"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, March 31, 2008

34 pounds lost as of this morning . . .

Now even I am surprised.

Maybe this time . . . I am going to see this through.

Ever forward . . . ><>

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Bluebonnets are coming up . . .

Ah, yes . . . it must be spring!

The bluebonnets in my front flowerbed are up with a vengence this year . . . perky, full, reaching toward the sun, and the most beautiful steel blue color . . .

Our nearby local park . . . you turn a corner on the walking path, and "bam" . . . the bluebonnets just surprise you . . . they are popping up everywhere.

And, we are seeing them on the sides of the highway throughout the DFW area. This time of year, it is often a wise idea to drive on the service roads, so you can see the flowers better . . . and not cause an accident on the highway because you are driving too slow!!!

Where is my camera??

To a Texan . . . bluebonnets mean spring is here. I am a happy Texan!

Ever forward . . . ><>

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Got on the scales this morning . . .

And I have lost 32 pounds since "Fat" Tuesday.

"Fat" Tuesday . . . you see the humor in that, don't you?

Thanks to all who are noticing. Your comments are all affirming, and hearing them motivates me even more to keep to the diet and my walking program.

Lesson learned: Diet and exercise really are the key to losing weight! Not to mention finally discovering my "want to." Go figure!

Ever forward . . . ><>

Monday, March 24, 2008

Doing some Easter 'Shout'in!"

Allelu, Allelu, Allelu, Alleluia!
Praise Ye the Lord!


Oh, how I live to make a joyful noise . . . which is pretty easy to do when over 80 children come down to the altar for Easter morning Children's Message.

Ever forward . . . . ><>

Photo courtesy of Trent and Jennifer Tidmore.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

100th blog . . .

I didn't catch it, but the blog before this one, about our playing on Mother's Day, was my 100th blog this time around.

You see, I have purposely deleted this blog once before . . . and later "accidently" deleted it again. Probably another 100 or so blogs involved there.

Gosh, it comes in fits, doesn't it? I can be a wordy son-of-a-gun.

So . . . where is my prize? Don't I get a prize?

C'mon . . . I said I want my prize!!!!

Wait, what did you just think? Don't hold your breath???

Hmmmmmmmm . . . .

Every forward making a joyful noise! ><>

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

1st Church Guitars news . . .

We will be playing and singing "If I Could Hear, My Mother Pray Again" on Mother's Day, May 11th, at the 8:50, 10:10 and 11:15 am worship services.

Warning! This particular song is a tear-jerker! And not because of our playing either!

We may also be playing in the Atrium or Foyer before and after some of the services, probably some energetic gospel.

After all . . . we don't want to ever be accused of making the gospel boring!

More info to come!

Ever forward making a joyful noise . . . ><>

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Goodbye to "One Peculiar Christian . . ."

The two or three of you who read this blog at least weekly, know that I spent two years trying to get myself ready both emotionally and spiritually for my 50th birthday. I began to understand in my spirit about two years ago, that something profound was going to happen to me when I turned 50.

Well, for once . . . I got it right!

This one year of my life has been a watershed of emotional, physical, relational and spiritual healing in my life. I am not not the same person I was back on May 7th, 2007, when I turned 50. And this is not so much about "finally growing up," as some have suggested . . . as it has been my "going back" to heal and take care of my inner and adolescent child.

For the first time in a very, very long time . . . this individual and unique child of God likes himself very much. For many years, that has not always been the reality of how I felt about myself.

Now, however . . . the smile I wear on my face is the real me . . . not some "pretend" me that has to look happy in order for other people to be happy. My "dreams-about-life" are back, and I am happy to report . . . that I still have time to reach for most of them.

I prayed that when I turned 50, I would discover again "who and whose" I really am, and to discover again my calling, or what I like to call . . . my life dream. And that picture / reality is becoming more clear every day.

In the process . . . I seem to be getting physically healthier. I have said goodbye to a lot of unfruitful activities. I have become more focused again on things that are truly important to me . . .

-My relationshipship with God / Bible study / being a Christian servant-leader
-My family (oh how they are a blessing to me. Finally my eyes are open!)
-My friends . . . (and that list continues to grow)
-Singing and Guitar playing
-Walking / Hiking
-Fishing

If it isn't on this list . . . I have basically lost all interest in it. And, I can tell that to you honestly and politely . . . I guess the truth "is" setting me free.

