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Showing posts from 2007

Jesus Camp

Tracee and I watched an A&E special titled Jesus Camp last night. It is amazing how much agree with so much of the content of the "conservative fundamentalists" and yet I completely reject the methods of indoctrination which I witnessed.

Why focus on high pressure, high emotion, Sinners in the hands of an angry God, damnation model? I can easily see this hard line teaching in my own reading of the Bible, but I believe the larger focus is always on Love, and inclusion. Choice and opportunity to seek the path instead of obligation, fear and force.

I think the story line that the evangelical indoctrination is a "witch's brew" intended to take over American politics is old and tired. Government is of the people, by the people and for the people. God does not need the US government to defend him, or to do his will. He needs people dedicated to loving one another and sharing Christ's example.

Big difference between teaching and empowering individuals for mi…

Fear Not

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I just listened to several tracks off of a wonderful CD by friends "Steven and Robin Massie Condy". Steven sings a piece entitled "Fear Not" and I was inspired in much the same way as I imagine the shepherds were when the Angels sang at Christ's birth.

My mission field is here around me. My team is the people God has surrounded me with already: in the past, the present, and the future. If we rely on God for our direction, we can accomplish great things, in spite of the world around us.

The idea that the Lord speaks to me.. every day through people and music is awesome. My fears of having enough resources, skills, knowledge, etc.. are insignificant in the face of such love. Lord, Be thou my vision...

Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed for I am your God. I will help you, I will strengthen you, and I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

Presence, Presents...

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I just got home from our Christmas Eve service at Huguenot Road Baptist Church. It has been a grueling few days, as we focused on meals, family in town and the endless search and presentation of presents. In the end, the greatest gift of all was the presence of my family around me as I sang to God in worship. I didn't sing well, at least by my standards, but my girls surrounded me and their voices were angelic. What a blessing, the presence of my friends and worshippers were to me this evening.  As I extinguished the candle at the service's conclusion, I was reminded of Christs' presence within me, now and forever. To think, such a story... humble parents, shepherds, angels, animals, wise men... all focused on the presence of a newborn baby.  He was a present to the world, and his presence changed everything for everyone, for all time.  It really is that simple.  Christ is born, Christ died, Christ is risen! Alleluia

Happy? become a minister

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Stats don't lie.. this is an awesome post/commentary on Americans these days.
Vocation with Greatest Job Satisfaction : by Ben Witherington

I don't think I have much to add, other than happiness is driven by relationships, and security in life.. money is only a tool, and that is a long known cliche

I wonder what the factors that made the unhappy ministers, unhappy were...? Perhaps they were fired by unhappy congregations, or communities...

Best Pizza ever?

The pizza at Candela's pizzeria in Midlothian tonight may have been the best I have ever had. After a challenging week with everything from family strife (mother in law moving to town) to challenges at work, to dealing with a cold and a mysteriously sore shoulder... We spent the evening with friends both last night and tonight.

Good times with good people is the key to happiness!

Great idea to get into the spirit of Christmas...(as if the world needed one more)
1. pizza at Candela's - complete with the NY attitude waitress...
2. go watch the snow fall around the tree at Stony Point Fashion park at 7pm(with a lot of other kids, dogs, and families alike...)--this was really cool and beautiful
3. check out the "tacky lights" house off of Quioccasin.. very beautiful lights display
4. cap it all off with the living drive thru nativity at Huguenot Road Baptist Church. Complete with guides to the scenes and an extremely cute baby goat by the manger.. this living nativity is not…

Road to Christmas

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Picture by my cousin Wesley Handy.  We watched Home Alone tonight as a family.  Up until now, it has not felt like October, much less Thanksgiving and Christmas. I guess the road is ahead...

My Phone, My Way wins Top 10 2007 InfoWorld Project award...

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I am very excited and proud of my teams.  My Phone My Way was my major project for 2006 and 2007.  The SVP Robert Turner, mentioned in the article, gave a nice representation of the projects.   You know us IT guys at Cap1... we are "changing the world" , one project at a time. This was a career builder for me, I hope...
Infoworld Article

Macbeth: San Francisco Opera

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The evening was surreal. 40 thousand or so computer/corporate types attended a concert by Billy Joel and several other headliners here in SF. I have been here all week for Oracle Openworld and I needed to do something "special" for me, so I chose to go to the opera.

