"But music was his life, it was not his livelihood, and it made him feel so happy and it made him feel so good. And he sang from his heart and he sang from his soul. He did not know how well he sang; it just made him whole." - Harry Chapin - chorus of "Mr. Tanner."

Friday, January 22, 2016

Rest in peace Glenn Fry . . .

News has reached many about the recent death of Eagles founder and leader, Glenn Fry.   His death at 67 came too soon . . . too soon.

I've written before about the many folk artists who have influenced my personal and music life.  I have not written as much about rock music artists who have done the same.

The Eagles are surely an influence on my life and music.  As a teenager and young adult in the 1970's, the Eagles were so often on the charts, and their songs were the songs that we sang and played.  At the forefront as founder and leader . . . was Glenn Fry.   He was not the best singer.  No, that was Don Henley.  He wasn't the best guitarist.  No, that was Bernie Leadon, and Don Felder, and Joe Walsh.

Glenn was the leader.  Don Henley mentions that in commenting after Glenn's death . . . "Glenn was the one who started it all.  He was the spark plug; the man with the plan."

What Glenn also brought to the table was master song crafting, and a knowledge of popular music. He studied why songs became hits on the charts.  Song writing and helping lead a band were things he practiced as a craft.

He is gone from us too soon.  He will be missed.  The tributes about him on YouTube are growing and growing.

That is a good and appropriate thing to happen.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Friday, January 15, 2016

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and a new health diagnosis . . . it's been a busy time . . .

Howdy all!

Whew!  I never truly realized that my changing churches, and becoming the ONLY pastor would take up so much of my time . . . and it has been a challenge.  But after 6 months, my schedule is getting more into a rhythm.  We have such a wonderful staff here at Crowley. They have been a blessing to me, as have been the members and friends of my new church home.

All in all, my job has pretty much completely changed from when I was at Grapevine.  Not quite a "180", but almost.  I have a lot more administrative and leadership responsiblilities.

Where has music and "Rick's Songbag" been in all this?  Still active, but not as much as in past years.  I am singing at an area retirment home, and at an area nursing home.  There appears to be an opportunity to soon sing at another local nursing home, but that is not quite a done deal.  Singing at these three venues will max out the available time I have to do so.  I sing for our preschool chapel every week that I am available, and I have a couple of Walk to Emmaus and United Methodist Women events to sing at soon.  I usually play guitar for our informal worship service each Sunday at 9AM, and I play every so often for the children during the Children's Time.

In the past months, I have also been diagnosed with Celiac's Disease . . . which explains a lot of life-long health problems I've had that were always assumed to be food allergies.  I'm old and wise enough to appreciate and stick with a gluten-free diet, which is the only treatment for Celiac's.  So far so good.  I do physically, emotionally and mentally feel the best I have felt in the past 10 years.

That being all said, it pains me to share that I am being drawn toward several new interests, which are necessitating my thinking that this music blog has perhaps come to an end.  I have a strong desire to write about servant leadership and spiritual formation.  I also feel the need to document some changes I am starting to try and make in my life.  I am feeling that writing about them would be therapeutic.   What I am not sure of yet is whether I can handle more than one blog with my schedule, and do them well.

So, I solicit your prayers (the 5 of you that read this blog . . . ) for help in what lies ahead.  I am approaching my 59th birthday, and my 40th wedding anniversary.  Music took center stage in my life and ministry at Grapevine.  That may not be the case here in Crowley, as I am being called here to be a preacher, teacher and trainer.  Music, especially singing and playing guitar will always be important to me . . . and I am a most unhappy man if I can't play the guitar.  However, this will not be my main focus anymore, at least for the time being.  To keep it my main focus will take away from the time I need to be a great pastor, and to make some needed personal changes.

As in all things . . . we shall see.  And after seeing, we will try not to react out of emotion, but instead to respond out of faith.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving . . .

"But music was his life, it was not his livelihood, and it made him feel so happy and it made him feel so good. And he sang from his heart and he sang from his soul. He did not know how well he sang; it just made him whole."
-Harry Chapin - chorus of "Mr. Tanner."

Happy Thanksgiving to all.  Today is day to count all our blessings.  I hope doing so takes you at least several days!

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Rick ><>

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Dunlop Primetone Picks

It apparantly ain't over until it's over . . .

