Friday, February 29, 2008

Album Update

I've been making quite a bit of progress on my album, So Human, lately. This has been the longest it's ever taken me to produce an album. August of 2005 was when we started the process. Whew! Of course a lot happened during that time--job changes, my drummer moving to Texas and oh yeah--having a baby!

Tonight, Gail Knoepfle, a background vocalist will be in the studio to cut her final tracks. Then, all that's left is:

  • -Re-do some lead vocal parts on two songs.
  • -Re-do a bass track on one song.
  • -Bring in John Donovan to add a male background vocal on two songs.

Then we start mixing!

It's been a long process and I'm glad that we're getting this close. If you'd like to hear some "rough mixes" of some of the songs, (some with background vocals, some without), scroll down a bit and check out the music player on this page.

To find out more about the project, you can always check out my music website.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sick Boy

My wife and I have been so lucky that our son, Morgan, has been incredibly healthy for almost all of his 11 months. Last night, he slept 13 hours...which is highly unusual. Today, he took long naps and rather than playing all afternoon with his toys, he was extremely cuddly. Also a bit unusual. And then it happened. Tonight, he was crawling around on the floor, he had a look on his face that I had never seen before. I looked at my wife and said, "Oh my gosh, he looks like he's about to..." Before I could finish my sentence, he puked. Big time. I mean, so much stuff came out, I didn't even know his stomach could hold that much. Poor little guy. I held him for awhile and he just placed his head on my shoulder and whimpered. I have to admit. I'm not good at this. I have been struggling with this all night. I don't know if I'm going to be able to sleep. I just can't stand the thought of my little boy being sick. He's been sleeping now for two hours and I've already checked on him three times. I know I'm overdoing it, but this is so hard. Would you please pray for my little boy to get better?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Privilege

I have had the privilege of traveling to some of the poorest places in the world. I say privilege because I consider it just that. Walking with the poor is what Jesus did. Holding their hands is what He would do today. Ministering to them, He said, is ministering to Him. That’s a privilege. But all privileges come with a cost. In many cases, that cost is a broken heart. Sometimes, we need broken hearts.
I have been in a jungle in Thailand, where families live in shacks made of rotting wood, each built 3 feet above ground because every rainy season the entire village floods —taking lives and possessions away in the frantic current. I have seen how the families there endure the stifling heat, with little food to eat. Children, lethargic from lack of energy, don’t run or climb the massive trees that would provide perfect perches. Many of them work in the rice paddies to provide for their families.

I have been to Kenya, and sat with a family of five in their tiny 12x 14 home made of mud. I watched as the mother doled out one piece of bread to each family member for dinner. I saw her hungry children playing beneath the clothes-line with the only toys they had — clothespins. I saw where they sleep…mom, dad and three children, on one moldy mattress on the dirt floor.

In Bolivia, I met a four-year-old named Lalady. For some reason, I was drawn to her. I saw her across the playground at a Compassion project. I smiled. Within seconds, she was in my lap, touching my face with her sticky fingers…marveling at the color of my hair. We played together for nearly an hour. There was no language barrier. We just enjoyed each other's company. Then, her father came to pick her up at the project.

“She likes you.” He said in Spanish. (I know this only because there was an interpreter.)

“And I like her very much too!” I said.

“Maybe you could take her home with you.”

“Ha! Yeah! I wish I could!” I joked. Only daddy wasn’t joking. His face was serious.

“I have four other children. You could give her a much better life than I can.”

Whoa. What desperation leads a man to be willing to let his child go away with a stranger? How much love does he have for his daughter, that he’s willing to give her up, just so she can have a chance at a better life? I sat there, with little Lalady on my knee, my lip and chin quivering and my eyes filling with tears. My forehead sweating in the brutal Peruvian heat. My heart breaking.
And Lalady was one of the lucky ones. She has both parents who love her very much. She also has a sponsor that pays $32 a month to make sure she’s taken care of at the Compassion project. There, she gets a hot meal, a safe place to play. She learns about health and hygiene. More importantly, she hears about Jesus.

