"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."

Monday, December 31, 2007

Something to think about as the New Year approaches . . .

One of our church members sent me the following in an email. It is a good thought as we prepare for the New Year which will arive tonight at midnight. I do not know the original author, so if you do, please let me know so I can give/acknowledge credit.

I'm better than I deserve! ><>

I wonder what would happen if we treated our Bibles like we treat our cell phones?

What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?

What if we flipped through it several time a day?

What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?

What if we used it to receive messages from the text?

What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?

What if we gave it to Kids as gifts?

What if we used it when we traveled?

What if we used it in case of emergency?

This is something to make you go .... hmm...where is my Bible?

Oh, and one more thing. Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill.

Makes you stop and think 'where are my priorities'?

And no dropped calls!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

All I wanted for Christmas was . . . time . . .

As our lunch guests were leaving our house on Christmas Day, we noticed that our yard was flooded.

It is an interesting thing to see your yard flooded, on a dry Christmas Day!

Turns out that our water main is very close to our big live oak in the front yard . . . and the pipe was crushed.

So, on Christmas afternoon, we started digging until dark, trying to trace back to the leak in the pipe from where the water was bubbling up in the yard.

The next day, 12/26, my son-in-law came over and we dug the entire day . . . finally realizing the pipe was under the tree, so there was no hope of repairing it.

Before I could call someone to cut the tree down, my neighbor suggested I just put in a new water line, and re-route it around the tree.

I like my neighbor . . . a lot.

Today, we dug the new line . . . finding that very large roots love to live only inches from the yard surface . . . but finally this evening, we have water. Since we did all the digging, I only needed a plumber for less than an hour.

I really made a deal of not wanting Christmas gifts this year. All I wanted was time with my family. Boy, I sure got it! Turns out, it was actually kind of fun working with my wife, son-in-law and daughter. You talk and joke a lot when working together. And . . . we survived! My wife and I only ended up only staying in a motel one night . . . because we really needed a hot shower.

When the clerk at the hotel heard out story . . . he gave us two complimentary coupons for a free buffet breakfast.

I highly recommend the Hilton Garden Inn in Irving, TX, located just east of the south entrace to DFW airport.

I'm doing better than I deserve!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas to all . . .

This is my 50th Christmas . . . the big "5-0".

This is the first Christmas where I really do hope that no one gives me a present, because . . .

I am already a very rich man!

I have the love of a wife, who for 31 years has been with me through thick and thin, whose face I wake up to every morning. Knowing her face is the first thing I will see tomorrow morning gets me excited for the new day.

I have two daughters who are each loving enough to give me a second chance at being a dad, because the combination of illness and personal choice got in the the way of my being a good dad the 1st time around.

I have a great son-in-law, a hard worker who wants to make a good name for himself. I want to go fishing and hunting with him, and hope that he and I both will decide that doing so together is very important.

I have a little grand-daughter, and even though I don't get to see her very often, I think of her, and I want to spoil her rotten. Christmas can't come soon enough so I can see every single one of her new toys and clothes, just to see the twinkle in her eye.

I have two very rich and long-time friendships with Joe and Floyd. The presence of these two "brothers" in my life have been nothing short of an "industrial strength" blessing. There are times when you need a friend, and I can always count on these two to be there for me.

I have a God, who loved me so much . . . He died for me! I better understand each day what love is about . . . as I draw closer to my God who loves me with all His heart. And because of this love, and growing more into understanding my purpose in His kingdom . . . I am close to a decision about something I think I was meant to do . . . but have shyed away from for various reasons . . . mostly because of a lack of faith. More to come on what this is all about.

I am a very, very, very rich man. There isn't a thing in the world I really want or need.

I'm better than I deserve! ><>

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

On a far more happier note . . .

If you were not in worship at FUMC-Grapevine on Sunday, Dec. 16th, you missed the premier performace of All Strung Out, the musical group that has grown out of our First Church Guitars ministry.

