Wednesday, December 20, 2006


As a friend of mine said recently with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, "this internet thing is pretty cool."

I was reading a friend's blog last evening when he mentioned an artist who performed at his retreat. The artist's name was/is BRENT LAMB. Well, that name represents a blast from the past for a significant portion of my life.

In September of 1980, Karla and I moved here for me to take a job as a publisher for WORD Music. There was only one other Christian Music Publisher (or as we were called back then - tune plugger) in Nashville at the time. This particular job description consisted of encouraging songwriters to write songs "on demand" for particular artists who were looking for specific kinds of songs. Your songwriters would work hard writing a song "just for that particular need", and then we would record a "demo" of the song doing our best to tailor-make the song for that artist, then pitch the song to that artist or their producer or anyone else who had influence with the artist in getting someone to decide to record your song..... what a racket!

and oh, the stories.....(and BTW, in the "country music world", this is very much alive and well to this day!)

Well, as I realized that I had been hired to find songwriters, songs, and make somethnig happen, I discovered this kid in my church who had written some songs. His name was Brent Lamb, and I loved this kid. As I began to learn more about how to do the job I had been hired to do, I came upon yet another talented individual who only wanted to collaborate (write with another writer).

So, one day, I had the two of them meet in my office for an appointment to write a song - any song - it did not matter - just get together and see what would happen.

Well, Brent was about to get married, so why not write a song for his wedding - which they did. I loved the outcome, and I called the most talented male studio singer at that time (Steve Green) to come sing the demo, and the result was one of the most well-known contemporary wedding songs ever written - Household of Faith.

Fast forward to today - I had not had any contact with Brent since probably mid-to-late 80's....until I read about him last night on my friend's blog.....

I e-mailed him last night, and he responded. What a very, very pleasant surprise to see how God is using him today!

I so love this re-connecting thing........

Read more about my friend by going here

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Lunch At Wendy's

I eat lunch at Wendy's maybe twice a year.....maybe

Today, for reasons that are not important, I had a window of time open and the closest eating establishment was Wendy's.

The very kind and personable gentleman that took my order kept calling me "my brother" at the end of every sentence. He was having a great time, and I appreciated his enthusiasm.

I took my food, sat down to eat in the almost empty restaurant (it was 1:30pm), and in a few minutes the most interesting of things happened.

That same jovial gentleman, began cleaning off the other tables, and then as he a walked around the room, he began singing at the top of his lungs to the song being piped into the ceiling speakers of this fast food place. The song was non other than the classic Frankie Valli - "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You".

This guy was amazing - I don't know if I was so stunned to hear and see him doing this, that I could not compose myself to ask him to come join my choir, but I sure should have! He was great, and it made my what would have been extremely boring lunch at Wendy's oh so more memorable.......

Singing is SO good for the soul.........

And finally, for some "who cares" bits of information - Wendy’s International, Inc. today announced the completion of its previously announced sale of Baja Fresh Mexican Grill for approximately $31 million. Baja Fresh operates about 300 restaurants in the United States. The purchaser of Baja Fresh is a West Coast restaurant operating company owned by a consortium of investment groups led by David Kim. Mr. Kim and his team own or operate several restaurant concepts, including Sweet Factory, Cinnabon and Denny’s.

Happy 17th Birthday, Matt

It does seem like only yesterday that Matt and Martin (his neighbor buddy and friend for 16 years) enjoyed this Christmas present together - man, did they wear out the pavement in our cul-de-sac.

Now, he's taller and heavier and stronger than many adults. The photo (above right) shows Matt with his beautiful friend, Jessica at Seth's wedding.
He told me this morning that now that he is 17, he gets to stay out later. We'll see about that!

I keep reminding myself that God has entrusted to me and to Karla these three young men. They are on loan from Him. We are simply stewards with His gifts. They do indeed belong to Him, and we are very, very grateful for the time we have with them - the life experiences we have with them.

If you read this, and you don't have kids, please feel free to adopt ours whenever you want to - share in their joy and in their growing. I love it that our family and friends consider our boys "their boys" - that is the way I believe God intended it to be.

If you have small kids, this post is yet another reminder that they do indeed grow up way too fast before your very eyes.

So, Happy 17th Matt - even though I can no longer compete with you in one-on-one (without wearing boxing gloves to make it even close to fair), I am still older and wiser, and I am your Dad and last time I checked, the Bible still said to honor your father and your mother!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Lethal Lefties or "It Really Is Basketball Season"!

A person should never have to sit through (3) basketball games in an afternoon and evening, but such is the case with high school basketball.

It IS that season again, and I am beginning to get pretty excited about it.

Tonight, we watched our team completely dominate our opponent on their home floor - that is always fun and impressive.

This photo is a favorite because I so love these three guys!

(left to right) - Ryan (senior), Gabe (senior), and Matt (junior).

