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Taylor Hicks Fans Taying it Forward One Soul At A Time

Seven Mile Breakdown

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Counting Our Blessings

I woke up Saturday morning in Portland thinking about all that has happened to me over the past several months. As I was doing so, it occurred to me that everything had been opportunities, challenges, trials, but most of importantly, blessings.

Opportunities aren’t much of a stretch to be seen as blessings. How can a challenge or trial be a blessing you might ask.

Really, everything that happens to us is a blessing. Think about it. It’s the challenges and trials that teach us patience and humility. They help us grow in ways we never imagined. They teach we are human beings with all the frailties and mortalities that come with it. They teach us we can overcome and be stronger in the end. Now that is truly a blessing

Opportunities, on the other hand, give us a chance to shine. To take advantage, to give back. They are times to say “Thank you” for everything wonderful we have received.

I’m reminded of stories I’ve read over the years. Parents of Downs Syndrome children often talk about how their children have truly blessed their lives. I don’t know what it’s like, but these parents speak of the love these children give freely and unconditionally. How even the simplest task is a wonderful experience for both parent and child.

It makes me think of watching my own daughter and granddaughters grow up. Each step, each sound, each word is a miracle in itself. A blessing. With my daughter, I was too busy being a career mother to really notice, but with my granddaughters, I saw it all. I wanted to see it all. I wanted to see life again as a child. To be able to see live through a child’s eyes is a blessing. One of God’s greatest blessings.

Think about the blind or deaf or lame. Think about Ray Charles, Little Stevie Wonder, Helen Keller. They could have chosen to sit around and lament their handicaps, but none of them did. They learned from it and used it to be successful people. And what successful individuals they became! They accepted their limitations as blessings and grew from it.

I have had my own handicaps. They were selfishness, greed, jealousy, intolerance, and some lust thrown in for good measure. I’ve learned to see them as blessings, true blessings. Opportunities to grow to become a better person.

The greatest blessings have come in the past year. I’ve traveled to cities I’ve never been before. I’ve met people that I never thought I would meet. I’ve seen beautiful sights that I never though I would see. I’ve helped people accomplish things I never thought I would do, or they never dreamed would happen for them.

The greatest blessings come when we give of ourselves for others. When we get outside our comfort zone. When we stretch our minds and open our hearts. And sometimes open our purses. That great blessing taught me to give of myself, freely, willingly, openly, unselfishly and selflessly. I can’t say it was always easy – there were difficult times. But when I accepted the blessing, I received even more blessings in return.

So yes, I’ve been blessed, truly blessed. I thank God every day for those blessings. So whatever comes my way, good or bad, it’s a blessing. When my time is up and my day is done, I will look back and say, I was blessed, I was truly blessed, and because of those blessings, I have enjoyed it all. Thank you, God, for blessing me on a daily basis!

The next time you are having a bad day, just remember to see it as a blessing. It takes practice, and when you learn how, you will be blessed as well. Enjoy your blessings!

Written by Mandy (RagsQueen)

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007


With the American Idol finale tonight, it brings me thoughts of fate and how life is weaved together like an intricate piece of embroidery. Taylor took one of the last cabs out of New Orleans during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to audtion for American Idol. He won American Idol, and has had a whirlwind year. Not only that, but other people's lives have also changed. Fans are helping others. Charities have been born in Taylor's name and people all over the world are benefitting in different ways. Lifelong friendships have been made. People who yearned for real music to be brought back are enjoying Taylor's music and performances.

I didn't follow American Idol before season 5. My daughter pestered me to watch it with her. She said it was a good show that the family could enjoy. The other two children wanted to make it family night with me. So I cooked and baked goodies every week, the children and I gathered around the tv for our family night, and I watched American Idol to pacify the kids. And then Taylor auditioned. I was no longer watching American Idol to pacify the kids. It wasn't long before my daughter saw another side of her mother. No one was allowed near the phone on voting night. The woman who didn't care for tv and didn't watch it much stopped everything on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and was determined to do her part to vote like a mad woman to help Taylor win. He won. Not only did Taylor's life change, but so did a lot of other lives.

