More About Me

Since I have run out of ideas of what to write about, I thought I’d share a few tidbits about yours truly, i.e. me.

Some of this may be new and some may be old. Or it may all be old. I don’t really know. I’ve lost track after 2,149 blogs over almost 6 years.

  1. If I had to choose just one album to listen to for the rest of my life, I think it’d be Miles Davis’ A Kind of Blue. That album still takes me to a tranquil and happy place.
  2. I’m still not 100% decided, but I think if I had to choose just one kind of food to eat from now on, it would probably be sushi (or if I’m allowed to cheat a little, sushi and Thai). I’ve become a serious fan.
  3. I still wish I could go back in time, if only for a day, and have conversations with people I love who have passed. Especially my two uncles. I know we’d talk about music the entire time.
  4. If I could pick any place to live, I think I’d like to live on Fair Street in Franklin. It’s like a fairy tale street and all the houses remind me of something out of a George MacDonald fantasy novel.
  5. The older I get, the older my music tends to get. Currently, I’m into country and acoustic blues from the 20’s and 30’s. In my opinion, it doesn’t get any more authentic than that.
  6. I still believe the healthiest place to be is to live in an others-centered way. The less you make life about you and your drama, the better. The more you focus on helping and serving others (and most of all serving God), the less time you have for drifting into a kind of narcissism where everything that happens in life ends up being about you. The absolute best way to deal with depression and grief is to find someone else with a need that you can meet and to go meet that need.
  7. Chocolate is still my favorite in the dessert world but there’s something about hot drinks with vanilla or vanilla-scented anything that takes me to a Calgon-like happy place.

I think that about covers it for now.

What I’m Up To These Days

So I’m sure that many of you are dying to know what I’ve been up to lately. You know, like what amazing music I’m listening to and what great restaurants I’ve been frequenting. Because I am such the trend-setter.

I’ve continued my old-school trend. In the car today, I listened to a Steely Dan retrospective and Miles Davis’ Miles Ahead (another fantastic collaboration between Miles and Gil Evans).

I tried out a new (to me) Thai restaurant on 8th Avenue South called the Smiling Elephant. It was as good as the hype had led me to believe it would be. If you go there, be sure to order the Pad Thai. You will be wanting to slap yo momma.

I picked up a classic devotional at Goodwill called Come Away, My Beloved. Think of it as a kind of early version of Jesus Calling. And it was only $2.99. Win.

I’m still trying to figure out how to slow down and savor more when I’m reading God’s Word. I’m ahead of schedule on my plan to read through the Bible in a year (I’m working through Isaiah as of this writing) and I don’t want to speed-read through and miss out on what God might want to say to me.

Oh, and I could use a couple extra hours in the day, solely for the purpose of getting more sleep. I find that 5:15 comes ridiculously early these days, though it is nice to see the sun already rising when I wake up.

Every day of life is still a miracle not to be wasted on bitterness, regret, anger, fear, or envy. Every set of 24 hours is unique and precious and will not come again, so make the most of each day like it might be your last. Don’t die wishing you could have a second chance to do what you never got to do the first time.

 

 

Cherishing the Moments

It’s 10:43 and I am just about to call it a night. At this point, I feel like I could sleep straight through to next Wednesday. I’m that tired.

But it’s a good tired. I put it a full day’s work at my job, went to the last night of a fantastic Bible study class on the book of Revelation, then joined some friends for a birthday celebration dinner.

I had some classic music in the car as my soundtrack on my trek to all these places– first, I had Miles Davis’ E. S. P. Later, I put in Van Morrison’s Moondance. Nothing like going old-school. Not even annoying road construction could dampen the good vibes brought on by this good music.

I love that for the past few days, the weather has felt more like fall than spring. There’s even been a hint of chill in the air. I almost feel the need to bust out my flannel. Almost.

My old boss where I used to work would often say to me when I asked how her day was going, “Any day without a toe tag is a good day.”

Any day that I get to wake up and join in this business of living is a good day. Yet, as good as life is when you appreciate and give thanks for all those 1000 gifts and blessings, this is not as good as it gets. I got reminded again in the last chapter of Revelation. My best day here pales in comparison to what’s to come. My best day here doesn’t even come close to my worst day in heaven. Sure, any day without that toe tag is a good day.

The day that I wake up in the presence of Jesus will be an even better day.

 

Keeping It Old School

I decided to favor you with an update of what I’m listening to these days. As usual, I’m keeping it old-school.

These days, when I say old-school, I really mean old-school, as in music going back as far as the 1920’s.

Here is a sampling of the artists I’ve listened to lately: Gene Autry (1929-1931), Frank Sinatra, Kris Kristopherson, Marty Robbins, Curtis Mayfield, Miles Davis, Prince, and Bill Withers.

I’m not opposed to new music. I really like a lot of what I’m hearing (though most of what I like that’s modern is probably not in the top 40).

I’m drawn to old music because I feel like it’s a kind of a time machine to a past that mystifies and fascinates me, a simpler (though not always better) time that for the most part no longer exists.

Plus, I feel like that the music from bygone days that has survived and thrived this long is considered classic for a reason. It has a timeless appeal and message that still speaks to these ears, even after many of the artists have passed away.

You can make the same argument for movies and books. Sometimes, it pays to go to an old-school that’s older than you.

 

 

My Idea of Nirvana on a Spring Evening

Rainy_tea_and_book

Last night, it was on the brisk side, if not chilly, and overcast. As much as I’ve grown to covet sunshine these days, I didn’t mind too much. I had a picture come to mind of what I’d like to be doing at that moment. It’s not the most exciting or thrilling of possibilities, but it works for me.

