Statue at Stanley Park Seawall: Vancouver, BC  July 2014

 

Hello Everyone! Wow! God sure knows how to give you encouragement just when you need it the most!

 

I was running, same place as usual, Rupert Park- same number of times around, seven. I was coming to the end of my final lap and this Filipino man runs past me and shouts, "WHOLLY SMOKES!" I stop to look at him wondering why he's shouting, and what he's shouting at. He's standing there staring at me and shouts again,"WHOLLY SMOKES YOU LOST WEIGHT!" I said, "I did?" He said, "YES! YOU LOST A LOT OF WEIGHT!" I said, "Really?" He said again, very excitedly and happy, "YES! YOU LOST A LOT OF WEIGHT!" He was staring at me in a constant state of happiness and awe, standing there waving his hands and fists in the air and shouting, "YES! GOOD FOR YOU! KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!" Again, "WHOLLY SMOKES!" I smiled ear to ear and said, "Thanks!" and sprinted the final length of my lap. "Oh what a feeling!" I thought, "Wow, he must really see something and he's really happy for me." I checked my strava app. It timed me at 5.1 miles in 59 minutes and 59 seconds, with an average of 11:47 a mile. That's five minutes faster (shorter!) than my LAST RUN FIVE WEEKS AGO at 5.4 miles! "Wow! He made me feel like a hero!" Now all I want to do again is run! God is so good!

 

With EXTREME Gratitude!

 

Godwin.

 

"...As on the wings of eagles, you'll soar higher and higher."

 

Greetings!

 

There's something I've been needing to write (for a long time now!): "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." Now seems to be the time to write it, and it all began with this contact email through my website, October 10, 2013:

 

"Hello! I'm Kaylie from Nipawin Saskatchewan!! Im doing a research for school and I thought you would be the perfect one! I was wondering does any of your songs deal with social Issues? please get back to me ASAP! thanks:) 

 

This request came at a time when I was questioning: "Gee, is my music even reaching anyone?" Truthfully, it is; as I get contacts and followers (on Twitter!) from all over the world- and locally, people approach me telling me "how much they love my music." For this, I am very grateful.  Yes, I am very approachable and a friend to many.

 

Before I continue, my deepest apologies to Kaylie and Denise for not publishing this earlier.

 

To Kaylie: Hello again...I'm sorry I didn't find your email until early evening, yesterday. I don't know that you still need the info pertaining to my music (song) and its relevance to social issues.

 

Yes, my song, "Who Can This Be" in its structure, message, tone, and effect deals with social issues. I originally wrote the song a few years ago and under a different title. When it came to recording, I felt I needed a song on my "first CD" that expressed the "Grace of God" in my life and the beautiful place I now find myself in, personally (Wellness! Drug and alcohol free now for fourteen years and nine months...and a professionally published musician, poet, writer, and storyteller). To contrast this to where I had come from, you can visit my blog on my website and read the post entitled, "Touched By A Higher Power," which was my first Chicken Soup for the Soul publication and one of many miraculous events that has affected and changed my life. The Great Grace of God in all of this, in all my years of using, and sometimes blacked out states- I never took my anger, rage out on another human being; I always took it out on myself and the environment around me. Even in my (then) drunkenness, God protected me and others in this.

 

With my CD release and the tremendous blessing that it has been (the entire process and all contributing professionals from the pre-production work to the final mixing- paid for by my producer and the company "Liquid Tension Music"), and reflecting on my journey of recovery- I just really needed a song that exemplified this journey- from death, destruction, hatred, rage, anger, and pain: to wellness- health, hope, strength, happiness, love, joy, inspiration, and peace. "Who Can This Be" became that song.

