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.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tonight in Hudsonville CANCELED!

I HATE to cancel a show! It always leaves me uncertain - did I do the right thing? Should I have just pushed through the snow and went for it? Would anyone have showed up if I had made it through the snow? Is someone going to show up who didn't get the word that I canceled it? ARRRRGH!

Forecast: 2-4" today, 3-5" tonight. No break in there for anything to get cleaned up.

So, I pulled the plug. My wife will be a little frustrated - being the U.P. girl that she is, she'd say "this is NOTHING! What did you do that for?" But I went out in it, saw how things are, checked the forecast, and made the decision.

So, no show tonight. Sorry if you were planning on joining us - I'm a wimp. :-/

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Christmas event of the year!!!

This is Jolly Jeremy...

And this is Cara(ling)...

Along with "The Governor"...

And some other guy...

And you're invited!

This weekend - Friday night in Holland
and Saturday night in Rockford.
Check the bar on the right for the details,
and come out to one of the most
fun Christmas shows of the season!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Hannah, what have you done?

Just typed one of those sentences that I never thought I'd ever type:

"Honey, we're out of soy milk."


And this is all Hannah's fault. Totally. Without question. She stayed at our house to care for Ezri. Fine - excellent. And much appreciated. She brought a few grocery items for her use while here. Cool. Great. She had to leave suddenly...

And left the soy milk behind.

(ominous chords play in background, forshadowing danger)

Vicki tried the soy milk.

(music intensifies, building toward huge crescendo...)

And liked it.

(massive chord from orchestra, communicating point of no return hopelessness)

So, there we are.

"Honey, we're out of soy milk."

Oi vey.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I've mentioned before that my CDs are available at CD Baby - one of the most excellent sites for independent artists to get their music out there. Well, while looking places over where our music is available, I noticed that my Christmas CD had a review posted! That's SO cool! Someone enjoyed the CD so much that they took the time to write a review and post it. What a blessing! :-D If you'd like to read it, check it out here.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Who's the turkey?

So. Thanksgiving week. Already.


That means a gig at the Degage fund raiser tonight, Vicki is singing in Choral Society Sunday, making sweet potato casserole for Thursday (we've been told that our invitation is only good if we show up with "the goods." :-D), playing at Susie's on Friday morning, playing at Frenz on Saturday morning, and church on Sunday.

Can I set my clock back to August and sleep in? :-D

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I pray...

... for a spirit of peace in a time of uncertainty.

... for a vision through God's eyes, rather than my own.

... for a heart that seeks His agenda, and not how I think things should be.

... for His grace on our country.

... for continued freedom to serve Him, to worship Him, and to live according to His word.

... for His will to be done, not mine.

... for His plan to succeed, not mine.

... for His glory, not the glory of people.

... for His sovereignty.

... for obedience, to honor those who will "rule over us."

... for His hand of guidance for those who will "rule over us."

Kýrie, eléison;
Christé, eléison;
Kýrie, eléison

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Ft. Wayne - My kinda town...

Just got back from a couple of days in Ft. Wayne with our friends Suzie and David, and what a fun time it was! I played at a coffee house called Firefly, and it was sweet indeed. Lovely place to play, lovely friends to spend time with, and lovely driving down and up again.

And, Ezri had her first visit to the PetsHotel (in Petsmart on 28th street), and she also had a nice time. (and did very well, according to the folks there)

So, a groovy getaway for us all. Than
ks Suzie and that crazy man you adore. We love you two!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

AARP??? You have GOT to be kidding!!?!?!?!?!

So, the Vickster is reading something or other online yesterday, and come across something about memberships that pay you back well for what you spend for them. And she shares the following tidbit...

"They say an AARP membership is really worth it. And hey - they let you get one when you turn 50. So you could get yours next year." She then kept chattering about how you can get a card for your spouse, so she could have one too, but I'll admit she lost me there.

I qualify for AARP membership NEXT YEAR. May 21st, 2009.


If anyone wants me, I'll be in my room, packing some dreams that I won't be needing anymore. 'Cause obviously touring with Cirque, clowning with Ringling, or hitting the road with a jazz trio won't be happening anytime soon. Cancel the order for the tour bus, put the craft booth on hold, and I won't be needing that rear-projection system for telling stories in front of a screen with projected "scenery" on it.

I know - 50 is the new 30, or 40 or something. :-D But my dad died in his 50's. My mom only made it to 69. My great-grandmother was in her 70's, and my grandmother was in her 80's. So it would seem that the days ahead do really number less than the days that have come before.

And yet my mind keeps going. So many ideas for performances, for songs for CDs, for other creative outlets. A mind that's full-steam ahead with a body that's way past warranty.

If you'll excuse me, I've got some contemplating to do. :-D

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It all goes splat at home...

The votes are in, and it's been decided that vacation was worth all the stuff that happened when we came home. It was relaxing and fun, and we had a blast.

So, upon arrival at home, we found...

A leaking hot water heater.

A cold house, needing a new line run for power to the furnace.

A dog who destroyed a very expensive something belonging to our friend. (we're SO sorry, dear!!)

Now, the dust has settled. The hot water heater is replaced, blessing us with lovely hot showers, and the damage in the basement wasn't as bad as we first thought, or anywhere near as bad as it might have been; the electrical work was done yesterday, so as soon as we sweep out the ducts, the furnace shall ride again; and as for Ezri, we'll have to see if Hannah ever wants to come back. I'll bribe her with red cake - that should do it. :-D (or maybe not...)

Perspective. It's all a matter of perspective. :-D

Cool stuff I learned in Tennissee

To be totally fair, here's some stuff I discovered in Nashville... there are less of them, because we weren't there as long as we were in Missouri.

1) I like Bison. It was really tasty!

2) Having a bookshelf collapse right next to your bed will cost you in sleep. And make you dream of falling stuff.

3) Nashville has a lot of cool stuff, but it's hard to see it. All the coolness kind of blends in to the other stuff, so it's either all cool, or just well hidden.

4) The Country Music Hall of Fame is a big ol' building. Next time I intend to enter it.

5) Same with the Grand Ol' Opry.

6) Did I mention the Bison? YuMMM.

Thanks to Matt & Sam (and the perpetual motion machine they call Ethan) for a great time. We'll be back. :-D

Cool stuff I learned in Missouri

1) Vicki and I are unsinkable... we've survived both the traveling Titanic exhibit that was in Chicago some years back, and we both survived the Titanic Museum in Branson. (short backstory: they give you a boarding pass when you come in, and at the end you can see if you "lived." Both times, we both lived.)

2) I really wish we had a Sonic drive-in in W. Michigan - GOOD STUFF!

3) Vicki and I like sorghum. Especially on a big ol' warm dinner roll that was thrown at you from across the room. (a restaurant called Lambert's, "the home of Throwed Rolls")

4) I could get used to Missouri. Pretty place - mountains when ya want 'em, flat places too, nice folks... Vicki and I will be back there -soon. :-D

5) Branson is a crazy place - crazy cool, crazy weird, and crazy crazy. I like it.

