The Whistler's Dream

Everybody needs a dream...
Mine is to go to Oklahoma and play whistles for The Pioneer Woman. (Having been invited, not in a "creepy stalker" kind of way, for the record.) Heck, I'd play in a pup tent in the backyard for the joy of the cows and critters. What can I say? I'm a fan.
Everybody needs a dream...

Random Fluffy Foto!

Random Fluffy Foto!
Writing in bed, and Beka editing by ear. Really. The ear typed some letters. Really.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

"He Gives and Takes Away..."

The Lord saw fit to give me a piece of my heart back today... As of this weekend, I'm back on the air at WCSG, doing the weekend overnights. :-D Just a few hours a week, but that's more than enough.

And it gives me back something that I lost in being laid off - it lets me know that I still have skills and experience that are worth something. It tells me that what happened was not my doing, or my lack of doing - it just was. The Lord reminds me that He still sees me, He is still in control, and He still cares.

And that makes all the difference. :-D

Friday, June 29, 2007

On the other side of a three gig day...

Yesterday was an example of why anybody who thinks that being self-employed is all about kickin' back, working when you feel like it, and money will just flood in is pretty much crazy.

Gig #1 - played at a retirement home at 2:30. Nice people, good time. Started setting up at 1pm, finished playing at 3:20, car is loaded and I'm driving home at 4:30.

Gig #2 - music at Dillenbeck's. Setup at 6pm, play from 7-8:45, packed and out the door by 9:10. Sold 1 CD. (and got a free mango smoothie that was amazing!!!)

Gig #3 - playing bass for Jeremy at The Break Room on Plainfield. Arrived at 9:23. Time to start playing: 9:30 for a 45 minute set. Jeremy had taken my stuff to the gig, so all I had to do was get out my bass, plug in, turn it on, tune, and we're off. Torn down and out the door by 10:45.

Money made for this day's work? Less than $80. Amount of joy getting to play at these different places? Priceless.

Amount of appreciation for Vicki, who sacrifices a lot so that I can continue to pursue creative things? Unmeasurable.

How tired am I, the day after? Very, especially since my brain decided that sleeping from 1am to 5:45am was all the sleep I needed, even though my body said, "are you NUTZZZ???" Ah well. I think Vicki and I are going to sleep in tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Like riding a bike...

But this post is not about bike riding. :-D

Isn't it amazing how a skill that is once learned can come back? It's been a long LONG time since I've done a regular storytelling gig. My usual thing is take my routine to a church, do a program, and I'm gone. Sometimes, they call me to come back, but usually it's a while between.

This summer, I'm doing a weekly gig at Frenz Coffee House in GR. Every Wednesday morning at 10:30. Which means I see some of the same faces every week. Which means, I need to have something different every week. :-D

The magic is not an issue - I have enough equipment, left over from my days doing this as my full-time gig to get me through a couple of summers. But the stories are another issues. There are some that can be repeated, and if I see mostly new faces like this morning, I'll repeat a story or two. But mostly, each week needs new stories.

The point? Although it's been a while since I've done stories and magic this regularly, the skills are still there. The gift and the passion that the Lord put in me for telling stories is still there, as strong as ever. I'm having to stretch, learn new material, and practice a lot, but that's good. I was due for a change anyway. But the basic abilities are still there, just waiting to be used.

Has the Lord given you a gift, a skill - something to use for Him? Maybe it's time to take it out, dust it off, and give it a go. You never know where or when He might use it.

And when He does, it's amazing!!!! Just drop by Frenz some Wednesday morning at 10:30, and you'll see what I mean. :-D (but not next week - I'm off for the 4th of July)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

"Now THAT was fun!!"

Why, yes - that title IS a movie quote. Thanks for noticing. :-D

Our worship leader, Jeremy, is also a solo artist with one CD out and another being finished. Well, tonight he played at Beanabox here in GR along with Julie Belle, and Jeremy brought along his band.

The band, being his sister Cara (she of the voice like an angel) adding vocals, his dad, Dave playing drums, and the one non-Hoekstra present, me playing bass. It was a sweet time, and a ton o' fun for me.

Then, I got to hear Julie Belle, and if you ever get the opportunity you should too. She has an amazing voice, and writes her own tunes. Good stuff indeed.

Jeremy and Julie will be back at Beanabox on July 21st - write it down and come if you can. It's a night of good music. And, really good smoothies! (I recommend the mango; Vicki gives props to the strawberry banana)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

To be what He made me to be...