Thomas Hampson was performing the title role and while the performance in the first two acts was less than memorable from the entire cast... In the first act, he seemed to make a transition from Darth Vader to the Music Man, to some sort of drugged out hippy... This character ambiguity contributed to a clearly psychotic Macbeth, but it was difficult to follow. That said, Hampson's final aria was worth the entire evening for me. His command of the stage was inspiring and his voice seemed to finally shine with the power and color I am accustomed to hearing from this renowned performer. Raymond Aceto's booming bass was commanding and powerful as Banquo, but I was not quite able to retain the image of h…

Proactive

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How do you deal with emotional issues/problems.. particularly with other people? Is there a framework for this sort of problem solving. I believe that we have to be proactive and avoid issues, rather than just react and problem solve. Framework is the same no matter when we engage...

I don't claim to be wise on the subject, but I have had some limited success.. like most of us. I haven't had any training on counseling or problem resolution either so I'd be interested to hear other thoughts. Any approach to these steps has to first evaluate the issue and relationship itself.. is there a hierarchy? are the parties truly equal ever?

#1 rule: Absolute HONESTY and timing are critical. Waiting to have a difficult discussion is rarely a good idea, unless there is an objective reason for "cooling off". In my experience, time just increases the pain for serious issues.
2. DIALOGUE is key along with respect. Appreciate the other persons' perspective and give them a c…

Objective Subjectivity

How and where is the standard defined for musical excellence? As I practice and strive to be honest to a history and lineage of artists who have preceded me, I am struck by the need to be unique and special in my performances. I have spent my life in search of an objective standard for perfection, but strangely that objective standard is shallow. Even when I have achieved something special on those rare occasions, the exhilaration was fleeting. The lasting permanence is achieved via the race, not the prize. I was refined by the pursuit, not the procurement of something.

As a classical artist, I feel an obligation to share my experiences "making" music with my community. not just the performances. I am only just now learning to do that. I will always be "learning"

A few things I have learned. These are must haves for me...
1. I have standards for performance that are sometimes reasonable and sometimes not.
2. Cooperation with my fellow musicians is important.
3. Those…

Inspire or Indict

For the past few weeks I have been traveling, had obligations, a myriad of things.. all of which have made participating in the "normal" church choir experience a challenge(honestly impossible). Had an interesting experience this morning when I chose to sit with my kids in worship rather than join the choir in the loft. Several choir members actually gave me an overt scowl. Was their concern about inspiring me to return, accepting of my schedule-trusting my personal intentions, or indicting... the group's direction takes precedent over my personal direction. I had the distinct impression that I was thoroughly indicted for choosing family over an "obligation" to the choir. I haven't been in rehearsal for almost a month, I had never even seen the anthem, yet there is some sort of expectation that cannot be quantified or even qualified. What is up with that? My reaction is that I was ashamed for the indicters.. It made me not want to return.. In other w…

Assets

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Relationships are assets. Skills are assets. Things are assets.

If we use things to secure and build relationships, then there is something about the process that is raised to a different level. I live in a world with so many things that it is difficult to keep my eye on the prize. At the end of the contest, we are judged by how we have loved and made a difference helping others... not by how much stuff we have.

As I write this I am amazed at how I don't even listen to my own writing. It is like there is some program running in my brain to isolate me from words like that. I have been so conditioned to hear the words, and nod my head, that I lose track of the actions which generate value.

In my corporate world, I make decisions to keep what works and discard what doesn't. I understand better than most the volatility of an organization which prides itself on its ability to change. It can create instability but it is also a huge asset. The company can adjust.

I look around at churc…

Elite?

Classical music is only for the elite. agree/disagree

I wish I could understand why this statement has evolved to be so true in today's society. I don't think it has to remain a constant. If WE(the world) learn to do things we appreciate them and get excited. If I apply the analogy to sports, I think of x-games, bowling, curling, and yes... baseball. The world series is ongoing now.. those players are "elite"... yet there are outstanding ball players in every community. The feeder "ecosystem" is the critical piece missing in the classical music world.

You don't have to play in the major league to enjoy baseball. You don't have to play at Carnegie Hall to enjoy the beauty and artistry of classical music. You don't have to skate in the olympics to enjoy ice-skating. You don't have to have painting in the Met to enjoy art.

