Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My schedule through the end of the year is packed, and that mean's . . .

Well . . . it means this.

For the first time since way before my cancer surgery, I have to announce that I cannot accept any more regular gigs until January of 2014.   With preaching responsibilities at our Heritage Campus in November and December, I just do not have the time, nor many open slots on my schedule until after the first of the year.   

It is good to be back in a much stronger level of physical, emotional, relational and spiritual strength.  I feel as balanced in all four areas as I have been in some time.  Being gifted by the church with  mission/renewal leave this past July did me a world of good in many more ways than I am probably aware of.  

It is all carrying over to my being much better able to focus on important things right now . . . pretty clear focus for the first time in a long, long, long while.   Distractions right now  . . . I've never more enjoyed the freedom of saying "no" when they come.  

A wonderful and rich marriage to the love of my life and doing pastoral care, preaching . . . and a lot of singing. 

I wish  you could see the smile on my face!

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

Monday, October 28, 2013

Posted a song, and then I got to sing it!

What a surprise yesterday, when Wren Robinson, our Director of Worship Arts, asked if I could fill in and sing "Drops in a Bucket" in the 8:30 AM service at the Downtown Campus.  Then I got to sing it at the Heritage Campus later in the morning, backed up by the Heritage Campus Band. 


It's a great song.  The video of Mitch Barrett singing it is below this post.  Enjoy.

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

Friday, October 25, 2013

Just a great song . . .

A great song . . . a great message.   I've been working on this song for the past 3 weeks, and will be using it a lot in gigs I have scheduled for senior adults.

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

I'm preaching the next two Sunday's at the Heritage Campus . . .

Should'a shared this news earlier.

Oh well, a lazy Friday morning, and I've just taken out the trash.  Now I'm at the computer looking over my blog.

A slow and lazy Friday morning.

But, for those who would like to know. . . I will be preaching at the Heritage Campus worship service (10:30 am) this coming Sunday, October 27, and also on November 3, 2013.

This Sunday, I will be finishing up, for the Heritage Campus, our month-long Sunday study of the book of Galatians.  I will be taking us through some of the main points from chapters 5 and 6.   The 27th is also our first time to participate in our "Drops in the Bucket" giving campaign as we raise support for our ministries for 2014.

In November, we begin a new sermon series titled, "First World Problems".   I will preach at least twice in November at Heritage (3rd and 24th ??), and may do all the preaching in December.  That decision will be made in the next few weeks.

I'm at the Heritage Campus most every Sunday morning now, providing pastoral supervision.  I come over after helping with the 8:30 am service at the Downtown Campus.    I'm blessed to serve a church that has three great worship areas, and we use them all each week for various services.

All good.

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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

1st Church String Band is now jamming weekly . . .

Yep, you heard it here!

The 1st Church String Band is now jamming and rehearsing weekly (on most Thursday evenings) beginning at 6:30 PM, usually in Room#2001, located upstairs in the Family Life Center at the First United Methodist Church of Grapevine, Texas Downtown Campus.

We are looking for a lead guitar player.  Just thought that should get out there to anyone who might want to play around with us.

We will begin rehearsing a bunch of Christmas songs for 4 Christmas gigs in December, one of them at the Traveller's Service at our Heritage Campus on Dec. 18th.

More info to come!

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

Come on to the Pumpkin Patch

On Thursday, October 24th, I will be helping staff our Youth sponsored Pumpkin Patch located on our Ball Street parking lot across from the Grapevine Botanical Gardens (west of the Main Sanctuary).

I will be there with John Mollet between 2-4 PM.

No big deal, but weather permitting, I am bringing my guitar and would welcome anyone else to come on by for an acoustic jam session!

God's graces till amazes me . . . ><>

Monday, October 14, 2013

Turn down my guitar?

My good friend, Bill Haines, who doubles on the side as our keyboard player for our little church guitar group, was kind enough to join me this morning when I played for the good folks at Dancing River. 

I extended an invitation to the guys and gals in our little guitar band to join me when I sing at retirement and nursing homes.  Bill was there to check me out.  I hope he will join me soon, because he is a good keyboardist.

As we were walking back to our cars, I was remarking out loud how good I thought the Martin guitar I had played sounded in both the Memory Care Unit as well as in the main Activity Room there at Dancing River.

Bill said he thought the guitar was pretty loud. 

Now that is a first, from anyone . . . telling me that an acoustic guitar I was playing was loud.

Actually, it was good to know, because both rooms have tile floors and sound does carry and echo well in both places. 

I remember an old advertisement poster from Martin Guitars . . . about the J-40 model.  The guy playing the J-40 is being told by the other guy (who is playing an electric) if he can turn the volume on his guitar down.  Except the guitar was not plugged in.

A fun morning with a good friend.

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

Friday, October 11, 2013

A couple of non-music related shout outs . . .

In the past few weeks, my family and I have gone through the process of taking bids on a complete HVAC replacement for our home, as well as for some foundation work.

We ended up doing business with A#1 Air out of Carrolton.  I like the way they do business.  Signed the contract, and the install was the next day, and it went without a hitch.

3 different foundations companies indicated that I needed a lot of foundation repair, with bids ranging from $6,000 to $14,000.

Jeff from All Pro Foundations in Denton came yesterday.  Sat in his car in front of our house for over an hour because his previous appointment cancelled.  After an inspection, he told us that we didn't need foundation repair.  We needed some drainage and landscaping work and new guttering.  This company approaches foundation repair from an engineering perspective.  We only have a couple of sticking doors.  Yet all of our door frames and windows are level and plumb.  Jacking up the outside walls with piers would have, in time, caused cracks in our walls and windows to act up.

