God Winks In Mysterious Ways

I’ve been marveling this evening at the countless “coincidences” since Lou’s death on December 4th that have brought  Free As The Sun to this point.  Both CD and Book are going to be complete in December 2015, just one year after Lou’s death. How did this happen!?  Call them miracles, coincidences, synchronicity, kismet, or whatever you like, says Deepak Chopra — the important thing is to recognize them as signs that you’re on the right path.  When God Winks is the title of a book on this very subject.

Memorial Celebration for Louis Raymond Case Debruge 12-13-14 Oregon City "Parents of Murdered Children Memorial Garden"
Memorial Celebration for Louis Raymond Case Debruge at Mountain View Cemetery in Oregon City ~ Parents of Murdered Children Memorial Garden ~ December 13, 2014

Wink 1:  If videographer, Delphine Criscenzo, had not offered to tape Louis’ memorial service, then Marv wouldn’t have been able to view the beautiful recording of Shea performing Free As The Sun.  It was that video that inspired Marv to say “Yes!” to serving as Music Producer for Lou’s CD. In the project video for Kickstarter ~ filmed in May at Rob Stroup’s 8 Ball Studio ~ you can watch Shea playing Lou’s Martin acoustic, just as he did at the memorial, singing again the song he had heard Louis sing many times. This time, he sings under Marv’s direction, with Marv accompanying him on 12-string guitar.  It was Shea’s first studio experience.   Marv was amazed. Shea sang and played a perfect first-take.

“…and the children in the dark, the children in the dark…” Goodbye Uncle Buzz by Quarterflash (Marv & Rindy Ross)

Wink 2:   Randy Ellison, my colleague, friend and mentor, followed a hunch one day in March.  He called me to say, “Hey, I think maybe you should go hear this famous singer/songwriter, Marv Ross, tonight.  He’s giving an interview for a radio series, right there in your neighborhood.” Of course, I went. That night, Marv spoke with an honest vulnerability that reminded me of Louis — about his own difficult family circumstances as a teen and how he dealt with the pain by retreating to his room to write and to sing, to express and to soothe the pain.  So, thanks to a friend’s faithful guidance, I’d been led to the exactly the right people to whom I could entrust Louis’ story, his gifts and his voice.  There’s also a bonus wink:  Marv’s wife and musical partner, Rindy, just happens to be a licensed clinical therapist.  She is serving as advisor to the book portion of the project.

Moody Little Sister Wild PlacesWink 3:  Coincidentally, Moody Little Sister (Rob Stroup and Naomi Hooley) held their CD Release Party for Wild Places on the evening before our launch.  Naomi, like Louis, has a soul connection to Owls.  Like Louis, Naomi experienced childhood abuse.  And like Louis, she has turned the coal of her betrayal into diamonds in her music.  The MC for the evening on October 17th gave a “shout out” to Lou’s project during the sold-out concert.  Lou’s CD cover art was included in the program and Free As The Sun was listed as an honored sponsor.

“Love is a Road” is the title of the latest Quarterflash CD. The many uncanny coincidences without which Free As The Sun simply wouldn’t be, are signs for me that we are being led on a road together.  Love RoadI feel Lou right there with us in Love & Spirit. Marv & Rindy have donated their powerful, transformational song “All Diamonds” from that CD as the last track on Lou’s five track CD, Free As The Sun: Lou’s Songs of Life.   It’s a perfect fit. Thank you, Marv and Rindy Ross, for believing in Lou and for bringing his voice back to life, set free to speak his truth to power and to do the healing work so needed in our world!  Kismet, miracle, answer to prayer, coincidence, — whatever it is, you are transforming Lou’s sad past and making it “All Diamonds!”  

All Diamonds

When I look into the eyes of a newborn baby,
When I look into the skies of a new morn… maybe,
Everything is intertwined, interlocked
In a language long forgot.

When I recognize love in a cat’s eye,
Recognize longing in the song of the magpie,
Recognize genius in the tumbleweed,
I recognize you and I recognize me and…
Love… all love. Love… all love.

We are… one flame. We are… one arc,
We are… all embers from the same spark,
We are… all god. We are… one soul,
We are… all diamonds from the same coal.

