Monthly Archives: April 2013

Roller Coaster Ride at a Motorcycle Shop…

“In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.” –Prov. 3:6

I was more than blessed yesterday when I had the wonderful opportunity to be a guest on a weekly2013-04-27 11.41.49 broadcast show on the Truth Radio Network. I was one of several visitors who came on the “Robby’s Hobbies” show, hosted by Robby Dilmore and gave their testimony in Christ along with telling the listening audience how their life’s hobbies or spiritual gifts have helped them in their walk of faith.

It was obvious once the show began that Robby had not shared with any of us visitors as to whom the other guests might be. For me at least, it made for a very spontaneous and ultimately rewarding experience. Before I was invited to be on the show, Robby and I talked by phone about my reason for being on the show which was to tell his listeners about my book, “Bruecke to Heaven”, and the story of faith behind it. When he called, I had just got up from a couple hours sleep, trying to recover from working the night shift; I never get enough. As I sat on the front porch swing talking with Robby, I sat looking out across lush green pastures in the distance, while the bountiful pink blossoms of the cherry tree swayed gently in the foreground, sprinkling tiny blooms in the air like snow flurries of spring. It was in this mode that we both shared with one another or faith, our passion for what we do and I felt a calm come over me, like Robby was someone I had always known; it was as if I was talking to family.

We had originally talked about me coming to the studio for the interview but due to a schedule change, the date which I chose to be interviewed happen to be the same date in which the station was going to be putting on a live broadcast at the Honda of Winston Salem motorcycle shop. Robby asked if I was ok with that, and I thought, “Hey, I’m always up for a challenge and it would certainly be an adventure,” so I gladly accepted. The challenging part was the fact that I had told Robby I could perform a song that I wrote about the book on air if he liked, which he said would be fantastic. In lieu of being live, on air, broadcasting from a motorcycle shop, I knew that trying to perform a song on location might be a disaster, so a great friend and fellow J.A.M. supporter/teacher, Mark Dillon, graciously agreed to meet with me beforehand and record the song I was to do on the air. I wanted to have one in the can, so to speak, which we could play instead.

So, Saturday morning came, and after dropping my family off in Greensboro to begin celebrating my daughter’s 12th birthday, I found my way to the motorcycle shop in Winston-Salem. Upon arriving, it was easy to see I was at the right place. There was a tractor trailer parked in the lot next to the Honda dealership at a furniture consignment store. It was the “Harvest America” road show, which was there until noon, and then it would be off to Raleigh for the remainder of the day. They were promoting their upcoming nationwide simulcast event on September 28 and 29th. Greg Laurie, the evangelist leading the event, is considered to quite possibly be the next Billy Graham. The huge trailer, along with hundreds of balloons, tents and signage made for an excitement in the air just from the visual perspective. I walked into the Honda dealership finding Robby already fully engaged in his show that preceded ours, but he acknowledged me while continuing to air his show.

I walked around, looking at all the motorcycles, speaking to people there, both working and visiting, and before I knew it, it was time to start. Another good friend of mine, Dean Lang, had encouraged me by text message earlier to relax and just be myself, so as I reviewed his text, I sucked in a deep breath and put on the headphones for the interview to begin. Before I sat down, I handed Robby the CD Mark and I had made and he somewhat dejectedly said that he had hoped I would do it live. I asked, “Here on a live broadcast?” To which he replied, “Sure, it will be just fine.” His calmness soon erased my fears, so I unpacked my guitar and tuned up so it was ready to go when he asked.

As the interview began, I sat across the table from Robby and another guest, Ross. Chik-fil-A was hosting another Chik-fil-A Leadercast event and Ross was there promoting the local church who was also hosting the event via simulcast. Before we started, we did a sound check on our mics, so Robby asked Ross to go first and to just say John 3:16. So Ross did, he said, “John 3:16,” and stopped. Robby looked at him and waited for more, which Ross soon realized he wanted him to keep going so the engineer could get the sound volume correct and was somewhat comically put on the spot. Robby then asked me to do the same, which I then quoted John 3:16 and then continued into John 3:17 as well. Robby and the engineer had more than enough of my sound check to work with and Ross was somewhat dismayed, when he said, “Well, I didn’t realize I was going to be sitting across from an over-achiever.” We all laughed and the gig was on: the roller coaster was at the top of the first hill and about to drop off the first precipice.

