"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."

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

First Church Guitars is playing this Sunday . . .

We are playing and singing at the BSA Crew 700 fundraiser lunch following worship this Sunday. It all takes place in the Family Life Center here at First United Methodist Church in Grapevine.

Real "Buffalo Burgers" are the main menu item. Donations at the door will be excepted. The money raised will help the Venture Crew members plan for some great summer outings.

Most of the guys are playing . . . and we will be doing a bunch of new numbers. We have so far played and sung bluegrass and gospel songs. We are adding some old-time acoustic rock-n-roll to this gig . . . and the great thing is, most of the songs we will do are in the BSA Philmont Scout song book.

See you there!

I'm better than I deserve! ><>

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It is simply a conspiracy . . .

It is a conspiracy! And I don't like it.

The auxillary volunteers at all our area hospitals are out to get me! It's true!

Maybe I should explain . . .

I am on this diet . . . and have lost 20 pounds. The secret is eating foods with lower natural carbs. So, nothing white, except caulifower. No bread, no cereal, not potatoes, no rice, no pizza, no cookies . . . nothing with sugar . . .

It's OK really, it is not that bad. Why? Because my taste buds seem to have come alive!!!!

I actually can't believe that I am writing this . . . but I now love tomatoes!!! If you know me, then you know that the only reason I order a hamburger with tomatoe is to be able to pick the tomatoes off and throw them with glee into the trash.

Dirty little buggers! Only wimps eat tomatoes, right???

Ah, attention world . . . I don't think like that any more!

And green beans! Have green beans always tasted this good? I thought green beans were God's idea of a bad joke (but no, that designation is reserved for iceberg lettuce). My wife and I went to a local Spring Creek Bar-B-Que restaurant. I got the smoked chicken half and a plate full of green beans.

My first bite of the green beans . . . I just looked at my wife and nearly shouted . . . "Gaaawwdddddd . . . these are the best green beans I have ever eaten in my entire life!"

"Hey, can I get some more green beans over here?"

I thought my wife would think I was crazy . . . but then she knew I hadn't tried the chicken yet.

I took my first bite of chicken . . . and I moaned loudly and slumped down in my chair. The girl carrying the bread basket around to all the tables quickly ran over and asked if we needed to call "9-1-1."

My wife says, "No . . . he is just enjoying the chicken."

I was in tears . . . I saw a clearer glimpse of Heaven (or was it Paradise?) with every bite. I kept hearing God's vioce . . . "Boy, I don't make no junk! So eat up!"

I relished every single bite. I even started to giggle.

Are your senses always supposed to come alive like that when you go on a diet? I mean, I've lost some weight, but I am still a very big Texas boy! But I was giggling . . . that chicken tasted so good. I think all the cooks there love me now. "Oh look, here comes the guy who giggles because our food is so good!"

You don't want to know what happened when we went last week to I-Hop and I ordered the Colorado omlette. I think I tranced out and spoke in tongues . . . but my wife won't talk to me about it.

Yes, eating an omlette (a healthy omlette) was a religious experience.

Now, back the the conspiracy . . . I thought it was only my taste buds . . . but my sense of smell has also been affected.

And . . . what do you smell when you first enter a hospital (at least in our area)???? I will tell you what you will smell . . . Auxillary Volunteer Hospital POPCORN! Holy stinking cow! Has hospital popcorn always smelled that wonderful. Is there any other smell on the face of God's great earth better than hospital popcorn????? I mean, smelling hospital popcorn just has to be the cure for many of the diseases in the world, right?

I doubt the hospital volunteers like it much when I walk by holding my breath and cross my fingers making the the sign of the cross . . . oh, it smells so good . . . but I can't have it.

It is a conspiracy I tell you!

But . . . so far I haven't succumbed yet . . . and don't plan to.

20 pounds now . . . but soon it will be 25 pounds . . . and something else good for me is going to start tasting and smelling equally as well.

I can deal with that!

I'm better than I deserve! ><>

Monday, February 25, 2008

Making life sing . . .

5 of us "First Church Guitar" guys went to the Atria Retirement Center in Grapevine yesteray afternoon, to provide singing for the afternoon chapel service there.

Contruction forced us to set up in the "library". A somewhat limited space. Three lovely ladies attended the service, and got "sung-to-pretty-good!"

Interesting about being in a band after a 25+ year hiatus. When you play together a lot, you start playing a lot better.

And yesterday afternoon . . . we were on fire! I think we only messed up a little on one song, and did that only once. Everyone was just "on" yesterday.

