Wednesday, April 6, 2011

family and friends by the FireSide!

Hello family and friends!

Today's post is gonna be a quickie, but a goodie!  As a musician and artist, I love to create!  People have asked me, "what inspires me and where does inspiration come from?"  The first thing i've learned about inspiration, is that it does not come to you, it moves through you!  What good is it to be inspired and do nothing with it?  Letting that inspiration move through you, is when an artist puts brush to canvas and begins to paint.

Where does inspiration come from?  EVERYWHERE!  From the smallest seed, to the biggest catastrophe, inspiration is more about the approach to everyday living, than a magical moment.

Today I want to thank my family and friends for supporting me, and all my crazy endeavors and aspirations, in becoming a professional musician and artist.  Without their support, I certainly would not be here today.  THANK YOU!

I'd like to share with everyone two of my closest muses, who both happen to have an online presence.  Dig on this gloriousness!

My brother Alex.  An extremely talented and motivated young entrepreneur.  A graphic design artist, business owner (almost college grad....HURRY UP!) and the best little brother i've ever had ;~)

The woman I love and want to spend the rest of my life with, Rebecca.  She has an amazing and healthy approach to life!  I love her desire to learn more about where the food we eat comes from, how we can live more sustainably and how to cook delicious recipes!  She is a dedicated athlete and i'm incredibly lucky to have her as, not just a running partner, but a life partner!!/peacelovebagels

Thanks again to ALL my family and friends for your love, support and INSPIRATION!

Feeling inspired?  Who and what are your greatest inspirations?

Love, Peace & happiness!


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Our Family Farm!

Ok, so it's not quite a farm yet, but we (Becca and I) are expanding our garden!  Lawn, in my opinion is a HUGE waste of space, so In the autumn of 2009, I planned to clear 10.5 by 36.5 feet of lawn in our backyard, by cutting open black trash bags, laying them out on the lawn and covering them with soil, to keep the bags from flying away. I didn’t want to use any chemicals to kill the grass, as I was afraid the chemicals would linger and have a negative affect on my garden.  Using the black trash bags was the best I could come up with at the time and though it worked, I did create a lot of garbage from all the trash bags….dang.
Come the spring of 2010, I removed the bags, leaving the soil on top of the dead grass, rented a Rota tiller, tilled the dead grass and soil together, and vuala!  Healthy land ready to sow seeds!

I planted many of my favorites, starting with sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes!  All together, I had 4 types of tomatoes, banana peppers, jalapeƱos, two types of carrots, lettuce, spinach, red and green bell peppers, onions and a few things I hadn’t attempted growing before, asparagus, potatoes, and broccoli.  I also grew herbs, such as basil, oregano, cilantro, thyme and lemon thyme.  Some veggies did better than others, but all together it was a very good harvest!   I couldn't find my pictures from last years harvest, so here's a picture of Pele' loungin' in the 2010 spring flowers!

This year Becca and I, instead of clearing more lawn, will be building two raised bed gardens (pictures to come upon us actually building them).  They will be located in the center of our backyard, behind the deck, where our plants will receive the most sunlight! 
As it is still March and we live in Cleveland Ohio (and we got 2 inches of snow today), it is still far too early to plant our early season veggies outside.  Leafy green veggies, (lettuce and spinach) and onions can be planted in April, as they can withstand frost.  For the time being, Becca and I have started our own indoor garden!  Here’s what we’ve sowed thus far: broccoli, lavender, oregano, sweet basil, cilantro, fernleaf dill, thyme, spearmint, mesclun (lettuce), baby’s leaf hybrid spinach, bloomsdale spinach and swiss chard.  

Our seed starter/mini greenhouse was worth every penny!  It only cost us $20(ish) and is reusable for years to come!  Here are some photo’s our beautiful seedlings!  
(week one, the first to sprout!)

(our mini indoor greenhouse) 

Are you gardening this season?  What are you doing to ensure a healthy harvest?  Please share your ideas and suggestions!

Peace and Love,


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

mental attitude

First, please let me say that i'm writing this, as I slipped (not literally) and fell into a funk today.  Amidst my already bad attitude, I was getting even more upset, because I was having such negative thoughts about myself and the world around me.  I took a moment to breathe and decided today I need  to, more than ever, practice what I preach/read.

Have you ever woken up in the morning and stubbed your toe on the side of your bed?  Then started  grumbling and complaining about your toe hurting and moaning about what a lousy start to the day it's been?  What happens after that, is only a product of our mental attitude!!

Every second of the day we have a choice to make.  Grumble and complain about our sore toe, or shake it off and refocus our thoughts and our energy.  In one of my favorite books called "The Secret" written by Rhonda Byrne, she parallels the human mind with a radio antenna and receiver.  A radio antenna emits radio waves out into the universe and when a receiver is tuned into the right channel, it receives those radio waves (I know I know, thank you captain obvious).  The human mind does the same thing with the universe.  