Imagine my delight when a reader of this blog (didn't really know I had that many) suggested I spend a few more $$$ and pick up some Dunlop Primetone picks in .73mm.   Pleased that someone would respond back to me . . . I went and got some.

My area Guitar Center had them in stock ($7.99 for 3 picks???) and two of the salesmen told me they had been "flying off the shelves."   

Now, just how does that work . . . does the package sprout wings and just fly around the showroom until someone opens the front door?  Do they scream "I'm free!" when they fly into the sky?

I'd have locked them into a cabinet . . . .$7.99 for 3 picks????   Good God Almighty!   That's $2.66 a piece.

Bet I will look hard if I should drop one.

Anyway  . . . the edges are beveled to feel as if they had been played a while.  Not sure if that is worth $2.66 a pick.

I used one of the picks to strum and flatpick on my Martin D-18, which I had recently put medium Martin SP's back on.

Not bad.

I also used one to play my Martin J-40, which has a brand new set of medium Martin SP's.

Not bad again.  They feel good.  the guitars souinded good.  Perhaps not as bright as the Dunlop Nylon's, but the sound is sweet.

These picks feel very secure in my hand, maybe better than the Dunlop Nylon's, which surprised me.  These are Ultex picks, I think.  And the .73 is a hair stiffer, to me, than the .73 Nylon's.  But, it is not as stiff as an .88 Nylon.  I think for acoustic playing (not plugged in) this pick may possibly be what I have been looking for.  When plugged in??  Well, I will have to play some more first to figure that out.  I've played with the Nylon's for several years now, and I am comfortable with them when plugged into a amp or PA.

I've got room in my pick pouch for Nylon's and Primetones.   I will have to play with them quite a while before I can decide if I want to use picks on a regular basis that cost this much.  Perhaps they will come down in price after their "newness" has worn off.

We will see!

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

First impression of Monel stings was good . . . now not so much

I wrote earlier of my wanting to try the new Tony Rice Signature series Monel strings by Martin on my D-18.  I was initially pleased when I put them on.  Plugged-in they sound pretty good, an almost "woody" tone.  In  the sanctuary playing with our little praise band, they did just fine with the guitar plugged into my acoustic amp.

This past Monday, I played at a nursing home with a very open-formal-living-area type of room.  And, it was carpeted.  I dont plug into an amp in senior venues because of all the people wearing hearing aids.  In the process of performance, I became somewhat frustreated because I  could not hear the D-18 very well l . . . and I couldnt keep it in tune because I was strumming it hard in a effort to hear it better.

The experience upset me in a very strange way.  Walking back to my car, I pledged to sell all my guitars and spend the money on a new hobby like a sharp knife collection.

That's not me.  That doesn't sound like me at all.   But I did go home sick that afternoon and slept for 13 hours . . . that could have had something to do with it.

For playing acoustically in a larger room . . . these strings are probably not going to cut it.  They sound great, but they aren't bright enough for a larger room unless you plug it in to amp.    I am sad about this because I have two unopened sets of Monel strings.  Before I take them off the D-18, I am going to take my Guild Jumbo F-50R to play there next month.  It has phosphor-bronze strings on it.  I'm pretty sure the problem is the strings . . . but I need to make sure that it's not the room, or how I was feeling at the time.  I've used the D-18 in every senior venue I've played at for the past two years with out any kind of failure.  All those times though, I had phosphor-bronze strings on it.

Plugged in, Monel strings sound good, but you have to raise the treble a bit more than normal, and lower the bass just a bit.  I LOVE the feel of them.  I absolutely LOVE the feel of them. They feel great on the fingers, and picks just slide off the strings in this naturally smooth sort of way.   But hearing my guitar clearly when I play, especially in a larger room, is essential to how well I sing.  

We will see how it goes.  There are some things still to check.  IHowever, in the meantime, I will not be putting Monel's on any of my other guitars, until I get some answers, be it the truth or what I hope to hear.  I guess there is a possible difference there.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Saturday, October 17, 2015

And the winner is a long-time old friend . . .

