You don’t realize what you have until it’s gone.

Here we are, in the midst of a bitter cold snap in the northeast. I’ve been trying to keep up with the firewood, stoking the fire in the wood stove and conserving the gas heat. Gail and I worked very hard during December, long days out in the cold selling our Back Door bakeshop wares at the downtown Bethlehem Christmas City Village. You know, we’re married to our little mom and mom business, and sometimes it takes all the energy we have. But we realize we are entrepreneurs, small business owners, creative spirits – and we keep lifting each other higher and higher. I won’t lie, we imbibed a little, after hours, because we just needed some reward at the end of the day. The body works harder in the cold, trying to keep warm, you know.

And now I think I’m still recovering from all that hard work. No sooner did we clean up on Christmas Eve, then we were off to visit with family for the holidays. And on Jan. 2, our entire household (and the extended family) came down with some strain of the flu. I was hit the hardest, fever for several days and coughing and congestion that lasted for at least two weeks. I eased back into singing last weekend by going to the Open Mike at Godfrey Daniels.

You don’t realize what you have until it’s gone.

My voice was gone. My creative spirit was gone. My mojo was gone. I really haven’t felt so down on myself in a very long time. What I know is that it takes a big push to get it all back. It’s the end of January and I still feel somewhat out of sync. I’ve picked up the guitar a few times and learned a new cover or two, but I just don’t have the energy to write. So, on Monday night I went to Moe Jerant’s community drum circle. It was refreshing to just do nothing but play a djembe for a couple of hours. I never get to do that anymore. And tonight I’m starting to take deep breaths, and practicing relaxation techniques. Just taking the time to write this is cathartic.

So, December proved to be a very fulfilling month. Aside from working non-stop, I performed at the Lehigh Valley Music Awards with a fabulous band and received three prestigious honors – Best Singer/Songwriter, Best Original Song (Woman in Me), and the Directors’ Award for Community Involvement. Moe and I played an opening spot before Cheryl Wheeler at Sellersville Theater. The show at the Ice House was a huge success, not just for me, but I think the band and WDIY staff were all very pleased with the outcome. And the New Year’s Eve show at Godfrey’s was wonderful.

Now things are quiet on the music front, and I’m going to take this time to look inward. My work with Godfrey Daniels has become very important at a time when the musical landscape is changing every day. My work as a graphic designer is still crucial to supporting my family. I have some wonderful gigs coming up, and right now I’m booking the spring and summer. I have a live recording that’s being used as the backdrop for a local video and I’ll be co-hosting the American Advertising Federation – Greater Lehigh Valley 2013 ADDY Awards. I’ll also be a presenter at the Jersey Acoustic Music Awards. And amidst all of this, our mom and mom business is still growing and needs cultivating.

I’m anticipating spring – a time when I can fill my lungs with fresh air and sing out the notes that have been hibernating all winter. I hope to see you soon.

– Dina

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