Friday, October 11, 2019

Singing Update . . .

Since my arrival to Comanche County here in Texas, my therapeutic entertainment efforts (singing for senior citizens, etc.) has taken a back seat as I try to get in my stride being a pastor of a two-point charge for the first time in over 25 years.  Things are going well, and I seem to have my feet under me to the point that I've reached out and offered my services to area senior activity centers and nursing homes.

My first contact was Whitestone Assisted Living Center in Comanche.  I have two church members who are residents there.  This is a small assisted living center, and I am very proud to be associated with them as one of their entertainment volunteers.  I've sung there twice so far, and had a blast both times.  I try to work in a bit of comedy and story telling when I sing.  The folks at Whitestone seem to appreciate it.  They voted to have me come back!  I cherish that honor.  I will be singing there once a month.

I sang for the first time this past Wednesday at the Senior Center in Gustine.  The new director is a member at my church in Comanche.  We weren't sure how singing would be received.  The center is only open on Wednesdays, and the folks there sure enjoy their card games.  In fact, they are quite serious when they play.

When I arrived on Wednesday, I set up and announced that they should keep on playing cards, which they did.  However, they were paying attention, and some sang along with me, and most applauded after each of the songs.  They all thanked me, and seemed determine to confirm that I would come back.  Looks like I get the 12:20 PM slot every 2nd Wednesday of the month.

If I sound excited, I am.  Gustine is actually more of a village (by description) now than a town, although there is still a City Hall, Post Office, schools and a local bank.  There are a couple of shops, a few agricultural related businesses,  and a little gas station / store.   It feels good to plug into this community more than I have  been able too. I'm only in Gustine early on Sunday morning, and perhaps a couple hours each week.

I visited the Western Hills Nursing Home and Senior Center in Comanche several weeks back.  I will be returning soon to schedule singing at those locations.  

I've been invited to consider singing for a local community revitalization group sometime in November, but that hasn't been confirmed yet.   I'd imagine some older cowboy songs to be the order of the day for that event.

So . . . it looks like I will be singing at least 4 times a month for seniors adults.   I think that will be a good mix and work with my schedule.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Digital Update

Greetings all,

I thought since I haven't blogged in a while that I would do an update on my attempt to step into a totally digital work environment.

So far . . . so good.  It hasn't been easy, and I bought a new mechanical pencil the other day just to remind myself where I came from . . . but the transition is going smoother than I anticipated.

First, the iPad . . . I was able to purchase, on sale from Best Buy, an iPad Air 3 along with a Logi iPad and keyboard holder.  The neat thing is that the Logi keypad does not need Bluetooth.  It has a live magnetic connection to the iPad.  Battery on the iPad Air is great, a lot better than my now almost 10 year old iPad 3 9.7 inch, which was one heavy sucker!   The iPad Air is very light.  Mind you, I know when I have the iPad in my bag, but the weight is much lighter overall.

I am using the iPad when I preach.  I simply disconnect the iPad from the keyboard, and open up Google Docs and off I go.  Nice not having to print paper copies of a sermon or lesson.

I also purchased an Apple Pencil 1.  I thought to myself, "let's waste $99 and buy an Apple Pencil."  Well, I'm using it more and more, especially since I purchased the Good Notes 5 app.  Good Notes is more than I will ever use or figure out.  I pretty much take all my meeting and daily notes on the iPad Air using the Day One Journal app (Premium . . . $30+ a year).  Day One Journal has been an answer to a prayer I didn't know I was praying.  It is simply awesome, and I am journalling 10x more than I ever have in the past.  Its easy to review and the search function is the best.

However, I still like to write sometimes . . . that old school feel of pencil in hand.  So far I have been pleased with the Apple Pencil and Good Notes combination.  I will be exploring this relationship more.  I still have my KLYC brand Traveler's Notebook for personal private journaling.

The other app I purchased (also $30+ for Premium) was the Get It Done App.  If you like David Allen's GTD method, then this may be the app for you.  I used it for a month . . . and now I haven't used it since, but will be meeting with my professional coach soon to get some extra training.  He suggested that I try Get It Done.