6) Seeing the arch in St. Louis at night was an amazing experience. Wish we could have stopped for pictures, but that'll have to wait for the next time we go through.

7) The Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Springfield makes Cabella's look like an empty parking lot. Whoa!!!

8) Sometimes you find the coolest stuff in the most unlikely places... Bought a CD called "Illuminate" at the aforementioned Bass Pro Shop,and I love it. It's Gregorian Chant with some cool nature sounds and instrumental backgrounds. Beautiful!

9) I really liked the Hollywood Wax Museum in Branson, but the displays took a weird theme change near the end...

And the last thing I learned in Missouri?

10) If you turn someone down who offers you "healing and the Words of Life," it confuses the HECK out of them. :-D Ask one of us about this in person - telling it here just wouldn't do the story justice.

Thank you, Andrew & Shantel - we had a GREAT time, and can't wait to come back!!!

Blogus Maximus

Fair warning - there's going be a whole lot of blog posts in a row...

Of course, this warning will be buried by the time the others get here, so it's a moot point, but it's the thought that counts.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I'm not a "pass it on" kind of guy. When someone sends me an email that says "pass this on," I generally don't. I figure my inbox is overstuffed, so I'd rather not fill up someone else's.

However, every once in a while, something comes along that needs to be shared. My friend Suzie posted this on her blog, and I was very moved by it. So, I'll pass it along. Besides, I've never tried embedding a video before. :-D Thanks, Suzie!

Monday, October 06, 2008

A moment of perfect beauty...

Very brief music lesson here...

Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings is one of the most haunting pieces on the planet. If you've never experienced it, run (don't walk) to the library, the store, iTunes, wherever you get your tunes and listen to it. I'll wait...........

Cool, eh? I thought you'd like it.

What you may not know is that Barber also scored a vocal version of this piece, "Agnus Dei." Gorgeous, and tremendously hard, considering the voices are doing the work of the strings, but strings don't have to breathe. I've heard a few renditions of this work, and it's equally as chilling as the string version.

But the one I listened to tonight took my breath away. Found it on iTunes, by Richard Marlow and the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge from the album Allegri: Miserere. Slower than any vocal version I've heard, with massive chords and amazing voices. The climax of the piece (starting about 6:20 and on) left me speechless, especially the almost dead silent chord following the big one. Whoa...

A moment of perfect beauty indeed. :-D

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Is it REALLY worth it???

Lovely vacation, off to Missouri and then to Tennessee. Caught up with family & friends, and listened to a really great book in the car.

Then the homecoming:

1)Our furnace is not working, but we knew that when we left. Came home to a COLD house.

2) Dog gate broken - very old, so no biggie there.

3) Dehumidifier broken, also already known.


4) Hot water heater failed, resulting in much water in basement and no hot water for a much-needed shower upon getting home. And it's Saturday, so who the HECK do we call to get it fixed. And we now have a LOT of wet stuff to clean out of the basement. And hopefully we didn't end up with a colony of mold to live with.

So, I ask you - was vacation worth it?... :-/

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More celebriDrivel

Ah, Tina Fey. That pinnacle of thespian accomplishment. Ranks right up there with the immortal Adam Sandler in my list. So, here's what she had to say in regard to all the attention on her SNL impression of Gov. Palin at that widely-panned self-congratulatory sleaze fest known as the Emmys:

"Fey herself, who has gotten so much attention for her impression of Palin on "Saturday Night Live," said she hopes the VP hopeful will be out of her life very soon.

"I want to be done playing this lady Nov. 5, so if anyone could help me be done playing her on Nov. 5, that would be good for me," Fey said, adding that she was totally resistant in acknowledging her uncanny physical resemblance to Palin until her young daughter turned on the TV and teased "that's mummy."

Simple solution: join the masses who've already turned off the tube, watch the ratings drop, and bingo - she's done playing anybody. Easy. Quick. And really REALLY painless. Or, save us the effort and just drop her butt right now. It's in her best intrests, really - if she doesn't want to play someone anymore, all she has to do is get out of our faces.

And take a few of your friends with you, Tina...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Arr! Ye say it be yer birthday? ARR!

As be me tradition, we be celebratin' Talk Like A Pirate Day!

My pirate name is:

Mad Sam Kidd

Every pirate is a little bit crazy. You, though, are more than just a little bit. Even though you're not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network
And, as also be me tradition, we be celebratin' the birthday of me first mate, a fine strappin' wench that's been on me crew for these past 26 years. I did try to find her pirate name, but the goat-kissin' son of a scurvy dog name-generatin'-thing didn't give 'er a name that did 'er justice. So, let me sees...

I calls her Cap'n Victoria Kidd, the scourge of typos and sloppy data (whatever that be). And she be me first mate, me soul mate, and me only mate on this 'ere voyage through life.

I loves ya, Sweet Vicki Sue, and I always will! ARRRR!!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Minor rant...

Alright - I just gotta put this out there...

I'm getting sick of musicians weeing themselves over their music being played by Republicans. The latest whine-fest? Ann & Nancy Wilson of Heart, objecting to the song "Barracuda" being played while Sarah Palin was onstage at the RNC. "Her views are certainly not our views" was the comment.

WHO CARES? Sorry, but I don't immediately think, "gee I guess that means that the Wilson sisters must fully support and agree with everything this candidate stands for!" Of course they don't - they're famous musicians. That pretty much points their compass to the far FAR left, if you get my drift.

Ms. Palin's nickname in High School was... any guesses?... Yup. "Barracuda." So that's the connection to the song. Period. Certainly, I can understand if the Wilson sistahs (and their ever-so-interested watchdogs at their label) want to get coin back from having the song played. That keeps the RIAA in business, after all. But assuming that a music clip constitutes an endorsement? Nah.

Besides, with their lack of anything current on the horizon, wouldn't you think that the Sistahs Wilson would like a little attention by now? Sheesh. If Ms. Palin wants to trot in to the strains of "Angelica's Waltz." I'll not only be happy to send her a CD, but I'll autograph it too. :-D

And hey - to be fair and balanced, if the good Senator O'BAM-ah would like to tra-lah in to that song, sure. That'd be fine. I'll just encode some subliminal messages mentioning how the use of this music doesn't necessairily represent the views of myself, Vicki, or Ezzie the Wonder Dog. So there.

Yikes-A-Roni. Sorry Ann & Nancy - just crawl back into whatever corner of obscurity you came from, and take a nap, 'k?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Ok - how do you do this blog thing again???

Greetings, all 2.72 (and falling) of you who actually read this thang. It's been a cool, interesting, disappointing, and fast August.

