Saturday, March 29, 2008
What's going on today?
>> I'm on call, so not much planned away from home. I think my first softball practice might be postponed due to the rain that is gonna hang around.
>>We are planting some trees in the yard today, the rain is welcome. We have a lot to do in the yard but it will be in phases over a long period of time as we settle in. Priority is for trees, seeding the backyard, some annuals in the front. etc.
Later down the line (read: "maybe next year") The rose bed (Abraham Darby will be the rose of choice, the smell forever reminding me of British Columbia's Butchart Gardens). A perimeter of leyland cypress trees in the back yard and working on the flower beds in the backyard around the deck. We have plenty of time (and no money) so it will be planned accordingly.
>>It's good to have the boys back home. They had a blast playing at my parents on the farm. My sister, Amy, was on spring break from school too and tried to keep up :-) She graduates with her ADN in Nursing in May and we couldn't be prouder! I will be at her pinning ceremony in Sumter and a BIG pig pickin' is planned that weekend as well.
The house was so quiet without Miles and Dylan around. Shadow was just starting to get the feel of the quiet house. He's hiding in our room this morning. Keller hasn't seen the boys yet but will be ready to play (with anyone).
>>Tricia and I had a great week hanging out this week. She caught up on some school work and we had some friends over for dinner on Thursday (Brooke and Todd from Freedom Fellowship). We went for a walk on the trail almost every day around lunch time with Keller leading the way. It's important to catch up and slow down at the same time.
>>A few changes in the Wanee announced since my last post. As I hoped, the Friday night set for Govt Mule has been extended. They will close Friday night with a full 2 1/2 hour set. Big smile on my face thinking about that one. Then on Saturday night after Bob Weir does the greatest hits of the Dead, we will get the Wanee Family Jam on the small stage before Susan and Derek close the festival at midnight Saturday. It's the best of the situation and I'm ready!
>>We go to Camp Greenville in 1 week. I will be the camp nurse and a chaperone. It's an environmental science camp up in the SC mountains. Miles and I have looked forward to this trip since the beginning of school. It's time for camp!
Well, time for more coffee and some breakfast. Hope you have a great weekend!
Friday, March 28, 2008
Yesterday, it was announced that Gregg Allman has been undergoing treatment for Hepatitis C. While the virus has been eradicated from his system, the treatment has knocked him back a few notches. The band has canceled their Wanee appearances and the Beacon Theatre run scheduled for May. The Bonnaroo set in June is still on the schedule. Gregg says he is feeling better but still tired. I wish the best for the Midnight Rider on his recovery. It also makes me grateful to have witnessed some great ABB shows in the last few years. Gregg has been clean and sober for almost 10 years now and has reportedly been seen in church down near Savannah where he lives with his wife on a farm (Richmond Hill, GA). I guess the 70's and 80's will catch up with you sooner or later...the "High Cost of Low Living"...
What does that mean for the Wanee festival that is the Allman's big Spring fest down in Live Oak, Florida? Well, we still get Gov't Mule, Oteil's Peacemakers and Derek and Susan. I'm hoping for more time from these bands instead of any replacement from another band. This is the first year that Gov't Mule hasn't played both nights, maybe that will change with the ABB not being there both nights. Longer sets from moe. and Levon Helm won't hurt my feelings any either. Either way, I'm looking forward to hearing some great music under the mossy oaks and hanging out in the Florida sun with my buds.
Not trying to put a nail in Gregg's coffin but I'm sure the lyrics to "The High Cost of Low Living" ring true these days.
Get well soon Gregg and I look forward to hearing your voice down the road real soon!
