"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."

Thursday, July 31, 2008

62 pounds lost so far . . .

Well, the weight loss still continues, but things have slowed down to a snails pace.
I've only lost another pound in the past month. However, I have lost another inch in my waist line . . . even the new pants my wife purchased for me 2 months ago are now quite loose. Without a belt, they would fall off.

I have punched new holes in both of my "new" belts (I bought both back in March).

I have been advised that I need to "shock" my system . . . meaning, I guess, that it is time for a new and more strenuous form of exercise.

So, I am taking my mountain bike down from it's rack tomorrow . . . doing a check gear and brake check . . . airing up the tires . . . and going for a bike ride. It's time . . . I need to take my efforts up a notch.

Ever forward . . . ><>

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hotrod 2 pictures . . .

Ain't she beautiful?

I am understandably very proud, my first time to create a guitar which I problaby won't end up playing very well . . . anything I can do with this guitar I can probably do with my acoustic Alvarez Jumbo through my pedal board.

Yet . . . when you create a child . . . it just has a place in your heart from the very beginning.

My friend, Joe, was right. If you want to play an electric . . . then build what you want.

Ever forward . . . ><>



Monday, July 28, 2008

My Custom Shop "Hot Rod #2" is here . . .

I took possession of my Dallas Used Guitar Custom Shop Hotrod #2 this past Saturday . . . It is the 2nd guitar that has come out of Sean's Custom Shop. #1 was black with a red pick guard and metal knobs.

Mine is a one of a kind guitar . . . there is no other like it . . . because I actually designed, created, and built this guitar. Sean was gracious to provide his expertise during the soldering of the pickups and pots.

I am a proud papa.

It is a statocaster style body and neck, but instead of 3 single coil pickups, it has two Seymour Duncan P-90 soapbar pickups . . . It has a definite "crunch" to it.

This guitar has the heart of a Les Paul built into a dependable Strat body. It is, in my opinion, the closest I think I will come to a true "Texas" rock-n-roll rhythm guitar.

Sweet . . . again, in my opinion . . .

Pictures to come . . . once the battery on my digital camera charges.

Ever forward . . . ><>

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Atria concert report . . .

Due to vacations and other commitments, Gary and I were the only ones able to play and sing at the Atria Retirement Village. Guess we proved that a retired Fire Chief and a former police traffic officer can play guitar together and sing harmony pretty well.

We actually played to a pretty full house . . . a very sweet audience who were very glad we were there to sing for them, and who were sad to see us leave . . . including one little Baptist lady who was so impressed that a couple of Methodists would come sing to her and her friends.

We have a full month of performances in October, including our first full "public" concert/missions fund-raising event, tentatively scheduled for October 19th.

More info to come.

Ever forward . . . ><>

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Some thoughts on anger . . .

I blogged a week or so ago on the need for real change in the world, as we work to communicate better with those different from us . . . to re-instate, if you will, the art of "civil communication."

The following words came to me today through email. I receive weekly tid-bits from author John Mason. They make me stop and think.

I hope they might make you think a bit as well . . . and maybe help you ask the question when emotions swell forth . . . "Why am I getting angry?"

My contribution is this old counseling proverb . . . "I make the decision to get angry."

John Mason writes:

-A Filipino saying advises, "Postpone today's anger until tomorrow." (Then apply this rule the next day and the next.)

-When you are upset, take a lesson from modern science: always count down before blasting off.

-By the way, counting to ten may not be enough; I know sometimes it takes counting to twenty.

-The book of Proverbs counsels, "He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that rules his spirit than he that takes a city."

-Blowing your stack always adds to the air pollution.

-How many great ideas have you had while you were angry? How many "expensive words" have you said when you were upset?

-You'll never get to the top if you keep blowing yours.

-Anger is one letter short of danger.

-People who are constantly blowing fuses are generally left in the dark.

-If you lose your head, how can you expect to use it?

-One of the worst fruits of anger is revenge.

-No passion of the human heart promises so much and pays so little as that of revenge.

-The longest odds in the world are those against getting even with someone.

