not allowing yourself to change by blocking growth.

STEP-BY-STEP: Here is your guide to accessing a consistent form of motivation…


STEP 1: CLEAR your mind of JUDGING your current state, allowing it to be as it is — regardless of how it feels. (EVEN if it feels horrible!) Peak performers allow how things are to just be, giving them an outside view and thus control.

STEP 2: THE KEY is to constantly adjust your mental image to something that motivates your deep down in your core. This is what peak athletes do but keeping in their mind the prize or accolades they will receive as a result winning.

STEP 3: REFOCUSING is the final step that is possibly the most crucial. You must keep refocusing your mind to that image as vividly as possible. This is paramount due to the vast amount of distractions that plague our daily existence. Keep moving your mind’s eye back to this image that keeps you going, regardless of what the external situations, people or circumstance may attempt to persuade you.


You have control over the 20% of your life that matters most. Ironically, that 20% directly influences the remaining 80% that most attempt to control. Don’t fall into that trap. Control that which is in your control, allow the rest to happen as result of your diligent efforts.




“Live your inspiration, deliberately!”