Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My New Toys

I did something last week that I wish I had done a long time ago.

Many of you know that I was once a drummer. While in college, I played in a band with Ronnie Dunn (of Brooks and Dunn). He was a really fun guy to hang out with, and we had a lot of good times. But it was during that time that I met Beverly, and we got married a year later. After our marriage, I was working 33 hours a week and taking a full load at school, so I sold my drums. That was 35 years ago.

I haven't really thought much through the years about returning to playing the drums. After all, they were SO loud -- not real complimentary to raising a family.

But recently, I have found myself thinking about how much I used to enjoy playing. And I figured, I am 32 -- and I'm not getting any younger (OK, so I lied a little about my age). I don't know why I haven't thought before about getting electric drums. You can play them with headphones on, and it isn't any louder than drumming on a book with pencils. But the sound on the headphones! WOW!

So I bought a set of electric drums last week. Lots of rust to be knocked off after 35 years (me, not the drums). But even in four days of playing, I can see improvement. I am loving it! It is very therapeutic. And guess what I have played to the most? Brooks and Dunn's best hits. Also enjoying the Eagles. And I had never been able to drum to any contemporary Christian music -- because it was just appearing 35 years ago with Amy Grant. So I have played some Steven Curtis Chapman. Will try Chris Tomlin and Michael W. Smith soon.

Who knows? In a few months, I may even try to find some hacks like me and put together a band.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Confusing Song Lyrics

Sometimes I am struck by how many songs I used to sing as a teenager -- with lyrics that weren't even close to what was actually written. I occasionally look them up now on Google, and want to laugh. This was especially true of many Rolling Stones songs, as well as Elton John.

Well, I received a text from my son Jonathan the other day regarding a conversation he had with my grandson Jed. He asked him what his favorite song was, and Jed said, "The one that says, 'I got two eyes.'"

Jonathan was no doubt confused by that answer. So he asked some follow-up questions. Finally he figured it out. Jed was referring to the Chris Tomlin song, "Let God Arise."


Monday, August 22, 2011

Anniversary Celebration

I spent precious time over the last few days with my wife of 35 years. 35 years! She has put up with me that long! We went to some fun restaurants. On Friday, we went to a movie together -- The Help. It was an inspiring movie set in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960s. I lived there then, and although my life was pretty much lived in a different culture -- so much came back to me. It is still hard for me to understand how cultures can become so brainwashed to issues like segregation -- even though I myself could have easily been caught up in it.

Last night after dining at Texas de Brazil (1st time, it was a blast!), we drove around and ended up at an old cemetery in Wise County. There is a grave there for a 16 year old girl who was killed by the Comanches in 1868 while going to check on her father's horses.

We found another family plot, and I just stood at it wanting to know the story. My mind could only imagine it. Two graves were for children who were born and died the same day. A third grave was for a 5 year old from the same family. And next to the 5-year old was his mother, who had died 6 days later. So I got caught up in imagining the story of this frontier family. A woman who loses two children on the same day they were born, and then loses her 5-year old. Did she and the 5-year old die of typhoid fever or something similar? Or did her child die, and then 6 days later she too died of a broken heart?

I think I will look into this.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Gear Up III

Yesterday was our third year for "Gear Up." We had over 220 volunteers on our church campus meeting the needs of people of Wise County. From immunizations to hair cuts to free books to clothes to food (hot dogs here, and canned goods to take home) to school supplies to Bible stories, puppets and crafts -- we met the needs of about 450 children and their parents. God is so good to have blessed us with this opportunity.

No event in my experience demonstrates on such a large scale how it is truly a blessing to serve. Although our intention is to serve in the name of Jesus, from the feedback I receive our volunteers come away feeling most blessed.