Ryan and Gabe are two of the most lethal left-handed high school 3-point shooters I have ever witnessed. Matt is one of (4) juniors just trying hard to contribute to a team that is rich in senior leadership, strong in junior representation, and blessed with one of the most amazing sophomore classes EVER in the history of Franklin High School basketball!

I took this photo this summer when we were all in Orlando, FL for the AAU National Tournament........what an experience for our guys!

If you ever get the opportunity to come to a Franklin High School basketball game, I promise you you will not be disappointed! This team is fun to watch, and oh so deep with talent!!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

52 Sundays A Year

It seems to always happen to me.

I take a week off from standing in front of the people I have led in worship now for some 13 years, and things are so much more real when I return.

Today, I watched people's faces like I always do. On the one hand, you can tell alot from watching people's faces - on the other hand, don't trust what you see.

Through the years, I have been blessed to have the extraordinary privilege of knowing some really incredible people - people who are so amazing - not just what they do, but who they are.

One of those people is Andy Stanley. Some other time, I will blog about how we met, but for now, I want to write words he has written because they so much articulate what I feel EVERYTIME I stand before the people of my church and lead them in worship.

These are very real observations, and very sobering at the same time.........please ponder as I ponder......and it makes me wonder what is really going on in the lives of those who occupy space in the pews each week........

"Every single person who sits politely and listens to you on Sunday is one decision away from moral, financial, and marital ruin. Every one of 'em. Many are considering options with consequences that will follow them the remainder of their lives.

There are husbands teetering on the brink of unfaithfulness. Wives whose schedules are un-sustainable. Couples who are drowning in a sea of debt. Teenagers who are there because their parents forced them to come. Young men who have been told they are gay. Young ladies who have been told their worth goes no further than their physical beauty.

There they sit. Silent. Waiting. Hoping. Doubting. Anticipating. What are we going to do?
What are you going to do? What are you going to say?

This is the world we have been called to address. These are the issues we have been called to confront. There is much at stake. There are many at risk."

Friday, November 17, 2006

My How Time Flies

I really was minding my own business.

I really was driving the speed limit.

It really was my favorite car, and I still miss it.

An innocent Saturday morning returning from an early morning meeting at church resulted in some fairly significant changes for the next six weeks of the end of my 1999.

I don't wish this on anyone, and I know many have been involved in automobile accidents with so much worse results. I can't imagine some of them.

I only know that (7) years ago on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, my life changed.

I still feel sorry for the poor girl who was late for work that morning. It had rained, and the streets were more slick than she realized, and that "dead man's curve" on Berry's Chapel was not kind to her.
I will always remember that violent collision - if you have ever been in any kind of automobile accident, you know what I am talking about. It is simply horrible, and to this day I am cautious to drive anywhere near the center line on any road.

So, as I approach my 7th anniversary of losing my beautiful 1989 Nissan Maxima, I am grateful that is the only thing I lost in this experience.......besides not being able to do my "job" at the most crucial time of the year - Christmas....... (thank you Vicki, Karla, and Barry!)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Who Are You And What Have You Done With Ben?

I am still in shock!

My son got a haircut.......after two years of quite a head of hair!

(there is a full trash can at Great Clips next to Publix)

Loved the hair, Ben, but sure is nice to see that incredible face - thank God he got it from his Mom!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Toby Keith - Ford F-150 Truck - NPR

One of the first things you hear when you move to Nashville - especially if you happen to work in the music business - is everyone knows everyone. It really is a very small community of folk who pretty much know each other. If you don't know "everyone", then you at least know someone who knows someone.

A few years ago, Karla and I went next door to our neighbor's home to join in a small party (more of a celebration) for their daughter who was graduating from high school. There were several folks there that we knew, and others who looked familiar to us. One of those people who looked familiar to me came up to me (later in the evening) and said, "I think we know each other, my name is Phil Madeira." I did in fact know and remember Phil - one of Nashville's finest session musicians, and a pretty great songwriter himself. I asked him what he was working on, and he said he had just written a song that was going to be on Toby Keith's next CD. He then started telling me all about the song (this is why I LOVE Nashville). I love hearing songwriters tell their stories about their songs. The most interesting thing about this song was it's title - "If I Was Jesus". After I initially got over the shock of Toby Keith singing a song about Jesus, I was thrilled for Phil since that particular cut assured him of some fairly decent income for sure.

Of course, as soon as that particular Toby Keith CD was released, I went out and bought it. To say I caught grief from my sons for buying a Toby Keith CD would be an understatement.

That whole story came back to me a couple of weekends ago when I was home sick, and watched a stupid amount of TV, and guess what commercial I saw over and over and over again - yes - Toby Keith promoting Ford Trucks. Well, for those of you who don't already know - I have a new (new for me - it's a 2003) Ford F-150 Truck. I love it.

