The Magical Way Life Unfolds

Michelle Stimpson & Bill Stimpson_Jazz Club

One of the many constants in my married life with Bill is a tradition we started when we first began dating over 17 years ago. Our favorite thing to do is to hang out at home together, relax, and enjoy each other’s company.

Routinely on a Friday or Saturday night (when we’re not out hittin’ the town), we have what we call a “Personal Evening”:  Bill makes dinner for us (thank goodness I married someone who loves to cook!), and my role is to light the candles and put on the perfect music to accompany the evening.

The joy of music

Since the beginning, it’s always been legendary musician Herb Alpert’s tunes that perfectly fit the bill. His smooth trumpet fills the room and creates the ideal blend of relaxation, calm, and joy. And it’s just the right backdrop to complement our dinners by the fire and our deep conversations about our hopes and dreams for our future.

A few weeks ago, Bill and I were talking about how much music fills our lives and how much joy we get from seeing our favorite artists live (we’ve traveled from to New York to L.A., from Oklahoma City to Sioux City, and from Miami to Omaha to see our faves!). We got all excited reminiscing about past experiences and “feeling” what it feels like to be in the presence of live music. We also talked about the importance of continuing to make this a priority in our lives. After all, it’s following our joy in the truest sense.

The next morning to my surprise, I checked email and saw in my Inbox a last-minute announcement that Herb Alpert and his wife, Lani Hall, were playing at a local jazz club! Interesting how we seemed to “attract” that email right after talking about how important these experiences were to us (I had even tried to unsubscribe a few times previously from that jazz club mailing…but there was always a technical glitch that wouldn’t allow me to do it).

Bill’s birthday was coming up and I thought this would be the best surprise if I could pull it off. What I didn’t mention earlier is that Bill has actually been a fan of Herb’s since he was three years old. While immersed in playing with his toys, he’d bug his parents incessantly to play Herb’s records with the Tijuana Brass over and over.

The ultimate surprise

The day of the show, I asked Bill to leave work early and told him we were heading downtown for a special night out. When we pulled into our parking spot in the ramp, I gave him a card with the show tickets enclosed.

His “deer-in-the-headlights” look was absolutely priceless.

His jaw dropped and then his confused and surprised response was: “What?! Herb has been my musical hero since I was three!”

We enjoyed a fabulous dinner at the elegant jazz club, and smiled the entire evening throughout the show. It was pretty darn cool to see one of our faves—a legend—play in an intimate setting like this…and for Bill and me and our 17-year relationship, things seemed to come full-circle in a really wonderful way.

True gratitude

The best part was meeting Herb after the show and being able to thank him personally for the gift of music that he has given us throughout the years; music that served as a backdrop for these two soulmates navigating life together. It was a complete honor to be in the presence of Herb and Lani for the evening; a true class act.

Bill Stimpson & Herb Alpert

My learning is this. Keep thinking about what you love; what brings you joy. Allow yourself to feel what it’s like to be in its presence. And then open yourself up to receiving it—or some form of it. The exciting thing is that you never know how it will show up for you or what surprises might lay ahead. When you’re following your joy, life gets richer. Life gets fuller.

As Mark Twain said: “An ecstasy is a thing that will not go into words; it feels like music.”

Cheers to your joy!

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8 Responses to “The Magical Way Life Unfolds”

  • Bill says:

    What a Magic and JOYful night that was…I will NEVER forget it!

    And as a bonus, we’ve now got a new (autographed) CD to add to our “personal evening” collection. :)

  • Michele says:

    How great that you were able to pull off the surprise for Bill! One of the great things about reading your blog about following your joy (which includes bringing Bill joy) is that it brings me joy! Thanks Michelle. This was another great story.

  • Char says:

    I just love how eveything comes together for you both! That is what letting the joy in your life help you with living your life does!! Way to go and what an experience for Bill!

  • Jane says:

    It’s fun to try and picture you Bill at 3 years old soaking in Herb. :) What a birthday surprise decades later by your joy, Michelle! You guys remind us all of the blessings marriage can be when two friends take care of their love in the way you do. Thank you for sharing!

  • Lisa Saline says:

    Michelle, what a wonderful love story. Your life is so encouraging and tender hearted. You and Bill certainly are leaving greatest footprints our lives.

  • Sharon says:

    OH MY GOSH MICHELLE!!!!! That is sooo awesome!!! What a wonderful tradition for you two to have…you two are just the neatest, coolest, kindest couple in the world!!! Rock on girl! Love you, Sharon

  • Sharon says:

    ps And, of course, I am sooo elated for you two with “Herb”! I know that you two gave back to Herb what he gives to you, too…..what joy for HIM to meet you two and talk with you!!!!! :))) xoxoxo Sharon

  • Thanks for all the cheering, everyone! So nice to know that you enjoyed the story…and that you can “feel” our love story, too. We are so blessed! :)

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Michelle Stimpson: Editor/Writer

Michelle Stimpson Hi and thanks for visiting - so glad you're here! This blog is especially for cool people who want to experience joy and live a life of purpose. Welcome!

Here you'll find great stories that will inspire you and remind you that life is good, and there's an abundance of joy all around us. Simply put: When you follow the things in life that make you come alive and bring you joy...the magic begins to unfold.

Start by checking out the "Best Of" page and be sure to consider subscribing above. Thank you and cheers to joy!

Michelle Joy Stimpson
Executive Editor & Writer
Life Coach, LifeShine

Bill Stimpson: Partner-In-Crime

Bill Stimpson Hi! Not only will you see me “show up” in many of Michelle’s stories and posts here, but I also serve as Michelle’s editor, helping her clarify intentions and make her posts shine.

One of the great joys in my life is being involved with this blog! It’s a constant reminder for me to focus on the things that bring me joy. It also feels great to be sharing so many of these joys with you - in hopes that you, too, will find ways to focus on your own joyful experiences.

Here's to an abundance of joy in your life!

Bill Stimpson
Hubby & Associate Editor

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