Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

One of my all-time favorites.

An exquisite song, singer, arrangement, and performance, by a troubadour who left us all too soon . . . .


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Yesterday, I turned fifty. It doesn’t seem possible, but it’s true. I’ve been told that 50 is the new 30. Not quite sure what that means. I am certain it doesn’t mean I have the body of a thirty-year old. Perhaps it implies that I will live longer. That would be okay. But if it means that I have the mental maturity of a thirty-year old, I think I’ll pass. I only wish I knew at thirty what I know now. Still, I often feel the older I get, the less I know.

I haven’t posted to this blog in a while, and I wish I kept up with it more, but I thought in honor of this milestone, I would post fifty things I have learned thus far in life. Some of the things listed are original, some are paraphrased, and others are borrowed. They are loosely ordered, but all of them reflect the man I am at this point in my life.

I have learned  . . .

  1. I am made in God’s image.
  2. My aim is to know myself and be true to who I am.
  3. I should trust my heart, gut, and intuition, in spite of popular opinion.
  4. I must be the man I am, not the man others expect me to be. That is true integrity. Anything less is a lie.
  5. Honesty is the best and only policy.
  6. True love is unconditional.
  7. Everyone wants, needs, and deserves to be loved.
  8. True love is a rare and precious treasure, yet oh so hard to find.
  9. It is better to be hated for what you are, than to be loved for what you are not.
  10. Human chemistry is elusive, undefinable, and irreplaceable.
  11. People give you gifts they want.
  12. Many blessings are disguised.
  13. Travel cures myopia.
  14. Karma is a witch. (my paraphrase)
  15. There are some things you will never understand until they happen to you.
  16. An open mind is a terrible thing not to have.
  17. Big boys don’t cry, but men do. (Thanks, Dr. Phil!)
  18. The most important things in life aren’t things.
  19. Less is more.
  20. Change only comes when courageous people take a stand. If no one speaks out, nothing changes.
  21. First impressions are often dead wrong.
  22. I no longer tell it like it is. I tell it the way I see it.
  23. Speak the truth in love.
  24. Two people can view the same thing and see something totally different. Perception is not reality.
  25. The right to be angry gives you no right to be cruel.
  26. Forgiveness brings freedom.
  27. The older I get, the more liberal I become.
  28. Diversity makes the world a beautiful place.
  29. Tolerance means we put up with diversity. Acceptance means we embrace it.
  30. Apathy kills. Empathy heals.
  31. Grace is truly amazing.
  32. When people show you who they are, believe them! (Thanks, Maya!)
  33. If they’ll do it with you, they’ll do it to you. (Dr. Phil, again.)
  34. Every word that comes across a pulpit is not gospel. (I learned this one the hard way.)
  35. God did not create religion. Man did.
  36. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.
  37. Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.
  38. Nobody can pray for me like my mama and daddy.
  39. There is no place like my Mama’s table.
  40. Being Nathan’s uncle is my greatest joy.
  41. Family is where I belong. Friends are my family, too.
  42. My colleagues are my heroes. My students are my angels.
  43. I cannot live without books and music.
  44. Autumn in the mountains is one step away from Heaven.
  45. Paraguay is a wonderful place with no reasons why.
  46. To Kill a Mockingbird is the best book ever written and the best movie ever made.
  47. Dogs are really angels in disguise.
  48. Fear not. Do not be afraid. Let not your heart be troubled.
  49. This life ain’t all there is.
  50. Jesus loves me, this I know!

There is so much I don’t understand, and so much I have yet to learn. I hope I never stop learning, and never stop being a seeker of truth.  I know there are some things I will have to take on faith. By default, faith indicates there will be unanswered questions. At fifty, I don’t know it all, but I’m grateful for what I’ve learned.

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This song has been one of my Christmas favorites over the years. Guy Penrod’s lead vocals and David Phelps’ soaring tenor on the recording are the type of singing that in the past easily moved me to tears, even when I didn’t fully understand the words. When I listened again this week, I decided to check out the lyrics in the CD insert, and what I read was pure poetry. Suzanne Gaither Jennings is quite the lyricist, not unlike her mother Gloria Gaither. What a powerful anthem to the Sender and the Sent.

The Hand of Sweet Release

Come thou long expected Jesus,
Come illuminate the mysteries of life.
Come redeem us from the refuse,
Bring an end to endless suffering and strife.
Be the star that shines so brightly
That it draws our weary eyes to the sky,
to Heaven’s sky.
Dearest child of new beginnings,
Be the start of something beautiful, I cry.

There’s an end to all the waiting,
There’s an answer to the “who?” and “where?” and “why?” . . . tonight.
All the years anticipating,
Are surrendered to a tiny baby’s cry.
There’s a dawn to follow darkness,
There’s a face to fill the title, “Prince of Peace.”
What he promised, he delivered

I am saved by the hand of sweet release.

In this war I’ve been a captive,
Just a sinner seeking life and liberty.
But these hands that hold me tightly
Are the hands that set my shackled spirit free.
Blessed Jesus, meek and lowly,
You have come into my life and made it new,
Now I’m new.
Out of bondage into everlasting light,
I owe everything to you.

Words by Suzanne Jennings. Music by Guy Penrod and Michael Sykes. ©1998 Townsend and Warbucks Music and Saddlebred Music (adm. by Gaither Copyright Management) Mal N’ Al Music (adm. by ICG)/ASCAP. All rights reserved.

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April, thanks for sharing . . . .

I love the Casting Crowns song Who Am I?, but does anyone remember the old Rusty Goodman song? What a powerful lyric!

Who Am I?

Rusty Goodman
©1965 by First Monday Music(A Div.of Word,Inc.)

Verse 1
When I think of how He came so far from Glory,
Came and dwelt among the lowly such as I,
To suffer shame and such disgrace,
On Mount Calv’ry take my place,
It’s then I ask myself this question:
Who am I?

Verse 2
When I’m reminded of His words,
“I’ll leave thee never,
Just be true, I’ll give to you a life forever,”
I wonder what I could have done
To deserve God’s only Son
To fight my battles ’til they’re won;
For who am I?

Who am I that a King would bleed and die for?
Who am I that He would pray; “Not my will, thine” for
The answer I may never know
Why He ever loved me so,
That to that old rugged cross He’d go,
For who am I?

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