Still you need somewhere you can hide
All your good time friends
And your fair weather has-beens
Lord knows, they're just along for the ride
You think you're a survivor
But boy, you better think twice
No one rides for nothin'
So, step up and pay the price
It's a high cost of low livin'
Ain't it high time? You turn yourself around
Yeah, the high cost of low livin'
It's bound to put you six feet in the ground
So many here who love ya
But still, you just can't tell the
Real ones from those who drop your name
All the while behind your back
They lift the flesh right from your bones
You should know by now we're all fair game
You've been chasing each dream with whiskey
From here to Tokyo
Usin' up all your real friends
and places left to go
It's a high cost of low livin'
Ain't it high time? You turn yourself around
Yeah, the high cost of low livin'
It's bound to put you six feet in the ground
Don't look behind you
Ahh, don't look back
Don't turn to find reason in the past
Past is gone, gone at last
And it's high time you turn yourself around
Well, the high cost of low livin'
It's bound to put you six feet in the ground
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Miles and Dylan are at my parents for the week, so it's been really quiet around here. Well, other than Shadow waking us up way too early. I told him it's been kinda cold lately at night, he might want to tame his nocturnal prowl down a notch or two. Tricia and I went out for Mexican, to the library and then the grocery store. If that's not excitement, I don't know it! Oh yeah, I almost forgot! We went to Dunkin Donuts after the grocery store.
We are enjoying our Spring Break domesticated style!
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Now, the Bi-Lo Center could be one of the worst places to hear a concert. The sound bounces all over and to compensate for the spacious confines, the volume is loud which becomes a high frequency wall. We were dead center on the floor in front of the board and I had trouble hearing the vocals, smartly they had the lyrics on the big screen. Also, the seats were WAY too close together, given the amount of empty seats in the upper levels. The seats were also NOT numbered on the floor that lead to some seat confusion. We survived, I'll quit whining now.
To the senses other than hearing, it was a very cool show with a visual artist creating art during 2 songs of the 2nd set. They also had some local high school students in a string ensemble for most of the 2nd set. Casting Crowns is a great group, lead by the dynamic Mark Hall. Their message is challenging to Christians but uplifting and encouraging (sounds like a radio station I know...). We also got some info on World Vision, the group that CC has partnered with in order to bring clean water to poor areas of the world. That work spoke directly to me and what I still need to accomplish for fund raising for the Africa trip and reaffirmed our mission there in Botswana that awaits.
Tricia and I had a great date that included a great dinner at Chicora Alley across from the Reedy Falls Park in downtown Greenville before the concert. We planned last night with our great new friends Brian and Kelly Thomas from Freedom. It was a good night for all 4 of us. We even walked out with all 3 studio CDs from CC for $35 (they are all on the Ipod and Miles' Zen already). I look forward to seeing CC again down the road, hopefully outside somewhere or in a more acoustically pleasing venue.
We are heading out to Sumter for the Easter weekend. Miles and Dylan are spending all of next week on the farm with my parents for Spring Break. Tricia and I have the whole week alone. We will be helping Keller recover from his "family planning procedure" on Monday morning. A week away from the boys will definitely help him recover. I'm looking forward to seeing the BIG family that gathers at my parents on Sunday and also looking forward to Easter Sunday back at Alice Drive. Happy Easter. He Died, He Arose, He Reigns!
Thursday, March 20, 2008
They risked their lives to make sure the men who they thought would need them would not perish on the transcontinental journey. That group's ship crashed before it ever landed and that group had to row over
The book was written in an academic sense and full of first source references and corrections of previous accounts. Nonetheless, I found it very readable and engrossing. If you like real adventure and testing of the human spirit, then this one is for you.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
It was announced today that Oliver Purnell has agreed to a 6 year extension at Clemson. I'm relieved that we did the right thing there, you just never know what some of the powers that be can be thinking. This is the best basketball coach at Clemson, ever (well, at least in my memory).
Look for more of the same and then some! The BIG Dance starts this Friday night vs. Villanova.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Am I disappointed? Sure. But, we lost 3 times to the top ranked team in the nation with the national player of the year. UNC is a dynasty and we just got a better measurement of what we need to do and how we need to do it to stay competitive in the league. I am proud of the team and the effort they displayed all year. It wasn't easy and it wasn't' always pretty but it was fun! But, the BIG DANCE awaits. Friday is the 1st NCAA game for us in 10 years, I will be getting home from Casting Crowns and looking for the score and the 2nd half.
It's a short week for the kids and Tricia this week, Spring Break starts on Friday. Enjoy it!
