"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."

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

You don't know if your roof is damaged unless you get it inspected . . .

Much of Keller, Southlake and parts of Grapevine had hail exceeding 1 inch in diameter. 

If you have not made that call yet . . . make it to a reputable roofing company, or to your insurance company . . . and get your roof inspected.   You may not "see" any damage looking up to the roof as you stand in your yard . . . and inspector needs to climb up their ladder, and physically examine the roof.  

Damage is most often done to the decking under the shingles.  Also, if your shingles appear smooth, that means the grit attached to them has been knocked off, and that leads to a quicker deterioration of the shingles.  That means less protection for your home.  

Get 'er done!  Schedule an inspection.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Check out the Rockbox Theater . . .

Friends,

Our our recent trip to the Texas Hill Country, we were able to take in a Saturday show at the Rockbox Theater in Fredericksburg. I cannot more highly recommend that you check this place out if you are ever in the area on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. It is worth the cost, and worth your time, in my humble opinion.

For more info click here.

Check out this video . . . of a song we got to see and hear them perform. It was great. If you do not live in Texas . . . we have a lot of deer in the Texas Hill Country. I've hit one in my earlier years, and was able to avoid hitting two more in recent years.

If you do live in Texas . . . and have driven the Hill Country . . . then you know exactly what this song is referring to.

Enjoy!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Los Losbos . . .

If you like guitar . . . and the band, Los Lobos . . . then turn up the volume and enjoy.

Now I am ready for 1st Church String Band practice.

Thanks to Will Deuel for sharing this on his "Man Called Preach" blog.

New pack for day hikes . . .

Found two Mountainsmith Day Lumbar fanny packs on clearance at REI in Dallas recently. If you like to carry just what you need for a day hike, especially in Texas heat, and not carry a day pack or an internal fram pack . . . then this bag, or the Mountainsmith Tour (half the size) might be something to look into.

It is about the biggest fanny type pack I could find. Holds to Nalgene 32 oz. water bottles, snacks, camere, rain jacket, first aid kit, etc.

I will also use it when I go shore fishing on Lake Grapevine, or at the coast, or around the ponds in the Euless parks near my home.

This pack is made from 100% recycled PET plastic. For more info go here.

Survey of United Methodists . . .

I read something about this in the past few days, but cannot put my hand on it. However, Steve Heyduck blogged about this, and provided the information / links listed below.

The United Methodist Council of Bishops has identified a trio of current “threats” to God’s good Creation:

-pandemic poverty and disease,
-ecological degradation and climate change,
-and the world awash with weapons.

The Council encourages all United Methodists to participate in a survey to guide the development of a new document regarding the .

Your opinions will inform their study and writing so the document is as relevant, timely and as powerful as possible. The survey will only take 3-4 minutes to complete, and feel free to share it.

Click on https://www.surveymonkey.com/IDOC to participate. If you would like more information or to receive updates on the initiative, please indicate that at the end of the survey.

If you have trouble accessing the survey, please contact Chuck Niedringhaus at cniedringhaus@umcom.org.

I took the survey before posting this blog . . . 3 minutes for me to complete. These issuse are important to me . . . but perhaps a little less, at this moment, than ministering to the those affected by the current financial conditions of our country . . .

And, certainly not as important as introducing people to Christ . . . which might in and of itself help remedy / alleviate the above listed issues. I would love to see leadership from the Council of Bishops in this regard.

My humble opinion . . .

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

Monday, March 16, 2009

No more excuses . . . time to start hiking

Well, at 10:25 AM this morning . . . my chiropractor cleared me to start hiking again.

I think I am happy about this . . . or should be, right?

I guess I have been using "I'm going to see a chiropractor" as an excuse to not be so gung-ho about walking, hiking and exercise as I was this same time last year.

Well . . . today he told me to "hit the trails" and to start "putting in some miles," and to come back in a month to show him my hiking log book.

I wonder . . . if I walk so many miles, if he will give me a discount on future office visits??

So, no more excuses . . . it's time to:

-Re-lace my hiking shoes . . .
-Put a new rubber tip on my favorite hiking staff . . .
-Dust off my binoculars and compass . . .
-Purchase two new 32 oz. Nalgene water bottles . . .
-Put fresh batteries in the digital camera . . .
-Put on my Tilley Hat . . .
-And, start checking off the list of the more than 60 local hiking trails within a 60 mile radius of the DFW area that I want to explore (which means I need to send off for some maps as well.)

