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People Helping People in Solvang

We're headed to Southern California this weekend for a couple of shows that focus on songs and their writers. We love those. There's nothing like hearing songs straight from the heart of the writer, its always inspiring to us and to the audience.

We'll be in North Hollywood on Saturday night for Acoustic Los Angeles Live! at Hallenbeck's General Store and in Solvang on Sunday for Songwriters at Play, at the Carivintas Winery Tasting Room.

We love the Santa Ynez Valley, and Solvang is such a quaint town. Our friends have told us we have to try the aebleskiver. But we also wondered what's going on in the Solvang Community? Who are the people there who are changing the world through love?

Here's what we found:

Thriftstore_03 People Helping People was founded in 1992 by several local citizens and
government officials who saw the need for a local non-profit
organization to supply emergency and Short-term social services. They also assist individuals and
families extricate themselves from a cycle of poverty and empower individuals and
families to become self-sufficient. People Helping People began its
service to the Valley in 1992 from donated office space in the Veteran's
Memorial Hall in Solvang.

PHP operates a Thrift Store in Solvang, we're thinking we'll stop by. After the aebleskiver.

Kicking the Fear and Anger Habit

If we want to look at the world from a place of love rather than fear, anger or hate, we've got to make some changes. And by we I mean, well, it starts right here with us.

In his Feb. 25 article Feeding the Beast — our Addiction to Anger and Fear, Larry Gellman of the Huffington Post writes:

If most people say their goal in life is to be happy, then why do they
spend so much time and money convincing themselves and others how
furious and fearful they should be? Why do millions of us spend much of
the day listening to ranting, raving, outraged people on the radio,
come home and watch the angry Right wingers on Fox or the angry Left
wingers on MSNBC and then read the steady stream of emails telling us
how mad and scared to death we should be of our own government,
Muslims, Arabs, Obama, Liberals, Congress, the media and everyone else
in the world?

Bottom line is that fear is too often used to control, motivate and generally keep people in line with whatever line of thinking is desired by those doing the controlling. Be afraid… very afraid… we are told.

This doesn't mean "lie down and take it." Game playing politicians and banks that pay out large bonuses instead of lending money to small businesses can really make us angry. But let's not seek out ways to feed that anger. Let's not let fear get the best of us. 

Gellman provides this keen perspective:

These are very hard and challenging times for most Americans. The
solutions do not lie in anger and demonizing the other. They lie in our
own hope, perspective, ingenuity, and ability to be part of the
solution.

Love CAN Change the World, and we all can play a part


When we sing "love can change the world – I can play a
part…", its personal. Its a reminder that it really does start with us.

Holdinghands For
almost a year, we have been talking, planning and beginning to implement our
own plan to simplify our lives. To live a more sustainable lifestyle. To focus
on the difference we can make, rather than just surviving.   We've
sold our now 'too big for us' house and we're taking a leap of faith that we'll
find a smaller, comfortable home to rent before moving day in mid-March. We're
focusing more on our work in music because that's
where our hearts are. We're taking better care of ourselves, making sure we
leave time to rest and relax, and making sure we let each other know – every
day – how grateful we are for each other.

Sound like a love fest? Well then so
be it… because this is where it starts. Next step, making time to help
others. This 2008 blog post from the Zen Habits Blog details 25 Ways to Help a Fellow Human Being.
Don't worry, this topic can't possibly go stale. Author Leo Babuata challenges
readers to: 

…strike back against the selfishness and greed of our modern
world, and help out a fellow human being today. Not next month, but today.

There
are 25 wonderful – and simple – ideas for how to do this. Ending with the
biggest and most wonderful idea of them all:

#25. Love. Simply finding ways to
express your love to others, whether it be your partner, child, other family
member, friend, co-worker, or a complete stranger … just express your love. A
hug, a kind word, spending time, showing little kindnesses, being friendly … it
all matters more than you know.

How will you begin to change the world today?


Valentine’s Day

What if we celebrated Valentine's Day by making a decision to love ourselves? And to actually, really, love our neighbors as ourselves? Could that love change the world?

We've all know the Margaret Mead quote, "never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed its the only thing that ever has." Its true, of course. And it starts with each one of us.

That's the message. Let's live it, starting today.

Albuquerque

AbqNeither one of us can remember if we've been to Albuquerque before, but we must have becuase we've both traveled through this part of the country. Bev's dad tells a great story about when he was about 15, driving from Austin Texas to California with Grand Daddy and Uncle John. They'd promised mama that they would write to her from every town where they stopped for the night. They stopped, Grand Daddy got out his paper, licked his pencil lead and said "where are we?" John said "Albuquerque." Grand Daddy thought for a minute and said "get in the car, we're goin' to the next down."

Our friend Susie Glaze has a great bluegrass song about Albuquerque… she even spells it! Listen here, its on here new album Green Kentucky Blues.

We'll be spreading the love tonight at Solid Grounds Coffee House at St. Stephens Methodist Church, then tomorrow morning at the High Desert Center for Spiritual Living. A lovely Valentine's weekend!

Pasadena, Altadena … little bit of time between …. a

Here we are at the end of our second day of the Love Can Change the World tour. We've met some great people in the Pasadena/Altadena area, and had a fantastic time tonight at the Coffee Gallery Backstage.

IGSBL_CoffeeGalleryt was our first time at the Coffee Gallery – a listening room that we've been hearing about for years. We opened for Stephanie Bettman and Luke Halpin, an energetic contemporary acoustic duo from here in the LA area. It was definitely a LOVE celebration!

On Friday we head to Phoenix, and the Fiddler's Dream Coffeehouse… sharing the love one audience at a time!

Day One: Love Can Change the World (tour)

Its Day One of our Love Can Change the World (tour). We're just coming over the Grapevine on Interstate 5, through the mountains dotted with snow, and very green from the rain that had threatened mudslides in this area earlier in the week. The sun is shining and the evacuation orders in the LA area foothills were lifted this morning.

Grapevine

We're headed to Pasadena for a songwriters night put together by our friend Brad Colerick, who has played with us in our own songwriters series back home in the Bay Area. Wine and Song is held at Winestyles in Pasadena on Wednesday nights. We're excited to be playing with Brad and with his other guest, Dan Navarro.The music starts a 7pm, 1007 Mission Street, Pasadena.

Check out Brad's song What's in Front of Me for a great message about being a person who sees and responds to the needs of others. Visit the Lowen and Navarro Web site for a free download of A Better Man from Dan and Eric's 2008 release Learning to Fall. While your there, check out Keep the Light Alive, a tribute to the music of Lowen & Navarro featuring friends such as Jackson Browne, Keb Mo and The Bangles. Proceeds benefit The Eric
Lowen Trust, The ALS Association's Greater Los Angeles Chapter, and
Augie's Quest, all to help People with ALS (PALS) deal with this
debilitating affliction.

We're spreading the love…