I am sure that by now you have concluded that I must keep that Toby Keith CD in the center console of my truck, but actually I don't. I just might be the only person in Nashville who drives a truck, and the music that you will hear (more often than not) coming from my cab will be the music played on our local NPR station.

Go figure - a guy listening to classical music in his Ford F-150........

Sorry Toby.........

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Resilient Life - Part "Last"

OK, this has gone on long enough - I will choose to combine the final list of questions and end this saga of "oh, my, why must I deal with life in such a manner as this" confrontations.......

Hey, it's the real deal - I can't help it if the truth hurts, but it really does sometimes, doesn't it?

Oh well - here are the final list of questions, and since I don't know of ANY 60-80-somethings who read my blog - just humor yourself with these - maybe they will bring some insight to our future - maybe not - regardless, here they are, and if God is gracious enough to allow us these years, here are the questions we might be asking:

(BTW - I just happen to think they are incredibly powerful questions!)

1. When do I stop doing the things that have always defined me?
2. Why do I feel ignored by a large part of the younger population?
3. Why am I curious about who is listed in the obituary column of the newspapers, how they died, and what kinds of lives they lived?
4. Do I have enough time to do all the things I've dreamed about in the past?
5. Who will be around me when I die?
6. Which one of us will go first, and what is it like to say good-bye to someone with whom you have shared so many years of life?
7. Are the things I believe in capable of taking me to the end?
8. Is there really life after death?
9. What do I regret?
10. What are the chief satisfactions of these many years of living?
11. What have I done that will outlive me?

1. Does anyone realize of even care who I once was?
2. Is my story important to anyone?
3. How much of my life can I still control?
4. Is there anything I can still contribute?
5. Why this anger and irritability?
6. Is God really there for me?
7. Am I ready to face death?
8. And when I die (how will it happen), will I be missed, or will the news of my death bring relief?
8. Heaven? What is it like?

Part 4 of 6 - A Resilient Life - 50-somethings

Some of these hit a little too close to home.......

50-somethings find themselves wondering how many years are left......

Here some additional questions 50-somethings are asking:

1. Why is time moving so fast? (because it is moving so fast!)
2. Why is my body becoming unreliable?
3. How do I deal with my failures and my successes?
4. How can my spouse and I reinvigorate our relationship now that the children are gone? (and I'm not so sure "a naked room" is the answer - and that is only funny if you have seen the movie, "Failure To Launch"!!)
5. Who are these young people who want to replace me? (I would add - and why do they insist on calling me Mr. Worley?)
6. What do I do with my doubts and fears?
7. Will we have enough money for retirement years if there are health problems and economic downturns?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Resilient Life - Part 3 of 6

Sorry to not keep this going at least daily - life keeps getting in the way.

Here are the questions 40-somethings are asking - maybe not aloud - but trust me, they are asking them:

1. Who was I as a child?
2. What powers back then influence the kind of person I am today?
3. Why do some people seem to be doing better than I?
4. Why am I often disappointed with myself and others?
5. Why are limitations beginning to outnumber options?
6. Why do I seem to face so many uncertainties?
7. What can I do to make a greater contribution to my generation?
8. What would it take to pick up a whole new life-calling in life and do the thing I've always wanted to do?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Resilient Life - Part 2 of 6

Part Two brings the questions that 30-somethings would ask if you really confronted them with what they really want to know out of life.

1. How do I prioritize the demands being made on my life?
2. How far can I go in fulfilling my sense of purpose?
3. Who are the people with whom I know I walk through life?
4. What does my spiritual life look like?
5. Do I even have time for one?
6. Why am I not a better person?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Resilient Life

I have not had much time for reading lately with wedding, friday night football, stuff at church, and tons of other things going on.

I have, however been making my way through Gordon MacDonald's book, A Resilient Life.

Alot of this book is stuff I kinda already knew or at least had read before, but one chapter particularly nailed me - and still continues to cause me to ponder deeply. (is there any other way to ponder?)

He talks about the "real matters of life" questions that different generations ask - they might not come right out and ask them on a regular basis, but they are indeed the questions that when forced to examine the deepest soul-searching crevices of our lives, these are pretty much the ones that truly matter.

See if you don't agree:

20-somethings ask -
What kind of man or woman am I becoming?
How am I different from my mother or father?
Where can I find a few friends who will welcome me as I am and who will offer the familylike connections that I need (or never had)?
Can I love, and am I lovable?
What will I do with my life?
What is it that I really want in exchange for my life's labors?
Around what person or conviction will I organize my life?

I think I will close this post with this list. Next post will list the 30-something questions, and I will continue posting this next week until I have listed the 70-80-somethings questions - man, they are amazing!

happy pondering.....

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Heismann - 2008?

OK, I realize how bold and even possibly arrogant this post may seem, but let's just consider........

Wait - before we consider - let me give you some background.

