"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, December 30, 2010

New Years Resolutions . . .

This year, I am focusing some New Year's resolutions not so much on my faults, shortcomings or weaknesses, but on what I perceive to be my strengths.

My 5 main theme/strengths from the Strengths Finder 2.0 survey I took recently are:

1) Empathy
2) Arranger
3) Communication
4) Maximizer
5) Connectedness

So, my resolutions, based on each in order, are . . .

1) I will build on my empathy skills, to help people understand how to better express their emotions and fellings, through the use of words and music.

2) I will continue to be more flexible when dealing with people who are different than I am.

3) I am build upon and improve my communications skills by accepting more opportunities to sing, speak and teach.

4) I will work to further discover, nurture and build on strengths I have yet to discover, and help encourage others to do the same.

5) I will work to help more people see and understand how we are all connected to something bigger than all of us.

In past years, I have based my New Year's resolutions on my weaknesses. And, as a result, by February 1st of each year, I had given up on each. It seems to me that focusing on weaknesses causes to much friction in life.

Sort of like dragging an anchor around behind you.

I have come to believe that focusing on strengths, our God-Given strengths, opens the door to lots and lots of opportunities for growth. And, I think focusing on strengths brings us closer to God.

That is always a good thing.

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

Monday, December 27, 2010

A merry, mellow, contemplative Christmas this year . . .

For many years now, I have preferred that their be little if no hoopla or celebration of my birthday. Just a a quiet day of reflection on my part. I now try to spend my birthday doing something for someone else. Last year, I spent it singing to children at Cooks Children's Hospital in Ft. Worth.

Lately, I have felt the same about Christmas.

This year, we put up just a few decorations at our home. I provided a Christmas carol program at 4 area nursing home/care facilities with the help of a couple of the guys from the 1st Church String Band. I spent the time focusing on getting ready for Christmas Eve services (2500+ in attendance at all services).

We had the kids and friends over for Christmas dinner. We ate, talked and laughed.

As the Christmas season comes to a close, I find myself personally thankful for my family, my friends and my faith. I am also find myself eternally thankful to a loving God who loved me so much, that he gave His one and only Son to die for me. I hope to spend more time making that even more important in my life than it has been so far.

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

Friday, December 17, 2010

Check out Jose Feliciano on the Christmas edition of "Live at Daryl's House!"

I have been listening a lot to the internet show, "Live at Daryl's House!" with Daryl Hall of Hall and Oates fame.

It's a very good, very well done program, featuring Daryl and most of the Hall and Oats Band guys playing with some classic artists as well as a lot of new artists I have never ever heard of, but whose music I have come to like by listening to the program.

The Christmas program is up now . . . and it features Jose Feliciano.

Man, that guy is just one major entertainer . . . he is awesome. It just blows me away to see what he can do on a classical guitar, whether it be Christmas music like "Feliz Navidad," or old rock like "Light My Fire," and "Fire and Rain."

However, should you decide to watch the program . . . go ahead and click first on "Little Drummer Boy." Jose plays snare drums on the guitar!!!!!!! Just too awesome to describe with words. You've got to see it to believe it . . . and appreciate it as well.

A great show. I have watched it twice so far, all the way through both times.

God's grace, especially at Christmas, still amazes me . . . ><>

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Joshua Ingram Band info . . .

Joshua (Josh) Ingram is a good friend, great guitar player, singer, husband and dad. He is also our worship leader at the Heritage Campus, and one of my fellow Theraputic Music Entertainment apprentices at Hugworks.org.

I put the live link to his Reverbnation site on my blog for a while. He is good! If you need a band that will carry an event, and surprise you in a good way in the process . . . then give them a call. Josh and his band perform rock, americana, folk, etc. Lot's of original tunes and a good amount of covers.

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

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas came a little early this year . . .

Christmas came a little early this year in the form of a brand new "out-of-the-box" Taylor GS Mini guitar and a new ES-Go Plug In Pickup.

Info from the Taylor site about the GS Mini can be found here.

My deepest thanks to Sean at Grapevine Guitar Works for this sweet gift. I did some work for him this fall, spending several weeks helping him get the showroom ready for the Taylor Road Show he hosted on November 16th. By the way, it was a big success!

This is the guitar that replaces the Little Martin I got the end of last year. I love Martin products, as long as they are not made with laminates. The Little Martin I had did have a spruce top . . . but sound wise it just fell way short of my expectations.

I've been playing the GS Mini that Sean has on display in the Grapevine Guitar Works showroom for the past 4 months. I even got to install the ES-Go pickup into it. Took me all of 15 minutes, which correctly implies it would take anyone else less than 10 minutes to do it.

My plan is to use this guitar for hospital and nursing home visitation, and for singing in hospitals for children after the first of the year. It sounds great through my Fishman Loudbox 100, and even through the little Thin Amp I have at home in my study. This is going to be a very portable rig. It will go with me when I travel up to Philmont Scout Ranch for 10 days in September of 2011.

The sound . . . no it's not the full sound of a full size guitar . . . but to my ear it is surprisingly sufficient considering that the GS Mini is a designed as a souped-up travel guitar with it's own little world of support accessories. Without a doubt, sound wise it is many times better than the Little Martin I had. Again, please don't get me wrong. I love Martin Guitars. But they come up really short with their little travel guitars, in my humble opinion.

Sean, thank you again. I am glad we are friends and kindred spirits.

Please plan to visit the Grapevine Guitar Works located upstairs in the Grapevine Antique Mall on Business 114 (Northwest Hwy, next door to the Beall's Dept. Store) as soon as you can. It's a great local-home-owned guitar store. Sean carries several brands that other big box stores do not carry, and he probably has more Taylor acoustics on display that you will find in the DFW metroplex area.

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