Enjoying something can make your life better. Every day needs a smile. Everyone needs something to aspire too... Elite…

Hard Core

We have a lot of nicknames and titles these days.
Hard Core, Type A, Passionate, Get it done
On the opposite side, is
Compassionate, High emotional quotient(EQ), considerate, caring.

I recognize and agree that approaches and process are important and I am a posterchild for relationships as the keys to successful delivery. I know that people are required to accomplish much of anything, and that the cold, hard, metrics and objectives are not really the end goal. Ultimately, my take is that not all people really care so much about their committments. For them, it is okay to just not get it done, or not hit their target... "they didn't really agree with that in the first place" is a common response.

As a senior manager, my response is almost always, "why the heck didn't you say something before we committed resources and time based on something you didn't think would get done."
I place great value in the people that I trust, and the ones that consistently m…

Clarity

Earlier this week, I had a lot of thoughts which ended up in a feeling of concern over a "lack of clarity" with my direction. This is a running struggle for me. I feel like I should be able to to control my choices and with them my future. I would stipulate that my success at work is all about managing risks, understanding options, and making good choices. I depend heavily on people around me in that entire process, but ultimately, I understand that the choice and the accountability is mine. I am a leader. I can't say exactly how I got here, how I developed the skills that enable me to inspire and "lead" other adults. I am not better than them, but I do have some gifts from God which help out a lot. I didn't really earn these, and I may not deserve them, but that is just how it is.

I am filled with a spirit of encouragement(to a fault), the clarity of thought to understand when decisions have to be made, and the courage to make them. My desire is to lead …

Entitled

It is strange how different the world can be from one day to the next. I wonder if it is a blessing or a curse that I begin each day feeling almost "entitled" to a success. on my terms..in my time..my way. The blessings that I have are so often taken for granted. I don't think I am a selfish or self-centered person. I work hard and I play hard. I use my talents and abilities to help those around me whenever I can. I care about people and I want to help, to fix things and "make it better". I feel that I am entitled to that opportunity. As a part of my maturing process in the last few years, I have come to understand, that I am not entitled to help someone else. Often I have to earn the right to even be a part of their life, and I expect the same of others.

Relationships that are ordained seems to be shallow and unfulfilling. The important ones are the ones where we earn each other's trust. The question of how and why we choose to do that is a whole othe…

back, forward, back, forward

Tracee and I are celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary this week. Quite a milestone..I think.
I am hung up on where I have been, and where I am going...

MY THOUGHTS:
" There's a light at each end of this tunnel, You shout 'cause you're just as far in as you'll ever be out And these mistakes you've made, you'll just make them again If you only try turning around.

2 AM and I'm still awake, writing a song If I get it all down on paper, it's no longer inside of me,
Threatening the life it belongs to... And I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud And I know that you'll use them, however you want to...

SOCIETY & CULTURE SAYS:
"But you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable, And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table. No one can find the rewind button now."

GOD SAYS:
"Sing it if you understand. and breathe, just breathe oh, breathe, just breathe&quo…

Fit in

"Sometimes you have to create that which you wish to be a part of."

quote was used by a senior exec today. It made me thing of Da Capo and reminded me that the creation/catalyst part is VERY challenging. It is far easier to just plug into an existing system, business, job, etc..

Price

Everything worth doing has a cost.
Everything has a cost.
The trick is to do the stuff worth doing without incurring more cost than you can manage.
How do you decide what is worth doing versus what is "fluff"?

In the business world, decisions are actually pretty easy if you manage well. Cost vs benefit is a pretty clear answer when it comes to investing.

In the "family" world, particularly the arts world, it is not so easy to make calls. We are starting something new, there is an adoption curve, and a window where it takes time to get established. How long is it? Our goal is to increase volume of work and value to the "world", not to increase profit.

When you can't cut costs any more, it is time to increase revenue or cash inflow. time to raise money any way we can. Even that plan has a price. Give up control, spread the load.. but NEVER compromise the education & experiences we provide.

Enough

The music is enough, or it should be if you are a musician. I have been reflecting over the competition experience a bit in the last few days. Okay, truthfully, I couldn't sleep last night and this is a summary of what I was thinking about until about 2am...