-Francis Bacon adds, "In taking a revenge a man is but even with his enemies; but in passing it over, he is superior."

-Time spent in getting even is better used in trying to get ahead.

-When trying to get even, you will always do odd things.

-"Vengeance is a dish that should be eaten cold" (an Old English proverb).

-Anger is a boomerang that will surely hit you harder than anyone or anything at which you throw it.

-Keep your temper. No one else wants it.

-John Mason, from the book Know Your Limits, Then Ignore Them

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Giving this little techno-gadget some thought . . .

I am admittedly not the greatest defender or cheerleader of modern technology . . .

After all . . . I really prefer walking to driving . . .

I am old enough to remember when the talk about computers was that they would help us do more work in less time . . . that we would be moving to a 30 hour work week . . .

So what happened?

As for technology . . .

-I prefer fishing with a cane pole . . .

-I like using a hand whisk more than using an electric mixer . . .

-I still think the ball-point pen and 3"x5" cards are the greatest technological advancements in human history . . .

-I can't wait until my TV set won't work anymore in 2009 when the signal format changes. There is nothing on it to watch now . . .

-And . . . I do not have a computer in my personal study at home. I have a leather recliner, a guitar, a very small book case . . . and a fly-tying table!!!

It was my wife who dragged me kicking and screaming into the world of personal home computers in 1991 when I was pastoring my first church appointment. Yes, I am glad she did . . . but there is still something about computers I don't trust.

Sort of like when I use an electronic calculator. After using one, I check with paper and pencil to see if the answer is right.

And 17 years later, I still miss my old manual portable typewriter.

However, the LiveScribe Pulse Smartpen has peaked my interest . . . seriously. I'm checking out the different possibilities of how I could use it . . .

I have sought out the advice of several people about it. May get one soon.

Ever forward . . . ><>

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

1st Church Guitars playing this Sunday . . .

Sunday, July 27, 4 PM at the Atria Retirement Village on Hwy 121 / Hall-Johnson. Mostly old time gospel with our usual outstanding tenor harmonies.

Ever forward . . . ><>

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Something needs to change . . .

I have been spending time in discussion with different people who I enjoy being around, and/or whose thoughts force me to think and ponder in a deeper way than I normally do. This list include friends who think like I do, and friends who don't so much think as I do. This list includes clergy comrades whose theology I am comfortable being around, and several other clergy who are as polar opposite theologically from me as you can get.

Yes, sometimes I seek discussions with people whose thinking sometimes makes me uncomfortable.

Call me crazy . . . but in the process of communication between myself and others, I learn a lot about myself . . . and these revelations help me to be a better servant-leader and as someone trying to be more true to their faith.

That seems to be important to me right now . . . to learn more about myself . . . how I am "fearfully and wonderfully made." (Psalm 139).

A lot of the people that I pastor, counsel, interact with and know feel that something about life needs to change. Describing what it is that needs to be changed is hard to do. However, many of the people I interact with know and believe that there must be a better way for all us to live together.

Some have experienced a trauma in their lives which hurt them deeply, the effects of which still linger to this day. Others feel isolated in regards to their relationships at home, work or school. When counseling, I often here how people begin to suspect there is something bigger going on than just the specific issues which they are facing.

Generally speaking, all seem to sense three changes evident in our culture in terms of relationships with others . . . people dealing people if you will . . .

1) a loss of civility,

2) a rise in violent reactions,

3) and, a need some people have to dominate others.

Is there a relationship between life trauma and the ever growing lack of civility in our culture?

Is there a relationship between the isolation some feel in life and the growing lack of civility in our culture?

Is there a relationship between the need of many to dominate others and the growing lack of civility in our culture?

Many of the people I have spoken with in the past 3 years feel that there must be a better way. Yet, most admit that they lack the insights and experience to approach things differently.

So . . . what to do?

Well, for me . . . it will begin with a re-reading of the New Testament . . . looking at the text through the lens of what Jesus says in response and challenge to the need of goverments, religious leaders, etc., to dominate others.