 

Two days before going into the studio to lay down tracks for pre-production- I took this song originally titled, "Stephanie: Who Can This Be," and totally scrapped every lyric but kept the chord progression, harmony, and melody. As mentioned earlier, I began to reflect on my life, then, thinking not only on the atrocities of my life, I began to think of the lives of many, many others- both individually and globally, I began to re-write the lyrics. I imagined the times that I had hurt myself while drunk, the houses, homes that I destroyed; the doors that I kicked in and the windows that I broke, smashed, and the furniture that I threw around. I seen the cuts on my hands, arms, and the blood pouring out from the lacerations caused by the sometimes metal, decorated glass. I seen my hurt, anger, rage, and pain- then I remembered the students of Tiananmen Square in China who were mercilessly shot and killed; I began to think of woman in middle eastern countries who were shamed, punished, or beaten, and who sometimes had acid thrown on them if they did not do what their husbands told them to, or, if they were just too beautiful and the husband acted out of jealousy. I began to think of the residential school era and its horrible, lingering effect on my people, the First Nations People. I too am a survivor of the residential school: I know too well of the horrors that took place in these institutions. The beatings, abuse- sexually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I know too well of the great, great shame and the many little Indian children who did not make it out of these places alive. As I re-wrote the lyrics, these are the images that flashed through my mind: vast devastation, destruction, and death, I thought of 911, and the extreme deathly horror that it was. I thought too of domestic violence against women and how prevalent this is in today's society, and how many of these woman live in fear for their lives and will not tell a soul but unwillingly choose to suffer for fear of death and further beatings. The writing of "Who Can This Be" became a song that I wanted to send out to reach everyone who has ever encountered this type of violence, hurt, destruction, and pain. To let them know that there is hope; that life, and things can change; that life can get better.

 

As it says in my song description:

 

“Who Can This Be” a testimonial of the Grace of God in Godwin’s life written also in the reflections of the destruction of nations and peoples through out the world- and to bring and give hope to people who have experienced, and continue to experience abusive, hurtful relationships: "If you think that you're hopeless, with no help to be found- you've been beaten, you've been battered, and there's blood all around. You cry and you pray, looking for the light of day...yet in this deathly darkness, you only seem to stay." The song takes you on a journey of tragedy to triumph- "Your great strength within now shall arise as a fire, as on the wings of eagles, you'll soar higher and higher."

 

Yes, the song "Who Can This Be" deals with social issues.

 

I have written to you out of the integrity, humility, and honesty of my heart, I trust that my words are safe with you.

 

Thank you for contacting me and I pray this for you...is useful.

 

Thanks again!

 

Sincerely,

 

Godwin.

 

Kaylie's response: Wow!! thank you so much!! That helped me a bunch... Thanks again... I will contact you if I need further help but it looks like I won't!

 

From her teacher:

Godwin,

Thank you so much for sharing your story with Kaylie. She was thrilled with your response!

She will be sharing it with the class along with your song.

I encourage my students to reach out to the people who they are researching.  In this digital age it is so easy to learn from the "experts" so when researching and learning about music why not contact the musicians!

 Again I thank you for your words (they truly inspire) and have a blessed day.

 My deepest and heart-felt gratitude to Kaylie and Denise: "Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to, and share my music and story with others." 

This comes too, as of yesterday, when I was approached by another student from a college here in Vancouver, asking me if I could be the subject of a presentation she's been asked to do: delightfully- "Yes!"

 

It's my absolute pleasure to help, bring hope, and inspire.

 

Again, "without you- there would be- no me!"

 

Lovingly, Godwin.

 

 

Greetings! Often, when the journey gets just a little too much to bear- I have to encourage myself:

 

Very soon, I will be walking with her hand in hand; diamond rings on each of our fingers, cradling our baby as her heart beats against mine- thinking, with heart-felt gratitude and emotion: "It was worth it all; the wait- the sometimes loneliness, and the pain- it was worth it all." Reflecting on, and loving my God with all of my heart. In that moment- hearing the echo of His voice as He speaks softly into my spirit, reminding me: "Hold fast the confession of your hope without wavering, for I, who have promised you, am faithful." (Hebrews 10:23). Even as I write this, my spirit leaps with joy at His goodness...He is so wonderful: God.

 

It's been five years since I've had the dream- the "Cherry Blossom" tree. It's been five years of waiting and holding on. Five years filled with faith, hope, and believing- battling sometimes the torturous, indescribably aggressive and relentless beasts called doubt, terror, and unbelief as they've tried to tear these dreams apart. They say that the greatest battle you'll ever face is in your mind and by many of my experiences I know this to be true. When my footsteps begin to waver and my path becomes a bit unclear, grace, in all its beauty begins to take greater shape and deeper form reminding me of the promises that I've been given.  At my moments of deepest longing, two times in particular- I was walking, questioning God and wondering, "When Father, when?!"  As I was walking on each of these beautiful, semi- sunny afternoons, with the scents and colors of fall everywhere- light, soft droplets of rain would begin to fall. I'd look up and there they would be: double rainbows, high above me...and His voice echoing again in my spirit: "And two shall be one."  Feeling most specifically that in that moment those rainbows were created just for me in answer to my thoughts.  Again, hope is increased and the strength found to continue yet another day in "the promise."