This "kid" is the grandson of my mom's first cousin. His great-grandfather was my grandfather's brother. Ponder that for a few moments. and of course, we have never met......

However, for as long as I can remember, his Dad and I have shared wonderful memories at every Family Reunion that has ever taken place. This guy is the "real deal".

Let's now consider......

Stephen McGee (Texas A&M) was impressive at quarterback in the final five and a half quarters of last season after taking over for the injured Reggie McNeal, who suffered a sprained ankle midway through the third quarter against Oklahoma … in those five and a half quarters, McGee rushed for 175 yards on 34 carries (5.1 per carry) and completed 9-of-29 passes for 83 yards, while leading the Aggies to 10 scoring opportunities on 19 drives … for the season.

McGee completed 24-of-53 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns and one interception in eight games … he rushed for 235 yards and two touchdowns on 43 carries (5.5 average) … started the Texas game … best passing game was a 9-of-15 effort for 112 yards and a touchdown against Colorado … best rushing game was 108 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries against Texas.

HIGH SCHOOL: Three-year starter at quarterback for Class 3A Burnet High School, leading his team to a combined record of 36-5 (including a 28-2 mark as a junior and senior) … Burnet appeared in the 3A state finals in 2002 and 2003 … did not throw a single interception in the 2003 regular season … finished his career with 8,256 passing yards and a 3A state-record 101 passing touchdowns … as a senior, McGee completed 196-of-313 passes for 3,579 yards with 47 touchdowns and three interceptions … as a junior, he completed 155-of-276 passes for 2,841 yards and 34 touchdowns and five interceptions … as a sophomore, he connected on 93-of-176 attempts for 1,829 yards, 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions … two-time all-state selection and three-time all-district pick … named the 3A Offensive Most Valuable Player after his senior year … also earned Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine Super Team second-team and Austin American-Statesman All-Centex Co-Player of the Year honors … coached by Bob Shipley … also played basketball and track and field … all-district on the hardwood as a sophomore, but was injured as a junior … advanced to the regional meet in track with the 400- and 1,600-meter relays … an excellent student, McGee was Burnet’s No. 1-ranked student-athlete and ranked No. 9 overall in his senior class of over 250.

Completions: 9 vs. Colorado 2005
Attempts: 23 vs. Texas 2005
Yards: 112 vs. Colorado 2005
Long Pass: 40 (td) vs. Colorado 2005
Rushes: 24 vs. Texas 2005
Rushing Yards: 108 vs. Texas 2005
Long Rush: 49 vs. Texas 2005

Last week vs. Kansas -
AT&T Offensive Player of the Week: Stephen McGee, So, QB, Texas A&M (Burnet, Texas)

In Texas A&M's come-from-behind, 21-18, win at Kansas, quarterback Stephen McGee engineered a pair of 80-yard, fourth-quarter scoring drives for the Aggies. He led A&M on a 12-play drive in the closing minutes by converting three third down passes including a 35-yard strike to set up the game winning touchdown with 0:34 left. McGee completed 25-of-40 attempts, with no interceptions, for 240 yards.

He has thrown ONE interception in his last 137 attempts.

I just have to believe - based on what I know and hear about this young man - that he HAS to be a contender for the Heismann in 2008.......

you can say you read it here on October 11, 2006......

to keep up with Stephen, go HERE

Monday, September 25, 2006


Since we have never had a child get married, we only knew what friends and family tried to tell us.

Today, I have nothing to offer anyone. I have been tired in the past - on the heels of major productions, after an intense, extended time working on a project/recording, etc..., but nothing like this.

A friend told me that it would be overwhelming because never before have you experienced so many people expressing their love for you and for your child at one time.....maybe not since birth! They were/are so right.

This weekend was so full - so emotional - so very, very wonderful. I am truly overwhelmed.

I had pre-determined that I would not bother with taking photos. I did not want that to distract me from "experiencing the moments". The temptation was too much for me, so I decided to take some before the ceremony. I was having trouble with my flash on my camera, so Kim and Seth worked on it, then Kim tested it.

We were really just "messin' around", but this photo might very well be one of my favorites - and there are many.....

Happy Marriage, Seth & Arley - I love you both!
Dad (The Lion King)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Friday Night Lights

I forgot what that feeling felt like until last Friday night.

What is it about high school football on Friday nights?

Attending our son's first high school varsity game was just absolutely a ton of fun.
Yes, it was brutally hot (90-something-with-no-breeze-sweat-in-your-seat-without-moving-around weather), but it just didn't matter. We even tried our hand at tail-gating - never done that before, but we will do it again...

Growing up in Texas, it was all about Friday night football. It's no different in Tennessee even though I still believe that the "real" UT orange is burnt, not bright.

The photo above is several of Matt's closest friends - most of whom play on the basketball team. They are "true" fans, and I love these guys after spending most of my summer with them! This photo was on the front page of the sports section of our newspaper on Saturday morning.

