Thursday, May 22, 2014

A little old school . . . Peter, Paul and Mary

I am amazed how the vocals and two guitar parts so smoothly blend together in the video of Peter, Paul and Mary singing "A'Soalin." 

For the most part, I sing and play solo mostly for senior citizens and children.  Me, my guitar, and my tapping foot.  It takes an effort to combine vocals and guitar, and I know that I can always improve my skill level.

On occasion, I am joined by Larry Dykstra, and we sing as a duo.  Sometimes I get to sing with Jim Newton and Paul Hill.  At other times, I get to sing with our 1st Church String Band.  And, on the rare occasion, I get to sing with one our church choral groups.

And I love it!!!

I love the blending of vocal melodies and harmonies.  I love different instrument working together to make music.

Sometimes, it sends a cold chill down my spine, in a good sort of way.  I feel energy through the power of the music, and the good the music can do for those who also sing it, but who also hear it.

It's a very good feeling indeed.

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

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Bullet Journal

I have been using the Bullet Journal method for several months now.  For more information on this analog style method, please check out

I'm just using it as a way to keep track of my tasks, notes and ideas all in one place.  That place for me is a lined regular sized Moleskine journal ($18).

I've spent years working out of various notebooks and also using various electronic smart devices.  I made the jump about 10 years ago to keeping my calendar on Outlook, which links to my phone.  All good!  As long as I have my iPhone when away from my office at the church, then I can have immediate access to my calendar and email.

So far, my keeping everything in one notebook using the Bullet Journal method is working nicely.

I have embraced digital in many ways in my life.  All my music and recording stuff is on my iPad.  My iPad is the main component of my little portable home studio along with an iRig iMic.  I'm into digital cameras.  In fact, I have mostly used my iPhone for many of the pictures I take.

One thing that just did not work for me was keeping my task list and notes in Outlook.  It was just to jumbled

I've tried to use just about every kind of paper/notebook based planner that's out there, spending a bunch of money in the process.  I never found a system that supported how I think and create.  

After two months, I have come to the conclusion that using a journal / analog method like the Bullet Journal system for tasks and notes has had a positive effect on my . . .

Wait for it . . . Wait for it . . .

My memory!!!   Yep, I said it.  It is helping me remember more details about things.

I don't know about you, but when I get an idea . . . I have to write it down.  When ideas go into one notebook . . . and that notebook is back in the office, well, goodbye idea.  That's happened to me so many times.

I've also enjoyed personalizing the system with a few quirks that suit me personally.  It's sorta hard to make some one else's system your system.   You can do just about anything in a journal.  One thing I am going to do for June is draw out an actual calendar for the month on two facing pages, and list my big events and meetings on it instead of listing the month on one page.  Again, my main calendar is the digital one.  But major events on a paper copy helps me to plan.

So . . . after two months, so far so good!   

I do feel obligated to say that the Bullet Journal analog system might well suit a lot of folks who still want or like to use pen, pencil and good quality paper.  Personally, I like writing with a nice ball-point pen (Oh how I loathe ink gel pens!!!) on good quality paper.  I always have and I always will.  

However, others thing and work better digitally.  For people who need access to tasks and notes through search tools, or who depend on the Cloud, or who have gone all digital, this system will not be for you.  In fact, you would probably hate it.  You will probably see it as a  time waster.

Good for you!

For this 57 year old dreamer and doodler . . . I like it.  I wish I had discovered this many years ago.  I'd have that Martin D-41 by now if I had, just in the saving of money spent on Day Timers and gadgets.

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

Tommy's One-Man Band . . .

One of my addictions, and an awfully good one to have in my opinion, is to watch TedTalk videos.  Great speakers on great topics.

One of the central themes of these talks is the time we waste on what other people expect of us as well as our personal assumptions that are actually guided by culture, instead of focusing on the things that give our lives real meaning. 

Achieving balance, for many if not for most of us, is not easy. 