Why do I so stubbornly refuse to become all that God intended me to be?

Instead, I spend my time moaning about how I ought to have a real job, how I'm not keeping up my end of the responsibilities in our family, how nobody in their right mind tries to make a living doing creative things. The musician's #1 credo? "Don't quit your day job."

And I waste precious time and energy wallowing around in my own misery...

"Well I picked up all these pieces,
and I built a strong deception,
and I locked myself inside of it
for my own protection.

And I sit alone inside myself,
and curse my company.
For this thing that has kept me
alive for so long is now killing me."

(Bob Bennett, "Lord Of The Past")

So, instead of saying that nobody in their right mind tries to make a living doing what I do, what if I accept the fact that 1) I've never been what you would call "normal," and 2) I've not been in my right mind for years. (ok - that last was a joke...) What if I allow myself to believe what God has been saying all along - that I was created for something very different, very wonderful, and if it doesn't seem to be what is "normal," well that's just fine. Instead of thinking what I "should" be doing, or imagining what others think I should be doing, what if I simply DO. What if I believe that God made me very unique, that He gifted me in so many ways that I can't count them, and that He wants me to use all of those things to give Him glory in as many different ways as possible?

What if I see myself as HE sees me, fearfully and wonderfully made? What if I take my eyes off my own pity parade, and instead acknowledge and affirm His blessings in making me what I am? What if I turn all of my energy and time and resources into becoming everything that He intended me to be?

What if?

I don't know. But I intend to find out...

Monday, June 18, 2007


It's tough when you've worked yourself up to something, only to be told "NO."

I had accepted the fact that I need the gastric bypass surgery. I can't do it on my own. So, we tried to navigate the mountain of requirements that the insurance company has for the surgery. We thought we had covered everything, that I certainly would be approved, and off we would go.


Apparently, there were some requirements that I didn't meet. We thought that everything was covered, but (as insurance companies are wont to do) some of the i's weren't dotted, and some t's weren't crossed. So, they said no.

And that's tough. Having gotten myself mentally ready for doing this, almost certain (as was our doctor and my counselor) that approval would come, and having started to get my head wrapped around what the future might look like, the path ended before it even got started.

So, now what? I don't know. Thinking about Romans 8:28 is not a welcome thing right now. The last 1.5 years have beaten me down quite a bit, and this is just one more thing. So, as I've done so much lately, I wait. There's nothing else I can do.


In the last two weeks, we have...

- Traveled to Columbus OH for a Cirque du Soleil show (Corteo, which I believe is now our favorite one...)

- Traveled to Newberry MI (in da UP, eh?) for grandpa's funeral. This also had the AMAZING benefit of getting to see Vicki's brother Dennis and his daughter Dillon. (and allowing me to get a soon-to-be-posted picture of all FOUR of my cuter than cute nieces, which should pretty much settle the competition with Hannah once and for all!)

- Drove home with Ezri on Sunday, while Vicki went down to Ohio with her sister for the memorial service and burial on Tuesday.

- Delivered the first of some music I've been working on for a new podcast from CBH. It's a fun project, and I've got more to work on...

- Did the first of our summer story hours at Frenz on Plainfield last Wednesday, and a really fun time was had by all - even by the folks who came in during the gig and wondered what in the WORLD was going on...

- Got a notice from the city that if we don't get our yard under control, we're in trouble. Sheeesh. Yes, I'll get that done in the next day or so.

Add to that some rehearsals coming up for a couple of different gigs, getting ready for some possible voice tracking work, and trying to keep the house and our lives afloat... I'm tuckered. :-D

Enough of that. Time to make some calls and get to work. :-D

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Wednesdays are FRENZdays!!

Wednesday morning is the start of something new... for me, and for Frenz Coffee House on Plainfield. They are doing a summer story hour for families at 10:30am, and I'm the storyteller for the summer. :-D I was thinking I was going to be one of a few tellers, but Kevin the manager said, "you're it." Whoa. And, Yikes-A-Roni...

Good incentive to learn a BUNCH of new stories, as well as to polish up the ones I already know. GREAT incentive to drop many pounds - storytelling and magic take about 2 or 3 times the energy out of me that playing music does. If I don't drop over of a heart attack, it should be very good indeed.

So, if your kiddos say, "THERE'S NOTHING TO DO!", bring them to Frenz on Plainfield. Wednesday mornings, 10:30am until the end of summer. (except for July 4th, that is!) Hope to see you there...