When I contemplate the life of the redwood,
Contemplate the seed in the weeds where it once stood,
Contemplate the trunk contemplate the limb,
Contemplate the fact that we’re brothers in the wind.

When I open up my heart to the red deer,
Open up my heart to the fox and the kildeer,
Open up my heart to the blood that we’re sharing,
Open up my heart – open up my heart to…

Love… all love. Love… all love.

We are… one flame. We are… one arc,
We are… all embers from the same spark,
We are… all god. We are… one soul,
We are… all diamonds from the same coal.

  • by Marv Ross © 2013 Narrow Dude Music All Rights Reserved





“Wanna’ Kick It?”

Hey, wanna’ kick it?” This was one of my son Lou’s favorite lines.  It’s the cool teenager’s version of the five year old’s, “Can you come out to play?” It’s full of relaxed excitement about what unexpected joys might be ahead if we just get together and then see where the Spirit leads!

FATS Kickstarter Poster 10-14In that Spirit, I want to invite you to Kick It with us in bringing Lou’s CD and Book to life with the Kickstarter Campaign for Free As The Sun.  It runs October 18th to November 16th.

Kick it for awhile on the Free As The Sun Kickstarter Campaign Page – where you can “kick it” in the 8 Ball Studio with Marv, Shea, Rob and the magic as they record the first track, captured in the Project Video.

Kick it for awhile at this website, checking out the lyrics page, the Bios of the CD artists and Book contributors, and the first blog post about the project.

And then help us to kick this project into a beautiful high-energy high gear so that we can exceed our funding goal.  Yes, some projects fund at 150% or better!  When we exceed our goal, our next project will be either a music video using Lou’s song Facade (The Devil) or a training video.  Our Backers will get to decide.

Click here to watch Shea & Lou “Kick it” for real at the West Linn Skate Park (2009)!

As you tell your friends and colleagues – and the folks on the bus or at the bar – about this project, here’s what you want to know about Kickstarter:

  • This campaign goes “live” on October 18th and the more early backers we get the more the momentum builds toward success!
  • Your credit card will not be charged unless the Funding Goal is met and until the campaign closes. 
  • The Kickstarter Campaign lasts only 30 days.  Ours closes on November 16th. 
  • Kickstarter, like the Arab Spring and Black Lives Matter, relies on the noösphere of social media – your shares on Facebook, Twitter, via Email and so on are what will bring this beautiful project to life. 

Bring Lou’s dream to life.  Help break his silence about childhood abuse as the real cause of so much addiction, depression, self-harm and despair in people of all ages.  Help Lou be the healer he was born to be.  Lou’s voice – so powerful in his music & poetry – will allow others to find their voice.

May his memory be a blessing.

Owl - Hope




Free As The Sun: Lou’s Songs of Life

It’s nothing less than a miracle.

Just a little over one year after Lou’s death (December 4, 2014) a CD of Lou’s music and a book of his poetry, song lyrics and essays, both entitled “Free As The Sun” will be published.  Louis was born to be a teacher and a healer and so it will be.

“As above, so below.”


Marv Ross, Portland singer/songwriter and music producer, has put together a beautiful five-track CD featuring four of Lou’s original songs.

Two tracks bring Lou’s voice & guitar back to life & two more shine with Shea MacKinnon as lead vocalist.   Marv plays guitar and bass; Gregg Williams (the Trench Studio) engineered three tracks and plays drums. Rob Stroup (8 Ball Studio / Moody Little Sister) engineered the title track. Marv & his wife, Rindy (Quarterflash) have donated a perfect fifth track – All Diamonds from their recent CD Love is a Road.

Marv & Rindy

The book manuscript is being edited.  The Kickstarter Campaign to fund the project will launch one week from today, on October 18th.  As Shea says in the Kickstarter project video, Lou surely has a hand in this from the Other Side.

Love is a road.   

Two years ago, on October 6th 2013, Lou came home to Oregon City after spending nine months away in three different residential dual-diagnosis treatment programs.  Two months in the Utah Wilderness from February to April had – most of all, he said – been transformative.  In a three day solo quest, during Lent, Louis found his voice at last.

