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It’s The Hardest Part

We lost a great American treasure a year and a half ago, in my opinion, when Tom Petty unexpectedly passed away. One of the great rockers of all-time, who grew up in Gainesville, FL, and was the victim of some pretty violent abuse at the hands of his dad. Music, as it turned out, was a welcome escape from that environment for him. His mom bought him a cheap Sears guitar when he was 14 and the rest, as they say, is history. His band, The Heartbreakers, accomplished what few other bands have ever achieved…and that is the fact that they stayed together, for the most part, for over 40 years! Some would argue that Petty lacked vocal perfection, but if you were fortunate enough to make one of his concerts (we did twice in the last 3 years!) you would hear the bigger part of twenty thousand people, young and old, singing along with every song…..word for word, for two and a half hours! So, Tom Petty fan or not, you’d have to admit that he’ll go down in history as one of the all time greats.

Now, I don’t think every song out there has a spiritual message, unless of course, you want it to. But most songs of any genre will have a line or two that, if you think about it…and try just a little, could definitely be applied in a spiritual way. I’m a ‘music guy’, not a musician by any stretch (I could only wish!), just someone who loves music. So, I hear in just about every song something that catches my attention, something that I can apply spiritually and maybe pass it along to someone else who can catch the truth contained. Many of Tom Petty’s songs have those things I’m talking about; “You Don’t Have To Live Like a Refugee” would definitely be one. Gonna write something up on that ‘un one of these days. And, how about, “I Won’t Back Down”? Now there’s a, nearly perfect, spiritual warfare song; one that you could actually sing on Sunday mornings if you’d loosen up just a little.

But one that recently caught my attention is a song called, “The Waiting”. Written over 37 years ago, and not designed to be a spiritual song, whatsoever, it does have a line or two that holds some pretty profound spiritual truths. “The waiting is the hardest part”! Boy, ain’t that the truth!? Learning to wait is one of the hardest things for both the natural, and the spiritual man. We live in a culture that has trained us to want everything immediately; I mean, ….right now! But, as we mature in the Lord, learning to wait is an invaluable trait…and one that’s not often found even among believers, sad to say.

I wish I could say I had it perfected. But, waiting on the Lord hasn’t come easy for me. I guess you could call me a ‘slow learner’ in that respect. But I’m a lot better than I used to be…and I think I’m getting better. It comes with an understanding that God has His ways and He’s precise in His timing. In another way, it’s one of His ways of teaching us to live by faith. At any rate, waiting on the Lord is a virtue that we should all try to attain.

So, whether it’s a promise from Him you’re waiting on, or a prophetic word that has yet to materialize, or maybe even a prayer you’re wondering if He heard or not, ….waiting, as hard as it is, …..might just be the most productive thing you can do. Make no mistake about it, Tom Petty had it right; the waiting is the hardest part!

The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part …………The Waiting’ – Tom Petty

...oh, and by the way, the Bible holds some amazing promises for us as we learn to wait. Isaiah 40:31 *(go read it!)

 

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Lady Gaga, Little Monsters & Jesus!

Lady Gaga’s getting a lot of attention, both good and bad, the last couple of days; This was first published two years ago. I had over 2100 views on this post, the most of any blog I’ve written to date. If you haven’t read it, you should. If you did read it….it’d do to read again. Thanks…..and “Share” it if you like it!

It’s been about three years since Julie and me, Cameron and one of her friends went to a Lady Gaga concert in Oklahoma City. On the way to the Chesapeake Center where the concert was to be held, there were picketers….Christian picketers…..a lot of them, displaying their signs and banners “, “Lady Gaga is the Devil”, “God hates fags”; “You’re going to hell!” …. you know the typical unconditional love stuff that we’re so known for!

An interesting thing that I did not know was that Lady Gaga’s loyal followers are known as “Little Monsters”. They dress up in some of the wildest, most bizarre costumes and get-ups that you could ever imagine. It’s like Halloween on steroids! I’ll have to admit, it was a little out of my comfort zone! But the show was unbelievable; I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lady Gaga, whether you like her or not, is an extremely talented young woman. She can sing, she can dance, she can play the piano. She can do it all!

But there was a point three-quarter of the way into the show that I did NOT see coming! House lights out, she’s in the spotlight lying on the stage. She says, “Jesus, …. up there in heaven, …. all those people outside tell me you don’t love me…..but I know that’s not true! I know you love me, and I know you love all these “Little Monsters”, too!” And the bigger part of 20,000+ young people cheered as loud as they possibly could. I had a big lump in my throat; I could barely hold back my tears. And I wondered if anyone had ever told many of these “Little Monsters” that Jesus really does love them. Oh, I know they’ve been told they’re no good and that God’s mad at them. They’ve been reminded of that over and over again but you could tell that they so wanted her words to be true! And I think, somehow, they believed it.