As a musician, I spent most of my formative years trying to please the other musicians around me. I am a pleaser, I know that... I needed to do it good enough. I needed to always be better. The equation here is not totally wrong for me now. I understand that I do need to continually strive for excellence, continually try to improve myself, my knowledge, and my skills. However, I do not do all of that because of others. I do it because I have been given a blessing by God and I am obligated to use and share my talents. The music and the intersection it provides between performer, composer, audience and source is worthy of this attention and diligence.

Charles' wonderful quote about the Artist Experience resounds in my …

Liszt songs

I have been studying and doing some basic research on Liszt songs. Very exciting repertoire for Charles and I to work on. I can't remember the last time I was inspired to do research/musicology type work just for me. It might have been at some point in undergraduate at WCC.. ;-)

I have been exploring Google Apps and the data below is posted in one of my "docs".. very cool as a reference.


Liszt stuff to read: publications/books/songs

FRANZ LISZT’S SONGS ON POEMS BY VICTOR HUGO. By. SHIN-YOUNG PARK.

Miller, Richard. “The Songs of Franz Liszt.” Preface to the score of Franz Liszt: Twenty-five
Songs for Voice and Piano, vol. 1. New York: International Music Company, 1998.

Turner, Ronald. “A Comparison of Two Sets of Liszt-Hugo Songs.” Journal of the American
Liszt Society 5 (June 1979): 16-31.

Headington, Christopher. “The Songs.” In Franz Liszt: The Man and His Music, ed. Alan
Walker, 221-247. London: Barrie & Jenkins, 1970.

Hennemann, Monika. “Liszt’s Lieder.” In The Cambri…

Westminster choir online video

Wow, found this video of the choir concert and couldn't remember if I had posted it before. This is an excellent job of adapting a choral concert experience for online video presentation.

http://www.brightcove.tv/title.jsp?title=686985782

Just do it ?

Nike has branded this phrase and as I have gone through this week, it has struck home. I have made many choices in the past 12-18 months and the overwhelming instinct in most cases was to wait and think, analyze, gather feedback, etc..

All of that is valuable, but the real plan must be to spend time in prayer, seeking guidance from God. We are not to trust in our own abilities. We are in fact told to rely on him for all things. The question always arises: What does that mean for me now?

My answer: If you have put the preparation time in in prayer and you are operating out of faith, then you must "JUST DO IT".

Preparation is key, but action is required.

Liszt was famous for quote which in essence said. We are obligated to share our gifts with the world. Not asked.. we are OBLIGATED, ASSIGNED, EXPECTED...

That means giving, not getting. Intentionality is where it starts and finishes. The results are not the goal. Judgement and worth is not up to us. God just says &qu…

Buon Giorno

We are in the finals of the Garrison competition. Yesterday's semis went well and we are pleased to be performing along with such wonderful artists.  Since our performance is at 11:30 this am, we awoke very early and I am writing this as I sit in the beautiful sun room of Ariel and Vivian Dechosa, watching the world slowly fill with light.  Charles came upstairs just now and shared Psalm 59:15-16 with me and I also shared Fernando Ortega's "Creation Song" with him. 
Today as we enter into the glory of music making I pray that our music can touch those around us and that our performance will be strengthened by the Holy Spirit. 
I will sing to the Lord all my life, I will sing praises to my God.
Psalm 59:15-16 ( KJV) Let them wander up and down for meat, and grudge if they be not satisfied.  But I will sing of the power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.

Press to Podcast

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The Midlothian exchange published a nice article about my upcoming competition. worth a few minutes.
http://www.midlothianexchange.com/npps/story.cfm?ID=1256


And we now have an official "podcast". Lots of good recordings up there including some of our material for the competion this weekend. click here to visit. You can even subscribe to it in your iTunes and download to your iPod or iPhone.. If you are lucky enough to have one.

Preparation for...

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Charles and I finished our last major rehearsal last night for the Garrison competition. I was struck by the impermanence of so much of our work. As musicians, our preparation is not a finite event. This feels like I am stating the obvious. We prepare, practice, practice, practice, and then when the clock strikes the time.. We execute and perform where we are. As a teacher I have tried to explain this concept to my students for a long time through overly melodramatic statements..

