Friday, August 25, 2006

Old made new again

I have been getting into the old hymns again. I love music, it sets my mood. I especially love the get up and go type. I listen to a lot of Third Day and MercyMe and the newer Praise and Worship stuff by Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman and David Crowder. I gravitate toward the stuff with a good beat and fast lyrics. I have commented more than once to my Church Music director that we need to do more of that stuff, to which she replies that we can certainly try.

We have a small worship band: piano, drums, and a bass (If I'm not playing drums that day) so it can be difficult adapting some of these songs to our group. (Have you ever read any of Third Day's sheet music?).

Lately though i have been looking towards some of the older hymns in a slightly different way. It started when I attended the Christian Musician Summit here in Washington. I got to attend a class held by Scott Wesley Brown and Billy Smiley (of the band WhiteHeart). They got together with 13 other worship leaders (see bottom of this page) to evaluate some of the older hymns and see what it took to bring those songs into modern or blended worship services. Sometimes they had words and no music, so they wrote new music, sometimes they just added a chorus built from one of the later verses and sometimes it just took composing other instruments to go with the piano music that was already there. What I remember hearing was that they were thinking of hooking into this music distribution system built by a fruity computer manufacturer. They would distribute the songs with some of the pieces missing: no lyrics or guitar so you could play along on your gut air to the rest of the accompaniment. A cool idea, and some of the hymns were just beautiful. More info at

Then I got a copy of Bart Millard's new CD. You might remember Bart singing (and writing) the song I Can Only Imagine. Anyway, Bart's rendition of Power In the Blood is just cool, a slight swing beat to an old favorite.

As much as I like the newer music, there is something about the old lyrics. It's not sacrilege to add a modern beat to songs like Amazing Grace, but it's a way to bring those words into my life today. Maybe more people will just bop down the street humming or singing Pass Me Not, O' Gentle Saviour and the tune will catch on.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sometimes its hard enough

Today's touchy subject – marriage. I hope my foot doesn't quite reach my mouth.

Let me start off by saying that although I have just celebrated 15 years with my wife Tiffany, I am not an expert in MY marriage, let alone qualified to comment on any one else's marriage.

Two friends of mine got married this past weekend and I want to start off wishing them the best of luck. They are a little bit behind the starting line at the get go. They have only been dating for a couple of months, they are mixed race, and they are starting off pregnant. They say they are getting married because they love each other, I say that's a good place to start.

Many friends and relatives have offered their advice, or criticism, to the then betrothed couple. Most of it wasn't encouraging, but they took it in stride and on August 12, 2006 became Mr. & Mrs. I wish them the best.

My point is this: Give them a break!

After 15 years of marriage I have found that my marriage is unique, and so is everyone else's. The only good advice to give is to love each other and make sure that you keep God in the relationship. However, I have seen marriages that do both of those still not make it. Marriage is hard. I am not about to go into what I thought might have broken a marriage up, besides my ignorance, it's also none of my business. Marriage is hard. Did I already say that?

My friends will have a hard time, will it be because of the kid? The mixed race thing? Money? Love? I just don't know, but something I do know is that I will pray for them and I will love them. I hope they find their niche 'cause they look good together and I believe they are good for each other.

To all my married fiends, I'm praying for you. To all my now un-married friends (there are too many in the last year), I pray for you also. Would anyone like to pray with me?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

In Memory Of These ...

I was reading Jess's journal CIW: The Other Invisible, to which she mentioned a project she read on another blog, Patrick's Place. Normally I am not a joiner, I'm just too busy, most of us are. This project kind of touched me, it is called The 2,996 Project and it brings recognition to the innocent lives lost on September 11, 2001.

I am big on trying to give the recognition due to those who put themselves in danger for others. I will loudly thank any soldier who has placed himself in the line of fire, any fireman or policeman who makes a hedge between me and a possible threat. But I never want to forget those who got forced into the position of danger, not knowing that morning was the last they would see.

On September 11, I have the supreme honor of recognizing John Bruce Eagleson who left us that fateful day.