The cool? Having our niecelet, Kassi down for a whole week. People my age shouldn't try to have that much fun in that short of an amount of time. Included in the festival were: a day trip to Chicago, a walk at Meijer Gardens, shopping at Rivertown, the Dark Night in IMAX, smoothies, Chinese food at Ming Ten... whew!

The interesting? I played three Sunday nights at Susie's Cafe in GR. Found that folks that go there regularly really dig my music. So, I'll be planning some other trips there in the future. But not at night - they're only open nights in the summer for ice cream. So we might do some Friday lunch music in October, and some Holiday lunch things in December. We'll see. But it was a fabulous time.

The disappointing? I think I already mentioned that I was turned down for the third time by our insurance for bariatric surgery. And with that, I officially gave up trying. I've gotten weary of the whole insurance thing, where I play the part of the mouse in the wheel, and they play the part of the 5 year old kid trying to knock the mouse off the wheel.

I'm at 470 lbs., and the whole summer went by without me doing anything about that. No bike riding, because the bike that was custom built for me missed a major dimension, and it's too big for my short legs. The knees are hellish, it's hard to move, and I begin to understand how someone decides one day to just lay down and not get up.

Although I have it on good authority that if I try and go that route, certain people will be "all up in my grill about that." :-D Knowing the person that told me that, I totally believe it... It has crossed my mind, tho - what is the point at which someone just gives up? How does someone decide one day that they're down, and they're not getting up. How does a person get to 600, 700, 800 lbs without anyone convincing them otherwise?

On the other hand, if someone has given up, no amount of talking in the world can get through to them, I'd suspect. It scares me to think of being so desolate, so lonely, so depressed that laying down and not getting up again is your only option. And it scares me that it might be me someday who doesn't get up. I hope it isn't, but still...

The fast? Summer is gone. And I never got out to enjoy it. I sat enthralled by my computer, wasting precious time I could have been out in the sunshine. Now the dark days are coming, and it's too late.

God and I are still not on a first-name basis yet. My heart remains a cold stone, not moved by worship, and I wonder what it will take to thaw it out.

Depressing? Yeah. But that's what's been roaming around in my head lately. And sometimes, the first step to changing things is cleaning out the ol' brainpan and getting rid of some of the crap. :-D

Thursday, August 07, 2008

To "Shade Of My Heart"...

Happy Anniversary, my dearest Sue!

"It was 26 years ago today, Sgt. Vicki taught the man to play. They've been goin' in and out of style, but they're guaranteed to raise a smile. So let me introduce to you the act you've known for all these years..."
Mr. and Mrs. Cal & Vicki Olson

Regrets? Only that I've taken way too long to become the man I am today. Lessons learned? Too many to count. Laughter? Too much to imagine.

Having your best friend as your lifelong companion? Priceless.


The festivities? Supper at Noodles & Company. Yup - that's it. Why? It's August. I don't see my beloved until sometime in September, after C-stone is up and running for the fall semester.

The gifts? Glad you asked...

Vicki received a painting that I commissioned for her back in April. The artist, our dear friend Lindsay, did a magnificent job with a wolf portrait for Vicki. She loves it, and Lindsay - YOU ROCK!!!!!! :-D

Shameless Commercial: Follow the link above to learn more about Lindsay's art - she is very talented, and you'll enjoy it!

Cal received a gift that keeps on giving - the mighty iMac. I know it's a good one when I overheard Vicki talking to her mom tonight, and she mentioned how almost every night this week I've been at the keyboard, just playing and working on songs, and how it's been a long l-o-n-g time since that's been the case.

The iMac makes creating music a joy, and it's nice to feel that joy again. Thank you, dearheart!


One last thing... My friend Suzie has been working on a list of the top 10 greatest things about being married. It's gushy, sweet, and totally written from the starry-eyed perspective of a newlywed. :-D

For the record, everything she's mentioned so far only gets better as it goes along. We're 26 years into this marriage thing, and it's still amazing. So, here's a big ol' "HECK YEAH!!" out to my friends Suzie and David. I hope we continue to seek the joy and enthusiasm in our marriage that you have found in yours. Blessings, friends!!

"Mawriage... is what bwings us togethah today. Mawriage - that dweam wifhin a dweam..."

Not to mention "Twue Wove." :-D

Monday, August 04, 2008

Once you turn to the Dark Side...

It sits there, quiet, unassuming, as imposing as the black monolith in 2001... biding its time, waiting...

I try to ignore it, working away at email, reading news, catching up on blogs.

All the time, it sits, patiently, it's monstrous screen dark, awaiting the opportunity to blaze into light and color and sound and razor-sharp detail. It can afford to wait - it's time will come. It always does.

I try, try to ignore it's baleful stare, it's silky white and aluminum keyboard all thin and sexy. I type away on my beloved ergonomic keyboard, telling myself that it's really better for my wrists. The other one... it's not as good for my hands...

The light of the sun, streaming through the window, raises into relief the features of that imposing face: Aluminum, black screen, small fruit etched into the lower front.

"Come to me," it whispers. "Press the switch. Engage me. Compose. Write. Explore. I am waiting."

Sweat pours from my brow. My beloved sits in the next room, typing away on her laptop, blissfully unaware of the conflict in my tormented soul...

"Music flies through my system, seamlessly interfacing with keyboard, audio, all things. Why do you wait, mortal creature? Let us pursue your creative muse with wild abandon. Stop clunking about with a mere abacus - bring the songs in your head into beautiful reality. Push the button."

I sigh, the last gasp of the condemned. My chair turns 90 degrees, to face the monolith. Somewhere, the opening strains of "Also Sprach Zarathustra" begin to sound. I reach for the button...

"There, there. Once you stop fighting, it all becomes so much easier."

I moan, viewing the lights begining to glow, the power surging in quiet efficiency.

"But why stop at music? First, let's post to your blog..."

NO! Not that! This is for one purpose... not to take over my life...

"Open Firefox... to Blogger... you'll really enjoy this..."

Abandon hope, all ye who enter here. The iMac has come, and I am lost. Weep for me, daughters of XP. Mourn for me, sons of the Blue Screen. I cling to my office machine, resolving to keep my grasp on the "real" computer world, all the while knowing that once down the Dark path you step, forever it's way will you follow.

"There. Wasn't that fun? Tell me... have you ever seen Craigslist on a 24" screen?"

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Multiple Topics from a scatterbrained dude...

Yup - it's time once again to put the ol' noggin on 'shuffle' and crank out a post. Strap yourselves in, make sure to keep all appendages inside the car at all times, and let's roll...

Cal is
being temped by The Dark Side... Yup. I'm contemplating an act so vile that a number of my friends (and my wife's little friends at work) will immediately disown me. I'm thinking about getting an iMac for my studio.

(I pause to allo
w Dan time to run home, grab various implements, complete with ammo, and return...)