Perhaps . . . what Jesus says about these things is worth listening to again, and again, and again.

This is going to be big stretch for me . . . this will require some very deep thinking on my part.

And . . . a deep thinker I ain't!

Yet, this is a journey of sorts I feel compelled within the deepest part of my soul to undertake. I have questions, and I want the answers that God has for me about all of this. I pray I will hear them clearly through the words of Jesus.

Ever forward . . . ><>

Monday, July 14, 2008

Update . . . 61 pounds lost . . .

Been really busy these past few weeks . . . lots of pastoral care stuff, plus our home kitchen remodel.

I am proud of what I have accomplished . . . there is a sweet satisfaction to physical labor that results in something you enjoy.

Still at 61 pounds lost . . . I've lost another inch on the waist line, but still holding at the same weight for the past month. Will start increasing the number of evening walks we take as our calendar allows.

Jurisdictional Conference begins later this week. Please pray for the delegates and leaders, as they will be electing new bishops, and possibly realigning conference boundaries.

Ever forward . . . ><>

Monday, July 7, 2008

1st Church Guitars report . . .

Due to vacations, mission trips and emergency room visits, the full group could not be present for our performance this past Sunday . . .

However . . . I thought we did really, really well! Lot's of compliments, and a few inquiries as to our availability.

Alan played his Strat . . . and wow! He was on yesterday. Outstanding!

Russ introduced his fiddle to a couple of our songs . . . a very pleasant and exciting surprise.

Stu is getting better on banjo every time we play, and his Guild is the loudest pure acoustic guitar in the group.

Frank provided good rhythm support on his Guild as well. He has improved so much these past months.

Bill laid down a great bass foundation on his Washburn custom shop special. Bill is our beat keeper. We always sound better when he plays with us.

Charles laid out all the cords, amps and sound system, and played his Epiphone electric to the delight of all. Charles is a blessing to us when he puts on his "stage manager" hat.

I brought out the Alavarez jumbo for this performance. Acoustically, it is not the best sounding of my guitars. However, it is the best acoustic I have that is suited to be amped or run through a pedal board. The more comfortable I play, the more comfortable I sing.

It was a good day!

In other words . . . perhaps our best performance ever.

Ever forward . . . ><>

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The difference a little effort toward living makes . . .

My wife and I spent the July 4th holiday on Friday doing demo in our kitchen. We took out the "bar" (why does a anyone need an extended "bar" as part of the kitchen??).

We took out all the base cabinets.Today, we installed new base cabinets and new "imitation" granite counter tops.

Oh . . . my . . . God!

Yes, what a big difference a little effort makes. My wife has her "new" kitchen, which is better laid out, and will be much more fun to cook in. Plus, now there is room for both of us to cook together. Not a bad thing . . . since my wife is the one teaching me how to cook!!!

Two weeks ago, I spent about a day re-doing my garage. Took everything out . . . put some stuff in the attic . . . took some shelves down . . . rearranged everthing . . . and . . .

Oh . . . my . . . God!

What a big difference a little effort makes. Now I can get both of our cars in the garage if needed!!!

This past week . . . I spent the better part of a day . . . completely reorganizing my office, calendar and Circa Notebook (my "planner" book for want of a better name.) I have already reaped the benefit of some new found "time" I wasn't aware I had. As a result, I got to spend about an hour on three different days going fishing early in the morning!

Oh . . . my . . . God!

What a difference a little effort makes. Fishing is still as fun as I thought . . . and my fly casting is already improving . . . not to mention being able to pray . . . and listen to God. If I have to engage in silence and quiet thinking . . . I much more enjoy it when I am fishing or walking.

Speaking of walking . . . 3 times last week . . . about 8 miles . . .

Oh . . . my . . . God!

What a difference a little effort makes. Now that I've lost 6o+ pounds . . . my energy level has increased . . . and I am a bit more physically fit . . . so doing all this stuff I've been doing, or have found time to do . . . hasn't set me back at all physically!

The difference a little effort toward living makes! Indeed!

Ever forward . . . ><>