Thursday, February 20, 2014


February 20th is the day my Dad died. Some might say he passed away or moved on to the next life. I was 17 years old when we found out he had cancer and 22 when he died. I love this amazing man so much and struggled to make sense of it all for a long time. I still miss him. 

In the Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume II he wrote to the widow of his friend, “My friendship is not ended. His death has had the very unexpected effect of making death itself look quite different. I believe in the next life ten times more strongly than I did. At moments it seems almost tangible. Mr. Dyson, on the day of the funeral, summed up what many of us felt, ‘It is not blasphemous’, he said ‘To believe that what was true of Our Lord is, in its less degree, true of all who are in Him. They go away in order to be with us in a new way, even closer than before.’ A month ago I would have called this silly sentiment. Now I know better. He seems, in some indefinable way, to be all around us now. I do not doubt he is doing and will do for us all sorts of things he could not have done while in the body.”

I wrote Heartsong after the funeral of my Grandmother, in memory of her, my Father and other loved ones who have passed on. They gave me the support and encouragement to finally record my first album. 

It sucks to lose people you love. That's real. But when we are open, we can still feel their touch in our lives and hear their voices that continue to guide. I have faced a series of life and health challenges since I recorded the album and was never able to tour. I am in the process of writing a novel that tells the story and have two new albums of songs in the waiting. I will not give up on this dream.

The Heartsong lives on in each of us who hold the memories we cherish as we chose to live, give, forgive, love, laugh and learn.

-          Shawna Ray

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Young Love is in the Air and Parents Everywhere are Scared

February is the month for romance, or so the card and gift companies tell us. I don’t have much to share in this department personally. Meanwhile, my 16 year old son Zach and his girlfriend Rachael are in LOVE and recently celebrated their two year anniversary.

This seems rare at their age and it scares me because that is longer than his Dad and I ever dated before getting married young, (our anniversary use to be on Valentine’s Day). A single Mom for over ten years, guilty as charged with a tendency to over protect, I have navigated this new uncharted territory with the same "out of my control" realization as the divorce and my son’s recent driving lessons. But I am still the parent and teacher, often times chauffeur and hand check police chief. They have heard me say, “Slow your roll” a lot lately because I told them both it is hard to slow things down once you start the roll down hill it picks up speed. I feel like a spy creeping in to check on them while they are “watching” a movie. In these moments it is hard to not have a relationship with my ex, who only sees the kids once or twice a year. I sometimes wish I had a present partner in all of this newness or that I could stop time and make different choices in my youth. I don’t have the luxury of good cop, bad cop or deferring decisions. That is where faith, forgiveness and a lot of prayer and meditation kick in.

In those peaceful and aware moments, I find contentment and feel grateful and happy that Zach is confident, smart and now taking the wheel and finding his own way in life and love. He also has a job and can now pay for his own dates and gifts, which is very nice. I have done my best to give him all the love and tools he will need to figure it out. We talk openly about pretty much everything, so I’m thankful for that. And when I feel he has tuned me out on certain subjects, I have enlisted my brother, Uncle Rob to talk to him. The good thing is, Zach and Rachael are able to talk to each other easily and they have worked through disagreements and separation since we moved to a new school district.

Who knows where it will go from here? My 14 year old daughter Kaiya and I both really like Rachael too and the fact that Zach is completely himself around her. They were really good friends for a long time before it turned into a thing, so she already feels like family in many ways. They both play sports and get good grades. They keep busy and see each other about once a week for a “date” with parents trading off carpooling and hosting at home or driving them to a public place. Zach is getting ready to take his driver’s test and I will be forced to detach even more at that point. Yikes!!!

I am trying to readjust my own expectations and timeline to accept and enjoy this stage and age. When I see red flags, I have talked to both of them together and in private. Rachael’s Mom and I also get along and talk a lot, mostly via text. This is the parenting life that you are never really prepared for, but must take one day at a time. It is what it is for now…Young love…And a lesson in letting go for us parents.

It’s a whole new world, especially with social media these days. But they really are cute and also very open…Check out the video Rachael (who is also very good at media and graphic arts) made for Zach on Instagram embedded above or link below (and since I am a musician I must credit the song by Drake, Hold On We're Going Home)…

For a laugh on the this Old Spice Commercial..