Friday, March 18, 2016

Hot off the presses . . .


Larry Dykstra's new book is available through Barnes and Noble and through Amazon.com

Hot off the presses!   A new book about singing as a way of serving . . . and you need to get a copy if you sing to children and/or senior adults as a volunteer.  You also need to get this book if you would benefit from learning more about another persons journey to discover how to serve others.  

Musical Hugs: Succeeding Through Serving, One Song At A Time.

Larry Dykstra, my good friend, music partner and Certified Therapeutic Music Entertainer (TME) mentor/trainer, is the author of this book.  I was pleased to read part of an advanced copy that he sent me by email.  Jim Newton, our good friend and TME mentor/"God Father," dropped off a copy of this book to me this morning.  Thank you Jim!

The book is about one man's dedicated and systematic journey to discover how to serve others through music.   One great take-a-way from this book is how Larry learned to value and then benefit from each of his experiences.  The last chapter, where he sums it all up, is worth the price of the book.  I don't want to give to much away . . . just get the book.  I give it 5 stars, and read it completely through in one setting.  It is well written, and you will find yourself feeling as if you are standing by Larry in each and every situation he faces as a musician and hospital chaplain.  This is a book you will easily connect with.

I have a shelf in my office where I keep a small handfull of books that I read each year.  This book is going on that shelf!

You can purchase your own copy of Musical Hugs by going to the Barnes & Noble website or through Amazon.com.  Click on on either of these links and you should go directly to the page where you will be able to purchase this book with just a few clicks of your mouse.

God's grace, and musical hugs, still amazes me . . . ><>


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Upcoming Changes . . .

I recently posted  that I was thinking about gving blogging a break, or changing the direction of what I blogged about.  Since that time, I have been doing some soul searching of sorts.  I have come to the conclusion, in the process, that I love to write, but have lacked a plan to do so.  The plan is being worked on right now, and I am pleased in the direction it seems to be going.

I know that I don't have it all figured out yet, but I do now know that I want to continue blogging. In fact, I have decided that I want to take blog writing up a notch and expand my audience, and perhaps my sphere of influence as well.  I am wondering if my writing can become a form of mentoring that someone might find of value.

So, as as result of my soul searching, and some personal reseaarch, and on the advice of others who blog more regularly than I do, I have decided that within the next month or so, I will be moving my blog to wordpress.com.  I will post my new domain name / blog address on this site for several months before I take this site down.

I know that in some way I want to continue to write about about being a "stuggling-less-than-part-time-singer-guitarist" because that is what I am.  But as I reach the big "60" in another year, I find that I have some knowledge of a few things that I would like to share with those who might have similar interests, including doing some reviews of people, items, programs that have helped me obtain some needed life balance. That being said, I haven't quite got the exact plan worked out yet.

I am a little amazed at the amount of thought I am putting in to all of this.  I am going to chalk it up to my recent change to a gluten free diet.  It seems that a mental fog has lifted from my mind.  One thing about mental fogs, you don't know you have one until it lifts!!!   That being said, I know that I want to write about things I have used that helped my life and personal / professional ministry become more productive and effective.  Organization and life balance have always been a strong interest of mine, and now I am doing a lot of study on what it means to live more simply as part of the overall process.  Call it experience, or call it maturity, but I believe I have some good information to share.

Hopefully I will have this all figured out soon.  I may try to do two different blogs, but perhaps my focus right now should be on just one, and do it as well as possible, which means several specific hours a week focused on good content.

More to come.  Thanks for the support.

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

Monday, March 14, 2016

New singing gig . . .

Today our City Manager suggested I contact the Crowley Senior Citizen Center.

I've been here for almost 9 months, and I have spent far too much time in this church building.  I did't even know we had a Senior Citizen Center!

I drove over and met with Ruby, who is the coordinator there.  After a short conversation, I will be singing there this Thursday morning (March 17) at 9:30am.   I treat my first time to sing at any new venue as an audition of sorts, so I will be singing a wide variety of songs in an effort to find what kind of songs the folks there enjoy.  

I am glad I got out of the office and crossed paths with some neat people today!

