Thursday, April 25, 2019

Crowley Senior Center Performance - April 25, 2019

I had another opportunity to sing for my friends at the Crowley Senior Center.  They have a new location in the Crowley Recreation Center, which just happens to be across the street from my church.

Sweet!

This was my first public performance using my Rain Song BI jumbo.  So far so good using a 100% graphite guitar. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

I Finally Brought Home a RainSong . . .

Well, I've threatened to do it.  I've written about doing it.  Finally, I did it. 

I just brought home my RainSong Black Ice jumbo guitar.  This is my first venture into owning and playing a guitar that is constructed of graphite.

I got a great trade-in for my Taylor's, and even walked out with a very nice check for the difference in the price.  The Taylor's were probably the best and prettiest guitars I owned.  However, I never played them!  They were great gifts from a friend, who blessed my moving on from them.

I must say "so far so good."  The sound is a bit "purer" to me than that of a wooden guitar.  My Martin's are a bit louder, again to my ear, and I haven't yet played into a microphone to tell for sure.  My RainSong came with light guage bronze strings and I really prefer phosphor-bronze.  So I will be putting on a set of medium phoshor-bronze in a week or so.  RainSong customer service is pretty good.  I was told that I "might" have to adjust the neck a quarter-turn when I put the mediums on.   I've got the right tools to do it.  Should be no sweat.

This guitar is a keeper . . . I've already made that decision.  I've only had it for a couple of weeks, and I am just scratching the surface of what it can do, and what I can do when I play it. I have been pleasently surprised so far.  But I will admit, I went into this knowing it wasn't going to sound like a wooden guitar.

Oh, did I mention, it's one of the largest guitars that I now own, but it's also the lighest?   Oh, what a sincere pleasure it is to play this guitar for the usual 50-60 minutes of singing and playing that I do in front of senior adults in nursing homes or community centers. 

I'm certainly not a purist by any means.   I have no "relationship" with guitars like others do.  They are tools for what I need them to do. But this guitar is a "banger."  By that I mean it's a guitar that is impervious to humidity, heat and cold, which along with sunlight are the enemies of guitars that are made with wood.  A RainSong can supposedly be left in sunlight with no damage, not that I will ever try to find out if this is true. 

High humidity, low humidity, no change in sound.  That's good for me, as I'm in usually in New Mexico for a week or so in early fall.  Most of that time I play outside.  The case it came with fits nicely under the bed in our Grand Designs Imagine 2970rls travel trailer.   Looking, and sounding, good so far!

More to come. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Crowley Senior Center performance . . .

I enjoyed singing today for the folks at the Crowley Senior Center at their new digs inside the Crowley Recreation Center.  There were about 15 in attendance.   It was good to reconnect with Ruby Harse (CSC Director) and the rest of the folks.  This location for their activities is really so much better than their old location, in my humble opinion.

I will sing for them again on the last Thursday of this month!

Monday, April 1, 2019

Is It All in a Name?

As you get older (in just a few months I'll be 62) you find yourself paying closer attention to the few things in your life that really matter to you.  I think this happens more earnestly when you come to the realization that you have less time left to live than you have lived so far.

Family, friends, faith . . . these are the big 3 in my life, and have been for some time.   Otherwise, when approached by those who want my help, or my business, my answer is simple, and hopefully loving . . . I'm not interested.  If something can't appropriately filter through family, friends and faith, then I know in my heart that it not a wise use of my time.  If something does not resonate with me, or in some way connect with my passions, then there is no connection, nor inclination to become involved.  I am a curious man, but my curiosity is limited to those things that bring me joy, and joy to others.

My wife and I share a passion for RVing.  We make time for it as often as we can. It's an activity that we enjoy doing together.  It's out way to relax and enjoy exploring the world around us.  I doubt that we will ever be full-timers, but I do see us embracing seasonal RVing after our retirement in the coming future. 

In the past few years, we have especially enjoyed camping in New Mexico, Colorado, Mississippi and Tennessee.  We've stayed in some great RV parks, and met some really great people.  Overall, it's been a positive activity for us.

In our travels these past months, we began to get the feeling that our Forest River MicroLite 25FKS was just too small for us and our two collies.  It was a great unit, and we made a good decision getting it for short get-a-ways and vacations. However, we have a possible opportunity after retirement to live in our camper seasonally in New Mexico from May through September.  We needed something with more kitchen space, more seating, and much more wardrobe space.

After looking at different dealerships and visiting RV shows in the DFW area for the past 3-4 months, we found a great fit for us . . . a Grand Designs Imagine 2970RLS.  We picked it up this past week, and were able to spend 3 nights in it before arriving back home.

I will be sharing more about this camper in future blogs.

What I wanted to write about today . . . was the brand name of the camper we purchased . . . Imagine.

The words of John Lennon's song of the same name ring true with many people.  Not so much with other people.  But the word itself strikes a chord with me.

Here's why.  I don't see much evidence of imagination in the lives of many of the people around me, most especially in children.  It's as if they either don't know how to engage in imagination, or have never been taught to seek the possibilities and discoveries in life that are all around them.  Perhaps it's because they seem so busy, and that they don't have the time.

Has imagination become something we don't have time for anymore?  Or is imagination now seen by many as a waste of the time they have?

I believe, in an effort to daily strive for personal health and wholeness in life (physically, relationally, emotionally and spiritually) one is aided by one's sense of imagination.  By imagination, I mean being able to see possible "future's".   I think the goals we set in life for ourselves are often rooted, or should be, in the possibilities we can imagine about our lives, including our dreams and our passions.  Life is supposed to be about discovery!   In almost 62 years, I have discovered so much about myself, my family, my friends and the world around me during my life.  I have learned some great lessons, and some painful ones as well.

It seems that so many people are hard-wired to a cultural reality these days . . . they seem to put so much effort and resources in striving toward a cultural definition of success and happiness.  But there is a problem.  A cultural definition of success and happiness does not work for most people.   This kind of definition is rooted in debt, acquiring possessions, and not giving a damn about anyone else.   Unless you look a certain way, dress a certain way, have a certain kind of job, house, car, spouse, etc. . . . you aren't happy.

Another problem with this way of thinking . . . you can never have enough, because the happiness or joy you feel after acquring something new, or checking off a to-do list, is short lived at best.  Something new, shining in the distance, will always attract your eye.

I know this from personal experience.  It is a costly way to live, in more ways than one.

My happiness, to my understanding, is totally and completely my responsibility.   I learned a long time ago, people can't make me happy.  Only I can make myself happy, and it won't ever happen by letting cultural definitions define or steer my life.   If I let this happen, then I am giving culture an unfair aspect of control over my life.  In other words, pleasing the majority dictates what I do.

It seems to me that a consequence of this belief is the crushing of one's imagination to imagine a perferred future.  Perhaps . . . living without imagination . . . is the death of one's soul.  Is that the desire of our culture, to form and shape us into a submissive understanding of what's important . . . and the expense of our very soul?

I believe the unfortunate answer to that question is "yes."  However, there is an alternative way to live!   We can live life with a goal of imagining possibilities . . . of what may be "out there" that we have yet to explore, but can if we will just get up and do so.  We must never lose sight of the fact that our imaginations are the birthplace of our dreams!!!

Imagine the possibilities.  That's the easy part.  Getting there is the hard part.  Doing so is always a risk of some sorts.  But then, we can't begin to explore what lies ahead of us in life if we don't put in some hard work and self-sacrifice.  A little sweat makes the experience that much richer.

Imagination . . .  never give up the ability, and your right, to imagine!