Funny how traditions never change. Players wear their jerseys to school on game days. Here is Matt (and Ben) heading off to school last Friday morning very early. Don't they both seem thrilled?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Trip Down Memory Lane - Part 1

This is Part 1 of a 2-Part entry.

I had a neat week heading down to Texas for a few days to visit my folks. I don't see them nearly enough because of the distance between where they live and where I live. That's too bad for many reasons.

They now live about (30) minutes north of San Antonio (where I grew up).

So, we (my Mom, Dad, and myself) decided to take a trip to SA and see the places that influenced me growing up. Wow, what an experience of "looking back". The conversation in the van as we talked about "landmark" after "landmark" was rich, funny, and rewarding.

I won't bore you with too much detail (I know - that's a first!), but here's a brief overview:

Benjamin Franklin Elementary School where I attended grades 1-6

continue to the next entry for more photos and memories.......

(oh, and the photo at the top is the front porch of the house I grew up in - I can tell you where every room in that house is........)

Trip Down Memory Lane - Part 2

....we continue the "tour" of some significant places of my child-hood........

Lakeview Baptist Church where I accepted Christ and was baptized at age (7)
(my Mom was also the organist!)

2239 Fresno Drive - the house I grew up in - (wow, it seemed SO much bigger when I was a kid!!)

Northside Baptist Church where I attended until high school!

John Greenleaf Whittier Junior High School

Thomas Jefferson High School - (they don't make schools like these anymore!)

If you are ever able to go back to those places where when visiting them after so many years bring thoughts and memories to mind (both good and sometimes painful), I so much recommend it. Visiting these places with my parents was an experience I will never forget.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Idol or Icon

This excerpt from Chuck Fromm, Editor of Worship Leader Magazine is a very interesting read........

Musical excellence ultimately centers on the topic of performance. First of all, "performance" is often a shunned discussion by Christians as it relates to worship and the church. Why? Because the word "performance" is often translated into something that is inauthentic or lacking integrity. We think of performance as something that is made up or acted out in public, but does not necessarily relate to our private lives. But this way of thinking when applied to a performance art like music is problematic. To make music or deliver a speech, for that matter, requires some kind of grade-able performance.

The amount of professional jobs available for musicians underscores the common phrase of "starving musician." The American Federation of Musicians (AFM), the largest musician union group in America, claim that only 15% of their 45,000 members have steady employment. Of the 35,000 records (CD's) produced professionally in the United States, less than 200 will sell more than 50,000 units. In other words, there are very few rich musicians.

We are a country of people that create our social identities around musical style; we will pay $400 for a U2 ticket and 36.4 million people watched Taylor Hicks become the 5th American Idol. Only the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards garner bigger viewing audiences. America loves excellence in music and performance.

Now admittedly what is "excellent" is very subjective; the criteria is based on the personal taste of the participant or observer. Those who watch American Idol have your own favorite judge. The discourse they create among each other helps give us a language to express what we feel about the performance, as well. Our need is to generate some kind of rational truth about the phenomena that we just experienced, and in order to do that, we need language. In other words, the work of the judges is just as much a performance as that of the talent.

Fortunately, this is not a public process that those responsible for music in worship have to endure. Why? Because our use of music, or any media art for that matter, in worship goes far beyond "mere performance." There is a major difference between an idol and an icon. And idol brings attention to itself. The icon points to God. The goal of our music is to relate people to God. It it does that, it is excellent, if not, it's not.....

Friday, July 14, 2006


This is an actual photo taken in downtown Chicago.

Better yet, THIS PERSON offered an on-line "photo caption" contest.

The two winners were:

"Some were a little miffed when the stewardship committee took over the church."


"Because MONEY matters!"

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Monday, July 03, 2006

July 4th - Talk About Fireworks!

A friend sent the following to me. Most likely a July 4th he will never forget!

Hello all,

Thought you might find this interesting. This is how my 4th of July tour started this year with the US Air Force Band of the Golden West. Yes, that’s our USAF truck filled with over $400,000 worth of tympani, percussion, music, personal instruments, and a brand new state of the art sound system burning to the ground and clogging our Interstate Highway System with cosmic debris. Click HERE and watch your tax dollars burn!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Grocery Store & Famous People

I know I'm old when I enjoy going to the grocery store. Our Publix is nearby, so I often offer to go to the store for Karla, and more and more she entrusts me with this important task of obtaining those items that provide for our family's basic needs and then some.

Yesterday early evening, I was searching for just the right loaf of bread when I felt someone grab my arm. I looked up to find STEVE GREEN standing in front of me. What a delightful surprise at Publix. Now, I have seen several "famous people" at Publix through the years - one of the neat benefits of living in Nashville - but this encounter was so heart-warming because of who Steve is. He is always an encourager, and he was so gracious in many ways.