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

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Field Notes memo books ...

Several of the Field Notes I use on a daily basis. In the middle is my homemade Traveller's Notebook. It will hold up to 6 Field Notes, but I only use 4.  Works for me!
This is a blog article/review about Field Notes Brand 48-page memo books. I've been using several of these memo books every day since January 1st.  I keep 4 of them with me pretty much everywhere I go, and keep them in a little homemade Traveller's Notebook that I put together with some leather I purchased on sale from a nearby Hobby Lobby store.   If you look up Traveller's Notebooks on YouTube, get ready for a ton of videos.  You can purchase them from many resources, or make them yourself.  These are quite the rage among people who travel professionaly and recreationally, and they have found their way into the lives of several professionals who I keep up with on the internet through blogs and videos.

As I mentioned already, I usually carry 4 of these memo books with me at all times.  I have one that I treat as a Common Place Book, where I keep quotes and notes from books I am reading.  The second one is a daily note/memo book where I keep notes, appointments, thoughts when I am away from the office.  The third is my notebook for my daily devotions.  And the 4th is an idea book.  I try to enter at least one idea a week related to my ministry, personal hobbies and family trips and vacations.

So far I've puchased a set of their Cherry Wood (graph paper) memo books, and several sets of their Workman's Companion (a special 6 volume set), as well as some of their regular black covered ones.  I like how they are made, and their durability.  The covers are good, and the paper, for writing with pen, is great.  Yep, I know they are a bit on the expensive side, $9.95 for a set of three, but they are great quality and are American made.  I buy them locally at W Durable Goods in Fort Worth TX, and at Lone Star Lawn Supply in Rendon, TX.  Or go online at www.fieldnotesbrand.com.  The website alone is worth the perusal.

Field Notes won't  fit everyone's needs, but they fit my needs, since I am more of an analog guy than a digital guy.  They have several seasonal series which seem to appeal to collectors.  There are several video's on YouTube pertaining to the creator of Field Notes Brand, Aaron James Draplin of DDC (Draplin Design Company).  He couldn't find what he wanted for use in his design business.  So he made some and gave them to friends. One of the friends, Caudel Partners in Chicago, thought they could make them into a business.  A decade later, they are going strong.

God's grace, and writing things down on paper with a pen or pencil, still amazes me . . . ><>

Thursday, March 3, 2016

A recent trip to Arkansas . . .

My wife and I have just returned from a recent trip to Arkansas, my adopted 2nd home state.

Not sure if Arkansas will ever adopt me, but I have adopted it!

My wife and I spent a few days in our beloved Eureka Springs area, and then I attended a meeting at the Mount Sequoyah Conference and Retreat Center in Fayetteville, where I serve as a member of the Board of Trustees.

Whenever I travel anywhere with anybody, they soon realize that I love to quietly hum.  It has been pointed out to me that I hum out loud far more than I am aware of.

Really?

Yes, really.

My Mom hums as well.  She is coming in for a visit in a few days.  I bet we could hum together if giving the chance.  Humming in harmony!  It can be done!

Why is it, for some of us, that we make music whenever and wherever we can?  Humming, singing, whistling . . . I am one who could easily believe that life, in and of itself, is a song!   In my Christian tradition, life is supposed to be lived and experienced as an actual act of worship.   Worship for me would always include singing and music.   In fact, I don't mind attending a worship service were there is no sermon (except when I am preaching!!!!!!!!)

But the thought is intriquing . . . my life as a symphony.  It would a diverse piece of music.  The music would have to portray elements of joy and happiness, as well as sadness and sorrow.  The music would have to share the emotions of hope and  defeat.  Some aspect about the music would have to communicate a spirit of overcoming, and the ability to always, given time, trying to get back up when knocked down.

Lastly, the music would have to generate an understanding of life lived as a journey . . . with different stopping and starting points along the way, as well as course changes and corrections.  And finally, the music would have to clearly communicate the long held value of family and friendship, and of having goals and dreams, which become more clear because of maturity and lessons learned.

What kind of music would communicate about your life?   What would your song sound like?

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