Our mind emits energy into the universe and the universe responds to that energy, giving back what we put out there, thus receiving what we put out into the universe.  So, when we stub our toe and exude all kinds of negative energy, the universe thinks that is what we want and gives it right back to us.  If we continue moaning and groaning, we're only going to attract more negative things.  If you don't refocus your thoughts and energy, who knows, maybe after you stub your toe, you'll burn your toast for breakfast, get stuck in a traffic jam and be late for work (and hungry) etc....  The "secret" is that we (as humans) have the capacity to change the dial on our own radio (per se). The challenge is actually turning that dial, or changing our own thought process, or mental attitude, to attract positive things in our life.  This is the foundation of the book "The Secret" and it's called the "Law of Attraction."

The power of the mind is incredible!  I'm currently reading a book called "The Sermon on the Mount" by Emmet Fox.  I'm not a religious man, but I am very spiritual and have a very close relationship with God.  I do believe in Jesus, but I feel his teachings have been largely skewed by greedy men and the hierarchy of the church (please take this with a grain of salt, as it is only my own opinion).  For those of you who don't know, the "sermon on the mount" (the actual sermon, not the book) was one of Jesus' last speeches, that basically summarized all of his teachings.  In this book --->---->---->---->------>------>
Fox writes about "Scientific Christianity" and "Scientific Prayer."  The basis of Scientific Prayer, is the power of our mind and our thoughts.  What you focus your thoughts and energy on, is in turn, what you will receive.  Sound familiar?  Fox says "The Golden Rule in Scientific Christianity is: Think about others as you would wish them to think about you."  The "golden rule" at my elementary school was "do unto others, as you would have them do unto you."  The picture below is of my second grade class.  This was the last time my best friend Daniel and I were ever in the same class together.  I'm sure it wasn't because we goofed around all the time.....

Are you beginning to see a common theme here?  This is not a new or novel idea, but it is MOST powerful.  What we devote our thoughts and energy to, essentially defines what the universe will provide for us.

In light of my negative vibes today, I consciously changed my mental attitude.  Easier said than done, I know, but i've found that focusing on the  things that I love, helped me stand up again, and brush the negative dust off me.  What did I do?  I started with singing.  I LOVE TO SING!  Jason Mraz said it best "when you sing you pray twice!"  The song I sang first was written by one of my favorite artists, Xavier Rudd.  The song is called "From Sky to Ground."  Here's a live version, as live music is more fun!  Singing gave me the courage and motivation to write this post!  What am I going to do next?  Something else I love!  I'm going to put my hands in some soil and plant new plants so I can continue to nurture life outside of my own.  Rebecca and I bought two new Blueberry saplings that will stay warm in our home and be well taken care of, until the ground is warm enough to plant them outside.  
Now that i'm smiling, i'm going to leave you with one more 
Xavier Rudd song, called "Time to Smile"!!!

What do you do when feeling down-and-out?  How do you transform your negative vibes into something positive?

Peace and Blessings,

Brandon E. Kocher

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

gett'n sauced :~)

Howdy folks!

I am happy to have been so inspired by Rebecca's capacity to efficiently blog about life and FOOD, that I am now writing my first food blog!  YEEHAAW!

I've been making sauce since I lived on Mayberry over 3-4 years ago.  It is my favorite "family meal."  Sauce is easy to make for large quantities of family and friends.

Lets talk about sauce!

Start with crushing and and chopping the garlic.
Then finely chop a delicious onion.
Put both onions and garlic into the large pot, that you will be simmering your sauce in, and saute' them til your heart is content.

Then add (my favorite to use) the "Traditional" Prego sauce...aka very bland, but nice and thick.  Why do I choose a very bland sauce?  So I can spice it myself of course!  We'll talk about spices in a moment.  Now, lets talk about all the delicious veggies to include in your sauce.

You can choose any/all of your favorite veggies, or use whatever you have leftover in the refrigerator.  I generally slice all the veggies into nice bite-sized pieces. Here is what Becca and I used:
Green Pepper
  Red Pepper

Fresh red tomatos diced for texture 

Carrots, mushrooms and brocoli.  Sorry, no pictures of these veggies, but here is a fun one (cause cooking is fun!)

Once all of your fresh veggies have been chopped, sliced and diced, ad them to your sauce and let simmer for a good 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  

While the sauce is simmering, you can jazz it up with your favorite spices!  I generally use basil, oregano, thyme, salt/pepper and, as Becca and I enjoy spicy foods, red pepper flakes.  AND, the one "lucky" bay leaf!  Whomever gets the lucky bay leaf in their meal, will be just that....LUCKY!

