Friday, August 31, 2012

Personal news . . .

Getting ready for my annual September trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico where I will serve as chaplain for the 2012 Fall Training Conference, as well as sing an awful lot, and play guitar even more.

Glad I have adult kids living with us . . . no worries about the house!!

Following a short vacation after Philmont, I will be back to singing locally again, including as much as possible with Hugworks in October and November, besides my regular nursing home TME gigs.  I believe an invite is coming from the New Horizons group in Grapevine to provide a concert one evening this fall, and I'll be leading several community Christmas Carol sing-a-longs in December, including the FUMC-Grapevine "Be Our Guest" neighborhood Christmas dinner.

I've been wondering if the increased number of invites has anything to do with my having lost 52 pounds in the past 8 months.  Maybe . . . I do know I am singing better . . . and seem to have more stamina to do 45-60 minute concerts with mostly music, and just a little joke here and there.  I know I look better, and I cannot lie . . . I feel a lot better as well.

On a personal note, I would appreciate a prayer or two, as I will be having a procedure next week at an area hospital before I leave for Philmont.  My weight lose lead to the discovery of a small lump in my neck.  I have been assured it is nothing serious, and nothing to worry about.

Good!

 I will have just enough recovery time to be able to pull everything off in September as planned. But a prayer or so wouldn't hurt.  Thanks in advance.

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

Noel Paul Stookey . . .

A wonderful YouTube video of Noel Paul Stookey.  It was my wonderful luck to hear him in concert at Poor David's Pub in Dallas last year at a fundraising for Hugworks.org.

Enjoy. He is one of the best.

God's grace and old singer/songwriters still amaze me . . . ><>

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Grapevine Guitar Works is expanding their showroom

The GGW showroom is expanding in the coming weeks.  The new additions will house many of the higher end Gibson and Taylor acoustics, along with Eastman and other acoustic brands.

I get to help with the remodel . . . as I do a lot of the display work as part of GGW sponsoring my TME  ministry.  The additional space will give acoustic players a place to play with a wall between them and those shopping for or trying out electric guitar players through amps.

More to come from GGW, including two new lesson rooms in the near future.  As I understand it, GGW is one of the fastest growing independent guitar stores in Texas.  I am glad to be associated with them.  I think there may be a new special announcement from Gibson Guitars as well in the near future!

For more info, check out www.grapevineguitarworks.com or give them a call!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Self Therapy and singing to Seniors . . .

I have a regular Theraputic Music Entertainment gig at several local Healthcare/Rehad centers in the area.   Healthcare/Rehab Centers are what nursing homes around here are called now.

On the 1st Monday of the month I sing at 3:30 PM.  It's usually my largest attended "concert" of the month . . . 20 people yesterday.

I do a mix of songs from the 50's and 60's, along gospel songs and some of the songs from the Hugworks T.M.E. catalog.  It's a fast 45 minutes.

I try to do the best I can . . . talk slowly and loudly enough for all to hear.  I include a lot of humor and old jokes.  I mix things up a lot, singing a slow love song after a fast song, followed by a funny song that is followed then by an Elvis tune.  

They love Elvis.

I finish with a few gospel hymns, and then I shake everyone's hand and off I go.

It feels good, I have to say, when you hear "please come back," from the residents.  It really feels good.

Singing to seniors gives them a chance to forget about their pain and loneliness, it frees them for a few minutes from worrying about what may follow next in their journey of old age. 

No one, in my opinion, should have to grow old alone. I do not believe it's right.  Yet, in our society, we tend to warehouse our seniors because of a lack of time, or sense of family responsibility, to provide care.  I know that most of the folks in the places I sing at are there because of health or mental deterioration.  As one gentleman told me . . . "this is where they sent me to die."

Singing to seniors is therapy for me as well.  It helps me focus on the things in life that are truly important . . . relationships with other people.   I wish I had more time to listen to the stories.  If I gave each Rehab/Healthcare Center I sing at an entire day of my time, I would come back with a lot of stories . . . stories that need to be told.  True validation in ones life comes when someone truly listens to you.  Pardon the pun, but some of these folks are just "dying" to share their stories.  They know death is coming . . . and before it comes, they have things they need to share.  They don't want to be forgotten.

Singing to seniors is therapy to them, and therapy to me as well.   A win-win. 

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

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Listen to the music . . .

A rare treat this past Tuesday morning . . .

I had a hospital pre-surgery visit with a church member at 5:30 AM.  I made it to my office around 6:45 AM.

I plugged in my Taylor GS Custom and played for a solid 45 minutes, before plugging in the Guild F50R and giving it 30 minutes of its own.

An hour and 15 minutes of solid practice.  Now that's a treat.

Made a difference as well . . . as I worked out a couple of new base line runs into a couple of chords I had been working on.  I also did some practice on some western swing technique that I am trying to learn from Ranger Doug's book.  Anyone familiar with Rider's in the Sky knows who and what I am talking about.

I've got to make time for practice. It's the only way, besides live performance, to get better.

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

Rats . . . the battery died

Well, the AXL Thin Amp battery is kaput.  Won't take a charge.

Rats, that's the problem with any kind of deep-cycle battery that isn't lithium.  You have to use it or the battery loses power.

Oh well . . . still a great practice and nursing home amp.

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