Below is a TedTalk by Tommy Emmanuel.  He states in the beginning that he is, as a guitarist, in the "happiness" business.  I'm going to intentionally try to focus on that every time I sing to senior adults in the days to come.  I am in the "happiness" business as well.

At the end of his talk, listen for his use of the word "fearless."  For some reason his use of that word struck me.  I am going to have to spend some time pondering about that.

This video is about 18 minutes . . . but well worth the listen.

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

A good video about Hugworks!

For several years now, I have been a volunteer and supporter of a great organization called "Hugworks."   Working with, and being mentored by, Jim Newton and Paul Hill has been one of the professional highlights of my life, along with getting to meet Noel Paul Stookey.

This is an older video, back when the ministry was called "Celebration Shop" before using the name "Hugworks" . . . but it shares the passion behind all that Jim and Paul have been involved in these past 35+ years.  

And now, to my great delight, that same passion is being also focused toward providing therapeutic music entertainment to senior adults.  I couldn't be more thrilled because singing to seniors in my great music passion.

Enjoy . . . and learn more . . . and consider supporting Hugworks with your resources and time.

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

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Friday, May 9, 2014

New venue on my schedule

If you read my schedule, you quickly deduce that I sing, most of the time, for senior citizens.

I am very glad to do it.  I am honored to do it. 

I am blessed to serve a church where my singing and guitar playing is recognized as an important part of my ministry.  I have to manage my singing schedule carefully. Very carefully.  

All the locations I perform for understand that I may have to call in and cancel or reschedule because of other ministry demands that come my way, which I have to treat with greater priority.  They understand.  

Again, I am blessed.

I sing at the Atria in Grapevine, on the 1st Monday of the month, because our church has had an almost 9 year relationship with them.  

I sing at Dancing Rivers in Grapevine, on the 2nd Monday of the month, because 5-6 of our church members now reside there.  

I sing at South Colleyvine Ranch in Grapevine on the 3rd Monday of the month, because 8-10 church members who reside there, plus a lot of Methodist folk who we have adopted.  This is a pretty active bunch!   I have been a part of South Colleyvine Ranch since it opened a little less that 9 years ago.   I also get to lead a little worship service for them on the 2nd Thursday of the month in the late afternoon.

And now, I will be singing at Meadow Wood in Grapevine, a brand new senior adult retirement community.  One of our members now resides there, and she is very, very dear to me.  In fact, she already told the staff I would be coming to sing.  This place is so new. . . that there are only 8 current residents in a facility that can hold well over 100.   I will go for my "test performance" next Wednesday. After that, we will probably schedule Meadow Wood for the 4th Monday of the month.

I'm excited.  

As I get older . . . 57 years old on May 7th (I thought I was 58 until my wife asked me to the do the math!!!!!) . . . I find myself being unable, in an way, to resist going down a path that may lead to a greater focus, and perhaps even certification, in senior adult ministry.   Let's face it . . . the number of senior adults, who are healthy, have time and resources to help accomplish great things, is on a steady increase.  So much so, that in 2050, the number of adults aged 65+ are expected to outnumber all the children and teens between the ages birth - 18 years old!!!  When this happens, it will be for the first time in the history of our country.

As some may be aware, I am participating in a project with as they move toward providing therapeutic music resources to senior adults in a unique way, similar to how they have been providing therapeutic music resources to children in hospitals all over the country for the past 35 years. 

I look forward to doing what I can . . . even more so when the time comes that I can retire, and focus my time, talents and resources on something that I really believe in . . . that becomes a more intentionally focused part of my ministry.

It is good to have something to believe in, especially when it helps people with a way to share mercy, grace and compassion to others.   Thank God for the church, my ministry, and how music plays an important part.

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

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I am alive . . .

This has been a very busy last 4 months, and I have neglected my little blog that the 4-5 of you faithfully check on every so often.

And I appreciate you all.

I should be back with music and song stuff by this summer.

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