As a result . . . it is time to say goodbye to the part of my life that I have always thought was "peculiar." In and of itself . . . "peculiar" is a great word. However, I really think I was using it as a way of putting myself down . . . because I didn't really like myself.

In addition, when people ask me how I am doing, I am trying to refrain from saying "Better than I deserve." I think I was also using that phrase in a way that was meant to tear me down as well.

I think . . . I spent a lot of time not liking myself. Unhealed hurt from earlier in life will do that to you.

That part of my life is over now. I have changed. And I like the change.

What I do know about myself is this . . . most all of life itself has become and adventure for me again! Dreams I dreamed in the past are waking up inside me again. I am embracing who I am as a child-of-God. I am embracing my gifts and graces. I am embracing my dreams and my call.

What lies next ahead on the road? I don't know . . . but I know it will be an adventure, whatever it is, with whomever I travel with on a particular path.

Ever forward . . . ><>

As of this rainy March morning . . .

On "Fat Tuesday," February 5th, I gave up "obesity" for Lent.

As of this morning . . . I have lost 29 pounds.

Quite frankly, and not to brag . . . I am proud of myself. I'm not quite to the point where I have to start thinking about new clothes, but that day won't be too far off. I did have to purchase a new belt the other day. My old belt size, in the same style and color of the belt I bought, would have cost $2 more!

Woo Hoo! I am all for saving a few bucks here and there.

It is dark and rainy today . . . but it is going to be a good day.

Ever Forward . . .

Thursday, March 13, 2008

As of this morning . . .

27 and 1/2 pounds lost.

Ever forward . . . ><>

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What walking has done for me . . .

I was sad to learn that one of my favorite authors, Colin Fletcher, passed away in 2007. For years I have enjoyed his books, especially The Complete Walker, The Man Who Walked Through Time, The Thousand Mile Summer, and The Winds of Mara.

Colin was a walker / hiker. It was his passion. He was even called the "godfather" of hikers. The Compete Walker (4 editions) is considered by many as the hiker's bible. The Man Who Walked Through Time, which I am currently re-reading, is about his walk through the Grand Canyon. He was the first person to do so walking from the north rim, through the canyon, to the south rim. It took him a little less than two months.

I have always loved the idea of walking . . . but never put much effort into it. Riding a bike was faster. Riding in a car was easier.

The truth is . . . walking isn't very much fun when you are quite-a-bit overweight.

I probably sound like a hypocrite . . . having a subscription to BackPacker Magazine, but never going on hikes.

However, in the process of giving up obesity for Lent this year . . . I realized that dieting by itself would not be a "turn key" way of losing weight and keeping it off.

So, for the past couple of weeks, my wife and I have been going on walks.

Funny thing about walking . . . your senses begin to interpret things much more differently than when you see something as you are speeding down a road in a car.

An example . . . I have been griping for two years that there are no Cardinals in the city we live in. I put out feed and water . . . but no redbirds.

In the city park where we are doing some of our walking . . . I saw over a dozen Cardinals in a 2 mile walk. I also heard the sound of running water in a creek . . . a squirrel run across our path, jumping over my foot to do so. We saw trees that are budding . . . new grass that is growing . . . heard the wind blowing through trees . . . smelled winter coming to an end (hopefully . . . I am keeping my fingers crossed.)

Come to think of it . . . I heard the voice of God . . . and I made about a dozen good decisions about things in my life that needed changing or modification . . .

Wow!

I've ridden a bike in this same park many times in the past two years . . . and never noticed any of these things. Now don't get me wrong . . . I like riding a bike . . . and when I lose a few more pounds I will get back on my bike. But bike riding is about getting so many miles riden in such-and-such a time. Bike riding is about seeing a squirrel crossing your path and thinking, "If that damn squirrel doesn't get out of my way I am going to run him over!"

It's different when you see a squirrel while walking . . . you stop . . . look at the squirrel . . . even start talking to it . . . it's just awesome!

Unless you have a terrible fear of squirrels.

Walking is different than bike riding in another way. Whether you walk fast or slow . . . you are going to get where-you-are-going . . . WHEN YOU GET THERE!!!! That is a profound thought.

Walking is a healthy thing to do. But I think it is also good for my soul. When I walk, I seem to receive inspiration I do not otherwise get when working in my office or traveling in my car to-and-fro to meetings and visits with people.

Walking is slowing down my life, something I have prayed for a long, long time. The pace I normally live is just to fast for me to contemplate what I read in my daily devotions and Bible study, or about the many conversations I have each day with people.