After Taylor's first CD came out, the Proud Of Our Troops drive was born. The drive celebrates it's one year anniversary on June 26. Thousands of our men and woman who are fighting for our country have been blessed by Taylor's music. The troop drive has been an exciting adventure, and one year later, I am more determined than ever to make the drive grow even bigger. Other projects and causes were started to help others. The less fortunate have been helped.

Fans joined message boards and got to know each other. They made plans to meet at Taylor's concerts. Friendships were born and some fans bonded to the point where they love each other like family. Lots of fans have their own story of how their lives changed when Taylor won American Idol.

Many lives were changed because a man got one of the last cabs out of New Orleans during a disaster that took lives and property. Some good came from devestation. God made lemonade out of lemons. Nothing is coincidence. Circumstances are weaved into each other until a purpose is achieved. The result is a greater good. It's all part of fate.

Written By Jean (PurpleButterflies)

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Taylor Hicks Sings and Heals a Broken Soul

Several years ago, Taylor Hicks gave a small donation to Kid One Transport, an organization in Birmingham, AL. With this donation was the promise that in the future he would do more if able. When his musical dreams were realized, he certainly kept his promise and has currently helped to raise thousands of dollars for this and other charities.

Over the past several months, Taylor’s Angels have come to know others with this same caring and compassionate spirit of giving and have experienced the blessings bestowed upon those who give. When I was initially asked if I would like to help someone in need by purchasing a membership to the Taylor Hicks Headquarters, there was no way I could fathom the impact that this simple deed would have on my life…or “Jane’s”.

I did indeed purchase the membership for “Jane” and we exchanged the necessary correspondence to solidify the transaction. I thought that this would be the end of my interaction with her, but fate had other plans. In a hotel lobby about three weeks after our initial correspondence, I met someone who was also there to see Taylor’s performance in that city. When “Jane” told me her name, I realized it was the same person for whom I had purchased the membership. We hugged as if we had known each other for years. As we began to talk, “Jane” shared the importance of seeing Taylor in concert. You see, just a year earlier, she had been the victim of a violent act and as a result had incurred numerous emotional and physical scars. “Jane” shared with me how Taylor helped her recover the night he sang “You Are So Beautiful” on American Idol. It was, to her, as if Taylor were singing those lyrics for her ears only. She arose, looked at herself in the mirror and realized that she indeed was beautiful, having done nothing to deserve the trauma that had so devastated her. From that moment on, “Jane” slowly began to heal physically and emotionally.

As we talked more that day, it became very clear that “Jane” needed to tell her story to the man who had so dramatically helped in her healing process…and that Taylor Hicks also needed to hear her story. As fate would have it, “Jane” learned that afternoon by email she had received “the golden ticket”- a meet and greet with Taylor! In that moment “Jane” realized she would actually be able to personally thank him for all he had unknowingly done. I coached her all afternoon, held her trembling hand and watched as she walked through the door to meet the man who had convinced her she was once again beautiful. And I was there to watch her emerge from their meeting in tears… tears of joy and relief.

“Jane” emotionally relayed to me her encounter with Taylor. Once she reached the door to be escorted into the meeting room, she began trembling uncontrollably. Taylor saw this and gently told her there was no reason to be nervous and asked security to help escort her to the table where he was seated. Once she reached the table, Taylor took her hand and said, “It’s alright dear, what is your name?". The funny thing is at that moment she could not remember! She began telling him the reason she was so nervous and relayed her story of abuse and how, with one song, he changed her life. Taylor was visibly moved by her story and immediately told her she was indeed beautiful and not to allow anyone to make her feel differently. Taylor’s compassion did not stop there. He asked his handler to take two pictures of them together and told “Jane” the reason he suggested two photos. Taylor said the first picture was to remember where she was a few short months before in her life and in the second picture she was to smile brightly and remember where she was today and how far she had come. They posed for each picture, both flashing brilliant smiles. Then, Taylor autographed several items she had carried into the room and personalized each to her. As “Jane” was about to leave, she remembered the special gift she had purchased for Taylor. She presented him with a stuffed “dancing” Easter bunny. Taylor laughed, smiled and told her that he would keep it on his bus and remember her each time he and the other band members played with it. Jane thanked Taylor once again and left the room knowing in her heart there was indeed life after violence. She was living proof!

