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Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and a new health diagnosis . . . it's been a busy time . . .

Howdy all!

Whew!  I never truly realized that my changing churches, and becoming the ONLY pastor would take up so much of my time . . . and it has been a challenge.  But after 6 months, my schedule is getting more into a rhythm.  We have such a wonderful staff here at Crowley. They have been a blessing to me, as have been the members and friends of my new church home.

All in all, my job has pretty much completely changed from when I was at Grapevine.  Not quite a "180", but almost.  I have a lot more administrative and leadership responsiblilities.

Where has music and "Rick's Songbag" been in all this?  Still active, but not as much as in past years.  I am singing at an area retirment home, and at an area nursing home.  There appears to be an opportunity to soon sing at another local nursing home, but that is not quite a done deal.  Singing at these three venues will max out the available time I have to do so.  I sing for our preschool chapel every week that I am available, and I have a couple of Walk to Emmaus and United Methodist Women events to sing at soon.  I usually play guitar for our informal worship service each Sunday at 9AM, and I play every so often for the children during the Children's Time.

In the past months, I have also been diagnosed with Celiac's Disease . . . which explains a lot of life-long health problems I've had that were always assumed to be food allergies.  I'm old and wise enough to appreciate and stick with a gluten-free diet, which is the only treatment for Celiac's.  So far so good.  I do physically, emotionally and mentally feel the best I have felt in the past 10 years.

That being all said, it pains me to share that I am being drawn toward several new interests, which are necessitating my thinking that this music blog has perhaps come to an end.  I have a strong desire to write about servant leadership and spiritual formation.  I also feel the need to document some changes I am starting to try and make in my life.  I am feeling that writing about them would be therapeutic.   What I am not sure of yet is whether I can handle more than one blog with my schedule, and do them well.

So, I solicit your prayers (the 5 of you that read this blog . . . ) for help in what lies ahead.  I am approaching my 59th birthday, and my 40th wedding anniversary.  Music took center stage in my life and ministry at Grapevine.  That may not be the case here in Crowley, as I am being called here to be a preacher, teacher and trainer.  Music, especially singing and playing guitar will always be important to me . . . and I am a most unhappy man if I can't play the guitar.  However, this will not be my main focus anymore, at least for the time being.  To keep it my main focus will take away from the time I need to be a great pastor, and to make some needed personal changes.

As in all things . . . we shall see.  And after seeing, we will try not to react out of emotion, but instead to respond out of faith.

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

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BTW - CLICK HERE to go to Glens website!

If you have a favorite guitar, uke, bass, flute, trumpet, violin or any other instrument, and would love to share you story, then please contact me by email at revrickmang@gmail.com.

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