2013-04-27 11.41.12I don’t recall the exact order of events from there, like a roller coaster, once the ride began it became a blur; only the high and lowlights stuck. I did find it challenging that we were sharing time between multiple guests, so I would speak for a bit then stop and allow other guests to talk. Then when it was my time again, I had to pick up where I left off, which was often the challenging part. The talk went back and forth between myself and Ross, with Robby interjecting during breaks the Harvest America event, all pretty up beat until the lady came on whom was a cancer survivor to tell her story. She had just had a complete bilateral mastectomy and was there to tell her story of recovery and faith. Just prior to her speaking, Robby asked me to perform my song; we were now at the bottom of one of those roller coaster hills and the peak seemed so far up I couldn’t see the top from where I sat.

I prayed a silent prayer asking God to please sing through me in spite of me, closed my eyes and began.

It seemed like an eternity, but was over in the blink of an eye. The last strains of the melody were still echoing in my ears when the crowd who had gathered around erupted into applause. I opened my eyes to see for myself who all was now there, and saw the sudden audience and then looked over at the cancer survivor. She had tears in her eyes and was holding a copy of my book in her hands. Robby went to her next and she began to speak in a shaky voice how I had just touched her heart. As I sit here now trying to write this with tears in my eyes, I can’t begin to tell you the feeling of knowing that God has spoken through you, but there it was, right there, in a motorcycle shop in Winston-Salem on an overcast morning, with people from all walks of faith gathered around, either in person or listening across the country, witnessing the power of the Lord.

As we sat there listening to her touch our hearts, she said that the quote from my the book that is written on the cover touched her event more and then she read it to us, “Yes my son, the angels speak to us often, and with our hearts in the right place, we can hear them.”

From there, her testimony and the rest of the show was an emotional blur, as I was blown away from all that had just transpired. I met many wonderful people in such a short timeframe, seen the effects of a Godly moving event and had a song God gave me, sung on the airwaves across the nation, and it the clock had barely struck noon.

I left the dealership, like one leaves a barn-burner roller coaster ride, shaken but super charged at the same time. I knew when this book journey began that the only thing I could count on was not knowing where the journey would lead and today, was yet another wonderful surprise and life enriching experience.

I pray that as God leads me, I find the paths he shows, this is all I can hope and pray. Amen!

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Filed under Inspirational, Religion, Religious Experience

Confluence of Me…

[Disclaimer: This is meant to be a humorous look at a sleep deprived perspective of life. Enjoy…]mental_dstruction_350

Today as I loaded the car, I had to think about all the various parts of my mind that needed to get it together in order to pull off tonight’s speaking engagement. It wasn’t so much what I was speaking about; rather, it was just the fact that I was going to perform a song that I wrote, speak about a book that I’d written and then present a slide show to back up the research that I’d done in order to write the book. In other words, I had to get all the confluences of thought streaming into the same direction.

I realized all this when I fortunately remembered to grab the binder full of genealogy research my Aunt June had given me. It then dawned on me; we needed to get all of me into the car and go.

As we backed out of the garage into the brilliant sunlit day, I had to laugh to myself at all the various thoughts that were attempting to run through my head simultaneously; Artist, Writer, Musician, Engineer, Farmer and Preacher of sorts. Artist wanted to behold the loveliness of the day, the beautiful blooming trees and flowers with the green grass strong and vibrant in the pastures. Writer agreed with the Artist and wanted to recall the splendor on paper, to describe all of the magnificence the Artist was seeing, but in words.  Musician, full of the exuberance of the moment could only think of how it all made him want to sing, but one look at Engineer glaring back at him quickly dissipated any further melodies that tried to emerge.

All of this talk of glorious beauty only annoyed the Engineer, who now decided it best that he sit on the hood of the car facing us as we drove, so that he could make sure we kept ourselves on track and didn’t wander off into no-man’s land mentally and forget to turn when we needed to do so. At the moment, Engineer simply glared at Musician who wished someone would at least turn on the radio.

Meanwhile, the Farmer, who had quietly and patiently listened to the Artist and Writer describe the scenes around them as they rode, could only think of how well the green grass was growing and that the weeds could use one more spraying of herbicide. It comforted the Farmer to know the cattle would be well sated today and that there would be little fear of them pushing the fence lines. All the while, the Engineer kept reminding us as we drove, that he wanted to make sure we stopped by the church to pick up the projector that we would need to run the slide show which was to be part of tonight’s presentation.