The pick search was quick and ended up not costing me much money or time in the process.  The clear winner of all the picks I have tried are the Dunlop Nylon .73's, .88's, and 1.0's.
The criteria was simple . . .
1)  I only used MY guitars with Monel or Phosphor-Bronze strings.
     -Martin D-18 retro
     -Martin J-40
     -Taylor GS (BTO)
     -Guild F-50R
     -Guild F-512
2)  Although I sought the advise of others, in the end I depended on what my ear was hearing, and if I liked it.
3)  I was looking for a low amount of plastic pick noise (clicking), and the pick had to be comfortable to hold.  For a folk "boom-chucker" like me . . . that's important.
The clear winner (once again) . . . and old friend I've been using for a long time . . . Dunlop Nylon's.  The sound of each guitar was great.  The picks were easy to hold and play with.  The pick sound was greatly reduced.
I'm actually happy about this, and here is why . . . I probably have at least 3 dozen of the .73's in my pick jar right now!   Several years ago, when I was in my Therapeutic Music Entertainer certification training, I was using these picks.  They are very easy to hold, and the sound of the pick on the strings is much less than other pick materials I tried. I probably bought 5 packs of them.
I mostly use the .73's when plugged in, especially on the Taylor GS.  But my Martin D-18 seems to respond better to the .88's  I will use the .73's or the .88's when I am playing acoustic, depending on the size of the room and what my ear is hearing.  It also depends if I am the only instrumentalist, or playing a rhythm beat   I use the 1.0 when I need to do more flat picking for a song, or when I need t accentuate the bass line.  The .73 works just fine with my Guild 12-string.
But, if all I had was some of the .73's, I would make out just fine, plugged in or acoustic.
 Old friends . . . they are just plain hard to beat!
God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Thursday, October 1, 2015

On the road again . . .

It's really good to have a regular singing schedule again.

For those who might have passed my little blog by these past couple of months, after a 10 year ministry at the First United Methodist Church in Grapevine, TX, I accepted a new appointment as the pastor at the First United Methodist Church in Crowley, TX, in the southwest Fort Worth/Tarrant County area.  My wife and I relocated to the church parsonage here in Crowley on July 1st.  It's been a very busy 3 months.

During my first 90 days, I curtailed singing in the community and instead focused on connecting with the members of the church, and to work on preaching good sermons. As time allowed, I went out and got to know some of the area Activity and Life Enrichment Directors at the hursing home, rehab, and assisted living centers, especially when I went to visit church members who were residents.  It took a while, but invitations have started coming in.  I sang two weeks ago to my largest crowd ever at the Huguley Nursing Care and Rehab Center in Burleson, off I-35 and FM 1187.  I believe I sang to over 40 people, and it was a blast.

Today, I sang at the Heritage Place Assisted Living Center, located just southwest of Huguley.  A brand new assisted living/memory care center.  I sang in the front living area.  A small crowd, but then this was really more of an audition.  The Activity Director let me know she would be calling me soon to schedule a regular time to sing.

Next Monday I will be heading to Chisholm Trail Estates in Keene, TX, just east of Cleburne, about a half-hour away from Crowley.  This is a large property retirement center.  I believe I will be singing in either the front living room area or in the dining hall.  I'm looking forward to it.

I am thinking that this will be a good singing schedule for me through December, considering I also lead the chapel service most Tuesday mornings for our preschool.  I did accept an invite to provide several songs this coming Saturday morning in Waco, TX for a  gathering of the  United Methodist Women of our annual conference.  All in all, I think this is a workable schedule, and there will be a good balance between my daily pastoral responsibilities and singing.  I can take one more gig is things work out.  We will see.

In the meantime . . . it is good to be singing again!

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Reconnecting with a past friend . . . Craig's Music in Weatherford, TX

Ah, the joy of rediscovering and reconnecting with something pleasant from your past.

Glad to find out yesterday that Craig's Music in Weatherford, TX is alive and well and in their 36th year.  I used to shop there back in the late 90's when I was serving the church in Godley, TX.  

Yes, for those of you who are naturally inquisitive about such things, there is a United Methodist Church in "Godley," TX.  

If you are looking for a Martin, or want to play a Santa Cruz (they have a large selection, they are beautiful, and they cost it) then give them a call or go on by and play as long as your fingers hold out. There are signs all over the store that let you know that you can take it off the hook, plug it in, and play it as long as you want.  They have a ton of electronics and a full selection of accessories.  They cater a good number of professional players in Tarrant, Parker and Hood counties.

Their physical location is the same as it has always been:  

115 E. Spring Street 
Weatherford, TX 76086

Their phone # is 817-599-8021

They are located a block north of the town square, just turn right off of Main St on to E. Spring if you are heading north. Turn left onto E. Spring if you are heading south.  Red brick building on your left.