For years I have used the Planner Pad, a professional planning notebook that lets you manage a week's worth of appointments and projects.   I've gotten used to it.   With the GID app, I had to do a deep review every night or early morning before stating the new day.  With some help, I'm sure I can make GID work.  But for the current time, I adapted a Trello spread to look like to top part of a Planner Pad spread.  Its been working great!

Most of the apps sync to all my devices, except the Day One Journal, which doesn't yet sync to a Windows computer.

With this new digital system, I only need to take my cell phone with me to appointments, and just the iPad to meetings as long as I have access to Wi-fi.

The effort to go digital has been successful so far.  I seem to be more focused on the right thing to do at the right time.  I'm getting a lot done, and still finding time to be in the community singing and visiting.

More to come!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Embracing Digital . . . I hope it's not too late!

I have recently embarked, at the encouragement of my ministry coach, Jerry Roberson, to embrace going fully digital when it comes to planning my day, taking journal entries, calendar, to-do lists . . .

I'm not that digitally or computer challenged as I once was.  I remember working with Melissia Mason at FUMC in Grapevine.  Oh, the look on her face when she realized that I didn't have a clue as to what she was talking about when I would ask her for help using Microsoft Word.  Bless her heart.  But I do appreciate everything she taught me, and things started to click when I started using an iPad (3rd generation).

Melissia is the one who first encouraged me to write a blog over 14 years ago.  She is a much more proficient, and effecient communicator and blog writer than I am.  But she planted the seed and I continue to nurture it along.

Well, back to what Jerry has encouraged me to do . . . apparantly his definition of going "all in" digitally is doing everything on an iPad.  Granted, Jerry is a professional ministry / clergy coach and consultant.  He speaks at conferences.  He recently gave a great Ted-Talk.  So he must know what he is talking about.  My experience with Jerry these past two years is that when he suggests something, it is usually to my benefit to take the time to consider his counsel.

For those serving full-time in ministry, I would encourage you to consider a relationship with a ministry / clergy coach.  If you put in the effort, you will be blessed.

So, I will be purchasing a new iPad Air 3 in the coming week.  At Jerry's suggestion, I have already been learning to use a couple of apps that I was able to download onto my Samsung S9.

The first app is "Get it Done."   I'm already willing to say that this app was well worth the $39 it cost. It works with those who are fond of David Allen's GTD (Get Things Done) approach.  It works for me so far.  I will get some further training on maximizing this app to the fullest.

The next app is the one I simply love . . . Day One Journal.  This app cost around $35 for the premium edition, and it might be a little less through the Google Play Store for the android version.

Where has this app been all my life?

On a shelf in my church office and in my home office, I have dozens of notebooks and journal of all sizes where I wrote my daily to-do lists along with contact, meeting and project notes. (By the way . . . I have horrible handwriting . . . so you already know where this is going.)

 It was only recently that I learned a method to index my journals, alas too little too late as the process is completely analog, in that you have to start with the fist journal and work through it to the next one . .  repeat . . . rinse . . . repeat again.  Unless I put a reminder note in Google Calendars, I had to grab the current journal or past journal and start thumbing through the pages to find the entry I was looking for.

Day One Journal allows me to make my entries, which are completely searchable by using a key word.  "Click" and there is my info.  Awesome.

Here is the kicker (positive consequence) to all this . . . I am now writing more!   Why?  Because I can instantly find what I wrote!

Day One Journal works with other database apps . . . so far . . . I am really impressed.  Every day I seem to discover something new about it.  As I said, this app has me writing more.

The only drawback is that it doesn't work with a Windows computer, just IOS, Mac and Android.  The new iPad runs on IOS 12, so no problem handling this app when I am out and about.

Who knows, perhaps as old dog (I'm 62 years old) can learn some new tricks.

Thank you Melissia Mason, for encouraging me to learn more about computers and Digital stuff.

Thank you Jerry Roberson, for encouraging me (actually daring me) to become more efficient
so I can have more time to be with my family, and the people I work for and work with.