And hope to make it through the summer. :-D

Monday, June 11, 2007

Goodbye, Grandpa...

Vicki's Grandfather, Herschel Osborn, passed away Sunday night. He lived a long, full, Godly life, (he was 101 years old!) and he and Grandma were an example to us of how love and faithfulness endures in a marriage when the Lord is the center of your home.

He was the only Grandfather I knew - none on my side of the family were around enough for me to have memories of them. And my fondest memory of him was the night before our wedding when Grandpa, having made his living as a tailor, hemmed my pants.

Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into your rest.

Friday, June 08, 2007

A good night at Frenz

We had a great night at Frenz! And, some friends came to hear me play, which is SUCH an encouragement!! It means a lot when you know folks took time out of their busy lives, came all the way to Rockford, had to park many miles away because of the "start of summer celebration," (Rockford was wall-to-wall people on Friday night!) all to hear my music. Wow.

Thank you, friends... Vicki and I are grateful indeed!

The Captain jams on at Frenz in Rockford

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The tooth... the tooth... the tooth...

(actually, the subject line is a quote, but a fairly obscure one...)

I get the joy of having two teeth extracted today. :-/ Yeah. One is broken down to the gum line, so they get to go digging for it. The other has been giving me grief for a couple of weeks now. Thought it was going to get a root canal and crown, but when the endodontist looked at it, he decided that it would cost more than it's worth to save it.

Now, I get to have a little session with the oral surgeon. "Oral Surgeon." Two words that you don't really want to hear together.

The upside? Is there one? Yeah - no more pain from that tooth. That'll be worth it.

We're expecting to get the news that Vicki's grandfather has passed on any day now. He's 101, and is very close to his journey to (as C.S. Lewis would say) "the far-off country." And even though he is well along in years, there will still be pain at his passing. But that pain for us will be a release from pain for him and an entry into joy everlasting. It could be many days before it happens, or it could be today. And for grandpa, it will be worth it. No more pain, no more suffering.

Kind of like losing a couple of teeth. Some discomfort ("Prepare for a lot of stinging!" - that's a less-obscure quote...) and then it's over.

We have a good friend who knows about this - his mom left for glory over the weekend. Her pain and burdens are laid down. For those left behind, tho, the pain and loss will be around for a while. We're praying for you, friend!

Depressing? No. Just longing for the day when "the grey rain curtain rolls back, and then you see it... green hills, and a swift sunrise." The far-off country.

Keep your eyes on the green hills, friends. One day at a time, and soon we'll be there.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Let's Hear It For The Dogs

Reading Amanda's post about the departure of one of their dogs made me want to give a shout out to canine companions - present and past.

Buddy I - the U.P. dog. Shepherd/Malamute mix. Nice guy - loved to ride in the car. Trashed the kitchen carpet when he was mad at us. Had to leave him behind when we moved to Grand Rapids. Don't have many memories of him, since we didn't have him all that long.

Buddy II a.k.a. "The Old Man" - Shepherd/Golden Retriever mix. Our cross-eyed boy. Meek and mild, confused most of the time, with the sweetest temperament. He became ours when he was 1 year old, and passed away at 10. He was my dog, no doubt about it, and I miss the Budster.

Kira - Vicki's Baby Girl. First one we raised from puppyhood. Husky/Lab mix. One blue and one brown eye. Smart, willful, energetic, loving, and was Buddy's "seeing eye dog." She taught him that people are alright, and even nice to be around. We said goodbye to her July, 2006 at the ripe old age of 16. She was a special one...

Ezri a.k.a. "Ezzie The Wonder Dog" or "BusyDog" - The current canine occupant of our home. She's a true "What Is It?", a mutt down to her toenails. She's probably the most intelligent dog we've had, and plays constantly. Affection doesn't motivate her - toys do. She's a bit anti-social, which is a shame, 'cause she's fun to play with and fun to watch. She's my girl, and keeps me company working here at home. Oh - and she LOVES Hannah and Denise! But not Ryan... :-D

Here's to the others, belonging to friends & family... Binky (the Pygmy Water Buffalo), Lady, Teddy, Nemesis, Roscoe, and so many others. Thanks for the joy and companionship you gave to us. And thank you, Lord, for the gift of our animal friends - be they dog, cat, feathered, finned, sleek, scaly, or other.

Time to go outside and play with Ezzie. :-D