Their updated website is down right now, but should be up in the next week or so. The old one is up (www.craigsmysicinc.com) and has pictures, map, etc.

I've written before of my love for good, quality local guitar stores.  I miss my days shopping and helping out at Grapevine Guitar Works, and continue to miss it after Sean made the decision to close the doors several years ago.  Murphy's Music in Irving has been around for a very long time, probaly longer than Craig's.  I really have nothing against Guitar Center.  I just like the variety and uniqueness of locally owned stores.  

I hope to get to know Craig Swancy better in the near future.  Craig's will be my regular Friday day-off "hidey hole" for at least part of the day.  Tell them that Pastor Rick at First United Methodist in Crowley told you to call or go by.  Doing so will probably get you absolutely nothing, but I'd like to hear about how they reacted when you told them!!!!!!

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Martin Monel Strings . . . so far so good!

Here is an initial update about a long overdue guitar string experiment.   

First . . . I have always preferred phosphor-bronze strings over bronze strings.   Guess it's because I am mainly a Martin guy, and I like to hear defined, and loud, bass notes.  I don't like "tinny" or very bright sounding strings either.

However, my complaint for some time about phosphor-bronze strings is that all my guitars on which I use these type strings (mediums on all my guitars except my DC-16 and my Guild 12-string) all end up sounding pretty much the same, except for volume/projection.  There is a difference, but really not much.

The same "stringy sound", from modern style strings . . . and to my ear, the strings are getting brighter every time I change them. I'm told younger players like this type of string sound. I'm old, so I don't!  

I don't want bright sounding strings!   I want the older Martin sound from Neil Young's "Old Man," and the early bluegrass years of Tony Rice.  I guess I am saying I like a deeper sounding guitar.  Perhaps this is why I lean toward larger bodied guitars, that and the fact I am 6'6".

Just after Christmas last year, while perusing videos on YouTube, I came across an interview with, who else, Tony Rice.  He was alking about the old strings made of Monel steel from the 60's 70's and how much he missed them, how he thought his famous Martin didn't sound like it used to. That got my attention.  

He shared that he had worked with Martin to develope a new series of strings fearturing Monel.  The light guage sets are listed as "Retro" model strings in the Martin catalog and on the website. Laurence Juber has a signature set of mixed lights and mediums, and Tony has a signaure set of mediums.  

I ordered 4 sets of the Tony Rice strings this past Spring, but in preparing to move to a new church, I never took the time to put them on.  Afer arriving here in Crowley, TX, I took the time one afternoon to put a set on my D-18.  Initially, I wasn't pleased.  They were OK, but I felt let down.  They sounded dull, like doing a 180 from how PB's sounded.  Reviews on the internet suggested to give the strings a week to set in.

I gave them two weeks . . . and in a word . . . MERCY!

Or maybe . . . "HELLO!"

Or maybe . . . "HALLELUJAH"?

Goodness, is this how my D-18e Retro model was designed to sound?   I love the sound. I would describe the sound as crisp, loud, and  . . . woody.  The sound to me is . . . Well maybe "vintage" is the best word.  These strings sound like those silver strings we bought in the individual red paper wrappers at the local department stores or at Sears when we were kids.   Tony said that when he played his Martin after putting on the Monels, he said "Welcome back old friend!"  

And yes, these are silver strings . . . or silver grey.  Sort of odd not having on bronze or copper colored strings.  Good thing that color doesn't make a damned bit of difference when playing.   I plan to put them on my J-40 next, and a set of lights on my DC-16, and will share my report later.  I may eventually put them on my Guild Jumbo after that.   My Taylor GS, I'm not so sure.  We will see.

If you would like to possibly hear what your guitiar may really sound like, then getting a set of Martin Monel's is a cheap experiement.   Sound is subjective.  If you are after a more vintage acoustic sound, you may well be pleased with the result.  And you may not, but variety is the spice of life. The rubber finally meets the road when the people we sing/play for say they like the sound of the guitar as well.  I think the folks at the nursing homes will like that these Monel strings, because to me they just don't squeak as much. They sound good.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Fred Kelly Slick Pick

I think I found a new thumb pick . . . one that I can fingerpick, and strum with.  I hope, because I spent $1.50 each for a dozen of them.

