"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 29, 2010

Yo ho . . . blow the man down . . .

Everybody sing . . . .

"Come sit right down and I'll tell a tale, and tale of a fatefull trip, that started from this tropic port aboard this tiny ship. The mate was a mighty sailing man, the skipper brave and sure. Five passengers set sail that day on a 3 hour cruise . . . a 3 hour cruise."

I was invited to play guitar and sing for a group of retired Boy Scouts of America employees and their spouses on a lunch cruise yesterday on Lake Grapevine. This group regularly meets for lunch or a social activity, and this is my second time to have had the pleasure of being the "entertainment" for them.

Especially since they like singing "O Suzanna," "Row Row Row Your Boat," "She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain," the theme song to "Gilligan's Island," and other great campfire songs that I learned way back in my scouting days.

Oh rats, we forgot to sing the theme song to "The Beverly Hillbillies!"

Of all the days in a Texas summer to plan this trip . . . this was the one . . . slight breeze, overcast, and about 86 F. Not a bad two hour boat ride!

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

VBS guitarist for 150 years in a row!!!!

Playing guitar at VBS for about the 150th year in a row.


Some people / musicians plan their entire year around holidays or big events.


Seriously, I plan my year around VBS.


That's VBS as in "Vacation Bible School."


I am now what one would call a VBS "Old Dog."


I don't know why, but I like this picture!


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

Friday, July 23, 2010

How can I / We keep from singing . . .

My friend, Eric Folkerth, is a fellow UMC pastor, singer/songwriter / guitarist / blogger. He most recent entry to his "When EF Talks" blog is titled "How Can They Keep From Singing." It can be found here, and it is worth your time to read.

It is a question I ask myself all the time. I may be admitting that I am crazy, but I hear music everywhere I go . . . in nature and in all of life. Sometimes, you just feel invited to sing.

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

I am a "visual" person . . .

I've heard it said that there are three kinds of learners.

1) The visual learner - who learns best by watching others do it.
2) The audible learner - who learns best by listening.
3) The kinesetic learner - who learns best by watching, listening and doing.

I am a "visual" learner. I am a "visual" person.

When I am with my wife or a friend at a restaurant, I have to position myself so I am facing a corner, or a section of a wall. Why? If I sit facing a window, I will be distracted by people or cars passing by. Many times in my life, I have been in a conversation with someone and realized that I had not been listening because I got distracted by something I saw or was looking at.

Several of those times, the other person took offense at my "lack of care / concentration."

I learn a lot through my eyes. I really have to "see" something with my eyes / mind to be able to grasp a concept or a design. My wife can look at an empty room, and see where furniture and pictures will go. I have to put the furniture and pictures in the room, and move them around until I "see" how everything best fits.

When I am being told a story, I have to close my eyes and "see" the story visually . . . which is why I am fond of very good story tellers, because they have the gift in their story telling to "paint" the scene for their listeners.

I learn a lot about people by watching them. I am big on "tells," the way that all people communicate non-verbally with their hand, facial and body movements when speaking, and when they are not speaking. I use this a lot in my pre-marital counseling sessions with couples who plan to get to married.

Sometimes I go somewhere and watch people as a way to "vet" out a sermon I am writing. I did this once when I was writing a Christmas sermon series a few years ago. I went to a mall in the community I was living in at the time, and just watched people as they did their Christmas shopping. I called the sermon series, "Everything I Know About Christmas, I Learned at the Mall."

People like me tend to see God a lot . . . especially in nature. Clouds, trees, flowers, scenery, rivers, oceans, animals, birds, people . . .

It is a wonder how I have not had a bad car wreck when I confess how easily I am visually distracted.

Alas, a visual person is who I am. It's a pretty interesting world we live in. It's a very interesting world to look at. Many times I gaze at people, paintings, the stores that line a pretty downtown, flags along the street on July 4th, snow on the ground, geese flying southward in a V formation, a big field of Bluebonnets or Indian Paint Brush . . . and I find myself in awe of a world full of so much to look at. Perhaps this is why, every so often, I get the photo bug of sorts. It never last for more than a few days at a time. In truth, I have taken 100 times more "mental pictures" than I have taken "digital" ones.

More times than I can remember . . . I have looked, and all I can say is, "Wow, look at that!"

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


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Why did God create wasps?

We came back home from vacation on Monday, to find that a weeks worth of rain had helped my lawn grow quite tall while we were gone.

On Wednesday morning, I undertook the task of getting my yard mowed, pleasing both myself and my neighbors. Took the usual 1.5 - 2 hours.

While I was putting my lawn mower back into my backyard shed, my hat brushed against a big yellowjacket nest that I did not see ...

Buzz Buzz Buzz . . . WHAM! Two got me on the left ear, one got me in the face, and another flew between my eye and my glasses. Luckily enough, I got it swatted away before it could sting me.

Flustered, a bit in pain . . . I marched through my gate to my garage and got one of the two cans of wasp spray I new I had. I shook it up all the way to the back yard . . . aimed it at the wasp nest, and pressed the trigger while muttering under my breath, "now you die!"

Nothing . . . no spray . . . so I shook the can some more, and fired again . . . nothing.

Went back to the garage and got the other can . . . aimed, fired . . . and nothing.

I took the two FULL cans of wasp spray back to the garage, and began to read the label . . .

"Keep can stored in a dry COOL place."

Rats.

It's been a least 100 degrees in my garage all summer.

Rats Rats Rats Rats.

So . . . still in pain, I went to Lowe's and upon entering found two other guys holding onto their ears while standing next to a display of Black Flag Wasp spray . . . a two-can special for $3.97. I purchased 4 cans.

I have to admit . . . I quite enjoyed spraying an ENTIRE CAN of wasp spray on the nest attached to my storage barn. I knocked it off after all the wasps were dead, and stomped it into smitherines. Yes, that really is a word in my famlily.

Now that my primal-revengle-lust was over, I decided to walk around my house . . . and sure enough, I found a red wasp nest and promptly dispatched its occupants to wasp heaven.

Lesson learned: Never forget, that in Texas, we have wasps.

I wonder if there is a song in all this?

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