"The perfect performance does not exist.
We can never be good enough, if we think we are good enough, we should quit"

For me, this reality is best defined by the concepts I have learned from Charles Hulin, post school. Our performance is an exploration of a point in time and space. The intersection of performer, composer, poet, and audience into one fleeting experience. Each member of the previous list has a role to play. Each must exhibit maturity and give of themselves in an open, honest, transp…

Reflections..911

Today is an appropriate time for reflections.
I remember hearing about the event at breakfast in the restaurant of the Hotel at Va Beach. I remember making it back to the room just in time to see the second plane hit. I remember resolving to use music to get through it. I remember being concerned about my distance from my church family during the crisis. I remember being glad that I was with my family. I remember feeling angry and wanting to lash out at those who had attacked us. I remember a profound sense of pride and unity as an American.
Things have changed these days, but not my feelings. I remain proud of my country, my family and my decisions. I can only hope that we all embrace the leadership mantle thrust upon us by our position in the world. We must accept it with humility.

Reading Signals vs Noise blog today and I gleaned this wonderful wisdom...
The way you treat people is the legacy you leave
"There are different ways to lead. Some people get results by yelling and bu…

Maturity

O, how I long for a time when churchgoers don't feel the need to judge others around them. Today, Tracee and I chose to sit out in the congregation with the kids so that we could see Josh be presented his First grade bible.. Almost everyone in choir understands this, or at least has the maturity to respect our decisions. But... not everyone does.

The looks, the smirks, the questioning. It is soooo typical, and this is from people that I love.. imagine what occurs from the people who don't even like us.

I am a mature musician, a mature Christian, an experienced parent, and I am not subject to the judgement of choir members on where I sit or what I do on Sunday morning. The accountability that I so often preach about, does not apply here. Somehow writing this actually makes me feel less irked by the whole thing.

Family trumps choir EVERY time both for the kids and for me. I will be sitting in the congregation at least once a month from now on so that I can enjoy worshipping …

Pavarotti

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I gave my performance at Chowan last night and I think it may have been some of the best singing I have EVER done. I love the pressure, the adulation, the intensity and the pure fear before the "moments" that occur in live performance like this.
As a tenor, I was overwhelmed by the loss of Luciano Pavarotti yesterday and I shared my personal Pavarotti story with the audience last night. At the intermission, I talked with Charles and Kathy and thought about how I always thought that I would have the chance to sing and perform for him again. I just "expected" to be able to interact with him once I became a professional. Naive, arrogant, hopeful... my emotions and memories are all largely irrelevant now that he is gone. I will not have that chance in this world. Perhaps I missed it, perhaps I simply made the right decisions and prioritized. Regardless, A GREAT artist and light has gone out of the world. Pavarotti transcended opera and classical singing. He def…

Perspective (coffee or cup)

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My friend Ricky sent this to me today. I am thankful for him. I don't usually like or even read multiple forwards but this one was different..for some reason I can't explain. I didn't write it, don't know who did, but I am thankful for their effort wherever they are...

COFFEE NOT THE CUP

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the Professor said:

"If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones.
While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, t…

Collaborate

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My pianist and I have thought a lot lately about what is "good enough" when it comes to our performance. I have come to the conclusion that just like so many other things in life, that is likely the wrong question. As we have finished our preparations for a series of concerts over the next 2 weeks I have been reminded that the goal of perfection is not really such a healthy goal. It is more important to simply engage and immerse one's self in the experience and the events which surround us. For Charles and I that means to just BE who we are, embrace the music, and engage with our audience whoever they are. It is important for us to collaborate!

Few thoughts on our program...
Our program focuses on human vanity and our focus on the famous "unrequited love" of the romantic period. The composers and poets were dealing with much of the same emotion and energy that I mention now. They were seeking something greater than themselves. They sought fulfillment and happi…

Disjointed

I have been flailing about today trying to find a "productivity groove".. Since it is already 1:00, I guess that is not likely to get much traction..

On the other hand, while doing some web browsing over lunch, I read this post and it is EXCELLENT. I encourage you to read it and think about what actions you might take to make a difference.

Biblical Illiteracy

jeff

Insieme:Together

Last night I felt an urging to reach out and talk with old friends. A quick review of my address book revealed that I am woefully out of touch with many, many friends of only 5-6 years ago. These people were a huge part of my "foundation" which I rely so heavily on these days. Soooo, instead of turning on the TV, or reading, or even writing for my blog ;-), I made a phone call and connected. We were once again together even if only for the short hour or so.