Saturday, March 15, 2008
No, the other hard journey is for me and my 2nd trip to Africa. I face an uphill battle in terms of raising the funds for this trip. We have to raise $3,000 per person by the end of April. We paid my deposit this week and I am working on the fundraising efforts via web, work and worship. Web is my site Africa 2008
The work part is asking my company founder and President if my trip could possibly be considered for our company charity donation. This allows employees to donate from their payroll checks each month. He and I have had some very good discussions that have challenged me to articulate why I want to go on this mission and what it means to me. I admit I didn't at first recognize God giving me a challenge from my employer to explain the trip. I wrestled with going on the trip during the ride home from Sumter and during the night following but I awoke convicted of my purpose (or so I thought). But, God works in mysterious ways and he used my employer challenging me about what this trip is about and why I want to go, to help me know. I thought I could simply say "Hey, look at me. I'm going on a trip to Africa to help others, I deserve your help." But, it's not that easy. Is it about me or about them? I needed to express that it was my faith and conviction to help those suffering break through a vicious cycle of disease and poverty as Jesus would, that is telling me that I have to go. Also that I have to cast aside my pride in asking others for help. And here's the interesting part, my employer does NOT want to support a "religious mission" and wanted to know if that was why I was going. That's what initially got under my skin but then I began to see his point of view. He's the employer for 160+ and needs to make sure every email that is sent to the company in an official capacity from him follows certain guidelines. I first told him that we are going to serve, not to save. I told him those people don't need another bunch of white Americans coming over "to save the day". We have to stand alongside, not in front or in their faces. The gospel is already being preached there and churches are growing there, we are going to strengthen the work that is already going on. I was also very clear that my faith is something I will be talking about but it is also something that will go before me and be there when I leave. It was a defining moment for me and for the trip. Had I not been challenged to go below the surface and ask myself why I personally felt called to help poor African AIDS orphans, then I might as well have stayed home and allowed someone else to go in my place. God could also be working in his life through my replies and my demonstration of faith. Our company President spent some time in Botswana on a vacation last summer and is well aware of the plight of the orphans, hearing my replies and seeing our action could be an important step for him.
This will be a hard trip with an excruciatingly long flight (17 hours there direct and even longer with the stop on the way back), minimal comforts of "modern life", and the danger of disease and crime is very real in this part of the world. Nonetheless, God has prepared me for this mission all of my life: being raised in the South in a Christian farming family, it's in the music I love, it was in my Army training and travels (lots of vaccinations and hard travel--at times :-)), it is in my nursing training and career, and even in graduate school at MUSC where I first put my own focus on this disease and what it is doing to the health and economic sectors of these countries and how that affects me. Not long after those studies I met a musician from South Africa, Vusi Mahlasela. Vusi comes from a poor township outside of Pretoria, South Africa called Mamelodi. Vusi and I spent some time after a Derek Trucks Band show in the fall of 2003 talking about HIV/AIDS in Africa and what needs to take place. God was laying more of the foundation for these missions. Then, a pastor came to Alice Drive to talk about a new group he was founded called Alongside Africa to bond churches in America with African churches and leaders. It was clear call to me. I stood and went to the back of the church after the service and told Robert that I was going on the trip. I didn't know when or where but I knew why. Guess where we went last summer for our first trip? Mamelodi! God uses a mighty big exclamation point at times. It's hard for me to ignore a sign so big, but just to be honest and human...I did try to ignore it but I'm glad I have stepped past that. It's just amazing how his plan unfolds even we can't even begin to understand how it all ties together in his master plan.
Now for the worship piece. When we first went to Freedom Fellowship last summer it was a few weeks before our first trip to Africa. Cliff and I had some discussions about the trip. Later, I have showed Cliff our videos and talked about the trip in Life Group. He and I have talked about me speaking to Freedom about my first trip but I admit I let it slide and I didn't seize the moment. This spring as the details have unfolded, we have talked more and I am now planning to not only talk about the first trip but start the process of forming a partnership that includes Freedom and other churches in the Upstate with Alice Drive and churches in Africa. We can build on what is happening in Sumter and let ADBC be a hub for this part of the journey. Did you know that Sumter county now has the highest HIV infection rate of any county in South Carolina? Do you need any other example of how God uses us to reach others? We are just beginning this long, hard journey and have so much work ahead of us. I look forward to once again being given the challenge by God to not only articulate how and why he called me but to invite others to join us as well.
But, like the Clemson Tigers, if you don't face the (Duke Blue) Devils and find the fight that is yours, you will never know why you were fighting. We spend way too much time fighting ourselves and He wants to use us in the right direction. We just have to relax, listen, focus...and let him.