There are literally millions of children who need just those basic things: a hot meal, clothing, a safe haven, after-school mentoring…to hear the Gospel. You could do that for one of them. For a price that’s less than taking a family to the movies for two hours of entertainment, you can provide all of those basic life-giving necessities for a child in poverty for an entire month.

I urge you to go to Compassion's website and sponsor a child. It really is the least you can do. And I’ll be more than happy to share with you just how strategic it is. How much it changes a life. But you won’t have to take my word for it. You’ll get letters from your sponsored child, thanking you…little hand-drawn pictures telling you about his/her life. And you’ll be able to write too…and share your life with that little boy or girl on the other side of the world.

It’s a relationship.

It’s a privilege. And yes…this privilege will break your heart. Isn't it time your heart was broken?

If you've had the privilege of witnessing Compassion International's ministry in action, go to this post on Shaun Groves' blog...and tell your story. Add to the growing list of bloggers sharing their stories of ministering to the poor through Compassion.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Speaking of Children...

This weekend, I had the privilege of speaking to the Mesquite Texas Council of PTA's Annual Founder's Day event. It was a nice dinner event, with over 400 people in attendance, in the Poteet High School cafeteria. (Best meal I've ever had in a school cafeteria I might add...the roast beef just melted in my mouth!) The title of my speech: Children Are Not Our Future. The premise: We must stop thinking about children as "tomorrow" or "someday" and start thinking about them as "today." Today is the time to shape them. Today is the time to encourage them...etc. It was my first time to speak to an audience and not be able to use the Bible as a resource. (Since the PTA is a secular organization, they asked me to refrain from making my speech overtly religious.) The Bible has a lot to say about why children are important. The challenge was conveying that message without quoting Scripture. But as it turns out, the Mesquite PTA is chock full of powerful child advocates. I was preaching to the choir! There was a state senator there who authored Jessica's Law for the state of Texas. There was a volunteer who reads to kids, tutors and assists in school programs--5 days a week! And there were hundreds of parents who were there just because they want the best for their kids. Yeah, these guys already get it. Overall, it was a great event. Thanks to Lois Buford for being a wonderful host. Now, if only someone had told me that I had food in my teeth when I went up to the podium to speak...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentines Day...For Men

Valentines Day must have been invented by a woman, cuz no man in his right mind would've come up with this idea: Flowers...chocolates...dinner...etc, etc. etc...

What a racket! But my wife loves it, so I play along. But since women obviously got away with inventing a holiday just to get what they want, I think us guys should invent our own too. So, here are some ideas:

  • National Buy Me a New Tool Day
  • National Give a Guy a Nap Day
  • National Lounge Around the House in My Pajamas All Day...Day
  • National Don't Think (Or Talk) About the Bills Day
  • National Hang Out With The Guys and Drink Beer Day
  • National Let's Not Talk Today Day

Those are just a few ideas of my own. Maybe you can come up with something more creative.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I Love To Hear the Sound....

Of my little boy laughing. Wednesday night, he was in a giggly mood while sitting in his high chair. Check it out:


Today is the day to stop caring about the things that don't really matter. Today is the day to make the appropriate things a priority in my life. Today is the day to put God's will first. Today is the day to quit worrying about my future and start living for today. Today is the day to start being more productive at work. Today is the day to start being better about reading Scripture. Today is the day to make prayer a priority. Today is the day to thank God that there is a today.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Mirror