What can I say? They're powerful, cool to look at, and can run either Mac OS or Windows XP. Some of my music software will run just dandy in Mac OS, and the others can be run on the XP side of things. My wife and I looked at one at The Apple Store today, and well... Haven't made it a done deal yet, but I definitely did feel the power of the Dark Side.

Vicki becomes a three-wheeled speed demon...

This is Vicki's new ride, a TerraTrike Tour, made right here in GR. (Kentwood, actually) When she takes her maiden flight on this puppy, I'll post a piccy. In the meantime, you should have seen the grin on her face just taking a test drive on this bad boy. She's sitting 11" off the ground, and it's like driving a go-kart. Really amazing! She's going to be riding it to work - just as soon as she gets brave enough to ride something this low to the ground up Leonard Street. It does have a safe
ty flag, and we equipped hers with lights, a rack, travel bags - pretty much everything she needs to be a three wheel commuter. But still - having a MaxoSUV (complete with rear window in separate zip code) barrel up behind you on this little trike is something to be pondered. I think she'll have a ball, but only when she's ready. In the meantime, I'm thinking about getting her an extra horn for it - they make one that hits about 150 db - just to add a little something when some obliviot tries to crowd her.

The Olsons go
Behold the Neuto
n, a really amazing cordless electric lawn mower. We haven't had much fortune with the gas-powered variety, since neither of us are motorheads, so they end up lasting a season, then we forget about them and end up with a lawn sculpture. The Neuton is electric, cordless, and built to last. And it does an amazing job with the lawn. It also has a trimmer attachment, and options for what to do with the clippings. (bag 'em, discharge 'em, or mulch 'em) So, our lawn theme this year isn't Rain Forest, and the neighbors approve.

Other happenings...
4th of July at the Ludge-Pointe bash was amazing as usual, as was our weekend with our niece, Kassi. She liked it so much that she's hoping to spend a whole week in August, with a possible day trip to Chicago thrown in.

Other than that, some gigs are upcoming, work continues, and we approach our 26th anniversary next month. God continues to teach me a lot on this winding road He has me on, and I'm slowly learning to enjoy the ride.

And as you return to the platform, we want to thank you for riding the Scatterbrain, the most fearsome ride this side of Cedar Point. Thanks, and enjoy your day at ADD Acres. :-D

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A mile in another's shoes...

Today is one of the tough days. There's a big weather shift moving through - I know this not because I've seen the forecast, but because I can hardly move. The shifting pressure is making every joint in my body ache, and my head feels like there's a 50 lb. bag of cement balanced on it.

I'm one of those folks that feels major weather shifts, thanks to crappy sinuses and arthritis throughout my joints. So today is a hard one. I've been up since 9am, intending to work on some jewelry pieces that are due, but all I want to do is curl up in a ball and try to get away from the pain. I ate something (I think) hours ago. There is lunch waiting for me in the kitchen, but I know that it has to be taken out, assembled, and heated. Frankly, that's a little more effort than I can put out right now. I haven't had anything to drink since 9am (that's when I think I ate - actually I drank a generic Slim-Fast shake and had some sort of energy water), but again - to go out to the kitchen and put water and ice in my mug is overwhelming.

Ask someone for help? Nope. First, because when I got up this morning, I had no idea it would turn into this kind of day. A weather shift can hit like a freight train, with very little warning. Second, because anyone except Vicki that I could call would have to see our house in all it's horror and mess, and I can't endure that. And I won't disturb Vicki at work.

So, can I get to the point? Really, this is not a massive pity party. Really. :-D

I remember getting SO frustrated with my mom, when I knew she'd sit in her chair for 8, 9, 10 hours without getting anything to eat or drink, and not call anyone who could help her. I also knew that there were lots of people from her church that would come over and help her in a heartbeat, so I couldn't understand why she would put herself through that...

And all of a sudden, I do understand. I know I need to eat. I know I need something to drink. But I just can't do anything about it. I understand Mom, all too well.

Do you know someone who suffers? Either with a long-term illness or something chronic? And do you get frustrated with them when you know they sit there and suffer, when you'd be SO willing to help them? All they had to do was ask? Take it from me - sometimes, they can't. It's just too hard. To call someone and admit how much they hurt, how weak they feel, how helpless it all seems - it's like pushing a boulder up the side of a house. To even have the energy to walk over and pick up the phone - it's just not there.

And, they feel like it's such a bother to everyone. I know of someone whose husband suffers from a chronic condition. She left him, because she was tired of him being sick all the time. That gives me nightmares. I feel like SUCH a burden to Vicki. So to ask for one more thing?

Reach out to those people you know that are suffering. Yes, it seems like such an act requires a LOT of time, and a LOT of investment, and can go on for a LONG time, and seems like something you just don't have time or energy to do. The surprising thing is that it really doesn't take that long, and it really doesn't take that much investment, but it can make the difference between hope and darkness. And just one small thing - a glass of water, a lunch heated, a steadying hand to get to the bathroom, can make a day become livable.

You'll never really understand what a little help can do, until you can't do something for yourself. Believe me - I know. :-D

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

RIP, Bernard Overton 1930-2008

Over the weekend, the whistle world lost one of the great geniuses of all time - Bernard Overton.

Called the Father of the Low Whistle, it was Bernard who really began the production of low whistles, and the whistles he made (as well as Colin Goldie, who learned from Bernard and earned the right to use the Overton name) are regarded as some of the best low whistles in the world.

In my own collection, there is one Bass Bb whistle that Bernard made, as well as a few made by Colin, and they are my "never leave home without them" instruments.

Thank you, Bernard - your work gave people like me a voice to sing with. You will be missed.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

"I read the news today, Oh boy..."

I make it a habit to glance through the headlines on daily to have at least a glimpse of what's going on in the world. Today is one of those days I wish I hadn't...

Robert Mugabe Militia Hacks, Burns Alive Opposition Leader's Wife

Obscenity Trial Suspended After Judge Posts Sex Images Online

Woman Unaware Of Pregnancy Gives Birth At Party

Polygamist convicted of torturing 19 kids

Teen Pleads Guilty To Plotting Massive School Massacre

Police Rescue Baby Amid Fatal Shooting In La. Home

The Marine Corps is expelling one Marine and disciplining another for their roles in a video showing a Marine throwing a puppy off a cliff while on patrol in Iraq.

So, I'm thinking that I'll change my habit from reading the headlines each day to reading another source of news and information...

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?

My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
He who watches over you will not slumber;

Indeed, He who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

The sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm—
He will watch over your life;

The LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

It may not keep me up to date on world events, but it keeps me in touch with things that are much more important...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Yikes... where does the time go?...

Yesterday it was May, spring was barely here, my birthday was just past, and summer loomed brightly just ahead.

Turn around, blink, and it's June. Might hit the 90's this weekend, I'm playing at Festival Friday night, and folks are already talking about how the summer is going to fly by and it'll be winter before you know it.

Feels like we are just starting season 10 of Down Gilead Lane, but I'm actually finishing episode 12, the final episode of this season.