If the Father can’t depend on the church to tell the ‘good news’, He’ll use Lady Gaga, or anyone else He chooses, to let all us “Little Monsters” know how much we’re really loved!

 

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The Soundtrack of Our Lives

*(this blog was written a week ago, but not posted due to the passing of my Dad)

I was shocked today, and saddened, to hear of the untimely death of Glenn Frey, lead vocalist and founder of The Eagles. Glenn was a Detroit boy whose fate would cause him to cross paths with a talented Texas kid by the name of Don Henley. Those two and a handful of other great musicians and vocalists including, at one time or another, Timothy B. Schmidt, Joe Walsh, Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner, Don Felder comprised the band known as The Eagles. Their compilation album, “The Eagles Greatest Hits, Vol. 2” has gone platinum (a million units sold!) every single year since it was released in’82! If you don’t have it….you should go to iTunes this minute, and buy it today! You’ll thank me for it!

Ever since my friend, Tom Stout, first played “Peaceful Easy Feeling” for me somewhere in the early ’70’s, I was hooked….and I’ve been an avid fan of The Eagles ever since! There’s nothing to ‘not like’ about The Eagles music. It appeals to a broad cross-section of music lovers worldwide. Their sound doesn’t neatly fit in the ‘rock-n-roll’ genre although R&R lovers can find way more than enough to relate to. You can’t just call it ‘rock music’ either ’cause, again….it’s not a perfect fit. It’s not what I’d call ‘pop music’ at all…but again many of those listeners love those Eagles tunes! And even the ‘hardcore’ country purists, like myself, can get some solid satisfaction from listening to the Eagles. To sum it up….they’re not really like anyone else….they’re unique in that way!

The band found their sound in California where one of their downstairs neighbors, who quickly became a great friend, was carving out a pretty decent career for himself, as well. Jackson Browne, (click! you’ll love the song!) who in my opinion, is one of the great singer/songwriters/artists to ever come along spent hour upon hour with Glenn, Don and the guys writing, pickin’ and singing. Then they’d have the occasional ‘drop ins’ such as J.D. Souther or the Allman Brothers….and the jam was on! And now, here we are 40 some years later listening to many of those very same songs! It’s no wonder that particular era produced some of the best music to ever hit the waves. 

I’ve seen The Eagles in concert twice.We took Cameron, our daughter, on her 13th birthday to see them “LIVE”, 5th row on the floor at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Saw them again last year in OKC. I’m not saying I wouldn’t go see them again….but I kinda doubt it. It just wouldn’t be the same without Glenn. It’d be like Skynyrd without Ronnie Van Zant or Creedence without John Fogerty……I’m sure both are putting out some good stuff but I’ll save my money and reminisce about the ‘real thing’!

Here’s a few of my personal favorite Eagles facts:

‘Cleanest’ guitar playing, in my opinion,  of any band….ever! Flawless! Listen to their ‘lead breaks’ and I guarantee you’ll agree. Listen to the lead on Hotel California again….no, I mean really listen!

Steuart Smith – One of the all-time great guitar players. (my opinion) A fairly new addition to the band: (not necessarily a ‘member’ of The Eagles but a very key musician since ’01!; I saw him playing lead guitar for Rodney Crowell, mid ’90’s)

Although most people say that Glenn and Henley were co-founders…even Don said, “It’s Glenn’s band”!

Don Felder’s (former lead guitarist, composed the guitar licks for Hotel California) Book: Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001) is a ‘tell all’. I read it through cover to cover almost without stopping. He’s still at odds with the band….and it doesn’t looks like it’s going to get fixed anytime soon!

If you like The Eagles you might appreciate these as well: Poco, Souther-Hillman-Furay Band, Desert Rose Band, The Byrds, Flyin’ Burrito Brothers

Of all The Eagles’ great songs, other than Hotel California, this is probably my all-time favorite: *A little something for you country fans! PS-You might’ve never heard it before! The Girl From Yesterday (click on it….and listen!)

The Eagles. Their music has played an important part in the soundtrack of my life.

 

*(Click on any of the highlighted links above for music performances and information!)

*Here’s just a few others that would be included in my soundtrack: Leon Russell, Ray Price, Faron Young, Johnny Paycheck, Delbert McClinton, Merle Haggard, Tom Petty, George Jones, ZZ Top,  Bob Dylan and the Allman Brothers, just to name a few.

What are some of yours?