Walking . . . is an answer to prayer!

Walking is helping me sort things out . . . and I have only been doing it for about 2 weeks.

Oh my! What is it going to be like in a month or so???

Ever forward . . . ><>

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Thoughts on H-2-O

Some of you are aware that I gave up obesity for Lent.

Seriously . . .

I've always taught others who ask me "What should I give up for Lent?" to give up something that was keeping them from a closer relationship with God . . .

Or . . . to give up a habit that was, in simplest form and thinking . . . destructive.

So . . . in the attempt to practice what I preach . . . on Ash Wednesday, February 6th, 2008, I gave up obesity in preparation for Easter Sunday.

I've learned a lot.

First (Hooray!) . . . I have lost 24 pounds as of this morning!

Second . . . the secret to dieting is . . . . Water!

Those of you who know me . . . know that I have a seriously destructive appreciation / longing / addiction to Diet Dr. Pepper. Diet Dr. Pepper has caffiene. Getting off caffiene is a serious positive step toward losing weight.

But . . . that means you have to drink water. Yuck!

However . . . a friend of mine, and my wife, both told me to quit drinking ice water.

Quit drinking ice water? Uh . . . as I look around me something becomes very apparant!

I live in TEXAS!

We put ice in our water . . . ice in our tea . . . and lots of people I know even like their coffee iced!!!! Hmmmm . . . that might explain why there is a Starbucks on just about every corner around here.

I like my water iced, because . . . I can't stand the taste of water. I have always added lemon or lime juice to water . . . just to make it palatable.

Enter wife and my friend . . . "Just drink water at room temperature," they said.

"Try it, you'll like it!"

I even got one of those Brita water pitchers for my office.

And . . .

Well, I have to report that I am drinking well over 64 ounces of water a day.

I mean, where has this stuff been all my life???

I am amazed! I wonder what room temperature ice tea tastes like??

Naw . . . this is Texas. I'm not going there!

Ever forward making a joyful noise! ><>

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Well, now that I have slept on it . . .

I think electric guitars are not the right tool for me . . . at this time!

I want to reserve my right to revisit the issue later on . . . especially if a new path is presented for my consideration and possible travel.

My calling and mission is to make a joyful noise. I know now how I do that best . . . but I certainly don't want to limit any other possibilities. If there is a joyful noise that needs making . . . then I am going to try and make it . . . even in a new way if needed.

Thank you, Lord, for friends, and for spiritual insights that follow after a very good nights sleep.

Ever forward making a joyful noise!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Thoughts about electric guitars . . .

It's a darn shame.

Yesterday, I took two guitars to the luthier's for a friend. We began talking about electric guitars, and I shared the frustration I was having with learning to play them.

Kerry said, "Are you saying you like how they sound, but that you don't like playing them?"

Today, my friend Floyd (he is doing well and immersed in the current tax season) asked me if I had lost the "fire" to play electric guitar.

Hmmmmm . . . well, it seems that I have lost the "fire."

In the past month, I have returned all but two of my electric guitars. Both of the ones I have left are gifts from dear friends, so I am keeping them. But the Sheraton and the Tele . . . they are gone.

Anyway, I can make my Martin D-16 or Alavarez jumbo sound a lot better than an electric when I run either of them through my pedal board.

Losing the "fire." I may never have had it to begin with . . . and maybe I hoped I could acquire it by acquiring new instruments.

Well . . . it 'taint so!

Guitars . . . I love them, and I want to get better at playing the ones I have. Being in a band again is helping me to improve. But the reality is this . . . my guitars . . . they are tools . . . and the best tool for me is an electrified acoustic. It seems that guitars are my second true love. My first true love is singing and performing.

An electric guitar with single coil or humbucker pickups . . . is just not the right tool for the job.

What is the moral of all this?

Well . . . maybe that I have some good friends that spoke the truth to me . . . and I heard what they said in the spirit it was given . . . and I am now experiencing some relief because it. And I have more money again . . . and more room in my office.

Wasting money and wasting time wasn't teaching me anything . . . but the words of good friends sure did.

I hope you have some good friends. And I hope you listen to them when they speak the truth to you . . . about you. Listen to them with your ears . . . but also with your heart.

Ever forward makinga joyful noise! ><>

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Change you clocks this Saturday night . . .

We "spring forward" on Saturday, March 8th . . . Daylight Savings Time strikes again!