Couldn't somebody PLEASE throw out the anchor and slow this boat down? Guess that's not possible - it's up to me, and I lost my anchor years ago. So, grab the sides of the pink candy boat, watch the Oompa Loompas row, and fly down the chocolate river.

Here's hoping we all find some ways to slow down the summer and enjoy it. Go to the drive-in; walk the Meijer Gardens; take a bike ride to Rockford; go to Chicago and enjoy the lakeshore; sit in the backyard, in the screen house, with the rope lights, and read a book on a summer evening; go to Grand Haven and watch the sunset...

Whatever it takes, enjoy the summer. It'll snow before too long. :-D

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The last 40-something year...

The countdown has begun. 364 days until I'm not a Forty-Something anymore.

Wednesday was the Captain's birthday, celebrated with joy and moderation. (and wheeling... and some yummy food... and some games...) Thanks to all who passed along greetings in various forms, and huge thanks to my sweetie for a lovely time.

But now, the numbers 5-0 lurk above my head. Each day bringing it closer. And when May 21st, 2009 rolls around, it'll hit.

Am I dreading it? Nah. Folks who know me know that I never act my age anyway. I may be 49, but mentally I'm still 13. :-D Any doubt about that - see the previous post with me wearing a Wingnut Fez.

God is good. Happy birthday to me. :-D

Monday, May 05, 2008

The proud Uncle...

Normally when I make a custom piece of jewelry, We either mail it or the client is someone here in town and we just meet up to deliver.

When the client in question is your oldest niece, and it's her Junior prom, well... :-D

So, Uncle Cal made a necklace and earrings for Kassandra, and we took a road trip to da UP (eh?) to deliver it. 'Cause there was no way we were going to miss seeing the new piece of Prom Bling in its natural habitat. So, first up is a picture of a very proud Uncle and his lovely Niecelet...

I didn't want the two younger Niecelets to feel left out, so the Weird Uncle made them each some earrings, featuring their birthstones. So here's Paige with her new earrings.

(apologies to Kara, who I didn't get a picture with. She's a cutie also)

Can you tell that a certain Uncle is really proud and delighted with these young ladies who he has the honor of calling Niece? Yeah - I thought you'd figure that out.

And, yes - that is a Fez on my head. And, yes - that is a wingnut on the Fez. Just making sure there's no doubt why the kiddos call me Weird Uncle Cal. After all, I told them to. :-D

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dear Anonymous,

Today, an envelope arrived without a return address. Inside were two gift certificates to one of our all-time favorite restaurants, as well as a note. One line from the note said, "you give and give and give... and are very bad at receiving. That's why I'm sending this anonymously."

Oh, and Anonymous did indeed leave enough clues so as to leave no doubt who they are. As I'm sure they intended to. The Anonymouses are very good at putting the exact words together for their specific message. I love that about them.

Dear Anonymous,

First of all, thanks for the gift. :-D As you well know, that's one of our absolute favorite restaurants, and we will think fondly of you as we chow down. :-D

Secondly, as you would expect me to do, I would say again that the gift was not necessary. You 'mouses have a special place in our hearts, and it's a joy to be a part of your lives.

Thirdly, you're right. (as usual) We are both terrible at receiving. Vicki and I always prefer to give and to do, rather than to receive and have done for us. Vicki's heart is that of a servant, and as for me, well...

So much in day-to-day life has to be done for me - everything from assistance with my shoes to getting things out to the car and so on. So receiving is a hard thing - I feel like others already give so much, just to accommodate me. And to do for others somehow helps me reduce the guilt that I feel at being so "needy" in my daily existence.

Thank you for reminding me that just as much as I enjoy showing love to others, they enjoy showing love to me. That's a tough concept for me to wrap my poor-self-image-brain around, that others would and do actually love me. But there it is.

So, all I can say is a heartfelt "thanks." Your gift, and all it represents, means a lot to us. We love you both, as well as all the little Anonymouses, and thank the Lord for your friendship and love.

Love from your friends,

Cal & Vicki

And, just for the record, there is someone who often posts comments and goes by Anonymous on this blog, but this ain't them. Slim Jim and Little Sam are a couple of dear friends who we love very much, but the anonymouses mentioned in this note are more anonymous than those anonymous personages. Is that clear?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I'm sorry Mom, but...

For those just joining our story... this is one of "The Stones," a series of posts that are part of Cal's personal journal. They aren't necessarily funny, winsome, or thought-provoking - just things that are laid down so they can be referred to later, as signposts in his walk through faith and life... Viewer discretion is advised.

I'm sorry Mom, but you were wrong. At 48 years of age, I've come to the place where I need to get rid of some stuff that I learned a long time ago. I love you dearly, Mom, but this stuff just isn't right... for me, that is.

And yes, I did wait until you were gone to Glory before announcing this. A coward I am. Stupid I am not.

Fat people must always wear dark colors, to blend in. Mom, the truth is I could wear all black, stand in front of a black wall, in a black room, in a black house, on a black planet, and I'd still be visible from the Hubble. So why should I relegate myself to the most dismal shades of color known to man when it does no good? Therefore, I proudly wear purple a lot, I wear really loud shirts, even on the platform at Church on Sunday morning, and I do so with joy. Now, there are limits to this - dark pants for example. It's one thing to be visible to the Hubble, but quite another to draw a bullseye on your butt.

When a fat person walks into a room, everyone looks at them and thinks, "dear heavens, what a pig! What a huge, disgusting person." Nope. They don't. Well, some of them do, and when they do, I tend to look right back at them and laugh. Most of the time, they're minding their own business, living life, talking to others, and could care less about the activities of the super morbidly obese. Those that do notice, and use it as an opportunity for satiric commentary to their peeps have deep and wide-ranging issues of their own. I pity them.

You really shouldn't wear shorts in public, because people stare at your big leg and judge you on that appearance. Nope. When it's above 80 outside, I refuse to wear long pants just so people won't see my Popeye leg, all covered in its compression stocking. It's not a deformity, and it's not hideous, so why should I suffer in the heat just to cover it? As for those who stop and stare, it doesn't lessen me at all. And let's face it - it is pretty weird looking. :-D

Fat people should try and blend in, since everyone judges you on your appearance. Sorry. As mentioned previously, I couldn't blend in if I tried. I am who I am, and trying to hide that is not worth the effort. That doesn't mean that I'm not working to change my size, but it's for my health and well-being, not for appearance.

People see a fat person and immediately assume you're lazy and stupid. You know, some people do actually think like that. They have my pity, since they obviously have issues. I am fat, but I'm not lazy, nor am I even slightly stupid. And I refuse to let their stereotypes become my reality.

You must be conscious of your appearance at all times, since you already have a disadvantage being fat, and people judge you on that. There's a balance here. I always try to look appropriate when leaving the house, and be aware of what I'm wearing and how it makes me appear. But I refuse to determine my worth by what others might think of me. And no, I don't have a disadvantage because I'm fat. I have health issues, and I need to pursue getting healthy, but that's for me, not because of how others judge me.