Friday, March 14, 2008
I am excited that Simpsonville (on the south side of Greenville) has a new 16,000 seat outdoor music ampitheatre that should start drawing some national acts soon now that they have a big time promoter (that's Big Time baby, Big Time :-) ). It will be great to not have to drive to Charlotte or Atlanta to see some summer shows in the future. Those drives after the show are not the safest or most fun and gas is ridiculous as you are aware...
Dylan had a much better baseball practice last night. He told me he had fun and that he "got over my attitude that I had the last time". I think the pep talk we gave him about practice being like homework and that no one really likes training more than playing the game. I think he's getting the idea and they did batting practice last night which is always more fun than fielding all practice. We still plan to start karate for him this summer or fall and I am thinking about joining him if the budget works out.
Well, it's time for basketball. I plan to write more about Africa this weekend.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Tricia and I had so much fun playing Catch Phrase with our LifeGroup last night. If you don't know, it's a handheld game that allows you to pick categories and then you have to describe the catch phrase to your team without using the words in the phrase before time runs out. It was the men vs the women and those cheaters won on the final round. It's fun to see frustration and anxiety matched when the timer speeds up as the time winds down. I hope we can play that again but I'm really looking forward to the big 1980's Trivial Pursuit we keep talking about! Now, that will be a challenge for those who dare to compete with me! It will be no-holds-barred! See you at a kitchen table soon.
Okay, time to watch some ACC basketball tournament.
Monday, March 10, 2008
I also have a new link to Pastor Clay's blog (imagine that!), look in the links to the right>>>
We celebrated the Lord's Supper and Clay preach a very solid sermon on the resurrection of Christ that I so needed to hear. It was also good to hear the choir and the praise band.
Dylan, Keller and I went to baseball practice tonight. Not really sure if Dylan is feeling this baseball thing. The coach is very serious, maybe a little too much for 5 and 6 year olds but I think Dylan is getting the idea and doggone it he is learning and tired :-) We will see how long he continues to resist the training and wind sprints. Keller had a blast meeting new folks and getting a ball fetch work out in during the practice. Hope to get back on the trail in the morning. I spent most of my morning free time working on setting up a print server/data server for the home network out of an old PC. It's working great and I even got the network protocol working so it won't need a monitor for me to get to the desktop, etc. Kinda proud of myself (as long as it continues to work and the Windows firewall doesn't throw me any more curve balls). It's a geek thing, I know.
How 'bout them Tigers! They squeaked one past Va Tech in the last few seconds after letting a great 1st half lead evaporate in the 2nd half. They fell out of the Top 25 due to their loss to Ga Tech but they tend to play better when not ranked so maybe that will be the difference in the ACC tourney which starts this Thursday. But, for the first time in a LONG time, Clemson has a bye and plays the winner of the Boston College/Maryland game. Should be a fun weekend for hoops, I'm on call and have nothing else planned!
Still enjoying the Frisell recording while I work...
Friday, March 7, 2008
I am heading to Sumter by myself to attend a meeting on Sunday afternoon about another trip to Africa over the Labor Day weekend. We are planning to go to Botswana from what I know. I will post more details after the meeting. I am going to talk to Freedom Fellowship about the mission trip last summer and this one for 2008 next week. Pray for clarity in my message and guidance for everyone involved with this year's trip. Hey, I get some country eatin' at my Mom's in the deal, so it's worth the drive to Sumter!
More rain today. Keller and I went out for a quick lap around the block. It was pouring. He thought I was crazy (smart dog :-)) but I put on the jungle hat and he made it just fine. He's kinda funny about water as I have written before. Hopefully, he gets the idea that he won't melt. Speaking of melting, Shadow decided to spend the night outside and got caught in the rain. He was doing his very best to get someone's attention at the back door this morning. Wet cat does not equal happy! He's dry and sleeping in Dylan's bed per his usual weekday routine. I took the boys to school like I do on most Fridays today and helped Dylan get his big African-America project about Jackie Robinson to class dry and safe. He worked too hard on that to let it get wet. A+ in my humble opinion of course!
