All though my original purpose of blogging was to stay focused on my goals I have drifted all over the place.  Just kind of speaking to where I am in this thing called life.  It is very tricky being transparent but not too personal.  My families privacy is theirs not mine to tell.  However, I would like to tell you about a man that I could never know enough about.

This man I grew up with my whole life but could never deeply understand.  He was a man who loved deeply but didn’t know how to show it.  You see this man knew little of love growing up, or at least little of the nurturing kind.  The family struggled greatly for food and clothing.  The children were on their own young and found their way somehow.  He was caloused and hardened laboring as a young teen.

One day he met a young woman who had the opposite rearing.  Not wealthy but doing ok.  He admired her enough to go to a tent revival just to see her.  She later led him to love and eventually he found love personified in a life with Christ as well.  Together there was a balance, a completeness.  They had a family and weathered the ups and downs together.  They were a unit, whole.

Until one day the man lost his soulmate. He was never complete again.  He did continue as was possible because he was strong and even a bit, a lot, stubborn.  Time passed and he pushed through his lopsided life until it came his time to transition.  The days were numbered and all he wanted was to see his bride and his Lord.  On his last day he spoke to her.  He could be heard introducing her to people and calling her name.  The reunion must have wonderful.

The man left such an impression on everyone that his funeral, with a packed church, changed from a sad ending to a roast of sorts.  Random people stood and told humorous stories of his life.  He was still being the life of the party even in his death.  What a legacy and what an assurance!

I have never liked the whole Rest In Peace phrase so I will just end with; love and be loved on for Eternity, Dad.

“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”

Shannon L. Alder


Serving some deserving

I know the title for this one is a little corny but it does make you go…humm.  I just got back from a retreat where I had an amazingly great time.  I have been working so hard on my art, my job (I have actually had a lot of snow days off) and my family that I deserved a little R&R.  For those of you not familiar with the term R&R.  It is a military term for rest and relaxation.  I did some therapy shopping and was amazed at all the places that gave me a veterans discount.  My friends kept telling me to take it because I deserved it for my service to our country.  It made me feel important and special.

But what does it really mean to deserve something.  That term has probably served me more negatives then positives in my life.  “Oh, I donate my time playing music at church I deserve this guitar”, “ching”.  (That is the sound of an old fashioned cash register).  “I didn’t get a gift after all I have done I deserve one so I will buy it myself”, ching.  “I ran today so I deserve this chocolate chip cookie” or even “I can have this donut because I am going to run later.”  I have even given myself both a cookie and a donut on the same day for just the one run.  I am thinking this thought processes is not healthy for my finances or my body.

On the flip side the deserving punishment judgement can be equally as dangerous.   A getting what you deserve mentality can be very frustrating.  If you look around too much at what people get compared to what they do you will find yourself confused.  Life doesn’t punish and reward fairly.  I have lever been comfortable when I hear phrases like “Christ died for me when I didn’t deserve it”.  What a guilt laden way to view the cross.  I hate owing anyone anything so I can’t approach my walk with Christ that way.

Don’t get me wrong.  Jesus certainly didn’t deserve to die.  He chose to.  We can’t love and live out of guilt so we need to be very careful how we use the term deserve, especially in our spiritual walk and our walk with others.  Instead of being undeserving maybe we could try to see Him as our martyr and we His soldiers because to Him we are important and special.

DISCLAIMER:  I will try not to consider what I deserve when I price my artwork. I will, however, try not to think too hard about the word when I price my artwork in the future.

Courageous Freedom


As I journey through this year of self discovery as an artist one of the things I would like to do is to continue with my guitar re-creating.  It would make a great series of pieces. I have chosen the title Courageous Freedom for the series.  I will reveal to you the next guitar will be a bass guitar but the rest is a secret until it is finished.  Hopefully, it will not take the 5 years it took me to build the Thorny Guitar I revealed a couple of weeks ago.  I chose this series title because it is a combination of two of my favorite words.

I posses the greatest respect for those 2 words separately but when you put them together, volumes are written.  I have touched on bravery numerous times in my blogs but it is just that important to me.  Courage is required to take risk, to step out on the mission field, to march into a new career, to get rid of those comfort zones, to make decisions about things you have invested countless hours and money into, to marry, to start a family.  I think you get the picture.  Each day we make same courageous decisions.  Where there is risk there is the opportunity for courage.

It takes courage to create freedom.  Yes, freedom can be created.  I learned that from my time in the military.  We are not born courageous.  We learn it from acts of bravery, from managing fear and from Christ’s empowerment.  When my army reserve unit was activated and sent to Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm I learned really quickly what courage looked like.  I was surrounded by it everyday.  I was pretty scared at times but you move forward.  At night in my tent I would just say God protect me.  After rolling my socks over my boots to keep the scorpions and spiders out I would go to sleep.  I do not remember staying awake or worrying about anything.  I had been gifted with the courage of Christ.

It also takes courage to accept freedom.  Too many people are afraid to move into a life of freedom.  It is much safer and easier to stay in the same restrictive rituals that bind our faith.  I have broken down walls in my own life recently that I had built up for protection because I had been hurt many years ago.  I lacked the courage to allow myself to feel what was outside those stone walls.  They were cold and dark and left me incapable of truly feeling all that Christ had to offer.  Love was a very difficult concept when I was cowering behind that impenetrable barrier.  Those walls shackled me.  I felt little and lived a numbing life.  It took courage to break the walls down and step out into the light.  The love and emotions that hit me at first felt like stepping out into bright light from a dark cave.  I could only describe it as an emotional hangover the next day.  It took along time to manage all that and how to handle all this new freedom.  But I haven’t regretted a second of it.  The passion, love and courage I now have are wonderful friends.

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” —Plato