I’d be at a local coffee shop, sipping on some organic tea (or maybe some kind of chai or an exotic latte if the mood strikes). I’d have a good book in hand, maybe a British murder-mystery or a book of poetry, and there’d be some mellow folksy music playing in the background (think Joni Mitchell, Peter Bradley Adams, or Carole King-type tunes). Or maybe some old-school jazz in the tradition of Miles Davis, Red Garland, or Wes Montgomery.

That would be my idea of peace and tranquility and a good time. Not watching a 24-hour news channel ad nauseum. Don’t get me wrong. If you watch Fox News or CNN non-stop, then go for it. I just get tired of talking heads talking about the same things for hours upon hours without variation. The same goes for most talk radio I’ve experienced in my life. Fiction, especially of the fantasy kind, is infinitely more interesting to me. I like my television to be as non-realistic as possible.

I like my Starbucks like the rest, but I’m thinking this needs to be a more local-type place, like Eighth and Roast or Edgehill Cafe. Actually, now that I think about it, sitting outside the Edgehill Cafe with my tea and my book and occasionally glancing up to watch the people passing by sounds perfect.

If I ever get the notion, you’re more than welcome to join me. I might even put my book down and we could have ourselves a good conversation.

 

Things I Love 20: Still Living the Miracle

island hammock

“And when I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me” (Ann Voskamp).

That’s what it’s all about, in case you’ve missed the first 19 of this blog series. It’s about naming and giving thanks for little things that most people would take for granted and not give a second thought to. I’m moving away from a very American sense of entitlement to one of gratitude where I see everything in my life, both the good and bad, the easy and difficult, as gifts and grace. All of it is emptying and enlarging me so that I can be filled with more of Jesus.

So I start with #516

516) That cold glass of water that perfectly quenches my thirst.

517) Waving at strangers in Radner Lake State Park (and having them wave back).

518) A perfect albeit unusually cool summer evening for hiking.

519) Bare feet on a sand volleyball court.

520) Drinking right out of a hose and feeling like I’m 10 years old all over again.

521) My Monday men’s small group where we all share joys and sorrows and do life together.

522) Seeing older pictures of me and realizing how much weight I’ve lost.

523) That I’ve seen The Princess Bride on VHS, DVD, and blu ray (and too many times to count).

524) Whenever TVLand has a marathon of Friends episodes.

525) Being able to pray for someone who’s constantly on my mind instead of obsessing over them.

526) Any of the black and white episodes of The Andy Griffith Show (especially the ones with Don Knotts).

527) Real authentic Christianity with answers that don’t fit on a bumper sticker.

528) Rescuing turtles from becoming roadkill.

529) Finding money in the pockets of clothing I hadn’t worn in a while.

530) The part of that Friends episode where Monica tells Phoebe not to get the sucker mixed up with the home pregnancy test ’cause that would be really bad for the sucker.

531) Really being able to relate to a character in a movie or TV show or in a book.

532) Song lyrics that speak the language of my heart.

533) The way the evening sunlight reflected off of Radner Lake and made it sparkle.

534) All the old Miles Davis jazz albums.

535) Finding out about a new Charles Martin book.

536) A tall glass of orange juice (but not after just having brushed my teeth– blech!)

537) Finding out that friends from different parts and places in my life know each other.

538) William Powell and Myrna Loy in all those Thin Man movies.

539) That Grease is still the word.

540) The steadfast love of the Lord that never ceases.

541) The perfect blend of sweet tea and lemonade.

542) The adventure of picking out a new book to read.

543) The turnip greens from Kleer-Vu in Murfreesboro.

544) Turning actual pages of an actual book and the feel of the paper in my hands.

545) The Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong version of Porgy & Bess. It’s the best.

546) Wearing my cowboy boots to church.

547) Being cold and crawling under warm blankets.

548) When a good song gives me  the good kind of chills.

549) Random memories of my old black lab Murphy.

550) Those chairs at Costco that give the best back massages.

Random Favorites and Desert Island Picks

This might seem like a filler blog (and it is, because I’m all out of profound ideas that I “borrowed” from other people). Hopefully, it will bring a bit of levity in your life after a hard week of work. FYI: TGIF!

If I were stranded on a desert island and could only have one kind of food, I think I’d go with the Chick-fil-A nuggets. Those just never get old for me. Plus, I’m taking it for granted that they come with all the usual dipping sauces.

If I had only one album I could take with me to the desert island (which just so happens to have electricity and a good sound system), I would take Miles Davis’ A Kind of Blue. It is rightfully considered one of the best jazz albums ever.

I don’t know if it’s still hip or trendy to admit celebrity crushes, but my all-time celebrity crush is still Audrey Hepburn. If we’re going with only living people, it’s Zooey Deschanel.

I miss that chantico drink from Starbucks that I probably spelled wrong. It was like a chocolate bar melted into a drink, or what I like to call a little foretaste of heaven. I also miss the Snapple drink, Ralph’s Cantalope Cocktail, that tasted just like real cantelopes.

I don’t know if you ever get the urge to watch a movie you’ve seen before, but lately I’ve been feeling the need to watch Juno again. Then after that, I’ll go buy some orange tic-tacs.

At the end of the day, regardless of how I think my day was a success or a total fiasco, I still need God. I need to know that He’s still got the whole world in His hands (to borrow from a great song by All Sons & Daughters).

That’s all for tonight. Told you it would be random.