While searching the internet for interesting stuff several months ago, I can across Fred Kelly's website, where all the guitar picks he manufactures are listed.  I have heard of his "Speed Pick", which is used by a lot of famous guitar players, like Doyle Dikes and Charlie Daniels.   

I wanted to find a thumbpick that I could also use for strumming when the situation calls for it. The thumbpicks I have been using seemed to grab at the strings when strumming upward. They also had long points. When I read the reviews about the Slick Picks, I thought I had found an answer.   However, not being able to locate any locally to try out, I decided to pass on them.

Yesterday, after I attended a meeting in Weatherford, TX, I ventured just north of the city square to see if Craig's Music was still in business.  "Lo and behold," they were still there, going strong in their 36th year!   On my way out after looking around, I decided to check out their pick selection.  To my surprise and delight, I saw that they had a good selection of both the Delrin and Poly style Slick Picks.  

I found some that fit (the large ones for me), and went back to the Acoustic Room.   I tried them out on a Martin D-28, and thought to myself, "Self! These might work!"  I "picked" out some medium Poly's and a couple of light guage Delrin's.   We will see how it goes. 

I am a strummer, or "boomchucker" as we use to say around the campfire years and years and years ago.  I tend to strum hard, especially in non-amplifies settings. I can fingerpick some, (1-2-3 or 1-3-2 patterns) but my technique honestly needs a lifetime of improvement.   In strumming with a flat pick, I know that the my technique actually depends more on the wrist than the angle of the pick.   The Slick Picks are short, with a rounded edge, and they are slick, on both sides.  I think I can learn to be creative with them, if I put some work into it.  

The sound my D-18 made when I got back to the office . . . I didn't want to put it down.  Could have been the Slick Picks, it could have been the new Monel strings (more on that in my next blog.)  Or, it could have been the combination of a tuned guitar, the pick, the strings and the player.  It usually works that way.

I am curious and intrigued with these Slick Picks.  I have a gig in Waco in a couple of weeks.  I'm going to rehearse with these picks and then write about them again in October after the gig is over. Hopefully these picks will become another useful guitar tool / accessory.

God's grace, and acoustic guitars, still amazes me . . . ><>

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Lifelong Learning (L3)

Lifelong Learning by Don McMinn
My friend and leadership mentor, Mr. Don McMinn, has just finished a new e-book on Life Long Learning (what Don taught some of us back in the "Leader's Summit" days to call L3).   I highly value Don's friendship, his mentoring, and his leadership blog (www.donmcminn.com).

If you sign up for his blog, you will receive the e-book as a gift.  Just go to donmcminn.com/subscribe or CLICK HERE.

Yes, this is a blatant endorsement, and I am proud to give it.  I have known Don for 10+ years, and his sharing with me helped me to successfully minister at FUMC in Grapevine, TX for the 10 years I was there.  I will benefit from it as well as I serve the good people here in Crowley, TX.

God's grace still amazes me  . . . and do my friendships with people like Don McMinn.

Rick ><>

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Getting "back in the saddle again!"

I'm back in the saddle again
Out where a friend is a friend
Where the longhorn cattle feed
On the lowly Jimson weed
Back in the saddle again!

Well, it certainly feels like I'm back in the saddle again when it comes to making music.

I've extended my services to a retirement home in Keene, TX where a member of our church resides.  I hope to be scheduled there in September.

I'm heading over to the Crowley Nursing Home as soon as I finish this blog entry to visit with the Activities Director about singing there.

I'm playing guitar and singing with our Praise Band tomorrow night (8/21) as we host the Local "Walk to Emmaus"  Reunion group gathering. 

And, I was just asked to travel to Waco on October 3 to sing for a United Methodist Women's gathering.  I'm checking out the details to determine if I will be able to accept.

Yesterday evening I sang in the hallways of our church as parents and children attended our Crowley United Methodist PreSchool.  I've sang several times for our United Methodist Men's gatherings, and I'm playing regularly with our 9:00 am service Praise Band, until I can recruit a layperson who is a better guitarist than I am.  

And . . . I've been mostly playing my Guild 12-string.  It's been a while.  It's the guitar I;ve been reaching for lately, esepcially if I am playing and singing solo.  I rotate my guitars around a lot.  Right now it's the season for the 12-string. 