It amazes me how a simple act of kindness can change lives. When Taylor Hicks gave his “widow’s mite” to a charitable organization, he could not have known the ripple effects it would have years later. Whether through charitable giving or selfless devotion to fans, Taylor touches lives each and every day. Caring and compassion are attributes that we all want to see reflected throughout our society. Taylor Hicks is the embodiment of those special qualities. Just ask “Jane”.

Written by Tina (DidNotExpectThat)

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Part 2: Meeting Phil and Sonny in Denver

Taylor’s Angels - Phil and Sonny

Pictures Courtesy of RagsQueen (Mandy) and MsSonny
Slide Show Courtesy of Cydter (Teri)

I’ve been very blessed. I travel around the country watching Taylor Hicks perform. This week-end, I received a very special blessing, one that comes from accepting opportunities to be of service to another. This week-end has been one of those special times.

I’m one of the seven Taylor’s Angels. A couple of weeks ago, we received a letter from Sonny, the caregiver for Phil. Sonny had heard that Taylor’s Angels arranged tickets for fans who wanted to go to a concert but couldn’t afford the ticket. Would we be able to help Phil see Taylor at the Paramount Theatre in Denver, CO?

Of course, we would. We found a donor. Not just a single donor. A couple who gave up their seats so Sonny could sit with Phil. You see, Phil is very special. Phil is a high-functioning autistic. He has Asperger’s Syndrome. Talk to Phil over the phone and you’d never know there was anything special about him. But meet Phil, and you will lose your heart.

Sonny played Taylor’s CD for Phil quite a lot, and Phil quickly became a Taylor-atic, just like the rest of us. Phil wanted to see his Idol in person, to hear him sing, to watch him dance, just to be in the same room as Taylor. And now, Taylor’s Angels have made his dream a reality.

But Taylor’s Angels’ work stops with the ticket. Taylor’s Angels doesn’t arrange meet and greets or any other type of meeting with Taylor. They arrange only concert tickets or memberships to Taylor Hicks Headquarters. And Taylor’s Angels are in no way affiliated with Taylor Hicks, The Firm, American Idol or anything else for that matter. We are a group of Taylor Hicks’ fans that want to help others.

But as I said, fulfilling Phil’s dream doesn’t stop with a concert ticket. We met in the lobby of the Grand Hyatt. In Phil’s hand was a small purple gift bag with purple tissue paper. As he handed me the bag, Sonny told me that Phil had gone to the store earlier in the morning to pick out a gift for me. Wrapped up tight and neat was a beautiful silver necklace with pink crystals filling out the special word, “Angel”. I was deeply touched by his generosity. Sonny helped me wrap it around my wrist so I could wear it like a bracelet.

Our adventure was just beginning. We walked over to the Paramount Theatre and stumbled upon the opportunity to meet Taylor. I was going to capture the moments with my camera. Both were so excited about getting to meet Taylor! When Phil found out he threw up both hands and cheered. (The meet and greet was NOT arranged by Taylor's Angels.)

We had to wait a while before we could go in. A local radio station was taking in a group of people for their M&G, which also included listening to the sound check! Lucky bunch! Soon it was time for us to go in. Where was Sonny? We had to go in without her, but I let the doorman know she was coming. While we were waiting in line to meet Taylor, Sonny appeared. She had gone to get me a glass of tea because I was so thirsty!

