Last Notes of a Choir Boy

Tonight is my final rehearsal with the Voices of Bethel. You know, there have been times when I was, let’s just say “less than thrilled” about rehearsals when I’d rather go to a movie or just stay home. What I didn’t expect was the swell of emotions I felt at last week’s rehearsal. For reasons too many to even communicate, it all of a sudden hit me that something I’ve been part of for over 11 years is not going to be part of my weekly life anymore.

Yes, other churches have choirs. Most don’t anymore, but some do. The Voices of Bethel is an institution. When I lived in Santa Rosa, more than 100 miles away, I used to drive down to enjoy Christmas Spectacular. I would see Johnny and Gina, among so many other wonderful singers. They, too, are Bethel institutions.

I’m still amazed that I got to sing along side them, as well as so many other talented and anointed singers, including Lisa, Connie, Greg, Ron, Pamela, Jennifer and so many others. There is such musical excellence which only inspires and challenges you to rise to the next level. Those are just some of the singers. Then you have to remember the incredibly gifted band members. Van, John Scott, Jimmie, Rich, Jon and Harold and so many others. I had never been part of a church where the mere idea of a background track was laughable.

Anyway, tonight marks the end of a great 11 year run for me. What is ironic is that this Sunday, my last, I will be singing the very first song I ever did with the Voices of Bethel back in November of 1996: Let The Fire.

If you’re at rehearsal tonight, or at church on Sunday…please forgive me for what you may hear. I’m about this close to completely crying my eyes out, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it happens right in the middle of the song.

Willow Glen HS Girls’ Basketball

For the past 4+ years, I have been attending girls’ basketball games at Willow Glen High School. Troy and Marlo’s daughters, Brittany and Alyssa have been part of the program during this time. Brittany completed her high school career earlier this year, and Alyssa still has 2 years left. You might think this is odd, but I can honestly say that not being able to watch Brittany play at Mission College, and not being able to see Alyssa’s games at WGHS are among the most difficult sacrifices in leaving San Jose. I am certainly going to try and make some games of theirs over the next couple years, especially Alyssa’s “Senior Night” in 2010 (man, that just feels bizarre to even type).

I have watched “B” and “Roo” play basketball dating back to their very early years in Upward Basketball. I’ve had the pleasure of even coaching them with their dad. Seeing their smiles and getting their hugs absolutely lights up my heart. I’m going to miss that, but it’s only going to make all that more special when we see each other in the future.

Special thanks to Troy and coach Amy Gannon who have let me be part of the program over the years. It has been so fun to help out at the scorer‘s table and keep stats on the bench. These are all special kids, and it’s been a joy to watch them grow up. Win or lose, they have a fun time playing the game.

I’ll be following the team on, and I’m sure I’ll get all the details from Troy. Right T-Dawg?

Think Anyone Will Notice?

Why do you think they call it dope?

A San Jose man drew unwanted attention to himself late Monday night by allegedly burning some marijuana plants in his fireplace, which led to his arrest on multiple drug charges, according to police.

Just after 11 p.m., firefighters responded to reports of heavy smoke near the chimney of a home in the 1,600 block of Estates Court in East San Jose. Firefighters detected the smell of marijuana and notified police. When police officers got out of their car, they detected a strong smell of marijuana in the air.

Police conducted a welfare check inside the home and found a small marijuana grow of more than 30 plants in one of the rooms, according to Officer Jermaine Thomas, a police spokesman. Police arrested Ruben Rivera, 28, of San Jose suspicion of possession of marijuana for sale and cultivation of marijuana.

Rivera was allegedly burning leaves and stems from some of his marijuana plants, according to Officer Jermaine Thomas, a police spokesman.

Success vs. Significance

Life can be a very delicate thing as a noun, but as a verb, it’s quite powerful. The noun of life can be snuffed out in an instant with one careless mistake or fluke, no matter how healthy or powerful one may be. However, the verb life can not only add quality and substance to the noun of life, but it can actually last longer than the noun.