It is good to be back in the saddle again after my move and transition to FUMC in Crowley.  Let;s make a joyful noise!

God's grace, and making a joyful noise . . . still amazes me!  ><>

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

VBS is going strong!

I'm the voice of a puppet!!  There's a bucket list item I can cross off!

Seriously, I've been the voice of "Checkers the Cheetah" during our morning VBS assemblies.  It's been great!  But afterwards I've been having a hankering for Cheetoe's!

Oops!  Wrong cheetah.

Speaking of great, what a wonderful group of adult and youth volunteers we've had this week at VBS!  Attendance has grown every day (could it be the big blow up water slide we have in the yard?)  I think attendance has grown because of the great people, great lessons and all the great food!

Singing wise, I've been busy this week singing with the pre-K kids after the opening assembly, and then singing with all the other kids and youth at closing.  

And to tell the truth, I've really needed this week.  Monday evening I sang as well as for our UMMen's group.  All the singing this week has given me a strong sense of balance that I haven't had in a few weeks.  Singing and playing guitar for other people is a devotional sort of thing with me.  If we can sing together, then we can work together to do great things for the Kingdom of God.  I'm sure how to better explain it, but after singing for people, I feel calmer, more controlled, more at peace.

Balance is a good thing.  Perspective helps me to not choose to react out of emotion, but to respond more often out of faith.

And that is always a good thing to do.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Friday, July 17, 2015

Update . . . I'm playing and singing again!

The transition to our new church and home in Crowley, Texas continues.  All is going well.  We still have a few boxes left to unpack.  Garage and workshop stuff I will unpack in the fall when it is cooler.

Singing and guitar wise, I "back in the saddle again!"

I am playing guitar for our 9am informal service  on Sunday mornings, hoping in the process to encourage other players to come join in the fun.  I really haven't played much praise & worship / contemporary Christian music, so there is a learning curve (what is it with contemporary Christian artists love of Eb?)

This past week I visited the local library, and will turn in my volunteer paperwork soon.  I think they are interested in having me come on Friday mornings when I can through the summer.  Hopefully we can talk more in the near future about doing something for after-school in the fall.

My next stop is the Crowley Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.  I believe one of our church members works there.  That is a help, especially when you walk in "off-the-streets" and introduce yourself as a singer / guitar player who will sing and play for free.

"Free" is what I am all about.  I'm a good performer, but not good enough to make a living at singing and playing.  And when you do it for a living, there is all the self-promotion work and travel.  And then, the people I love to perform for the most, children and older adults in retirement or nursing centers, would not normally be part of my usual audience.

I think I have it now the way it is supposed to be.  If I have my health when I retire, I will probably split my time singing at Philmont Scout Ranch in the summers, and singing wherever Hugworks.org wants me to go.  Either way, I will be singing the songs that I love with the people that I love, respect and appreciate the most.

More to report in the coming days.  VBS is next week!  Yay!

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Sunday, June 28, 2015

I'm back . . .

Lord, it has been a long time since I did any blogging, but I've been really busy.

My final Sunday at FUMC-Grapevine was on 6/14, and everything went very well.  The Iron Men
group bequeathed me with over $300 in Sonic gift cards and a gift card to Bass Pro Shops.  The staff presented me with a half-day guided striper fishing trip on Lake Whitney.  And the church presented us with a wonderful love offering that was most generous.  Liz and I are blessed.

We've been packing, and it's taken longer than I thought.  We had a garage sale and got rid of a lot of stuff.  While packing, we discovered more stuff that should have gone in the garage sale!

The movers will be here in the morning on Wednesday, July 1st, and we will be at the parsonage in
Crowley in the early or mid-afternoon.  My first Sunday in the pulpit is July 5th.

Music wise, well I played twice in June with the 1st Church String Band.  It was fun, but bittersweet.  I helped form this group nine years ago, and served as the director for 5 years before passing on those responsibilities.  For the past two years, I was the stage manager for our shows, and learned a lot about setting up sound for different venues.

I will sing and play guitar during the Children's message on 7/1. Later in July, I will be making contact with the local library (across the street from the church!!!  How awesome is that!!)  Later in July I will check in with the local rehab center/nursing home to see about volunteering to sing.  I hope to have a few regular gigs up an doing by September at the latest. 

More to come, especially on the topic of singing, guitar playing and music in general.

All the while, God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>