I guess it's time for an adventure or two, three, four, five . . . .

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

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

For the record . . .

It has rained for pretty much one full day here in the DFW area.   We need the rain.

However, I wish to state "for the record" that I only prayed once for rain; therefore, I do not accept responsibility for the flash flood warnings we are now under.

Good grief!  You pray for needed rain one minute, and then actually contemplate praying for the rain to stop!

That is Texas for you.  Wait five minutes, and the weather will probably change again.

Yesterday . . . dry weather, and I actually wore shorts for a while.

Today . . . rain, rain, rain, rain and 40 degrees.   Wish I had worn gloves.

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

Monday, March 9, 2009

An update . . .

Monday, Monday (Ba da, ba da da da)
So good to me (Ba da, ba da da da)
Monday morning, it was all I hoped it would be

Oh, Monday morning, Monday morning couldn't guarantee (Ba da, ba da da da da)
That Monday evening you would still be here with me.

Pardon me if I wax poetic . . . but a morning appointment just cancelled, and I have some time to write a bit, then catch up on my Lenten Devotional readings for the week.

So . . . an update of sorts . . . catching people up with things . . .

I was given a copy of Today: The Family Altar, which is a daily devotional published by the Christian Reformed Church of North America. My copy is the March/April 2009 edition. Each month is written by one person, and laid out with a specific theme. For more info, click here.

After two months of some pretty bad lower back pain, I find that I am walking straighter and feeling much better these days. Anyone needing a good chiropractor in the Grapevine area cannot go wrong by giving Dr. Curtis Ratliff a call. For more info, click here.

Turns out the problem wasn't my back . . . it was my right knee. It was out of alignment.

I honestly didn't know such a thing was even possible!

I have lived for the past 7 years wearing a heal lift inside my right shoe . . . and it turns out, I didn't need the heal lift . . . but wearing it in my shoe was throwing me off-balance (out-of-alighnment) . Now, it seems to me, I am standing more erect . . . and can walk something which now resembles a straight line.

I am working to get back on my diet and a regular pattern of exercise. Two months of back pain will slow even the most die-hard exerciser down a bit. And, a die-hard exerciser I am not! I find that I am missing going on walks and hikes. Walking is indeed a "slow" form of travel in a world where speed is everything. Seems "getting somewhere" is the goal. I am slowly moving back into a mode where "the journey itself" is the reason for going somewhere. I am looking into getting a new mid-sized day pack . . . with the water so low . . . the shore of Lake Grapevine is beckoning to be walked.

I walked from the Goodyear place here in town to my church office earlier this morning. My car needed an oil change and lube . . . so I dropped it off and walked the 3-4 blocks to the church. Saw a "For-Sale" sign on a house I had not seen before . . . was waved at by several church members driving to or from volunteer duties and the church . . . and noticed a sign advertising the lunch special at a nearby restaurant. I heard a Cardinal (in Texas we call them "Red Birds") but couldn't see where is was. And of course, my binoculars where in the back seat of my card at the Goodyear place.

But . . . the point is . . . by walking . . . I noticed so much more about the 3-4 blocks between the Goodyear store and the church. Can't wait to walk back!

Yesterday was the 2nd Sunday in Lent. I have come to the point in my life where I truly appreciate the season of Lent. Probably because there is such a pinpoint focus to this particular Christian season . . . getting ourselves physically, spiritually, emotionally and relationally ready for Easter.

Not an easy thing to do. The biggest problem, for me, is working to get my bad habits out of the way. More on this later.

The First Church String Band will be having a spring benefit concert in either April or May. A date is not set-in-stone yet, although the "Executive Committee" of the band will meet for lunch this Thursday to make plans. Our rules for who is on the "Executive Committee" are pretty stringent . . . if you can make it for lunch, then you are on the committee!

I have the fishing bug so bad right now . . . and it won't go away until I make the time to go fishing some this spring. Hoping Thomas continues to heal from knee surgery, so he and Jim and I can get out on Lake Grapevine for some fast and furious white bass fishing. Last time out, we caught close to 100 fish in about two hours. That was a very, very fun outing, both in the excitement of catching fish, but also the good company of friends.

The problem with having the fishing bug, is my wanting to go to Academy, or Bass Pro Shops, or Cabelas to look at, touch, covet . . . and purchase new fishing lures. The thing is . . . I don't need any new lures . . . I have dozens I have purchased and never used yet. This is something I surely ought to get some counseling about.