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“If You Ain’t Lovin’, You Ain’t Livin'”

I’m always on the lookout for quotes or phrases that I think’ll make a good blog title. I find good things everywhere but music offers an endless supply of great phrases. I have a great admiration for songwriters, especially the good ones. And if you’ve been reading my blogs up ’til now you know I’m way partial to Classic Country. I grew up on it….and whether you like it or not you gotta admit that the songwriters of that era had it goin’ on!

“If You Ain’t Lovin’, You Ain’t Livin'” was written by Tommy Collins and sang by Faron Young. (one of my very faves! *click to watch!) The song went to #3 on the Country Charts in 1954. George Strait (another fave! *click to listen) recorded it in ’88 and it went to #1…..like most everything else of his! But the song title, like a lot of others I notice, has some really profound spiritual truth if you just think about it.

It’s an eternal truth; Love is what makes the world go round. It never fails, at least that’s what the Book says. “Of these three abide faith, hope and love….but the greatest of them is love”. I could go on and on but the fact of the matter is that, whether he knew it or not, Tommy Collins nailed it right on the head.

Love is the essence of what our lives are all about…or at least what they ‘should’ be about. Starting with the Father’s love for each of us; It’s pretty incredible! He doesn’t love us because we’re good….He loves us because He’s good! And when we experience His love, firsthand, it changes us forever. And then along the way we begin the process of learning to love like He does…..unconditionally!

In a nutshell…we’re created to love…..and to be loved. There’ll be no lack of good excuses as to why we’re not loving others……but in light of God’s love toward us……none of them are valid. “If You Ain’t Lovin’, You Ain’t Livin'” The song simply says that you can have everything else that money can buy….but if you’re not lovin’, you’re missing out on what life is all about!

We should thank Tommy Collins, Faron Young and George Strait……they had it right!

If you liked this one…..Check these out:

*(Click on highlighted link)

God Loves You And There’s Nothing You Can Do About  It

Love  Gives

What’s Love Got  To  Do With It?

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No Country For Old Men

That was a great movie in my opinion. I like about everything Tommy Lee Jones does, and Javier Bardem does a stellar job as the bad guy. If you haven’t seen it, you should. This blog is not about the movie. But “No Country For Old Men” seemed to be a great blog title to me after enduring about 6 minutes of the CMA Music Festival recently. Actually 6 minutes was about 4 more than I could take. I stayed hooked for 6 thinking it might get better. It didn’t.

I’m a music lover. I like all kinds of music. My iPod playlist includes a broad variety of everything from Blues, Soul, Rock, Tex-Mex, Jazz, Country, some Christian, very few Rap…. and even a little Classical. I can appreciate and artist’s craft no matter what kind of music they’re laying down. I don’t particularly like it all but I can appreciate it. I cut my teeth on Country. I was listening to it….and liking it since I was a little kid. In my folks vehicle the radio was always tuned to a Country station. When I started driving I bought an 8-track tape deck for $20 and mounted in the glove box of my dad’s pickup. My first 8-tracks were Hank Thompson, Johnny Cash, Charlie Walker and Waylon Jennings. Those are still to this day some of my all-time favorites. And if you want to get started on Country Music…those 4, any or all, would be a great place to start.

Nashville, in my opinion, has sold out. I wouldn’t argue that the stuff they’re putting out there today does sell. They’ve done a good job of marketing to younger and, in my opinion, less sophisticated listeners….and have ignored the ‘purists’…..the ‘real’ Country Music lovers. There are a few out there today who hold fast to the genuine. Jamey Johnson stands out, newcomer Chris Stapleton looks good out of the box. Dale Watson, who you’ve probably never heard of does the real thing. There’s a handful of artists still around who’ve got the goods. Alan Jackson and Dwight can still get ‘er done; No more George, Jones or Strait, Buck and Waylon are gone, but Willie and Merle are still out there gettin’ it done.

I guess my gripe is this; I can appreciate the talent of some of these young guys…although none of them are near as cool as they think they are. I can deal with their skinny, girly jeans (although I ain’t wearin’ em!) and I can tolerate their bad hats. I can even ignore the fact that they buy an acre or two, turn out a cow or a pig and call it a ranch. I do, however, think someone ought to tell ’em that pickups……ain’t trucks!

All I’m saying is this…..don’t call it Country Music…..when it ain’t!!

You don’t have to agree….it’s just my opinion….and you have a right to your own. And don’t waste your time trying to ‘set me straight’. It’s sad for the entire, so called, Country genre that there ain’t no more Hank’s, Lefty’s. ET’s, Faron Young’s, Webb Pierce’s or Ray Price’s coming up. Those guys songs will still be being played long after we’re all gone. The stuff you’re hearing today….listen up ’cause ain’t nobody gonna be playing it a year from now!