Monday night, I found myself standing in front of the mirror. Just standing there for like five minutes...staring at myself. Analyzing myself. It has been a long time since I've really taken a good look at myself. My eyes look tired. My face droopy. Yeah...droopy. Gravity is calling my skin to head south for the winter. I'm not sure when I got so much gray in my hair, but it's there...peppered throughout the brown strands that are retreating from my forehead like a frightened army. I'm about 12-15 pounds overweight. The shoulders that once stood squarely in place now slouch slightly forward...hanging in surrender. I'm a mess. And the evaluation went deeper than the physical too. In that eternal five minutes, I also examined my life. Yesterday, I was 28 years old...excited to see where my career and life would take me. Would I be moving out of the country? Or to another state? I hopped from Texas to Tennessee to Colorado in a matter of 14 months, chasing dreams. Today, just 24-hours later, I'm 41...and worried about whether I should sell my house and move across town. I'm tired. And what few dreams I have revolve not around experiencing life...but avoiding death. Financial death. Emotional death. Spiritual death. Death...not life. And what have I done with these 41 years? If I were to die today, what would people say about me? Have I left any semblance of a legacy? How many real "friends" do I have? And why has making friends never been a priority to me? What friends I do have is because they made the effort...not me. Why have I been so selfish? Never willing to give back. Never willing to open myself up to anyone? Is it because I really don't like who I I figure no one else would either? Why do I struggle so much with God? Church? Why is it that I would rather spend an entire day alone, by myself, than an hour with a group of people? I absolutely dread social gatherings. I mean dread. When did I become that person? Funny thing about mirrors. They don't lie. They show you exactly what you put in front of them. So there I was, in front of this reflective glass, wishing I didn't recognize the person standing there. But sadly, I know him all too well. And I don't care for him too much.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

One Day

One Day. It doesn't sound like much. But what if we could give children just one day off from the horrors of this world? What would that look like? Here's a quick breakdown: -We'd keep 6,171 children from being orphaned by HIV/AIDS today. -We'd save 1,500 children from dying of AIDS-related causes today.

-3,000 children would not die of malaria today.

-Nearly 18,000 children wouldn't die of malnutrition today.

-Nearly 5,000 children wouldn't die from unsafe water or sanitation today.

-We'd give 246-million children a break from child labor today.

-We'd protect 1.8-million children from prostitution and pornography today.

-We'd take a gun out of the hands of 300,000 child soldiers today.

-40 million children wouldn't suffer from abuse or neglect today.

One day. It doesn't seem like much...but think of what it would mean to these children. Please pray today for children around the world.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Will You Remember Me?

This weekend I'll be in the studio again. We've been making a lot of progress on the album. In fact, three songs are completely mixed. (I put one of them on my music player on my MySpace page, it's called Forgive and Forget. Check it out when you get a chance.) We still have background vocals to cut on four songs...and a bass track to finish on another. But this weekend, I'll be focusing on something else. This weekend, I'm going to be recording a song I wrote for Compassion International. I wrote it after my trip to Kenya last August. While we were there, I met a single mother, named Anrietta, who was HIV positive. During my conversation with her, she asked me twice: "Will you remember me?" I thought it was an odd question. I told her, "Of course I will!" Later, as other members of our group were talking to this same lady, she asked them the same question: "Will you remember me?" And it dawned on me. She was afraid. She was afraid that she'd be dying soon, leaving her young daughter to fend for herself. She was afraid she'd die...and be forgotten. Then I started thinking about the 1-billion plus children who live in extreme poverty in our world. They struggle just to survive. 30,000 children die everyday, from things that could easily be prevented. Who will remember them? I suppose we all want a legacy, right? We all want to leave this world a better place than the way we found it. We all want to be remembered. So, I'm going into the studio this weekend to start recording on this song...and to remember Anrietta. I'll upload an mp3 file of it once it's done. In the meantime, here are the lyrics: Will You Remember Me? VERSE: I am naked and I am poor I’m an orphan but so much more Won’t you look beyond your own front door to save? I’m just looking for some food to eat A pair of shoes for my two bare feet And I was hoping you could meet those needs today. CHORUS: When you hear my cries, will you rescue me? Will you just walk by through the moment? When you see my tears, will you comfort me? If I disappear, will you notice? I want a legacy…but will you remember me at all? BRIDGE: What’s it matter, how I got here? What’s it matter, where I’ve been? All that matters, is I should matter… Yes, I should matter to you. CHORUS: When you hear my cries, will you rescue me? Will you just walk by through the moment? When you see my tears, will you comfort me? If I disappear, will you notice? Yes, Anrietta, I will remember you.