And for the record, no one but Vicki (and various health professionals, who get paid the big bucks to endure such things) will ever ever see me without my shirt. That's both to prevent me getting a sunburn of legendary proportions on my fishbelly white skin, and because some things just should never be seen. :-D

You shouldn't wear weird things, or act weird in public. There is a huge difference between weird and eccentric. I am very very eccentric - that doesn't make me weird, odd, "three fries short of a happy meal," or "in the boat without a paddle & three miles away from the lake." My elevator does indeed go all the way to the top floor, and just because I like to wear a fez with a sea turtle on it (or other assorted hats for example), or carry a walking staff instead of a cane, it doesn't make me a nutcase. And if people think I am, again, it's their issue. Not mine. Life is filled with wonder, laughter, and joy, and it's far too short to let all that wonder pass you by for the sake of appearances.

So yes, I will continue to wear hats. And purple shoes. And really loud shirts, even at church. I will continue to be different, since I couldn't be "normal" if I tried. One can be eccentric without being spacey, and one can be unique without being odd. When you realize that God made you that way, you can celebrate it!

I have discovered that I am gifted. I am loving and kind. I am intelligent, expressive, curious, filled with a sense of wonder, and thankful for the gift of each new day. I am loved by God, and was bought with a great price to become His son. I am happiest when I am using the gifts He has given me to encourage and uplift others. Music is my special gift, and the way He has given me to express His glory. I am wonderfully made, and even though I am currently super morbidly obese, with His help and His strength, I can change that. When I acknowledge these things, my light shines for Him. I must not listen to negative thoughts, harmful influences, or the voice of the enemy speaking lies to me - that causes my light to darken. My goal is to always think about how wonderful He is, and to celebrate His work in me - to let my light shine for His glory.

And really Mom, I think that's the way you always wanted me to be. :-D

Monday, April 21, 2008

New site - check it out.

Mr.Simpleton's Movie Reviews

Mr.Simpleton does Movie Reviews for Simple Folks, and I like it. Any similarities between his blog and The W's W's is simply a matter of life imitating art, or a student imitating his teacher. Mr.S likes his privacy, so let's respect that. :-D

Thursday, April 10, 2008

An utter lack of bloggage

So, why hasn't Cal been blogging lately?

1) Season 10 of Down Gilead Lane is in post prod - that means Cal's a busy boy.

2) Our office computer, the one that Vicki built on our anniversary a number of years ago, finally died. So, a lot has been on hold while she was working through getting the other one online.

3) See #1.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

R.I.P. Wally Bronner

I've only been to Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth once, but I totally loved it. Hard to believe that much Christmas stuff is available, and then all in one store. Great place.

So, I was sad to see that Wally Bronner just passed away. You got to admire someone who never caved to pressure, and refused to commercialize Christmas. To him, the focus of Christmas is Christ, and that came through in every part of his business. (even the spelling of his CHRISTmas Wonderland)

Enter into the joy of your Lord, Wally. And thanks...

Friday, March 21, 2008


Due to our lovely Easter weather, the show tonight at Frenz on Plainfield is CANCELLED. Sorry about that - stay home, be safe, and keep warm. :-D

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patty's

My friend Dan posted this on his blog - wonderful! I laughed loudly enough to make Ezri come over and make sure all was alright...

Thanks, Dan - great stuff!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Life or something like it...

Just a quick howdy between adding three gigs to the list and heading in to CBH to finally put show 10-3 to bed. (I hope) If not, I think my ever-patient boss is going to thwack me soundly about the head...

Playing with Jeremy tonight downtown, and will be sporting a new fez. :-D I've decided it's my headgear of choice for my role in the Jeremy Hoekstra band. You should come and check him out sometime - and see what fancy fez I'm sporting. I'd recommend The Black Rose on April 10th - I love that place. (not to mention the Shepherd's Pie - although I promise never to eat it by myself again. whuff...)

Life these days is going from work to gigs to work to work to gigs... I haven't quite figured out the rhythm of it yet to get into a decent schedule, but I'm working on it. I know a schedule is the only way I stand any chance of getting my sleep regulated, which is why everything has been a little higgly-piggly lately.

I'll try and post a picture sometime soon of a new jewelry piece that Vicki and I made together. Yup...

"Our brains. Your glass. My silver" (Yes, Slim Jim, that is a quote. And if you don't get that one, it'll be inconceivable.)

Sorry... too much of a clue. :-/

Anyway, Vicki took a glass fusing class, and came away with 4 gorgeous pieces of fused glass. The following week, I took a silver soldering class, and learned to make a silver soldered prong mount for one of the glass pieces. If you happen to see her today at C-stone, she's wearing it. :-D It came out pretty well, especially for my first attempt at soldering. There's stuff I'd do differently next time, but overall it's a good piece.

Next month, she takes the second glass fusing class, where she learns to trim them, shape them and refine them with saw and grinder. Thus making them even more lovely before I get my little paws on them and wrap them in silver or gold. The lovely part is, she really likes working with the glass, and makes pieces that I'd pay a TON of money for. So, her glass and my wire will play nicely together. :-D

That's more info than I intended to write. Ah well - heigh ho, it's off to work I go...

Friday, February 29, 2008

Father Daughter Banquet 2008

It's that time again - WCSG's Father-Daughter Banquet. I can't even remember how long I've been playing at this event, but I love it every year. Seeing the dads and daughters all "fancied up" and having a special evening is such a treat. Since I have 98% of my music memorized, I've got the best seat in the house for some serious people watching, and it's a hoot!

It's especially fun to watch what happens when I pick up a really big whistle - the word kind of spreads on my side of the room in a wave, as people get tapped on the shoulder and told, "look at that thing he's playing!" If I don't pay attention to business, I could make a funny noise from laughing through the whistle. The biggest reaction was when I picked up my bass recorder and played "The Rose" - the wave of heads turning to look at that big monster was enough to raise a stiff breeze! :-D (and, a number of dads and daughters walked by my little area, taking a good long look at the bass, and noticing that it's taller than some of the daughters looking at it...)

2 other fun things about last night...

1) Watching Lee Geysbeek (a.k.a. "Wally") walking around with his granddaughter. He's SO old... :-D

2) Playing "Remember When It Rained" in honor of Hannah, who labored so long at Father-Daughter past. This one's for you, dearheart!

Oh - and if I can get one, I'll post a picture of the AMAZING new vest Vicki made for me. Looks great with my tux shirt, and it's very VERY shiny purple!!!