We have so many tools in our world today, and we use them so poorly for what really matters.

How refreshing it was to reconnect, even if only for a fleeting few moments.

Should have been Clara

This little girl and her family did a great work in this recording. I know I'm a bit video crazy today, but this was great.

Darkness into light? Who Am I?

wow, this was VERY cool.

Addio

We went to the farewell celebration for Susan tonight at HRBC. She has resigned, and is looking for a new future. The event was wonderfully orchestrated, well attended and successful in every aspect. The closing number was Phillip signing "Thank you, for giving to the Lord" to the recording. Elegant, touching, authentic, beautiful in every sense. She has a wonderful spirit and the church appears to have treated her appropriately. (at least on the surface)... I know there must be more, but I don't want to know of it.

As I listened, my heart was sickened upon thinking of my own departure from Branch's Baptist Church in Richmond and how poorly that was handled. I do miss those people. I love them and to this day, I feel like I left a huge piece of me at that place.

Back to reality... Tracee thinks I may be depressed, but I am not. She thinks I get mean when I am stressed like this. Now, there may be some truth to that. The upcoming competition has me stressed and excite…

Opportunity Lost

Results aren't really enough. One of my best friends, tells me that all the time. "In our world," he says "it is all about who thinks, not what they think"

The corporate line is you must always prove a little more, wait a little longer, earn someone's favor and approval. Transparency and honesty are not enough to guarantee success.

At least I still have a job. That is more than most of my friends of all these years. My company missed an opportunity to gain my trust today. My manager lost ground and gave up respect. In the end, my mgt did not get the job done.

I am trying to find the silver lining, the opportunity that God provides for me when my own hopes fall short. As I have grown, this takes more patience and study. I trust in the Lord.

Sing God a simple song. Lauda, laude Make it up, as you go along. Lauda laude. Sing like you like to sing. God loves all simple things. For God is the simplest of all.
Blessed is the man who loves the Lord. Blessed is th…

Promotion?

I have been in this official "Director Stretch Role" since January and I am ready to see some of the recognition and $ associated with the workload and responsibility.  I know the promotion committee met today, I know the board has to approve senior level promotions, and yet I am still anxious.  I don't know how I can do any better than I am doing.  I am not sure what exactly will happen if I don't get the promotion I feel I deserved.  I guess I'll end up lumping it and doing the right thing by supporting my family. 
I wonder if that is what everyone says everytime?

Kudos

Today is a good day to send some kudos to colleagues so I did it. Things have gone really well in the past few weeks. Teams are aligned and working together to deliver. No one has had any major meltdowns on delivery milestones and it is Summertime so people are generally in a good mood. I do find that when opportunities arise, it is important to act quickly and share the good news. When I do that, it seems to build on itself... as long as it is authentic. The kudo must be earned and then recognized.

It is so easy to focus in on words and ideas and often they turn to the negative. Perception can so easily become reality. My rule: look for the actions and the results because people NEVER do things without a reason.

I have learned over the weekend that my reasons are pretty simple. The traits which most succinctly define me are:
1. dedicated to learning and innovation for my self(personality, skills, etc.) I am and must remain a learning machine.
2. I operate through communities of …

Invitation to community

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I used the Luke 14 scripture in Sunday school last week when I was teaching. The focus there was to make a point that the peoples' possessions and choices can easily become a burden and keep you away from something or someone which you desire.

I went through this week with a different perspective because our friends Tara and Andy are here from Florida. Tracee and I will host the 3rd annual Big Daddy Bash this weekend. This is a party intended at merging all of our worlds. Our goal is to provide a chance for us to catch up with good friends, and meet families and friends of the kids' friends and even our neighbors. It is striking how few people respond to this sort of invitation. It is as though our worlds are almost too busy for those around us to trust.

I know it isn't fair to judge based on conditions that I have no knowledge of.. my thinking now is only of the 300+ invitees that we won't get to see tomorrow. Our context for relationship for those wonderful souls …

A Day

Began the day with a "big" breakfast with visiting friends. Then I sang in the truck all the way to work. Ended up singing "for myself" Simple Song and it was a great feeling. What a great way to start the day. When I got out of the truck to walk into the building, my spirit was high.

