Sunday, May 10, 2015

Expect the Unexpected

“Changes all around me - sometimes I wish that it weren’t so.
But these changes deep inside me help me get where I want to go.”           

Little did I realize the significance of those lyrics when I penned them in 1993.
“Changes” was the title of that ballad on the FIRED UP album.  Back then, I was very insecure about singing the lead vocal, but today I’m glad I did it…especially with the challenges I’m experiencing with my voice.  Writing and producing each song on the albums “ONE by ONE” and “FIRED UP!” was probably the most rewarding project of my entire life.  Music is the language of the soul…and the emotions of that era are resurrected when I hear their familiar melodies.  If you would like, you can listen to the songs on my personal website at – they’re listed on the Original Music tab on the home page.

One thing we can be certain of in this world is change.  Change can be rewarding even when it is painful.  It all depends on our view of life…you know, the glass is either half empty or half full.  We can be a victim or a victor…we have a choice as to our reaction to life’s challenges.

Looking back on the lyrics of “Changes” however, I would rewrite the phrase:  “...WANT to go” replacing it with “…helping me where I NEED to go.” 

Life changes are not always comfortable.  ‘Wants’ and ‘Needs’ are two different animals. This past year has seen big changes inside of me.  I’m sure those internal changes are a result of the many tangible changes that Beckie and I have experienced this past 12 months…for instance – some of the tangible changes: 

< Beckie is working full time now and I’m home alone;
< We have a new neurologist, having moved our treatment from Stanford Medical Center in Palo Alto, to Cedars Sinai in West Los Angeles;
< Anticipating our youngest daughter’s family moving to Northern California this month as a result of a career change for her husband, Sam;
< Our ­oldest daughter and her husband have connected with a great church group in the San Diego area and are benefiting from that association;
< Anticipating outpatient surgery soon to replace my neuro-stimulator battery for the second time in 5 ½ years…much shorter than expected (because of the high voltage settings necessary to keep the symptoms at bay);
< Making new friends at our 55+ senior apartment complex and at our local Parkinson’s Support Group monthly meetings;
< My ability to communicate vocally is a major challenge.  I’ve attempted twice now to videotape a 5 years since DBS surgery (to add to the ‘1-year’ and ‘3-years after’ videos already posted on YouTube on my ‘april13kid’ channel)…and failed to adequately articulate my current situation.  I’m not sure right now as to when or how I’m going to pull that off.
 < We’ve recently been introduced to Young Living Essential Oils as well as some herbal supplements that are very promising in alleviating a number of symptoms I’m dealing with both physically and mentally, and am pleased with the prognosis.

As far as my internal response to that list:

< I’m finally giving myself permission to relax from always having to ‘produce’…and becoming comfortable with ‘retirement’ and all that entails.  Being home alone with limited mobility has been an adjustment to be sure;

< Adjusting to new doctors at Cedars Sinai has been relatively easy.  Dr. Tagliati and Dr. Tan have been a great encouragement to me.  I’m very happy with their abilities.

< I’m learning that with my daughters and their children, I don’t have to ‘speak’ to be ‘heard.’  They don’t need to know what I care about, they just need to know I care…about them.

< The same is true with new friends in the community.  I’ve come to realize that I don’t have to impress people with my words or ideas.  If I will just sit with someone, ask a question once in a while, and listen to whatever they have to say, more goodwill is accomplished than by my eloquence or by trying to impress them with my knowledge.  By being forced to limit my spoken words I’m learning there is much wisdom in “holding one’s tongue.”  ‘Type A’ personalities (like myself) don’t learn this truism easily.  It usually takes a crisis and then it’s still difficult.

< Finally, I want to say how totally thankful and impressed I am with my wife, Beckie.  For the past year, she has been a customer service manager for a large retailer and has weathered some fierce storms (both with physical leg pains and “pains in the neck” so to speak - with customers).  I’ve seen both strength and grace develop in her to the point where she is like a different person.  She is my hero.

“Changes all around me - sometimes I wish that it weren’t so.
But these changes deep inside me help me get where I NEED to go.”        

My friend Francis Anfuso wrote:

“What response to a great disappointment will set you on the path of God’s choosing.  Expect the unexpected.”  


  1. Ken - so sorry to hear about your diagnosis and journey through Parkinson's. Prayers to you and Beckie for God's love and strength through this. I loved the 'Fired Up' album and years ago called INA to see if they would reissue it to no avail. I tried your link to the music, but it doesn't seem to work... Help! Would love to hear those great songs again. Again, sending prayers.

    1. Vicki,
      Please email me at and I'll send you a CD with all of the songs on it.
      Thanks for caring. Ken

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