The Preacher, concerned for the well-being of everyone, simply wanted the Engineer to be safe out there on the hood of the car, yet realized that someone had to make sure we paid attention and kept us on time, so he prayed for us all, especially Engineer.

It was apparent, all of us were dependent upon one that had little to no personality at all; our body, the Animal. Yes, Animal instincts and needs overcame any other personality simply because the body in which they lived had to be maintained. So it was today, that as we drove down the road toward Goldston to the church, Animal began to let everyone know that he was beginning to get hungry. After all, we had not eaten anything of sustenance since early the previous morning. It was now nearing six o’clock in the evening, a good twelve hours since the last meal. So it was only fair that he send a sharp stabbing pain to our stomach which indicated his conviction to getting his way while sending a throbbing pulse to our temples warning of a potential headache lest he get his way. Yet, there was no time, said the Engineer, who was still keeping track of time.

I quickly grabbed the water bottle sitting in the console.  It was warm to the touch from having been in the shut-up car all day, and drank down several gulps of hot water. Artist, Writer and Musician all noted the lack of pleasure from drinking warm water and all yearned for a cool sip instead. Farmer quickly let them know, any water, hot or cold was better than no water; they all concurred. The pain subsided briefly, diluted enough so that Animal could wait a little longer to eat.

Meanwhile, Writer was secretly thinking of how funny this would all be if he were to make all of this into a story.

Engineer, who continued to watch us all from outside on the hood, soon caught wind of Writer’s plan and realized he had to regain control from the Writer lest we miss our turn. He broke in; reminding us all that we had to make sure we got all the parts for the projector so that we didn’t get there and find something missing. Engineer again reminded us of the turn into the church parking lot, where we finally arrived. Preacher got out and opened the door for us as we quickly found the projector and easily loaded it into the car with all the parts included, which was confirmed by Engineer.

Then, we were off again…boy were we ever.

As we drove down the road there broke out a huge argument over who, what and how the presentation should go. Preacher tried to calm everyone and told us that if we didn’t work together, we would all fail, yes, all of us. It seemed music was needed to help calm ourselves, so Preacher found the Rhonda Vincent CD and put it into the car’s CD player. Almost immediately the Artist and Writer came back together, reuniting in spirit, joining the Musician who had finally achieved his only wish. Engineer realized the collective result of the action and approved, but remained on the hood, just to be safe. Preacher and Farmer also felt at peace with the beautiful strains of Rhonda singing “Old Rugged Cross” and like the others became one in spirit. Animal, now seeing all the others fulfilled thought of how in times of difficulty it was often better to go into battle hungry rather than full and he too lay down for a brief respite, allowing us all too finally relax.

As we traveled down the road to our destination in the little blue car with Rhonda Vincent singing sweet melody after melody to us, everyone was finally at peace with one another and all was well …with all of us.

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Poetry: Whispered Memories…


Sanguine utterances of rhythmic prose,

beleagering thoughts of dawning rose,

in shadowed light we whisper errant memories

as padded footsteps from behind emerge,

not to startle,

only to reassure.

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Filed under Inspirational, Poetry

The Calm Before the Storm…

(This was taken from my journal entry of last weekend)cattle in blooms

The air is full today.

As I sit here on the freshly mown lawn by the fire I can hear a plethora of sounds, smell the rich fragrance of the blossoms in full bloom and see the movement of life all around me. We await the rain that sits foreboding upon the tree lined horizon. The soil, turned and ready, holds the seeds that have been tucked away, eager for the arrival of the life giving moisture from which they will burst forth toward the light. In a way, they are like children who have been tucked in bed for a long winter’s night slumber on Christmas Eve, knowing Saint Nicholas will soon be arriving; then bursting forth at the first hint of morning light; one seeks a gift while the other will provide the gift of life, food.