I am not sure any of us intended it, but we seem to be oriented at the present time toward being a gospel blue-grass group. We will see what the future unfolds.

My thanks to Bill, Alan, Russ, Richard, Gary, Jeff, and Stu for playing Christmas carols before the 8:50, 10:10 and 11:15 am services, as well as joining with me to provide special music during the 8:50 and 10:10 am services. They all did a great job, and seemed to injoy themselves very much.

Playing with confidence born through lots of rehearsal is really a great feeling!

For information about possibly booking All Strung Out for your next party, gathering, or worship service, please give me a call.

I'm better than I deserve! That's a good thing! ><>

Oh . . . on another health note . . .

I got my new CPAP machine and mask yesterday morning. Oh, I slept very well last night. Got up at 6 PM, showered and got ready for the day . . . and have hit the ground running every since.

The most common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) include:

-Excessive daytime sleepiness, which is falling asleep when you normally should not, such as while you are eating, talking, or driving.

-Waking with an unrefreshed feeling after sleep, having problems with memory and concentration, feeling tired, and experiencing personality changes.

-Morning or night headaches. About half of all people with sleep apnea report headaches.

-Heartburn or a sour taste in the mouth at night.

-Swelling of the legs if you are obese.

-Getting up during the night to urinate (nocturia).

-Sweating and chest pain while you are sleeping.

Symptoms of sleep apnea that others may notice include:

-Episodes of not breathing (apnea), which may occur as few as 5 times an hour (mild apnea) to more than 50 times an hour (severe apnea). How many episodes you have a night determines the severity of your apnea.

-Loud snoring. Almost all people who have sleep apnea snore, but not all people who snore have sleep apnea.

-Restless tossing and turning during sleep.

-Nighttime choking or gasping spells.


I knew I was not resting well, and my memory and concentration really suffered. My lack of concentration this past year is what prompted me to go talk to my doctor. What has changed most in my life . . . through treatment for sleep apnea, has been the character change. I used to not be very nice . . . to anyone. Thank God those days are gone.

In other words, untreated sleep apnea will keep you from being the person you are supposed to be . . . and it will rob you of the peace, joy and happiness that comes from life, family and work.

If you know you have any of these symptoms . . . or others have told you that you have them . . . then please discuss it with your primary physician.

I did, for a 2nd time, and I am doing better than I deserve! That's a good thing! ><>

Goodbye . . . Dan Fogelberg

Singer/songwriter Dan Fogelberg died in the early morning on Sunday, December 16th. His song, Leader of the Band, is one of my top 5 favorite songs.

Back in the middle 70's, I discovered the music of Dan Fogelberg, John Denver, Gordon Lightfoot and Jim Croce . . . all who wrote such wonderful music, with such great lyrics. Each of them featured acousitc guitar in their muisc. Although I love electric guitar, there is just something hauntingly beautiful about acoustic guitar, that I still appreciate.

I am a romantic at heart, and all four of these men wrote songs that touched my heart where ever I was in my life. I sing songs by Dan, John and Gordon, and will be learning JIm's song "Operator" in the near future.

Dan, John and Jim all died before their time. Gordon has recovered from serious illness and is touring again on a limited schedule. I knew in my heart that all four of them had a connection to life and living that I have worked my entire life to better understand and appreciate. I think I've tried too hard. Music is such a simple thing, really. So tender, so comforting, so appealing to the spiritual fire in our souls.

But music is much more than notes on a musical scale. It is most often a message, that for some reason can't be stated with words alone. Music is often a cry for action . . . because it translates the emotion that words themselves sometimes fail to share. Music is the core of my soul . . . and I know now in where and who I am, that music was supposed to have been my life purpose.

But I yeilded to satisfying the wishes of others instead. How I yearn for a 2nd chance that will never come my way again.

Dan died of the complications from severe prostate cancer.

Guys . . . if you are 50 or over . . . get checked. Now!

The leader of the band is tired, and his eyes are growing old . . .
But his blood runs through my instrument, and his song is in my soul . . .