This past Sunday, Pastor Art Gorman delivered a message about our need to be significant. One point he made that has been resonating in my heart and mind is how to not get trapped in striving for success, but instead, living a life of significance. So many in our generation seem hell bent on striving for financial, material and professional success. While there is nothing wrong on the surface with pursuing excellence in everything we do, it’s a hollow existence to have our success be our significance.

I want a life of significance. One of the things I’m most afraid of in moving from San Jose is the overwhelming task of completely starting over. Building a reputation from scratch. I guess I had to do that when I moved to San Jose, but for whatever reason, that didn’t bother me. Maybe that was because I was a relatively young man of 31 when I relocated to the South Bay. I’m now 43.

Significance isn’t standing in front of thousands of people and singing a song. Significance is impacting thousands of lives…one at a time.

What Did I Tell You?

Saturday I wrote a brief entry about my “sorting and purging” process, and how you have to be careful what you throw away due to dumpster divers. At one point, I had filled up four garbage bags with stuff to throw out. Due to their size, I could only carry two at a time, so I schlepped those down to the dumpster, then returned upstairs to grab the remaining two. I was gone maybe five minutes, and by the time I returned with the other two, some lady was already perusing the contents of one bags I had just thrown in there as if it were the clearance rack at Marshall’s.

I wonder if she liked the bottle of milk that expired in March.

Fingerprints of God

This morning in church, I sang the Steven Curtis Chapman song, Fingerprints of God. It’s a very good song which is, in essence, a contemporary view of Psalm 139. I’ll post a video below so you can hear it, in case you aren’t familiar with it.

Because the song was embedded toward the end of the sermon, I sat on the platform so I could make a relatively smooth move to the microphone without being too much of a distraction to the congregation. From my vantage point during the message, I could only see about 1/3 of the congregation during the first service. In my absolute line of sight was a little girl, all of about 6 or 7 years old, confined to a wheelchair. It was plain to see that it wasn’t a broken leg or something temporary. She is permanently and devastatingly disabled. As I looked out to her, even 20 minutes before we’d get to the song, my heart was deeply touched as I ran the lyrics through in my head while considering this sight.

My emotions were so jarred by the combination of the powerful lyrics of the song and the plight of this young lady that I barely made it through the song. I don’t know if she heard a single word, but I sang that song to that girl with everything I had in me. Following the song, I left the platform, made my way around the back to make sure I was awaiting this young lady and her family as they left the sanctuary following the service. I had the pleasure of meeting little Hannah and her family. She’s a precious little thing, and I will never forget her.

The world will look at Hannah all her life and see someone who is flawed, even damaged. But God created her, and He just doesn’t make mistakes. Little Hannah touched my heart in a very powerful way today, and I’ll never forget her. I complain about so many trivial things, and little Hannah had the biggest smile I’ve ever seen as I talked to her and told her how pretty she is. She is a masterpiece.

Sort & Purge

I hate moving. Today I’m doing what I call “sort and purge”. This is where I go through the stuff I’ve accumulated since I’ve lived here, (and some I dragged with me from my last place), and dump the stuff I don’t need to drag with me to Rocklin.

Thankfully, it’s not blazing hot today, so the numerous trips out to the dumpster, traversing 3 flights of stairs each time while carrying garbage bags, shouldn’t be too bad.

Gotta be careful though. You know what they say about “one man’s garbage…”

Rocklin: One of Top 10 Cities in America?

According to Family Circle Magazine, Rocklin has been named as one of the top 10 cities for families in America. According to the article, “eco-conciousness” is one of the contributing factors, in addition to strong neighborhoods and the high quality school system.

Hey, those qualities are fine, but until they have a major league sports team, I’m going to be left wanting.

I think right now, residents would just be happy to be able to see the sunshine without a thick veil of smoke.