As we got closer to the table, which was outside behind the theatre, we could see Taylor wearing a light blue button-down shirt, jeans, and green cap with “Life is Good” in a circle on the front. That’s so true – life is good, especially when you let yourself live it!

Sonny went first. While she had her time with Taylor, I was snapping away! I wanted to make sure she had lots of pictures to remember the day by. Then it was Phil’s turn. He sat down in the chair next to Taylor and chatted with him about wrestling. Phil wanted to know who Taylor’s favorite wrestler is, but Taylor ever so politically correct, said there was a number of wrestlers that he liked! Way to go Taylor!

Phil continued to talk to Taylor while Taylor signed what Phil had. Phil thanked Taylor for a good year, good music and for Taylor’s Angels. Taylor responded with something like “that’s great!” Phil thanked Taylor for Taylor’s Angels! Before we left, I leaned over to tell Taylor that Phil was a recipient of Taylor’s Angels. Taylor was pleased and responded with “that’s good”.

With the meet & greet over, we walked to the restaurant that a number of Soul Patrollers were going for dinner. The place was crowded and a bit warm, so we left and walked around the corner to the Hard Rock Café. We were able to be seated immediately, and our server got us out in record time!

The Paramount Theatre has a very strict “no camera” policy, and Taylor’s management was going to honor that, so there were going to be no pictures. Well, at least not from me. I try to follow the rules as best I can. I had already taken my best camera back to the hotel, and then decided to put my smaller camera in Sonny’s car for safe keeping. I would get it when we went around back to stand by the buses.

Show time! The doors opened and we went in. Phil and Sonny stopped by the merchandise table to pick up tee shirts. I had to make a pit stop, so I went in search of the ladies’ room. We met at our seats, which were on the front row, on the right side of the stage. Front row! Phil was going to be close to the stage!

Since the opening act didn’t show up, Taylor was coming on stage at 8:30 rather than his usual 9:00. That was fine with me! I watched Phil from time to time to see how he was reacting. Think intense. Think drinking it all in. Occasionally a smile would creep in. Phil was taking it all in. During “The Runaround”, Phil even did a Taylor-twirl. Just like Taylor does! Too bad I couldn’t take pictures.

At the end of the show, Taylor came back for his usual encore. This one was longer than usual. When the encore was over, Taylor started off the left side of the stage, and then came back around the front of the stage. He was going to shake hands as he walked off the stage! I moved Phil up close to the stage and then I moved back. Sonny joined Phil. And Taylor didn’t disappoint them – he slapped hands with Phil and Sonny. The look on Phil’s face – the smile! His night had been made! Taylor had grabbed his hand!

We decided to go back behind the theatre to see the buses. Soon Taylor walked out with security. Phil moved close to the front and got Sonny’s set list signed. Phil was so proud of what he had done!

After Taylor left, we stayed around a little bit longer. I took pictures of them with Brian Less. Both were just thrilled! And I was glad I was there to take their pictures!

We said our good-byes, and Phil gave me a hug and thanked Taylor’s Angels and me again for the ticket. And everything else. We got into Sonny’s car and she dropped me off at the hotel. While it’s all still fresh, here I sit writing up the adventure.

Yes, I’ve been blessed. But the blessing came from being with Phil and Sonny. It came from knowing that something special had happened tonight. Sonny got her wish fulfilled, and Phil had met his idol.

Yes, I was truly blessed. Thank you for reminding me that blessing come in ways we can’t always comprehend. Thank you, Phil, for your wonderful smile and company. Thank you, Sonny, for asking Taylor’s Angels for help. It was our pleasure. Yes guys, as Taylor often sings, ‘You’ve come to the right place, yes you did’. And I was there!.

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Part 1: Sonny's Story - There's Something About Phil

This is a my story of the magic that is Taylor and angels and love lost and faith restored and friends an...ok work with me here…just sayin'…Taylor's Angels…Who are they? That's the first thing I said to myself when I saw the lil angels avatar. I was just out and about web searching as usual carousing and pillaging…ya know for pics and stuff.