Thank you Lord! It was a lot of fun!

Our "big group" will play for the BSA Crew 700 fundraiser this Sunday after worship in the Family Life Center. They are feeding us (our 1st paying gig!)

Funny thing, how I call our inging at a retirement home and for the Boy Scouts a "gig!"

Practice is a good thing. Rehearsal is a good thing. Maybe I will start applying this principal to other parts of my life as well.

I'm better than I deserve! ><>

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What I am "living without" for Lent . . .

Lent, the 40 days prior to Easter (not counting Sundays) began a few weeks ago on Ash Wednesday, February 6th.

It is both an ancient and common practice to participate in an intense time of devotional study during Lent. As are a number of the people who call FUMC-Grapevine their churh home, I am reading the entire New Testament before Easter. So far I am on schedule.

It is also an ancient an common practice to "give up' something for Lent, as a way of self-sacrifice and self-denial, as one prepares spiritually for the celebration of the resurrected Jesus Christ.

This year, Ken Diehm, our Senior Pastor, put this into a different perspective by asking, "What are you going to learn to "live without" during Lent?"

I gave this some serious thought. When people ask me for suggestions about what to give up for Lent, I usually offer the advice that they "give up" a destructive or un-fruitful habit.

This year, I decided to practice what I preach. This year . . . I decided I wanted to learn to "live without" obesity.

I'm a big ol' Texas boy ya'll. Well, that only goes so far. Several of my current health "problems" are in some way weight related. So, back on the low carb diet that is supposed to help my pancreas work better than it does now.

And, I am happy to report that when I stepped on the scales this morning, I had lost 18 pounds.

I actually started the diet on Feb. 1, but got serious about it after Lent began.

Whatever the amount of weight I lose this seaon of Lent, I am not going to celebrate, and binge out as a "reward." Instead, I plan to get on my bike, and also to pull out the ping-pong table and issue some polite ping-pong challenges.

I think I am ready for a resurrection.

I'm better than I deserve! ><>

Go Rams! A Table Tennis Dynasty . . .

I am still a proud alumni of Texas Wesleyan University (just a college back when I was there in the late 70"s . . .).

The TWU Rams Table Tennis team swept all the events at the college level Table Tennis Championships in 2007.

Go Rams!

Yes, my friends, REAL men play table tennis.

Hmmmmm . . . suddenly I am very hungry for a slice of spinach quiche!

I'm better than I deserve!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Favorite Songs - #5 of 5

My #1 favorite song is Somewhere Over the Rainbow / What A Wonderful World as sung by the late Israel Kamakawiwo'Ole.

My #2 favorite song . . . Walk Away, as sung by Joe Walsh and the James Gang.

My #3 favorite song . . . Closer to Home - Grand Funk Railroad.

My #4 favorite song . . . Leader of the Band, as sung by the late Dan Fogelberg.

My #5 favorite song . . . Suite to Judy Blue Eyes, the 1969 Woodstock version as sung by Crosby, Stills and Nash.

It was the fall and spring of my freshman year at Southwestern University at Georgetown, Texas. Every month, our Student Union provided a movie free-0f-charge to the students, that would run every night for a two-week period. They showed Woodstock about 4 times that year. I saw it, maybe 12 times from start to finish. Several times, I was one of only 2 or 3 people there to see it. We were all guitar players . . . we weren't watching . . . we were drooling.

At the time I was a 12-string guitar player . . . but had been wondering if I should get a 6-string. Hearing Suite to Judy Blues Eyes sealed the deal for me. I understood then that you could play acoustic, and still do good ol' rock-n-roll, with strong vocal harmonies instead of emphasizing intrumental leads.

I had been in a band the year before . . . and was wanting to play again . . . but I didn't have a Telecaster and an amp . . . which is what everyone wanted to play because "Outlaw" and "Progressive" Country was big with Willie and Waylon leading the charge. Plus, this music was orgininating out of Austin, Texas, which was only about 20 miles south of Georgetown.

I wanted to play acoustic rock-n-roll. I didn't want to have to set up stuff . . . and as a starving college student, I didn't have the cash for an electric set up . . . instead, I wanted a group to be able to go into a coffee house or other small venue, and sing . . . and share our souls while doing so.

Well, in the end, I wasn't able to do that. My grades started suffering, financial support from home was "threatened to be removed" as a result, and appropriately so. Guitar playing time became studying time.

But Crobsy, Stills and Nash singing Suite to Judy Blue Eyes helped keep the dream alive in my heart and soul.

I'm better than I deserve! ><>