The past week . . . I have been working on my yard . . . especially killing weeds. We have a lot of Texas native perinneals in our back yard . . . so spraying or spreading weed killer was out of the question. So, we adopted a basic approach. First . . . mow the grass and weeds really short to the ground. Then, we filled some sprayers with 20% vinegar, and individually begain spraying the weeds. I was amazed at the result when I looked out of the back window this morning. You can tell where we treated the yard . . . and can clearly see what section needs next to be treated. 20% vinegar is oranic, and there will be no residue in a week, or sooner if it rains this week as is forcast.

Spiritually . . . I am feeling close to God these days . . . I realized a week ago that I was not so much "tired / burned out" as I thought I was . . . but was rather in need of a new adventure or some sort of change professionally . . . based on my personal mission statement. Clarity is coming slowly . . . and with clarity . . . comes reduced stress about things I needn't have worried about in the first place.

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

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Grief Share begins tonight at 6:30 PM in the Heritage House

Tonight, Wednesday, March 4th, at 6:30 PM marks the beginning of our new Grief Share seminar and support group, which will meet for 13 weeks.

Grief Share is a wonderful program of care and support for adults who have lost loved ones to death. Our groups will be facilitated by professional counselors, as well as pastoral support from yours truly.

Please check out the church website at www.firstmethodistgrapevine.org for info and to sign up. Grieving is a process . . . and when shared with others, it can become a period of profound personal and spiritual growth.

We asked for RSVP's; however, please do not let that keep you from attending tonight if that is your desire.

I will see you there!

Monday, March 2, 2009

What to give up for Lent?

Back when I really, really enjoyed doing biblical research (which is pretty easy to do when you live for a summer on a seminary campus, with one of the best nationally recognized seminary libraries around the corner)  I did some work to discover how the early Christian church treated the season of Lent.

First . . . Lent was a time of preparation, a time for getting ready, for the coming of Easter.  It was a time when believers would engage in critical and intentional spiritual self-examination, to discover and remove those things in ones life that block one from being close to God.

More simply put, Lent was a time to find out what you loved more than  God.

Second . . . Lent was a time for those who had left the church to be reconciled, to be welcomed back into the fold.   Lent was a time for setting and putting things right.

Sounds good to me . . . 

This year, I have finally come to a decision about this season of Lent.  I wanted to have this figured out several weeks ago . . . but the combination of ministry activities and my recent two-months of back pain issues (the cause was that my right knee was out of alignment) led to some emotional and physical burnout.   

Now . . . having spent some good recovery time (what one does when they spend two days "just chilling") I think I have my Lenten plan.  And, I have made certain that my Lenten plans involve the most important element at the central core of Lent.

Personal intentionality.

1) I am going to make an intentional effort to engage in our Lenten Bible readings, and to read and contemplate what Ken writes on his devotional blog.  I intend to focus on the question . . . What is God saying to me today?

2) I am going to make and intentional effort to continue to improve my health.   This means another intentional look at my eating habits . . . and to get back on the walking / hiking trails I loved so much last year.   The key hear . . . is to understand that when I am eating and gaining weight, I am under stress.   I am going to a conference in April where the main speaker is going to address that post traumatic stress affects far more people on a daily basis than was first thought.  I hope it is eye-opening.

3) I am going to intentionally focus on serving someone everyday.  Part of this process is to examine what my motivation is for my desiring to serve some people, but not others.   What is it that makes serving a "heart thing," . . . a way of life? 

Lent . . . for me . . . is a time of critical / intentional self-examination.   Lent is a challenge, very much so.  But Lent is not fun.   But being as ready as I can be for Easter this year is my goal.

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

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Back problems now a "non-issue."

When I left my Chiropractor's office on Friday morning, he said "Hope you see you in a month, but only if you are feeling bad."

Outstanding.

Purchased pair of Superfeet inner-soles at Backwoods in Ft. Worth yesterday.  Man, what they say about orthodics, that you can feel right away if they are working . . .

Sure felt like they were working for me.  

Today in worship .  .  . walking, stairs, etc. . . . no big deal at all.

And, I am cleared to start walking . . . "as much as you are able to."

I am going to put the backpack in the back of my car . . . along with my hiking shoes, and do some lake shore walking here when the wind and weather get a little better.   

I feel honest in saying this . . . I am looking forward to it.

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