All around the farm there is not one moment or sight that does not go rewarded. I can hear the supper’s meal sizzling in the foil on the fire while the Cardinal dashes by, eyeing me as he passes, obviously curious as to why I’m here. This is his domain and I am an unwanted guest. When yonder window pane beckons, he attacks the red bird image, sometimes so boldly that he knocks himself silly. The smell of the sausage returns my thoughts to food being cooked over the open fire. Wandering wisps of smoke follow the slight breeze toward the pasture where the cattle lie now reposed from a day’s foraging. The calves are all sated as they lounge in the green grass, blades of life that just a few days ago struggled to break the trance of the brown landscape of the relentless artic chill.

2013-04-14 07.55.47Squirrels chase one another up and down the hickory tree, nails and tails flying as they go. The skittering sounds of their whimsical games upon the smooth tree bark blend with their squeals of taunts to one another. We once sought them for supper; today we are bent preparing the good earth for an eventual hopeful reward. The delicate balance of seed, soil, water and sunlight will determine the ultimate harvest. It is our task to try to make them all balance out at the right time. So much has been given, but so much more will be asked of us; so says the good book.

Today, the air is so full and rich with all the senses being rewarded no matter where you look. This morning’s azure blue sky has now faded to gray as the coming storms shadow the landscape with an overcast haze. The transition was barely noticeable as we spent the day as a family, working together, collecting the fuel for the fire from the fencerows, plowing and disking the garden, then cooking our supper underneath the outdoor sky. We’ll sleep well tonight for the work of earth and hand not only makes the back weary but likewise rewards the soul.

Yes, today the air was full and so was life.

Thank you Lord.

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Poetry: The Sap Is a Rising…


The Sap is a rising!


Bees buzz effervescently

 Amid rich bouquets of color,

 Making the vibrant foliage,

 Ever more alive.


The new warmth penetrates,

 Aching bones,

 Soothing deepness

 To the core

 Until life’s spirit is renewed.


The Sap is surely rising!

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Incredibly Close, Too Close…

The other day I realized there is still something buried deep inside my psychic that hasn’t gone away.movie1_

I don’t recall what day it was, but  I just happen to catch a few minutes of a movie that came out in 2011, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.” As I watched, I realized that the character Tom Hanks played, Thomas Schell, dies in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centers. I was fine watching the movie up until a certain scene, then I had to stop.

Oskar, Thomas’s son, comes home from school after they are let out early due to the attacks. The door man tells him that his father had a meeting and is not home yet. When Oskar gets inside the apartment, he realizes both his parents are not home.  However, there is a message on the answering machine, which is the voice of Oskar’s father. I listened as Thomas tells Oskar that he is still at the meeting and that they are telling everyone there to stay where they are, that everything would be alright.

For some reason, something inside of me clicked and I felt nauseous; I couldn’t watch anymore of the movie.

I don’t know if it was hearing the voice of the boy’s father on the answering machine that brought back the pain of scenes from that day so long ago or not. I had heard documentaries where they replayed voices of victims of the attacks making final desperate calls to loved ones. For some reason, the scene of the young boy approaching the answering machine in the home, untouched by the world outside, with the voice of someone who was trying to reassure them that everything was fine seemed to strike a chord. I know that in the end, the title of the movie must have played out in his message when he surely would have described what was happening around him as, “Extremely loud and incredibly close.” I can only imagine what hell the people that died in those towers that day must have gone through.

I once stood as many people have doen,  on the upper deck of one of the two towers, several years before 9/11. Asmovie3_ I stood overlooking the skyline of New York City on a surprisingly clear day, I saw in the distance a small private plane flying by. For some reason the thought occurred to me, “What would I do if a plane ran into the building?” I stood there trying to envision the hell that might ensue. “Would there be a way to escape down the building through flames, or would they just air lift us off the roof,” were some of the thoughts that passed in that moment. I momentarily felt a chill go up my spine for that was something that was unthinkable.  I felt ashamed for thinking such thoughts and just let it go, not telling anyone.  The year was 1996.

Five years later, I was sitting holding my daughter in my arms; gently movie2_rocking her while I gave her a bottle of formula. I had just come home from working the nightshift and the T.V. was airing the morning news. I planned to go to bed for the day after Mary finished her bottle, when suddenly the news broke in with the scene of one of the towers already smoking. The rest of the morning was a blur, other than finally seeing both towers collapse, something I will never forget.

I guess, deep inside, we were all changed that day; no matter how much we want to admit it. I know there is a part of me, a thread of life that can be tugged in such a way that it becomes almost unbearable.  9/11 is one of my threads.

Is it yours?

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