Interesting how quickly that feeling can be damaged if I had let it. Day has been insane, but I simply refuse to be dragged down.

I am in control of my perspective. Not the world.

God's way?

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OPEN DOOR NOTES 072907 Huguenot Road Baptist Church

Consequences
Causality: Cause and Effect is a powerful concept…
Think about the consequences of having so many things, as well as the consequences of our trials.

Blessings
Who/What is the source of your success/blessing and your trials?
Wisdom and intention matter as we assess our blessings and options.
How do you use wisdom to ensure that blessings don't become a burden?

Choices
Who do you owe? How much and why?
How do Assets translate into action? Where then is the accountability?
How do you use your assets?

Faith
In all things, God works for our good. He has plans to prosper us, not to harm us.

Patience
Relationships with others are central. We need to demonstrate patience and understanding.


2 Chronicles 1
7 That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you."
8 Solomon answered God, "You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. 9 Now, LORD G…

Encouragement

It is midyear "development checkin time" in the corporate world. It is time to meet with my reports and provide them advice. I wonder if they know that while I do subscribe to the corporate value of do the right thing and excellence, I use the passage below from 1 Thessalonians as a much more accurate model for my own behavior. We call them competencies. I figure when I can do this, I'll be doing okay.


1 Thessalonians 5:13 (The Message)
Honor those leaders who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love!
Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. And be careful that when you get on each other's nerves you don't snap at each othe…

Return to reality

The experience at the Lasker Summer Music Festival was very special for Tracee and I both this weekend. Making music, being among some "adopted" family in Lasker and getting some solid quality time with Pastor Ricky.

My return to reality today was a shock to my system. The meetings, the quarrels, the stress, and the myriad of "balls in the air" made me long for the simplicity of preparing a concert for performance, and going for ice cream at Agnes' house.

I guess all retreats are like this. My parallel worlds seem to raise the intensity to a higher level and the shock exacts its toll on my faster than I would expect.

I pray Lord specifically for strength to persevere. I don't pretend that my choices make my life any easier than those around me. I choose to do so much and carry so much load. I choose the paths set before me.

Someday, I hope to return to simplicity of making music, but until I can find a financial model that will allow me to contribute wit…

Retreat

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And they are off. Tracee and I leave for Lasker today to spend the weekend with colleagues, friends and the fine people of Lasker NC. This weekend is the beginning of my return journey to the "serious professional singer" world as I'll present the Liszt Petrarch Sonnets as well as my beloved Poulenc set on the recital on Sunday.

This year for the first time Tracee is joining me on the concert stage and will present part of Schumann's Frauenliebe und Leben.

Excited, nervous, content are just some of the feelings running through my mind.
We are leaving the kids for the entire weekend with family. That alone is stressful.

Man, I love the intensity and buildup just prior to a performance. The last few moments are "lenteur immemoriale"

to fish or not to fish

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I didn't write the following story. I don't know who did. I received the following story in email at some point in the past few years and it moved me enough to save it. After listening to the missionaries from Southeast Asia speak this morning at HRBC, I pulled it up and reviewed it. I am putting it here so that you might read it and think about it.

There's a Catch to It

Now it came to pass that a certain group called themselves "Fishermen." And, lo, there were many fish in the waters all around. In fact, the area was surrounded by streams and lakes filled with hungry fish.

Week after week and month after month, these fishermen met to talk about their call to fish, the abundance of fish, and how they might go about fishing. They carefully defined what fishing means, defended fishing as an occupation, and declared fishing to be a primary task of fishermen.

Continually they searched for new methods of fishing. Further they said, "The fishing industry exists by …

To go or not to go...

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We didn't go to church this morning largely because I needed a break from commitments for a bit. I don't know if this was the right choice but it was the one we made.

We had a great time with the Wilsons last night getting to know another family with a lot of children(5) same age as ours. It is so refreshing to talk through challenges, and issues and experiences with others. I wonder what people without lots of kids even talk about these days. I think it is possible that I live in a different "universe" from them. I feel like the invisible guy in HEROES, walking around the city but not really participating directly in the machine, the social system.

Our family is going to the movies this afternoon. For us, this is a big deal. We almost never go out to the movies because the cost is so prohibitive for a family of 6. DVDs and on-demand is cheaper across the board plus we get to leverage our big screen TV better. Somehow, that makes me feel better about the investment …