Please take the opportunity to look at The 2,996 Project, if nothing else, follow the blog trails on September 11 and learn about some pretty fantastic people.

God Bless,

Monday, August 07, 2006

A play at last

It has been forever since I went to a play. My wife and I, when we lived in Atlanta, used to has a subscription to one of the theaters there. Life and Kids and Work put and end to that, I am not even sure when or how it happened, it just stopped.

On Friday, the director of my department at work (shameless plug: had some tickets to see a Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at The Paramount here in Seattle. Pretty good seats at that, center, Row R. We both enjoyed the play/musical immensely. I am used to seeing plays that became movies, but not the other way around, so I didn't know what to expect. It was very good, both the acting and the music.

I was somewhat amazed at the language though. I am no goody goody, but I made a personal decision to clean up my language. I no longer speak as I did when I was young, mainly I don't want my kids hearing that stuff from me. I think we have all noticed the words slipping in at the movies and on TV, that only 5 to 10 years ago would have been censored or rated as a warning.

I have myself made the argument that the world out there has sites and sounds that I/we cannot control and you can mentally censor them out as unimportant to the context, or maybe they are important to the context and it's just a situation I wouldn't place myself in, so why worry about it. I guess lately I have become a hypocrite to my former self. I will leave my preachy type ramblings to my other journal, but I now take some offense at things that would just roll off my back earlier in life.

Is it age? Is it wisdom? Am I just being petty? I now find myself turning away from conversations of which I don't approve. I have surrounded myself with music that lifts me up, instead of some of the more depressing stuff about dogs and trains and tractors. I also spend more time around people that feel the same way I do. Is that a cause or and effect?

Anyway, as I said the play was really good, minus an unnecessary profanity here and there, I would recommend it to just about anyone.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Where the deer and the buffalo roam

Well, I am back home again. For my new readers (hope, hope), I just got back from a vacation, my first in about 3 or more years. I am a work-a-holic.

My family and I spent time in Georgia, meeting old friends and making new ones. From Georgia we ventured up to North Carolina and the Nantahala river. The river has basically class 2 rapids, perfect for an old man like me. Than did not stop however from falling out, but I still had fun. We left Georgia for Fulton, Mississippi were I have some extended family who live on a lake. I love water, so this was a lot of fun, they had a Sea-Doo. It took me three days to recover from the soreness. Did I mention I was old, like 40-ish.

All of this was a blast, but I had more fun on the drive home from Mississippi. As Jess mentioned, it's good to be able and spend time traveling with the kids. Mine span a couple of years 13, 11, 4, and 2. That's a bit. [Did I mention that my wife drove out to Georgia with them, by herself. Super-Mom.] On the way home we stopped at Yellowstone National Park.

Those not having been there, you're missing out. Within 15 minutes we had some bison within a couple feet of the van. My wife (Tiffany) had her camera, maybe I will post some pics later on. My 2 year old had so much fun, he's at the point where he is talking more, but still screams everything so we found out about anything and everything he saw: bison, ducks, trains, and motorcycles. It appears that the Hell's Angels had decided that this was also a good weekend for the site-seeing. They were having their annual gathering in Cody, WY, just outside the park.

As we were driving up to the park through the Wind River Canyon, my wife said something. 'Only God could make dirt look this good'. She wasn't kidding, it was ALL beautiful.

We decided to get out more, we are already planning the next trip down to the Redwoods in California.

As a work-a-holic I seem to also be a stress-a-holic. I actually find it difficult to just lay back and relax. I feel like my hands should be doing something. I want to offer a bit of advice that I just learned. Sit back and marvel at the wonders that God created around us. I know that sounds kind of lame or maybe just too simple to be useful. Nothing I can create or do will ever amount to much compared to what's already been done. I can relax and take in the sites of the bison or elk roaming the plains of Wyoming, the trout swimming down the Chattahoochee River, or the simple shadows of the clouds through a mountain pass. Who couldn't relax with those views.

As for me, I will spend more time traveling with the kids, finding more things to see that I didn't or don't have to stress over. Pass the iced tea please ...