It’s the last month of my husband’s full time employment… June is going by too fast!

I’ve been awaiting June 2014 with a mixture of dread, anticipation, and excitement. I dread it because it may mean the start of hard financial times. My husband, Bill, is retiring from the Army and is job hunting. Some of his colleagues have had a tough time finding work and I fear the same for him. I anticipate it because it heralds a new beginning for us. Imagine it! We’re going to start a life that doesn’t involve the government telling us where we have to live (though in fairness, the places we’ve lived have been fine). And there’s excitement, because I’m curious about what’s next. I hope it’s good. I’m glad that the chances of my husband being deployed again are pretty much nil, unless there’s some kind of crisis and he gets recalled after retirement. I’m glad he’s survived having a commission for 30 years and isn’t haunted by so many of the things that haunt veterans, like PTSD and serious injuries and exposure to chemicals.

The past weeks have been an emotional roller coaster, though. I’ve watched Bill apply for jobs, research housing solutions, network with people, celebrate, and enjoy his time off. This week, he’s mostly watched me cough and hack and complain about my sore throat. I think I picked up a nasty bug while bobbing for apples at a “hail and farewell” event put on by his soon to be former co-workers. At least I had the pleasure of throwing an apple at the guy who organized the apple bobbing activity. That was very satisfying. On the other hand, I was dumb to bob for apples. I don’t think my immune system is what it used to be.

Adding to my apprehension is the fact that next Friday I will turn 42. Seems like yesterday I was 21 and these 40s years seemed very far away. Anyway, what does this have to do with Pop Rock Nation? Not a lot, really, other than my getting comfort and meaning out of music, especially when I’m stressing out over a life transition. I find music by certain artists very comforting. James Taylor has always been soothing to me, but in more recent years, I’ve gotten a lot out of Beth Nielsen Chapman’s music.

Beth Nielsen Chapman has written a lot of great songs made famous by other singers. A lot of times, I prefer her original renditions to the covers done by other people. Her songs are always from the heart and have lyrics that anyone can relate to. She’s written some particularly good songs about death and loss, having lost her husband, Ernest Chapman, to cancer in 1994. In 2000, she suffered her own bout with cancer, which inspired her to release Hymns, her own arrangement of Catholic songs she’d grown up with. The songs had given her faith as she struggled through treatment. She’s written some very good love songs and breakup songs… and songs that are nothing but good stories. She’s even written about difficult parent/child relationships and the process of becoming elderly and/or sick.

As the days pass, I have a feeling I’ll be listening to more Beth Nielsen Chapman. Hell, I may even sing some of her songs.

“Beyond The Blue” seems like an appropriate song for our rapid life changes.

“Free” is a great song for cheering up… I think it might have been inspired Chapman’s experiences with cancer.

This is my version of Beth Nielsen Chapman’s “All I Have”, which is a wonderful love song.

In any case, I’m hoping to keep my optimism alive, despite the photo I used for this post. Wish me luck!