I laughed when he told me he was looking for just a certain kind of box fan for his bus. The kind that had a certain base and would not easily fall over. It's strange, but I knew exactly what he was talking about! He did not find it at Publix, so he was going to have to move on to another location.

He was leaving that evening for the Dayton, OH area for a concert that is most likely taking place as I write this.

The most interesting part of our conversation was when he told me in the course of our ever-so-normal conversation that he had just finished changing the sheets on the beds in the bus. My reaction must have surprised him, because his response was "well, I might as well do it - someone has to!". How's that for servanthood at its best.

Made me wonder how many other famous people I have seen at Publix who change their own sheets on the beds in their expensive tour buses!

I hope you will take a few more minutes to read about this extraordinary man of God -Steve Green. Oh, and I can't wait until December 8 when he will join our choir & orchestra for a one-night-only Christmas Concert! That will be grand!!

One of the advantages of a career that spans a little over two decades is the ability to look back and hopefully gain a proper perspective. God’s good providence can only be seen as we thoughtfully review the events of the past. From such a vantage point much that seemed important at the time fades away and the very common community of family and friends becomes the highlighted means of grace that God has used all along.

God sovereignly planted me in a missionary family, providing a remarkable context and training ground for ministry. He gave certain abilities and gifts that were to be stewarded and used for His purposes. Out of His free love, He extended kindness in Christ, rescuing me when I did not have the sense to know of my own perilous predicament. He gave me a wise and precious wife whose counsel, encouragement and constant love has strengthened me. He sent teachers and leaders and pastors to instruct and help give shape to a particular calling.

He let me meet Billy Ray Hearn and Peter York, who gave me an opportunity to record. He sent Greg Nelson and Phil Naish to give musical guidance and much needed assistance. He brought along Jon Mohr, Phil McHugh, Doug McKelvey and other writers to help put a life message into song. God called my brother, David out of the banking business to help and protect and be a companion in ministry.

He sent wonderful teammates, Cecelia, Mark, Brenda, Ed, Brian, Fred, Jan, Carry, Beamon, Jeff, Patti, Barny, Charles, Paul and many others who covered my weaknesses and taught me what serving is all about. God gave an entrusted platform that spread across 50 countries, letting me be an ambassador and representative of Christ. He put it in the hearts of church leaders to invite and provide a place for music and the communication of the gospel.

During an interview I was asked to describe the greatest moment of my career and also the lowest and most difficult. But how can we really know which is which? From heaven’s point of view it may be that the most thrilling event was perhaps the most dangerous and unguarded, and what I thought was the lowest point was in fact, the place of greatest blessing.

With each passing year there has been a slow (God is merciful and patient), but growing awareness that all of this has very little to do with me and everything to do with the sharing of life and calling along side other glad subjects of the King. In the end, the only appropriate refrain is, “For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory!”

To learn more about Steve, be sure to go HERE

Monday, June 26, 2006

Just For Arley

OK, I can see why Arley would think I love Matt and Ben more than Seth (jokingly) since I blogged twice about them with photos. So, this one's for Arley....

Actually, it's for me to talk about my son, Seth, too!

Twice in the past week, I have been in two entirely different locations - Franklin, TN watching a football scrimmage (yes, in June - football!), and then at a Burger King in Elizabethtown, KY when people I do not know began talking about videos that my son, Seth had created.

Actually, at the Burger King in Elizabethtown, there were a whole herd of kids with Centri-Fuge t-shirts on, so when I got in line behind them, I asked one of their sponsors where they had been that week for their Centri-Fuge camp. One thing led to another only to find out that Seth's videos had been shown there and were greatly admired and appreciated.

I can still remember the summer several years ago when every Friday at noon, Seth and I would go to the newest movie release.....well, we would do that if the rating was acceptable. (That's a whole 'nother blog.....)

I am grateful for Seth's imagination and his creativity. It's never predictable, and it's always unique.

I am always interested in "what's next" from him......

So, Arley - here's a post for you and your future husband!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Teenagers In The House

I sent a note to a friend today (one whom I have not seen in years), and told him that I now had two teenagers in the house!

All I can say is "good grief"! Where did the time go? I know everyone says that, but it's true.

This photo of Ben (left - duh), and Matt is of course priceless if you are their parent. If not, can read someone else's blog instead of mine.

When you work in the same church for as long as I have been at Brentwood, you see kids grow up right before your eyes. It never ceases to get to me......I can't believe there are people in my choir who were kids just not that long ago.....

Well, enjoy them - everyday - enjoy them, and thank God for them as gifts on loan for a period of time that only He chooses....

Oh, BTW, if you were thinking "oh, how cute" when you viewed the above photo, then check this one out - amazing how quickly the "mood" changes, and oh, what a look from Matt!!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Father's Day - 2006

This picture is so full of "oh my gosh, I can't believe you posted such a photo and opened the door for comments"!