May God be praised! And may we continue to be involved in the in-breaking of His Kingdom in Wise County!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tweeting with Celebs

OK, so last night my son Josh and his family sit down at the dinner table to pork chops. Truitt, my 4-year old grandson, said he didn't want to eat. Josh, who has just taught Truitt what an RBI is in baseball, said, 'Truitt, Josh Hamilton eats pork chops, and they help him get RBIs." With that, Truitt proceeded to eat heartily.

So, Josh tweeted about his mealtime victory. Here is what he said. "I hope Josh Hamilton likes pork chops. Truitt (4 yrs old) didn't want to eat. Told him JH likes them. He devoured them."

Now, catch this (especially if your name is Jeff Jones): Josh had a response to his tweet -- FROM MRS. JOSH HAMILTON! She wrote, "Actually he LOVES them! I make them for him ALL the time!!"

How cool is that?

Monday, August 08, 2011

Busyness -- a Virtue?

I have been thinking about this quite a bit lately. Somewhere back, we Christians bought into the cultural lie that busyness is a godly virtue. We have been driven by sayings like, "Idle hands are the devil's workshop" -- convincing us that we need to be busy all the time. It even seems that there is an informal competitiveness that exists to prove to others that "I am busier than you are."

I have come to view the recitations of the "busyholic" as boring. Do you know what I'm talking about? People who, whenever you are around them, have to give you a recitation of their dayplanners to prove how busy they are? It's as if they find validation as a human being in their busyness.

Now, I am well aware that Scripture warns against idleness and laziness. But I don't see where it exalts busyness. I actually believe Scripture would say that busyness is a sign of imbalance and lack of discipline. Martha was chided by Jesus for missing what Mary gained because Martha thought busyness was more important than sitting with Him.

As Christians, we would do well to reclaim the spiritual discipline of meditation. It is not some mystical practice owned only by Eastern religions. It is spoken of regularly in Scripture. I am amazed at how much better my perspective is when I face a day after sitting in silence in the morning and emptying my mind so that the Lord can fill it (I know, it doesn't take long for me to empty my mind). 5 minutes of this discipline has amazing benefits!

"Be still, and know that I am God." "May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." "I will meditate on your wonders"

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Happy Birthday, Princess

Thirty-three years ago today, Beverly and I became mom and dad. "It's a girl" was music to my ears!

Today we will visit Baylor-Grapevine Hospital and leave gifts in memory of Jenny.

Following are the words to a Mercy Me song that SO expresses my heart today:

You're in a better place, I've heard a thousand times.
And at least a thousand times I've rejoiced for you.

But the reason why I'm broken, the reason why I cry

Is how long must I wait to be with you.

I close my eyes and I see your face
. If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place. 
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow. 
I've never been more homesick than now

Help me Lord cause I don't understand your ways. 
The reason why, I wonder if I'll ever know.
 But, even if you showed me, the hurt would be the same, 
Cause I'm still here so far away from home.

I close my eyes and I see your face. 
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place. 
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow. 
I've never been more homesick than now.

In Christ, there are no goodbyes. 
And in Christ, there is no end. 
So I'll hold onto Jesus with all that I have. 
To see you again
. To see you again.

And I close my eyes and I see your face
. If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place. 
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow. 
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow. 
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow.

I've never been more homesick than now.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Hot Tamale!

The hottest summer on record was 1980. I remember it well, but not as well as Beverly. She was pregnant that summer with our 2nd child, Josh. We lived in a small, two-bedroom house in Abilene that had an evaporative cooler (swamp cooler). During the midst of the heatwave, it broke. Our car air conditioner broke, too. We were able to get the evaporative fixed pretty quickly, but could not afford to get the car air conditioner fixed.

This summer is on the way to breaking the records of 1980. But Beverly and I are in such a different place in life! We sleep in a comfortable 70 degrees every night -- and have TWO cars with working air conditioners.

I wonder if Al Gore is smugly smiling when he sees our weather forecasts?

I did go play golf yesterday in the 107 degree heat. I saw one other group at the course -- about 7 holes behind me. Loved it!