Now, am I the only one who sees something good in this . . . that a foundation repair sales manager sits in front of my house for an hour, and then tells me I don't need foundation repair.

Guess who my new foundation repair company is . . . All Pro Foundations.

The links to bought companies are listed in the "Good Stuff to Know About" section below.

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

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I'll even sing in a Pumpkin Patch!


No.  I am not the Great Pumpkin.

However, the youth group at FUMC-Grapevine are sponsoring a Pumpkin Patch next to our Ball Street parking lot, across from the Botanical Gardens.

Pumpkins everywhere!

The usual rush hits right after school lets out. Today was my first day to play the guitar and sing for whomever wanted to listen, and to entertain all of our great volunteers.

Can't say enough about the weather!   Can't say enough about all the good people I get to do neat things with!

God grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Our Seniors need you . . .

Ok, this is a request for help.  The request comes in a minute.  First some info.

I was reading the other day.   It seems that the US Census Bureau is projecting that in the year 2025 (when I will be a young 68 years old) that the number of adults in the US over the age of 65 will outnumber all the children aged 6 and younger in our country.

This will be the first time in the history of our nation that this has happened.  But hold on.

The US Census Bureau is also projecting that in 2050 (when I will be 93 years old, and hopefully still playing guitar) that the number of adults over 65 will outnumber all the children and teens aged 18 and  younger.

Again, for the first time in our nations history.

Lately, I've been noticing a lot of new senior retirement centers under construction in our area.   I sing at 2 similar facilities on a regular basis.  I also provide community ministry to adults who live in the community funded housing next door to our church.  Most of them are seniors.  I visit in retirement and nursing homes.

Guess who the residents are.  Mostly seniors.

I did some more checking, and in reality only about 5% of all senior adults aged 65 and older live in retirement or nursing homes.

That's really not many.  Some receive great care, and value for the money they spend.  Sadly, many do not.

FYI . . . there are those who will say to me, "Rick, you get paid by your church to sing and visit in these places."

Yes, that is true . . . but what I do go far beyond doing it because it's part of my job.

Finally . . . the request . . . or maybe it's an appeal . . .

Please consider what you can do to volunteer ANY TALENT you have at a senior retirement center, assisted living center, or in a nursing home.  The Activity / Life Enrichment Directors who work in such places need help.  They are mostly young and some are even a joy to work with . . . enthusiastic and passionate about helping improve the quality of life of the residents.  They often have limited budgets to work with . . . and they have to stretch their resources as far as they can.

I help by singing and playing guitar.   I help by providing worship services on site once a month.  I go when I can to sit and visit and talk . . . but mostly I listen to people reflect back on the successes and failures of their lives.  Good and bad times.  Fond memories and deep regrets.

They are people who deserve to be appreciated and valued.

So, what can you do?

My singing schedule posted on this blog (look to the right-hand column) is usually up to date.  If you would like to join me when I sing for Senior Adults, please let me know.

If you would like info on how/who to contact in your area to volunteer your services, then send me and email.  I will be glad to help you work up an introduction letter, cards, song set list . . . whatever I can offer counsel about.

God's graces till amazes me . . . ><>

House Concert . . . a great experience . . .

This past Saturday, I joined the guys (and gal) of our First Church String Band in performing a house concert for one of our adult Sunday School classes at the church.

Gospel, folk, rock, C&W, golden oldies . . . we had songs in every category, and we did well enough on each that the "audience" (composed mostly of friends) sang and danced.

We are Methodists.  Dancing is OK.

At 56, I may be one of the youngest guys in the band.  I'd say we are composed of 50-80+ years olds, mostly retired, a few still working.  Many of us have previous experience being in a band . . .

A looooooong time ago!

I suggested that a better name for us as a group was the "Wanna Be Band."

In truth, we all "wanna be" in a band.

And it has nothing to do with fame, fortune or being in the limelight.

It has to do with making music.

Personally, I am an adequate rhythm guitar player.  I might even be good enough to earn some extra money playing guitar more . . . if I had the time.  However, I would have to play a lot at night, and travel.  Something I am not willing to do.  Travel is OK, when my professional schedule allows, but working nights in clubs, etc. . . . that no longer interests me in any way, shape or form.

Personally, I can sing pretty well, with the proper warm-up and rehearsal time.  Even after my thyroid surgery, I am still a bit of a nasal baritone, but not as much as I used to be.  I can't hit as many high notes as I used to.  And despite my singing solo a lot these days, I would rather sing parts in a trio vocal arrangements.

I really like the blending of voices.  The singers in our First Church String Band all understand the value of harmonizing.

But more than being an adequate guitar player or an adequate singer . . . I have an energy for making music with other people.  I have shared before that I love performing.  But what I love even more is when the audience sings with us.  Or when they start clapping in rhythm. Or when they join together is motions.  Or when a couple will stand up and start dancing to the music.

I like most when I see someone smile and whisper to a friend, or say out loud to the band . . . "I know / remember that song!"   Sometimes we call people up to sing it with us.  Terrifies a few.  For others, it makes their day.

People so benefit from singing together.   Do you have any talent to sing, or play and instrument?  If so, you are needed.  Our world is sort of screwed up, and I am one of those people that others label as "naive" who think that people who sing together can start overcoming their differences in order to do some good for others in the world.

Call me naive.  But I have seen (and will testify) the good that music can accomplish in helping constructive change take place in people's lives, in a neighborhood, in a church, in a community . . . and I look forward to one day seeing just how far music can reach and just how much good it can help accomplish.

God's grace, and what music can do, still amazes me daily . . . ><>