Dylan also started baseball last night. He had fun although it made him a little late getting to bed. He will be pr acting twice a week until the season starts at the beginning of April. He's on the Pirates minor league team. The team seems to have an unorthodox coach who doesn't particularly care for Rec league ball and had some interesting things to say about the weird rules for this age group. Can't wait to see how this unfolds but I think Dylan will have fun learning about the game and just being on the team makes his day. He seems to be ahead of most of the kids (there are quite a few 5 year olds on this team) and should be a little more serious this time around than T-ball. This age is coach pitch and that will be good for Dylan. Spring time is in the air!
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
I am now starting Lost Men a book about Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men trying to reach rescue after their attempt to cross the Antarctic continent went very wrong. I read a review in Newsweek when it was published last year and then we talked about this adventure in our Lifegroup the other week, so I went looking for it. Check the website for the book here: The Lost Men.
We are meeting our Lifegroup at El Marachi's in Greer tonight for some fun and food. A mid-week date for me and Tricia, how cool is that!
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
The Sony PCM-D50 and the croakie-mount omnis really shine in this theater. The sound is full and warm, great acoustics in this wood wall deep theater setting. It just worked well and I am enjoying this one.
Listening to a lot of Miles Davis today, ripped some old CDs. That book about Kind of Blue has me in the jazz head lately.
Speaking of jazz...The Bill Frisell quartet was unlike anything I have ever seen or heard. The Disfarmer potraits floating in and out of the screens on both sides of the band and the music put the audience (including me and Miles) in a trance dream state. It was an extra special musical event. Miles and I had a blast. We got to do some rock wall climbing on Sunday morning with Matt and his girls in Chapel Hill. We also had some great pancakes at Elmo's diner in Carborro after the climbing got us hungry. Miles did great on the wall and on the pancakes :-) I really enjoyed the climbing and the zen of the activity. Tricia and I have talked about doing that here in Greenville as a family/couple soon. Glad Matt took us out there to do the spiderman thang.
Miles' highlight of the weekend was his very first Starbucks latte on the ride home. Those pancakes were making my eyelids very heavy, like I was back in the Frisell performance...So, we stopped above Charlotte on the interstate and we got 2 honey lattes. Miles and I were rockin' out to Rush and REM all the way home. He thinks he is going to get a latte every time now. I can't blame the little guy for his taste in vices.
Oh yeah, how about them Clemson Tigers! I have to be honest and tell you I went to bed at the beginning of the 2nd half on Sunday night with Clemson down by 15 points. I was thrilled to see we pulled it out at the buzzer with a 3 pointer by the white knight, Terrence Oglesby. Nice work! Unfortunately, Cliff Hammonds broke his right wrist on a great defensive block in the 2nd half, I did see that play. He has never missed a game due to injury and holds Clemson records for most starts. He is left handed, so we will see how he responds to this setback. We are now back in the top 25 as well. Hopefully, our team captain (Hammonds) will follow James Mays' route and not let injury force him to the bench. Clemson has had its share of injuries and this is just another bump in the road.
Fingers and toes are crossed :-) Go Tigers!
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Miles and I are heading to Duke University tonight to see the Disfarmer project with the Bill Frisell Trio. Frisell wrote a score to go with the Disfarmer images. It's a real treat for me to finally see Bill Frisell, one of my favorite composers and one of the best jazz guitarists, ever. We are going to stay the night with my old friend, Matt Hopkins, in Cary. Matt will have his two cutie pie girls with him and Miles is looking forward to watching the first Harry Potter movie on the car DVD as we drive over to Cary. We will make it back home on Sunday in time for the BIG Clemson basketball game at Maryland.
Musical Portraits from Heber Springs
BILL FRISELL'S DISFARMER PROJECT
In the small mountain town of Heber Springs, Arkansas, the artist and photographer known as Disfarmer captured the lives and emotions of rural America between 1939-1945. Critics have hailed Disfarmer's remarkable portraits as "a work of artistic genius" and "a classical episode in the history of American photography." This work has captivated the imagination of the celebrated guitarist and composer Bill Frisell, who has been inspired to write and perform music in concert with multiple projected images from Disfarmer's treasure trove of period portraits. Violinist Jenny Scheinman, steel guitarist Greg Leisz and bassist Viktor Krauss will share the stage in interpreting Frisell’s music.See ya!