 

These are the things that I hold on to. Things that restore, breed hope, inspire, and build. This is just how I've been created: to believe.

 

Wishing you a wonderful and prosperous day,

 

Godwin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brothers and best friends: Thank you for being there for me!

 

Greetings!

 

Through it all; though life was extremely tumultuous at times and all we had was each other- we "all" made it through! Thank you my most loving family! I love you all very, very, very much!

 

Going deeper into a life of change and wellness- reflecting on the cost, price, and sacrifice- I came across one of my old tweets: "The heart that keeps on giving- no matter how many times it's been broken, is the heart that's going to change the world."

 

With all my love, Godwin.

 

 

 

 

 

Chain Bridge: Budapest, Hungary. 2001.

 

Greetings!

 

Some say I live such a charmed life- this may be true, but it came at a high, high price of loss, terror, torture, and pain...and the biggest challenge of all?  Through it all- to find my way back again.  In my recovery, I had to re-live a lot  of the loss, death, sorrow, grief, and pain; the isolation and the loneliness.  I had to express my anger, my rage.  I sometimes needed to curse, cuss, and swear- to holler, scream, and shout.  I had to put myself on the edge of wanting to kill and destroy something and know when to pull back...and in that moment of decision, amidst that great, great pain, to fall on the floor like a rag doll and cry uncontrollably like a baby- sometimes for hours.  Sometimes by myself, in a group, or in the presence of someone I trusted the most.  Someone who I knew would not judge me, someone who I knew would accept me as I am and when all the deathly wailing stopped- would hold me tight, and tell me: "Everything's going to be alright. You're going to make it. You're going to be okay. You will find happiness again."  I thank God continuously for strong people like this, there are many of them out there: there are even angels.  When it was my turn to fight back the darkness...God would put in my path the very ones that I needed the most.  The ones who had already been through the process and were fully equipped for the battle: the ones who knew how to win the war.  The ones who would be my shield bearer, my protector, and my guide.  When it was hardest to receive love- the ones whose love had become so pure that it was impossible to resist.  This love, that would catch my hatred, rage, pain, and anger, and melt its ugliness- and turn it into something magnificently beautiful.  This love that would cause me to see again; cause me to feel again.

 

Thank you all for "Your Presence" in my life. Thank you for caring. It is my continual delight to share with you truthfully from my heart.  Without you, there would be no me: Thank you!

 

I don't know where you're at in your life, but do more than just hang in there. Who knows...you may have just "One More Bridge to Cross."  Many of us are living proof. I'd never imagined in my wildest dreams I would ever live to say, "Wow! Over fifteen years clean and sober." Really, I thought I'd die in my addictions, but God had other plans.  He just may for you too!

 

He's so wonderful.

 

From my heart to yours, sincerely, Godwin.

 

My words are pure, and they are beautiful, and true.  You don't know what to do with them or how you're supposed to feel.  I see you sitting there as these words circle in your heart and into your spirit.  They cause you to feel energies and emotion so unfamiliar to you.  You question their integrity and motive; yet you feel something, and you know that this something is beautiful.  You hold your phone in your hand, wondering, asking, "What do I say, what do I do?"  Almost sadly, you set your phone aside because for a moment you're lost: it seems to good to be true.

 

Don't let the pain and the brokenness of the past hold you back or keep you from becoming all that you can be; it is possible to fly.

 

Sincerely, Godwin. 

Mountain side road at the back of my community: Kincolith.

 

Hello! I've so much to catch up on! Sorry I've been gone for so long! Busy! Busy! Busy! And yes, I've had some pretty spectacular performances! Singing; storytelling; and poetry! Over the top amazing! Thank you for still being there: thank you for your faithfulness!

Here's a minor miracle in my day: I just had to share it!