Generally I try and let the sauce sit (in the fridge is fine) for a day, so all the flavors can mary together,  but i've also had it for dinner that night!  Tis good no matter what!

I love making this sauce, as it can be used for many things.  The most obvious is pasta!

It also makes a quick and delicious pizza!  All you need is dough (you can ask Becca how to make dough) and your favorite cheese!  

I also really enjoy using the sauce for dipping my tortilla chips in (chips and salsa is generally my "go to" snack....sorry no picture).

Thanks so much for your interest in my special sauce!  Remember, be creative with it and HAVE FUN!

Monday, February 14, 2011

rhythm, running with your arms, and a a very beautiful sunset.

Howdy folks!

I am learning a LOT these days, about myself, about running, about the spirit that lives within and connects us all!

What happens when your mental goals don't match up with your bodies abilities?  Scary thought.  My run this morning got off to a very rocky start.  I have a bodily malfunction in my foot.  A couple of bones decided to grow too closely together and now they are very prone to pinching my nerves (between the ball joints of my right foot), which results in a severe "popping" sensation.  NO FUN!  This morning I took one step off my drive way and had a "popping" for the next 1/4 mile.  I actually had to take my shoe off, in this capricious Cleveland weather, just to massage my foot and help the bones not pinch the nerves!  Good decision, as I was then able to complete my entire run!  

I'm trying to strengthen my muscles/joints to help keep my legs in line, to avoid this very painful popping sensation.  Tis a great challenge, but i'm up to get down!

There is a great rhythm to life, and a great rhythm to running.  I LOVE RHYTHM!   I am a musician and thrive off of a new beat or melodic measure!  Running is an old, but now very new rhythm of life for me.....and I feel best and blessed when I run with my arms!  Not hold my arms, but utilize them to help carry my momentum, or rather, keep me on beat and keep me in line!

I've got lots to learn about running and the rhythm of life, so, any and all suggestions are welcome!

Before I close this message, I want to share with you an AMAZING Cleveland Ohio sunset!  (yes, the sun does shine....every once-and-a-while here in the great CLE.)


Lots of love your way,

Brandon E. Kocher

Friday, January 7, 2011


The excited/nervous feeling is officially here!  Rebecca and I will be going to Maui (where her family lives) for two whole weeks!  YEEHAW!  Excited, as we're going on a great adventure!  Nervous, as i'll be meeting Becca's entire family!  I am thankful to meet her family, as she's spent ample time with my crazy family.  It will be nice to finally reciprocate.

This will hopefully be the first of many trips to Maui.  There's been lots and lots of ideas out there, as to how we'll spend our time.  I just want to be open and absorb everything that is Maui and Rebecca's family and go with the flow.  Perhaps I'll ride that flow with a surfboard!

Next time we chat i'll be on an Island!  Til then, Peace and Love!

Brandon E. Kocher

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Change, our only constant variable.

Yup, it's true.  Change is our only constant variable.  Nothing ever really stays the same.

I've been dealing with a great bit of change in this new year, but i still feel it is not enough.  If you want more, you gotta give more!!  I've flip-flopped my life, turned it upside down, in the past 6 months....and I LOVE IT!   This week in particular has been a great challenge.

Yoga every morning for only 30 minutes....sounds easy right?  WRONG!  Maybe this is just coming from the "i'm not a morning person" personality, but having an alarm blare in your ears 40 minutes earlier (now 6:05am) has played the roll of the "most challenging" aspect (thus far) of 2011.  Please, let it be known, that there was a place and time in my life when I would go to bed between the hours of 4am-5am, wake up around noon(ish) smoke a bowl, write a song, paint a picture, serve ice cream, and then rinse and repeat.  Loved every minute of it.  BUT, change has ensued (as it is our constant variable), and i've moved on.

Practicing yoga at the butt-crack of dawn every morning, is how i want to live.  I no longer want it to be an "event," I want it to be my lifestyle.  BUT!!!!  I'm learning this includes much more than I ever thought it would!  Waking up earlier means going to bed earlier, therefore, negating many "night" activities, like song writing, painting, or snuggling with the woman I love!  Or at least that is what I thought!  I'm doing my best to include some of those "night" activities in the song writing!!  Music is now one of my favorite morning activities!  I'm still trying to find time for intimacy with the woman I love, (which just saying that makes me sick to my stomach "finding time for intimacy...."......not very romantic) but I pray we'll "snuggle in" to this new routine soon!

Moral of the story is, change is not always easy, but if we believe in what we want/need, and see how we need to grow, than that path of change is necessary!!  I welcome these changes, and pray for the strength to not only endure them, but to welcome them!

HELLO 2011!!!!