I'm sad these days . . . but I am better than I deserve. ><>

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

If you are considering learning to play the guitar . . .

I will make recommendations about guitars to purchase . . . but that decision depends on so much . . . especially the cost.

However, I have been very impressed with the Fretlight 400 series Strat I recently received. It needs a set up to my specifications, but it playes pretty well out-of-the-box. The software loaded very easily, and yes, the chords and notes light up on the frets. It is pretty cool.

I also ordered some additional software from them today, and the downloads were sent to me in a matter of minutes. I now have computer catalog of over 5,000 guitar chords!!! I will settle for being able to play 100 of them in my lifetime. If you want to practice scales . . . click the right link and . . . the entire scale pattern based on the root note of your choice is lite up on the frets of the guitar.

The customer service from the company is very good. I used the customer service chat line twice today . . . both of my concerns/questions were addressed ASAP.

Check out the Fretlight Guitar by clicking here. It costs more than I usually recommend spending if you are just starting out . . . but it is worth your consideration.

I'm better than I deserve! That's a good thing. ><>

Update on doctor's visit . . .

Nothing bad to report . . . other than I now have "Severe" sleep apnea. Will be getting a new CPAP machine with all the fixin's, and with a new setting for the air pressure. Should get it this week I hope, I hope, I hope, I hope, I hope.

I am very impressed with the doctor, staff and facilities. I feel I am in good hands, and the loss of focus and increased fatigue I have been experiencing will soon be a thing of the past!

I'm better than I deserve! That's a good thing! ><>

Monday, December 10, 2007

A letter from Jesus

My friend, Mark Winter, has a good blog article about our reactions to the political correctness of Christmas . . .

Check it out "A Letter to Jesus" here.

I'm better than I deserve! That's a good thing. ><>

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The doctor's office called . . .

My appointment with the doctor to go over the results of my sleep study is this Tuesday morning, which means I have to miss a staff event I really wanted to attend. We have a great staff here, good friends and good people, one and all.

But, I really want to start sleeping better. And hopefully, after next Tuesday, that will start to happen.

I'm better than I deserve! That's a good thing. ><>

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Go "Elf" yourself . . .

One of my fellow church staff discovered this site . . . just in time for the holidays!

You use pictures of family and friends . . . and then enjoy.

My personal suggestion . . . don't use pictures of people who own guns.

I'm better than I deserve! That's a good thing. ><>
I just wouldn't know what else to add top this.


I'm better than I deserve! ><>

Monday, December 3, 2007

Check out John Battern's "Out-the-Door' blog

Just finished a wonderful phone conversation with Rev. John Battern from Iowa. Check out his blog when you have time.

I'm better than I deserve! That's a good thing. ><>

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Sleep study results . . .

For those who know, I participated in a sleep study this past week. It was my 2nd in the past 4 years or so. Seems this past year I have been waking up a lot during the night. As a result, I have been fatigued a bit more than normal.

And when I am fatigued . . . I can get really "grouchy!"

When I sleep as I should, I don't really get fatigued, unless I have been on my feet most of the day.

When I get my sleep . . . I am usually a really nice guy!

We think my waking up may be a mechanical problem with my CPAP machine. It has quite a few hours of use on it. The sleep study was required in order for me to be perscribed a new one.

I will get the report from the doctor in 7-10 days. I would appreciate prayers that a new machine and mask will fix the situation, as well as help jump start my metabolism to a more normal level.

I'm better than I deserve! That's a good thing. ><>

On the 1st Sunday of Advent, my true love gave to me . . .

Snappy title, huh? I bet it got your attention.

Actually, I just wanted to write about the weather.

It was in the 70's this 1st Sunday of Advent. And humid to boot!

And we had A/C problems in the Founder's Chapel and Sanctuary.

Well, in December, aren't we supposed to have the heaters on . . . even in Texas???

I have a list of things I want to ask God when I get to heaven. Why it was 70 degrees today is now a question on that list.

I'm better than I deserve! That's a good thing. ><>