Looking as always for Taylor news. Cause I belong to the Seasons of the Soul Blog. I'm the Editor in Chief there of the Taylor news. Go ahead..just ask em. They'll tell you..I'm the shy one. So there was a small icon at the Bottom of taylormadeonline site or was it whompswamp?

Anyway there it was Taylor's Angels. Who were they? And why hadn't I heard of them? Maybe there was something I could help with? I clicked on it an read about the most amazing thing. Here were a group of Taylor fans willing to help those less fortunate get to a Taylor Concert.Wow!! How cool is that? No cost or questions, just a ticket to go. Wow!

I left that site thinking 'what nice people..But the fact was...Well I had my ticket. Money is oh so tight here, but I made sure I got my ticket!!With my nephews help - I had scrimped and saved and saved some more and waited and waited and it was finally going to happen. I was going to see Taylor! April 29th baby ... I was GOING!

And then something happened that day..well all day actually. I couldn't stop thinking of those guys at Taylor's Angels.. Would they really help someone see Taylor?? For reals? Cause I knew someone who would sure like to go. So being the shy person I am...I emailed them. And I told them about my buddy Phil.Here is part of the email I sent..


Hello Taylor Angels! (crosses fingers) Here's my request: I have my ticket for the Taylor show at Denver paramount theatre. Compliments of my nephew. It is only because of him that I am even going. I would not be going myself otherwise.With the gas to Denver, dinner and parking- it is out of my realm to help anyone right now although I gladly would, when things get better here.So here's the thing..I was wondering if there is a way you could help my friend Phil see Taylor for the first time.

Phil is 35 yrs old and he rents a room here from me. He is a high functioning autistic, (Aspergers Syndrome) I believe. He has been listening to me rant on and on about Taylor for months now. And watches every Youtube video. Ok I made him. But only at first.. He asks to see them now!

I would love to take him with me to see Taylor-I can drive him there an I'll take pics of him there. But I do not have the means to do that myself. Phil is on a very tight budget, as am I. When I saw this Taylor's Angels I immediately thought of Phil. He would be thrilled beyond measure.

Thanks for the having Taylor wings.

Much love


Ok before I go any further.. you should know - there's something about Phil...His twin sister said that to me - that's the first thing I heard about him..It wrung at my heart- and I braced myself. Because I hadn't heard that said in awhile. It was a phrase familiar to me. Ironically,that is the first thing I ever remember hearing about my baby brother Billy.Billy's gone I can tell you. I lost Billy last July..he was 44 - somehow,he slipped right thru my hands..another story another time.So when I heard that phrase I stood still.

I remember thinking GOD is this some kind of cruel joke? It wasn't. She needed a place for Phil. Now - cause he was making her crazy. She said he was crossing her boundaries (well don't brothers an sisters sometimes do that?) Anyway he needed a room. NOW. And I had one open. Phil-he also needed someone that would take no gruff an make sure he took his meds. OK and that would be me. Just sayin'...But he sounded like my brother Billy boy more every minute. I had nothing left in my heart to give. At this point-I pretty much cried all day and stayed in my room. If it wasn't for Taylor, the SoS site and my email buddy fAt.(our resident tator genius) on the SoS. I would NOT have made it myself. Truly I would not have made it. I wonder if fAt knows what he walked me thru.. well now's a good time as any to tell someone.Here's just a part of what he said to me.


"The soul patrol is made up of good people. None of them are doing anything you wouldn't do yourself were the shoe on the other foot... and you know it. Just remember that events give us the motivation to be happy or sad but it's really us that choose those emotions. No one or no event can make you unhappy it can just make you choose to be. While the choice is perfectly rational it's still a choice. Don't choose any more than you can handle. Good memories always outlast bad, we're just wired that way. And they make us choose to be happy. "


fAt - he saved my mind more than once.