Yep, I did it.......this is 1972 - good grief. Does anyone remember where you were (34) years ago. (I know, some of you reading this were not even BORN!!!!!!)

Here's me, standing with my Mom and Dad, and the look I am getting from my Dad says it all. (I want that outfit my Dad is wearing!!)

I had just returned from a summer of singing and "ministry" with the Continental Singers. The whole direction of my life was altered that summer, and I began to believe that music and ministry would become a vital part of me from that point on.

The "look" from my Dad was because my hair had NEVER been that long EVER. He was not a happy camper. (but, oh, I was SO handsome, don't you think?) Interesting the things that create division among fathers and sons - the length of ones hair.

I am grateful me and my Dad could get beyond that one. I wish I could post every photo of every bookcase, dog house, picnic table, work bench, and numerous other "works of art" that my Dad and I have built and created over time. He is one amazing man, and I am blessed to be his son.

On this upcoming Father's Day 2006, I hope that my sons learn a few things from me - mainly how to love God and how much they are loved by me and their most wonderful mom.

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

and oh, did you notice who's on the TV in that photo - Rex Humbard - now there's a blast from the past for all you TV Evangelist fans........

and oh, oh - what WAS I thinking with that shirt and tie? stupidity and lack of taste run rampant in the Worley clan..........

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Kids, The Ocean, and Meetings

I love this photo! Yes, it was several years ago, and I have no idea where Seth was, but it was fun to grab Matt and Ben and hug them at my favorite place on earth - the ocean.

This afternoon, after a very long day at church and while sitting outside a meeting room waiting for my cue to "appear" at this particular very important, high-level, muckity-muck kind of meeting, I was pleasantly surprised to be thoroughly entertained by two kids. Conner and James, ages 4 and 6 respectively told me all kinds of marvelous things about themselves. Conner shared rocks with me that he had in his pocket, and James (typical older brother) did most of the talking. They were absolutely delightful to say the least. Their mom was in a different meeting and left them in this particular place (I'm sure) to sit still, behave themselves, and not get into any kind of trouble.

I just have to tell you - I really wanted to just go crazy with these two kids. They were so full of life - bouncing on the sofa, turning cartwheels on the floor, sitting on the coffee table as if it were a boat of somekind.........talking non-stop....

Thank you, God for these kids - they made my Sunday......

And yes, my meeting while important was so influenced by my experience with Conner and James - you go, guys!!!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Just A Simple Lunch

It was just a simple lunch appointment, but the purpose of getting together was more than a visit or to "get caught up" as friends.

Billy Ray Hearn is my hero. This man has more vision, more passion, more love for God and life and people, and being around him is always an inspiration. He introduces me to other people as "his minister of music". What an honor that is for me - more than he realizes.

Billy Ray's wife, Joanie was in a terrible automobile accident last September. She suffered numerous injuries and as a result, has never recovered to be able to live her life like she was before that accident. Now, her days with us seem to be numbered. Billy Ray called me to ask me to meet and help him plan the music for her memorial service.

I will never forget my lunch on Wednesday with Billy Ray. He was quiet, almost numb,
and exhausted from caring for Joanie over these past (9) months, but wanting so to make sure her life is honored with God-honoring music. I will do all I can for this man and his wife.

It seems strange to meet with someone to plan such a service while they are still living, but we both agreed that was best under these difficult circumstances.

I guess the strangest of my feelings right now has to do with the fact that Billy Ray's first wife died several years ago, so now this man is going through the same thing twice in a just is not fair at all.......

So, I will cherish that simple lunch with this man I admire. I pray you would do the same with those you love......

The photo is from this past February when the organization that produces The Grammys honored Billy Ray. Pictured (L-R) are Recording Academy President Neil Portnow, Bill Hearn (Billy Ray's son), actor and GRAMMY winning Sparrow Records recording artist Andy Griffith, and Billy Ray Hearn.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

First Week Of June - 1988

One of my favorite memories is the first week of June 1988. My mom and dad came from Texas to spend that week with us. My dad and I worked sun-up to sun-down (literally) (5) straight days to build this deck attached to our house that we lived in at that time.

My neighbor behind me was an architect, and he "drew-up some plans" for me, and believe me, this deck could hold (50) people dancing (we never tried that, but I am certain it would have!)....

I hate it that we only got a couple of years to enjoy this work of art, then Matt came along, and we ran out of rooms in the house and moved to Franklin.

I hope the folks living on Vailwood in Green Hills enjoy this deck as much as we did.....

The photo is my mom and dad, me, Karla, and Seth, "enjoying a job well done"!!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Five Minutes With Rob - by Ben Irwin

I don't know Rob Lacey nor do I know Ben Irwin. I wish I did.