I was driving up and down the Drive after having breaky at McDees, Renfrew. I got to the corner of Grandview and Commercial. Listening to my CD, I was just thinking, "How cool is it to get into your own car and plug in your very own CD." Really, it's an amazing feeling! I was alone with the windows down and the music loud: it's a gorgeous, sunny day in Vancouver. I looked up and seen a little elderly lady standing on the corner, who had just come out of Donald's Market. She was carrying two bags and trying to get my attention. I turned the music down and shouted, "I'm sorry. I can't hear you!" She walked toward my car then said, "Hello Sweetie. Can you help me, please? Can you give me a ride home?" At first I'm thinking, "Wow! I'm a total stranger! She doesn't even know me...and walks right up to my car asking for a ride?" Hesitantly I said, "Ah, okay. Sure." She got into my car then said, "Thank you so much! I'm so grateful. I'm having pain in my knee and it's very hard for me to get on and off the bus. You're really helping me." She went on to ask, "Are you a Christian?" I said yes. She said, "Me too! I've been a Christian for twenty years." I said, "Wow! Congratulations!" I dropped her off at her home a few minutes later. Before she got out she said, "Let me pray for you." I said okay. She held my hand and prayed, "Father, bless this young man. Bless him physically, spiritually, and financially." She hesitated then asked, "You have a wife?" "Ah, no." "You want a wife?" "Ah...sure." "Okay. Father and we pray that you would bless him with a beautiful wife. Amen!" She was so grateful. As she was getting out of my car she said, "I'm Italian and I love to cook. You have a phone number?" I gave her my number. She then said, "I cook extra when I cook. I cook for you. I call you and you come to get it, okay?" I said yes. She smiled and said, "Good! I love to cook spaghetti." I drove away feeling like a champion, like a real hero: like a true child of God- again, in awe of Him (God!), and the numerous opportunities he gives us to be kind to other people- even strangers! I'm so blessed- and so grateful!

Cheers!  Godwin. 

 

 

 

 

Greetings Everyone!

I pray this day finds you all amazingly well! It's been a while since I've been here- too long!

This year finds me back at work again after a year off- a year of rest and relaxation and recovering from the turmultuous waves of the sometimes icy waters.  I have to admit, it was a bit of an adjustment getting back into the routine of things and what's hardest to believe- we started up the school year it seems, just yesterday and already, today marks the beginning of our Christmas break.  From here, we have two weeks off: rest, family, fun, and hopefully- sleeping in (sleeping in is almost an impossibility for me once I'm used to my morning hours).

At any rate, it's my absolute honour and privilege to have shared with you my new Christmas single: "Passion of Christmas." The feed back and reviews that I've gotten from the many people who have heard or puchased the song, again, is phenomenal.  Everyone every where is loving it- and, it's my gift to you: "Merry Christmas!"

Please take care and have a safe holiday!

From my heart to yours, Godwin.

 

 

 

Don't Forget to Dance

 

Inspiration comes at a time that you least expect it;

suddenly remembering dreams and other things neglected.

The glory rises internally as your spirit sparks to fire-

suddenly you're in a place, not satisfied you must go higher.

 

Waves they ripple and water splashes against a golden shore;

you hear the lyrics of a song- the angel says there's more.

The melody and harmony an indescribably beautiful sound-

fall like diamonds and pure white feathers, so softly to the ground.

 

This place was once a hurtful place- of sorrow, grief, and pain;

that held its secrets deep within that would help you smile again.

Through the fire and through the flame smoke tried to blind your eye-

now you're on the other side as your hands reach for the sky.

 

You're most worthy of every prize and every perfect gift to be;

the poems you write and songs you sing, a light for others to see.

A dove it flies before you carrying most beautifully in its beak-

a fiery rose of passion and the desires that others seek.

 

Hold not the dream just to yourself for then it falls to the ground;

be willing to give a helping hand and spread the love around.

Sing your loudest, clap your hands- always be ready to take a chance...

Oh yes and always remember: "Don't forget to dance!"

 

Godwin H. Barton

 

Picture: (Herd Deers Wallpaper) wallfive.com

 


 

Sun set: Historic Steveston Village (August 7, 2013)

 

The passion, spark- that you're waiting for?  It's inside of you...

 

Sincerely,

 

Godwin.

 

 

 

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