All good!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Heeding the Call to a New Mission Field . . .

This past Sunday, it was announced that Liz and I will be leaving FUMC Crowley and moving in July to the West District to serve FUMC in Comanche and FUMC in Gustine. This is a surpise move for everyone concerned. However, I took a vow at my elder's ordination that I would go where I was needed. This is one of those moves, and we believe we are being called into a new mission field. There is sadness, and excitment. Those who have gone through this process better understand what I can't exactly put into words.
Liz and I truly treasure the people here in Crowley. They are working hard to become the church that Christ is calling them to be. The folks in Crowley stood by me, and gave me the time to recover, when my knees were replaced, and when I decided that I had to lose weight and regain my health in order to become the best husband, father, grandfather and pastor I can be.
I thought I couldn't love a church staff as much as I did when I served in Grapevine, but then I arrived at Crowley. Together we have plowed ahead depending on God to lead us where we needed to go and do what we needed to do. That applies to everyone who has served FUMC Crowley in leadership as well.
We will leave with numerous memories, and with the belief that Crowley was one of the best places that we have ever had the privilege to serve. Still two more months of transition . . . but I say this . . . Crowley, it has been an honor to be your pastor for 4 years!!!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Crowley Senior Center Performance - April 25, 2019

I had another opportunity to sing for my friends at the Crowley Senior Center.  They have a new location in the Crowley Recreation Center, which just happens to be across the street from my church.


This was my first public performance using my Rain Song BI jumbo.  So far so good using a 100% graphite guitar. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

I Finally Brought Home a RainSong . . .

Well, I've threatened to do it.  I've written about doing it.  Finally, I did it. 

I just brought home my RainSong Black Ice jumbo guitar.  This is my first venture into owning and playing a guitar that is constructed of graphite.

I got a great trade-in for my Taylor's, and even walked out with a very nice check for the difference in the price.  The Taylor's were probably the best and prettiest guitars I owned.  However, I never played them!  They were great gifts from a friend, who blessed my moving on from them.

I must say "so far so good."  The sound is a bit "purer" to me than that of a wooden guitar.  My Martin's are a bit louder, again to my ear, and I haven't yet played into a microphone to tell for sure.  My RainSong came with light guage bronze strings and I really prefer phosphor-bronze.  So I will be putting on a set of medium phoshor-bronze in a week or so.  RainSong customer service is pretty good.  I was told that I "might" have to adjust the neck a quarter-turn when I put the mediums on.   I've got the right tools to do it.  Should be no sweat.

This guitar is a keeper . . . I've already made that decision.  I've only had it for a couple of weeks, and I am just scratching the surface of what it can do, and what I can do when I play it. I have been pleasently surprised so far.  But I will admit, I went into this knowing it wasn't going to sound like a wooden guitar.

Oh, did I mention, it's one of the largest guitars that I now own, but it's also the lighest?   Oh, what a sincere pleasure it is to play this guitar for the usual 50-60 minutes of singing and playing that I do in front of senior adults in nursing homes or community centers. 

I'm certainly not a purist by any means.   I have no "relationship" with guitars like others do.  They are tools for what I need them to do. But this guitar is a "banger."  By that I mean it's a guitar that is impervious to humidity, heat and cold, which along with sunlight are the enemies of guitars that are made with wood.  A RainSong can supposedly be left in sunlight with no damage, not that I will ever try to find out if this is true. 

High humidity, low humidity, no change in sound.  That's good for me, as I'm in usually in New Mexico for a week or so in early fall.  Most of that time I play outside.  The case it came with fits nicely under the bed in our Grand Designs Imagine 2970rls travel trailer.   Looking, and sounding, good so far!

More to come. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Crowley Senior Center performance . . .

I enjoyed singing today for the folks at the Crowley Senior Center at their new digs inside the Crowley Recreation Center.  There were about 15 in attendance.   It was good to reconnect with Ruby Harse (CSC Director) and the rest of the folks.  This location for their activities is really so much better than their old location, in my humble opinion.

I will sing for them again on the last Thursday of this month!

Singing Update . . .