Santa Clara, Utah / Second Nature (Entrada)

For the first time, with therapists Bruce and Matt, he had begun to speak out about the sad realities of his childhood.  He started to piece together a trauma narrative:  the memories of abuse that had haunted his days and caused him to suffer from traumatic nightmares for over half of his life.

Louis came home!

Lou attended the OAASIS Conference with me on October 26 (Oregon Advocates and Abuse Survivors in Service.)  He enrolled again in school.   He wanted nothing more than to be a triumphant survivor, to find new ways to cope with the unbearable pain he’d sought to relieve with drugs and alcohol and self-harm.

He attended AA Young People’s groups, met nearly every week with his trusted out-patient therapist, Donny. He meditated, read about recovery, wrote music, prayed, worked out at the gym, spent endless hours in perfect harmony with his best friend, Shea, and cherished the moments of natural peace he found in snowboarding on the slopes of Mount Hood.  And he wondered why he could not find the resilience he heard so much about while in treatment.

Lou & Shea - Timberline
Lou & Shea – Timberline

One year ago, in October 2014, Lou was enrolled full time at Clackamas Community College.  He had already completed eight college credits (Nature Writing, Algebra), earned his driver’s license, and worked part-time for a landscaping company.  And he had decided.  He wanted to be a counselor. He talked to the Early College guidance counselor about Marylhurst College’s Music Therapy program.

Tawnya, Lou & Candice Freshman Orientation at Clackamas Community College
Tawnya, Lou & Candice
Freshman Orientation at Clackamas Community College



Lou spent time with friends – especially Max & Shea – and had girlfriends galore.   He was loved by his friends’ parents – as he had been since pre-school!  His teachers appreciated his depth of soul and his gifts of self-expression.  All the while, Lou’s epic battle with depression, with anxiety and PTSD, with addiction, with nightmares and migraines – was continuing.

Louis was still walking a perilous tightrope suspended over a dangerous abyss, again using drugs and alcohol to dull his unremitting pain. He wrote furiously – music, poetry, journal entries, essays.  He was bleeding onto paper and into song a pain that would finally be more than he could bear. Sometime in the night of December 3rd/4th, an overdose of heroin brought an end to a brilliant life. Overnight, Lou’s sunny bright smile was gone.

Lou April 2014 Silver Falls
Lou April 2014 Silver Falls

Let’s talk about resilience.  

We live in a culture that believes that power and force are strength.  But brute force can be and too often is turned against women, children, the elderly, the disabled, even against our animal friends.  And what is more despicable than cruelty toward those who are “weaker” — that is to say, more vulnerable?

What if the kind of sensitivity Louis showed in his writing and in his music, to his friends, his classmates and his beloved dogs Bandit and Fergie are the real power?  What if Brené Brown, who writes about the power of vulnerability, has stumbled on a gospel truth?  “Except ye become as a little child…”

Lou & Fergie 2008
Lou & Fergie 2008

And what if those who are so deeply sensitive that they find it impossible to rebound from their soul trauma are in fact the “higher” souls in our midst?  As adults we can sing, “I’m gonna harden my heart” and we can mean it.  As children, we are vulnerable because we trust and we love without conditions and when our love is returned with indifference, cruelty, or violence (not to speak of abuse tantamount to torture) — Love itself has been betrayed.

Please share this post, share the Kickstarter Campaign for “Free As The Sun” when it launches on the 18th of October and help us share the Light and Love of Louis Raymond Case Debruge.

May his memory be a blessing.  

Camino - Oregon 2012
Camino a la Playa 2012

by Rhonda Case (Louis’ Mama)  Netarts, Oregon

with gratitude to Shea MacKinnon, Tristyn Meek, Marv & Rindy Ross, Mick and Charlotte Wilson, Gregg Williams, Rob Stroup and Naomi Hooley, Gretta, Bruce, Matt, Donny, Melanie, Barry, Andrew, Tyler, Parfait, Rachel & Andy, Neal, Karen, Riane Eisler, Jeff Cumpston’s family, Susan & Christian, and my cherished colleague and friend, Randy Ellison.