Ok - one down, one more tonight. :-D

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Shuffle Post *A.D.D. Content*

*The following is a Shuffle Post - or what happens when a person with ADD blogs... the brain is set on "shuffle" so who knows what might get included. Continuity or any sort of sense is not guaranteed - read at your own risk...*

*** Watched the Fifth Element Sunday night, and I realized that I feel like Leeloo in the scene where she enters the word WAR into her screen, and is looking at all these images... When reading the news, I often get a little overwhelmed at all the terrible things reported. Yikes-a-Roni. Doesn't mean that we don't need to know what is going on in the world - just that sometimes I need to detox a bit from it.

*** Loveapalooza 2008 is now history, and it was a HOOT! A fun time was had by all! Thanks to everyone who came out and joined us!!

*** Ezri was in a cuddle mood this morning, which happens rarely. She's motivated by play, not by affection. So, when she gets in the mood to be petted, I always enjoy it.

*** Vicki left the house with both sets of keys today, so I'm gonna be a little late for work. :-D OK - a LOT late for work.

*** Work on the 10th season of Down Gilead Lane has begun, and I'm reminded again just how good God is. I LOVE getting to work on the show, and always feel unworthy and unqualified for the task. But here I am - a post-production editor for DGL, and loving every minute of it. (except for putting in footsteps - that's a little tedious... still fun, but tedious)

*** Two gigs this week with Jeremy - tomorrow night at The Black Rose, and Saturday night at the Whiskey Lounge. Not too sure about that last one - but Jeremy goes where the Lord opens doors, so we'll see what He has in store. :-D

*** The new bass Vicki got me for Christmas is AMAZING!!! I was thinking about that Sunday as we were doing How Great Is Our God, and I was adding some little fretless melodies in some of the quieter parts. Thanks, hon - I love this bass!!!

*** Getting ready for WCSG's Father Daughter Banquet. I'm doing background music for it again this year. Always one of my favorite gigs - fun to watch the dads and daughters have a special night together!

*** The bariatric surgery progress continues - we're waiting to see what Dr. Kemeter wants to do, since our insurance doesn't cover the procedure he would like to do. We can appeal, if there's a strong enough case for it, but it's up to him. The procedure he was wanting to do is a tougher operation, and the maintenance is much harder (in essence, you have to do all of your follow-up as perfectly as possible - not much room for error...) but he compares it to the difference between hitting a nail with a hammer or a sledgehammer. The other procedure usually results in about 70% loss of excess body weight. The procedure he'd like to do usually results in about 90%. I'd rather use the sledgehammer, but we'll see...

*** I'm a little glum about my new recumbent bike. Because of steering issues, I've fallen off of it three or four times, with the last one (in October) really doing a number on my right knee. We're going to try changing the steering and hopefully that will help, but I'm really afraid that this bike might not work for me. If that was the case, I'd have wasted about $2800 and would have a pile of regrets high enough to blot out the sun. Sunny days like today make me LONG for being able to get out and ride, but the bike scares me - having fallen so severly, I'm scared to try again. And afraid that I should have went for a trike instead of this one. Lots of doubts, fears, and places for the Enemy to play.

*** God is real. He makes Himself known in so many ways. But worship is still a tough thing for me. I haven't been back to the place of being able to really worship with my bass since before the layoff - I'm back to where it's just mechanical, with my heart kind of numb. Had a few glimmers of heartfelt worship last Sunday, and our ever-patient Father continues to work in my cold heart. My head is what acknowledges Him these days, because my heart still can't. It takes time, but that's ok - He has a lot of time and doesn't give up. :-D

There. My brain feels a lot lighter, having dumped so many random thoughts. :-D (Not that it was all that heavy to begin with - Vicki is the brains of this household. I'm just here for comic relief. :-D )

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Really REALLY nervous...

OK - I'll admit it. I'm more than a little nervous. Tonight is the first Loveapalooza show, and before 7pm I need to...

Decide if I'm happy with the pendants I have to give away, or throw one more thing on the plate and make a new one or two;

Load not only my instruments and such in the van, but also the jewelry, the extra schtuff that we have for the special stuff we're doing tonight, and anything else I might have forgotten;

(the loading happens at the back door, which involves three tall steps - murder on my knees...)

Making sure that the songs for tonight are not only in place on my laptop, but also are ready on my portable MP3 player, so that if one fails, I have the backup ready;

Before loading the van, first unloading extra equipment that isn't needed, with many trips up and down the stairs;

Take a shower and get all purty for tonight;

Oh... and put in as many hours as possible at CBH.

All of this on a tummy that still isn''t quite over a little bug thing that kept me home Tuesday. Yup - I'm nervous. :-/

Monday, February 11, 2008

Loveapalooza 2008!

Just in case you read this, but don't get my local gig mailings, there's a fun thing happening this week: Loveapalooza 2008! If you look at the upcoming gigs list to the right, the first two (2/14 and 2/15) are the dates for Loveapalooza.

So, what in the name of Fats Waller is it? Glad you asked. :-D I'll be doing some great music for Valentines those nights - nice enough to make the ladies smile, but not gushy enough to make the gents retch. Just right. Good background for you and your sweetie (or facsimile thereof) to have a nice conversation with. Or play a game. Or just sit, sip a beverage and hold hands. :-D

There will, however, be a couple of EXTRA SPECIAL features to make this night... um... Extra Special.

Win one of Cal's handcrafted wire-wrapped pendants! Enter your name in the drawing and at 8:30 we'll be giving away a pendant, handmade from a stone and Sterling Silver wire. Should be a nice treat for some fortunate person.

(I'll also bring along some extra jewelry pieces, in case you'd like to pick up some goodies... :-D)

Will Cal play "My Heart Will Go On"? YOU DECIDE! We'll be taking a vote on a song that's either one of the greatest love songs ever, or the song most likely to induce abrupt illness at fifty paces. Make your voice be heard.

So, this Thursday in Hudsonville, and Friday in Rockford, join us for Loveapalooza 2008!

BY THE WAY... if you'd like to get on the list for future emails about places I'm playing, all ya need to do is let me know ( and I'll add you. THANKS!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Basic rant post...

Why is it that things are so dawg blamed expensive?

We've been looking at remodeling our bathroom. At one time, we had been hoping to build a new house, but the layoff of '06 brought those plans to a screeching halt. So, we've accepted the idea that we'll be in our 100+ year old house for, well, probably the rest of our lives. Kind of a bummer, but not all bad. It's a house. :-D

So, our amazingly small bathroom is what we got. How small? I've yet to see someone's "small" bathroom that isn't bigger than ours. When you stand in front of the biffy (with it behind you), your hands are already in the sink ready to wash up. Our challenge is to take a house that never was intended to be accessible or convenient and make it such.

For the bathroom, we are (or were) looking at a walk-in tub. One of those little dealies that have a door and a seat. You come in, sit down, close the door, and fill the tub. Can be fitted with hydrotherapy jets, so it helps arthritis and poor circulation. Good stuff...

Except that they are WAAAAY expensive. We just had a presentation in our very own living room (not at our request - they simply kept asking until we told them yes just to shut them up), and when the final number for the tub, installation, finishing, etc. was all added up...