Just sayin'...

Ok back to Phil..if I was going to keep my place..the reality was as always -I needed a roommate pronto. And there Phil stood on the front porch with his Sister. It was not lost on me that I had denied my brother a room not a month earlier..I was trying the old tough love routine with Billy again. It didn't work. My heart was breaking for Billy and for Phil standing there. And I said to myself, I don't understand this GOD but ok if this is what you want. And I took him in on the spot. They say there is something about Phil and there is.

Because of Phil I've learned to accept some peace with my brothers death Billy suffered in a different way than Phil but they are both the sweetest and kindest people I ever had drive me completely insane.What a ride!

Phil is extremely smart in math and reading. Just don't ask him left from right. Or to stay on one subject. Same as my Billy but opposite.Billy could find his way to Egypt and back but never do math or read for Phil well, I can't tell you how many maps I've drawn to the same store. He's at times funny as hell and other times you just want to choke him. And then he smiles..what a Dork! He gets lost at least once a week on his infamous 'cool' bike and I finally had to get him a cell phone so he could get home.

An did I tell you he LOVES Taylor? Ok I Taylorized him....well, he was just standing there!! All the time looking over my shoulder so I taught him the Taylor WooooHoooo and the dance and .. well you get the idea.He asked for and received Taylor's CD for Easter an plays it constantly.anyway I is one of the answers I received from Taylor's Angels


Good news!!! A donor has provided a ticket for Phil for the Denver show! Once we receive the ticket, we will be in touch with you re: delivery!Hope you two have fun and we want those pictures!

Taylor's Angels


So then I'm thinking...OMG!!! REALLY????? Squeeee!!!!!!! Phil is gonna go Taylorcrazy!!! I had to promise myself not to tell him just in case I dunno, the mail, a blizzard, maybe an earth quake? And I couldn't quite believe it myself! So I sent this email back to Taylors' Angels...


TYTYTYTYTY Taylor Angels!!!!

I will take photos if he gets to go and send them to you. I have not told him yet! He will completely lose it though! I think the last event he went to was yrs ago -a wrestling match with his group.OMG!This is so awesome!Thanks again!



They responded with a sweet lady named Charlotte. She is the donor of the ticket! Can I say that? She said to wait for the mail and to enjoy the concert!


GET OUT!!!!And Phil has no clue! It's been so hard to not tell him. And I will try to get the pics online as fast as I can. I will have to get some help there as I'm still in the 35 mm world. Hopefully the ticket will be here today an when he gets home from work. I'll be ready with that camera!I know this may seem like a long story or insignificant to some but just this one contact..the Angels reaching out to someone this means the world to. Just to forget for awhile the harshness of life sometimes well for me it has made a full circle. And for Phil. He's going to feel like for once there really is something about Phil. He's a Taylor fan and whether we realize it or not, right now he gets to be just like us. The miracle of Taylor and his music. Amazing isn't it?

Ya know- all this has taught me another lesson: Nothing will ever replace my Brother..But I need to remember more will be revealed. And I can't help but think of how my brother Billy would have loved Taylor too.I think of him every time I see Phil. maybe that was Gods plan for me.To help ease my pain? Maybe that's why he sent Phil here. To never forget the special ones he gives us. To never forget an to love and cherish every moment you get with them.

Although I've waited almost a year to see him..I would give away my chance to see Taylor. Without a second thought.if I could have one more day with Billy Boy.I know he's here with me and watching over me. Like he always did. My beloved Billy Boy. He is my Angel. Forever. And now out of no where, I have more..they are Taylor's Angels. I think God wanted to remind me they're here these angels, they walk among us and fly above us.

I know they are.

Just sayin'.


NOTE: Pictures of Phil courtesy of Ms. Sonny (Phil receiving his tickets are such a joy!)

NOTE: Next week, Part 2: Meeting Phil & Sonny in Denver

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