There’s No Country For Old Men!

**(Click on highlighted links to listen)

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25,000; Twenty-Five Thousand; 25K; 25 Large!

That’s how many “Views” I’ve received on my blog, “The Way I See It”, since January 1 (25,145 as of this post!). I’ve posted 130 times. Whoever you are, where ever you are….I appreciate you taking the time to read the blogs! It’s my deepest desire that the blog has blessed you in some way. Give me some feedback! What are your favorite blogs? Mention two or three that have helped you in some way. Hit the “Share” button on FaceBook so your FB friends can access the blog.

Listed below are the Top-Ten Blog Posts ranked by how many times they’ve been read. If you haven’t read them….do it now! If you have….you might want to read them again. I’ve also included a few that are some of my very favorite. *By clicking on the red link you can go straight to that blog. I’d like to grow the, “The Way I See It”, family so I’m asking you to “Share” when you like a post and recommend that your friends become “Followers”.

Lady Gaga, Little Monsters & Jesus!

All I Know is God Loved John Very, Very Much!

VIP #4 – Paul Luchsinger

VIP #1 – Booger Bryant

Quit Telling Me What the Problem Is!

Bless the Lloyd!

“Keith” – It Was a Short Friendship….But a Good One!

Branson to Cherokee – The Longest Night I Ever Spent

Maybe You Should Quit Whippin’ Your Own A#$!

You’re Not Welcome Here!

………..and a few of my very favorite ones.

“Obviously, I’m God’s Favorite”!

You May Not Know This, But I’m Kind of a Big Deal!

It Ain’t Grace’s Fault!

Tee-Ball…..The #1, Undisputed, Very Best Team Sport of ‘Em All!!

How Gunnar Payne Changed the World!

……….or if you just need a good laugh!

The ‘Baddest’ Dang Turkey in Arkansas!

That Whole, “Greet the Brethren With a Holy Kiss” Thing, is Waaay Overrated!!

Just Some Friendly Advice: Always Approach a Possum With Extreme Caution!!

Thanks again for reading the blogs!! Weigh in on your favorites and spread the word!!

THANKS!!   

AT

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Quit Telling Me What The Problem Is!!

It was a bit of a rude awakening when we were informed that the ranch we had leased, lived on for nearly 25 years, made our homes, and were assured we’d be there forever, was going to be sold. I’ll never forget that day! Interestingly enough, the day before, I had written inside the cover of my Bible: “God, I want everything You have for me, no matter what it costs me.” I had no idea that the very next day He would begin to shift things in such a way that I could clearly see, at least a little of, what the ‘costs’ might be! It was even more the challenge because Julie and I had absolutely no back-up plan. As far as we were concerned we were going to raise our kids…..and grow old there. So everything was somewhat in chaos and we had no choice but to put our trust in the Lord.

That was in 1988, and we moved only 30 miles away south of Cheyenne, Oklahoma. I worked several odd jobs for a few months, everything from helping take care of cattle (which I was way familiar with), to some oilfield day work but nothing extremely stable or permanent. I saw an ad in the local paper and went for an interview, took an aptitude test….and was hired on the spot by Edgar Sellers (before he even looked at how I’d done on the test), a great guy who’d be my boss for the next seven years. I started with Western Merchandisers the next week!

The president of the company was John Marmaduke whose dad, Sam, had started the company on a shoestring a generation before. John was a brilliant businessman, in my opinion. He took a fairly small company and procured a contract with Wal-Mart that eventually enabled Western Merchandisers to supply all the music (Vinyl LP’s, 8-Tracks, Cassettes, CDs), all the books, all the computer software and most of the movies for the entire Wal-Mart chain, nationwide. After a few years Wal-Mart purchased Western Merchandisers for millions.

John was an aggressive guy in our regional meetings. He knew the business and didn’t tolerate amateurism to any degree. Let’s just say he ‘ran a tight ship’! I remember several meetings with sales reps, district managers and upper level management when people would start to talk of all the problems out in the field. John would rip into them….no matter what level they were in..…and I can remember him saying more than a few times, “I’m tired of hearing about the problems; Anybody can tell you what the problems are!’, “I want to hear from somebody who has a solution!”

I’ve never forgotten those meetings and what I learned from John. And, it’s true; whether we’re talking about the Federal Government, the Little League Baseball Team, the Chamber for Commerce, your marriage or the Church; just about anybody can tell you what the problem is….you don’t have to be genius to figure that out! There’s just not many out there who are solution minded.

So, quit telling me what the problem is…….I want to hear from somebody who has a solution!

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