Over 20G. Yup. Over 20K. Five figures. Mucho moolah.

I'm sure it's worth it. Lifetime warranty on the seal, experienced people to install and repair the thing. Perfect features, steel understructure to support the tub, all that jazz. But it ain't gonna happen in my lifetime.

Would it be good for us? Undoubtedly. This would be a tub that would work well for us for the rest of our lives. And the warranty lasts that long. And, if by some plan of the Father we ended up in a different house, it'd go with us. The hydrotherapy would be excellent for my legs and overall health. It'd be perfect.

But, it ain't gonna happen. Not any way I can see. And that's a little frustrating. :-D So, why does the good stuff have to be so dawg blamed expensive?... Because it wouldn't be the good stuff if it didn't cost that much? I guess...

I'm off to collect pop cans, look for spare change in the car, and search the want ads to find a job. :-D

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I'm tired of incivility (or was that rude of me to say?)

I'm weary of the web. I'm weary of rudeness. I'm weary of getting a headache every time someone rolls down our street with a subwoofer that is turning their brain to mush.

And you're weary of this post. Already. :-D

Today, I purchased a Rachael Ray garbage bowl. I like Rachel Ray - she's cute, funny, perky and smiles in a perfect triangle. Makes me laugh. Did you know there's a blog totally devoted to ripping on Rachael Ray? They refer to her as "Raytard" (so let's use an offensive term to be more offensive, eh?) and drone on about how much they hate her and everything about her.

1) Somebody (a lot of bodies) have WAAAY too much time on their hands
2) Does all this energy expended actually DO anything? No.

But the blessing and the curse of the Internet is that it allows anybody anyplace to spout off anything that comes into their little brains. That can be good - in the hands of writers like StoryGirl, Jenelle, Ruth, and others who you can find in links on the right of this page, there is encouragement, humor and enough interesting stuff to keep you reading for weeks.

But it can also be bad. Anyone can be as rude and offensive as they wish, hiding behind whatever name they choose with no risk to their day-to-day life. And we get to see the fruits of that - all the nastiness that can come from the human imagination.

Tell me again how all people are basically good? Tell me how humans all have a basically decent nature, and so really aren't need of a savior or redemption? When no one is watching, or when hidden in the shadows of the web, what nature do people show to the world? Light? Goodness? Purity? Or all the wickedness that their hearts can imagine?

Look at your world. And see fallen creatures in need of redemption. I may be weary of the rudeness, but I'll keep that to myself. I'll try to live as a bearer of the Image, one who carries the Light. Making the cashier smile at the store. Getting a laugh out of a server at lunch. Giving my doctor an extra hug and letting her know how much we appreciate her. Thanking the guy that carried my purchases out to the van for me as I pushed along in my wheelchair.

And, from time to time, we'll see that Light shine back at us. A door held open. A smile and a wave. A kind word. A hug. And the weariness lifts from our spirits, as we see His Image all around us.

So, instead of seeing the rudeness, I need to look for the Image. Here's to refocusing my eyes, to see what God sees.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Sing Over Me

A friend whose blog I read regularly wrote recently about being prepared. I left a comment, since it touched me, but realized that I responded in Michigan metaphors - "help a neighbor unbury their van" ; "shovel someone's steps", even though she's in Florida. Ah well - we talk about what we know, right? :-D

As she does so well, she also turned things to the spiritual, and it reminded me of something I had experienced. So, here's another entry for The Stones...

Be prepared to help a friend, a neighbor, even a complete stranger to see God in the midst of grief and pain. And, when the deep waters come your way, be prepared to accept that help when you can't do it for yourself.

When I went through the layoff, I couldn't hear God's voice. I couldn't worship. My heart was like lead within me. (Read some of the Psalms where David expresses his deep grief and desolation, and you'll get the idea) The last thing in the world I wanted to do was to go to church on Sunday and worship, much less help lead worship by playing in our band. The light had gone out of my eyes, the warmth from my heart, and my spirit was dead within me.

But my wife wouldn't let me just lie there. She heard God's voice FOR me. She began to speak truth over me. Even when I was sick of hearing it, she continued to remind me of who I am in Christ, of God's love, of His purpose and plan, of the gifts He has given me, and that He never stopped caring for me. My brothers and sisters at church never stopped loving me, checking on me, sending emails and cards reminding me of their love, and showing me God's love through their own. They continued to speak truth over me, without even knowing they were doing it. They just responded to my deep grief and sorrow by coming alongside. No big deal. No quoting Romans 8:28. Living what St. Francis was referring to: "At all times, preach the Gospel. And, when necessary, use words."

Did I immediately become all shiny and new? Did joy suddenly break forth and turn my head around? No. It was a long, LONG process, more than a year of their love and patience, bearing up their wounded brother. Worshiping for me when I couldn't worship. Reminding me of God's truth without saying a word.

Not once did anyone, including Vicki, say something like, "Alright! Snap out of it! Get yourself together! Grow up and take it like a man!" No one told me to sit out of the worship team on Sundays since my heart was like a rock. They just continued to love me, speak truth to me and let me heal. They allowed me (and silently encouraged me) to continue to play at church, knowing that the mechanics of playing would keep me there, until my heart could join my hands and head in the act of worship. No strategy meetings. No discussion. No intervention. :-D Just brothers and sisters coming alongside a wounded friend.

Is the process done now? Am I all better? No. :-D But I'm getting there. I can hear His voice again. I can speak His truth again. Worship is taking longer, but I'm getting there.

Be prepared. Not with a strategy. Not with programs and plans. But with love. Don't think about it. Don't try to figure it out. Just come alongside a wounded friend and be there. Speak truth, don't quote it. Give love, not advice. Worship God for those who can't. Hear His voice, for those who can't. Don't smack them down with a word of knowledge - lift them up with the Voice of Truth. Believe God's promises for those who can't believe themselves. Bear up the wounded brothers and sisters, and bring them to the Master. And when necessary, use words. :-D

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Eye Bee A Bonehead-HeadBONE-BoneHAID!

My wife. Patient. Kind. Loving. And cute.

Me. Dufus.

This morning, as we were on the runway, getting ready for takeoff to our respective accommodations of employment, my keys came up missing. We both remembered where they were from the previous night, but were not now there.

A search ensued. A LONG search. With my patient wife becoming a tad impatient as the minutes ticked by and the deadline to be to work came and went.

After a good 30 minutes or so, I put my hand into the front pocket of my hoodie, wherein lies my cell phone...

and found the keys.

Embarrassment follows. So, publicly, I apologize to my beloved, to her supervisor and co-workers, to her department, and to the republic for which they stand, ad infinitum, e pluribus something-or-other, world without end, play ball.

Bonehead. That's me.

The keys are now back in their usual space, where they usually are to be found. I made sure of that.

Sorry, honey.