Thursday, February 18, 2016

A new book that will be worth the read . . .

My friend and past musical partner, Larry Dykstra, has a new book which is currently in the print process.

Musical Hugs: Succeeding Through Serving One Song at a Time is the name of the book.  Larry writes about his making a change in his life by singing to children in hospitals.  I got to read an advance copy, and I think it's a great book for anyone determined to make a difference in the lives of other people.  In truth, I took a couple of the same steps that Larry did during my therapeutic music entertainment certification process.  Larry was one of my mentors during that time.  Anyone who sings to others will be able to relate.

This will be a "must read" book for anyone who has ever said out loud, "somebody should do something about this problem," and later realized that the "someone" who needed to act was themselves. 

More info later on where/how to get a copy.

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

Darn sniffles and allergies . . .

Illness prevented me from singing this week at either of my two normal gigs.  When singing around patients in nursing homes, or to residents of a retirement community, it is a good idea, and just plain common courtesy, to not leave them a gift of whatever you are sick with.  Not much of a gift if you ask me.

Wait a minute . . . .

Ahhhhh . . . choo!

Excuse me.   I hope it's just allergies!

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

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

It's all about balance, balance, and balance . . .


Greetings everyone and a Happy Belated New Year!

Question: Why have people already stopped wishing each other a Happy New Year?  There are over 10 plus months left in the year.  I could use some well wishes!  And I figure others can use them from me as well.

You might wonder why I posted a picture of myself (taken on my iPhone . . . ain't I a geek?) holding a new T-Shirt that two of our church members gave me?

Well, it's been explained to me many times that a picture speaks and thousand words.  This picture speaks that and more.  It is a great illustration about why music has not been able to be one of my main focuses since I arrived here at my new church thsi past July.

At my previous church appointment, I was the Senior Associate Pastor (1 of 5 pastors), and as such I only preached about 4-8 times a year on Sunday mornings.  I knew weeks (often months) in advance when I would be preaching.  An example, for 10 years in a row I always preached on the last Sunday of December.

At my new church appointment, I am the ONLY ordained UMC pastor/minister/clergy type person on staff.   That means I am the main preacher for at least 42-45 weeks of the year.  I have already shared the pulpit with other staff who enjoy preaching, as well as some great guest preachers.  

As a result of preaching regularly, I have had to spend a lot of time each week in sermon and worship planning and in sermon preparation.   I have developed a good working system now, thanks in part to great people on our worship staff.  However, crafting a good sermon every week takes time.  There is necessary reading of different Bible translations and Bible commentaries, and note taking (I just love Steadtler Norica HB2 pencils and Cambridge Hardback Spiral Notebooks) as I read. Finally there is putting it all together and typing the sermon on the computer, then printing the sermon, then doing necessary edits . . .

All=in-all, my system is purring along jsut fine.  And therein lies the problem.  The time necessary to prepare good sermons, which IS my main responsbility here, takes from the time I used to spend playing and singing 2-3 times a week, and rehearsing, and learning new songs. 

My past church appointment (of 10 years) allowed me to focus on music as a major part of my commuity and pastoral care ministry.  And I loved it.  I really did.  I think my blog writing showed it.   My current church appointment requires that my main focus must be on sermon preperation, worship planning, vision casting for the future, administering a staff, and providing great pastoral care.  As a result, I only have time to sing at 2 current venues an month (a nursing home and a retirement home).  I believe that I can make the time to sing at one more communtiy venue as well each month, and I plan to get the word out that I am available.  

So, it's both fair and honest to say that this blog of mine is going to change a bit . . . maybe a new title . . .maybe some writing about leadership, time management, and effinciency topics, in addition to some writing about EDC (everyday carry) items that I have found helpful to have with / around me each day.   And, I will continue to post about guitars, singing and therapeutic music entertainment as the mood strikes, which I hope is more often than not. 

It's all about balance . . . but balance takes time to figure out.

What hasn't changed . . . is that God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>