This is just too powerful to not share with whomever decides to read it.

Recently my wife and I traveled to Wales to visit a friend who was dying of cancer. When we left a week later, I wondered how to begin putting the pieces of my faith back together.

As my wife and I navigated the maze of hospital corridors, I braced myself to face the worst. But nothing could have prepared me for the sight that greeted us as we walked into Rob's room. The person lying in front of me barely resembled the one I had last seen less than a year before. The weight loss was dramatic; he looked like a skeleton with flesh hung loosely over his bones. The only difference was that I know what Rob is supposed to look like. It took all his might to prop himself on his elbows as I sat down beside him.

He was a shell of the person he had been just a month before.

It was the third time in 10 years Rob had battled cancer. The first diagnosis came six months after he was married. The cancer returned a few years later, about the time Rob and his wife were expecting their first child.

A couple of years into Rob's second bout with cancer—-one that was supposed to end his life—it began to look like a miracle was happening. Gradually the cancer disappeared; the doctors could only scratch their heads. There was, the doctors admitted, no medical explanation for the cancer's disappearance. So Rob and his family did the only thing anyone can do in a situation like this: they basked in God's incomprehensible favor.

Fast-forward four years. The cancer came back—initially in his bladder, then his lymph nodes, too. To add a touch of cruel irony, less than a month before he died, Rob's wife gave birth to their second child, a beautiful baby girl.

It seems almost trivial, reflecting on what happened to me that day we visited my friend lying in a hospital bed, clinging to his life. But the fact is, I left the hospital a different person: my theology—all my neatly arranged ideas about God and His role in our lives—came crashing down.

If God is in complete control, doesn't that make Him responsible for Rob's slow, torturous death? Isn't He to blame for robbing a wife of her husband, depriving a son of his dad and denying a baby girl even the memory of her father? What grand purpose, what divine scheme could ever justify this cruelty?

On the other hand, even if God doesn't actually cause these things to happen—if He simply allows them to take place—is He any less responsible? If I had the cure for AIDS but did not share it with those suffering from the virus, society would hold me accountable for their deaths. Is God any less responsible if He has the power to cure cancer but does nothing?

That night when I crawled into bed, I was raging on the inside—furious with God for allowing my friend to die. Stunned that He was making Rob's wife and children endure all this.

The next day we went to see Rob one last time. He was asleep. Rest being such a precious commodity in his weakened condition, we chose not to disturb him. But as I sat at the nurse's station, writing our goodbye on a scrap of paper, I sensed something that felt absent the day before: God's presence.

It wasn't overpowering. The air was not thick with it. It was small, subtle—barely perceptible.

I didn't leave the hospital with answers to any of the questions that plagued my mind the day before. My theology and my ideas about God were still in a state of upheaval. But in their place emerged a new idea: Whatever else God may or may not be, He is present in our pain. He suffers with us.

Why He doesn't step in and simply put an end to the suffering now, I don't know. Believing that someday He'll make everything right doesn't make life easier now. But still, the fact that God was with Rob in the midst of his suffering was, at least, something. It was almost as if, on some level, God had cancer, too.

"He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases …" (Matthew 8:17, TNIV).

He didn't just "sympathize" with us. And He didn't just bear our "spiritual" sickness. The text says He actually carried our diseases.

When my wife and I decided to make the last-minute trip to Wales, we didn't know what to expect. We didn't know how we would be able to help. We simply couldn't stand the idea of sitting at home, sending up the occasional prayer while our friend across the ocean lay dying of cancer.

In the end, we traveled 4,000 miles to spend five minutes with Rob. But I wouldn't trade those five minutes for anything in the world.

Even though I had imagined us helping in more tangible ways, there was something about being physically present and standing at Rob's side and gripping his hand—it communicated something that couldn't be said in an email or a phone call. Sometimes it's not enough to tell a suffering friend you're praying for them. Sometimes you have to become the answer to your own prayer. When you ask God to send help, you have to be ready to become that help. What else could we possibly mean when we talk about being the hands and feet of Christ?

Our last night in Wales, as we gathered with mutual friends to pray for Rob, I realized that God is present in the midst of suffering because we are present in it.

We are God's presence.

Editor's Note: Rob Lacey, father, husband and author of The Word on the Street, a modern retelling of the Bible, passed away on May 1, 2006. You can learn more about his books at his website

Ben Irwin left the tropical state of Texas seven years ago to study theology in the frozen tundra of Michigan. These days he passes the time creating product for a Christian publishing company. He and his wife attend Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Graduation From 8th Grade

Ben Worley graduated 8th grade last week. The ceremony was just what you would expect - over-crowded and under-air-conditioned middle school gym, program that was of course too long, terrible sound system, and an overall painful experience.

Now before you crucify me for being a horrible parent, please know that in spite of all of these things, I loved every minute of it. Watching parents, family, and friends "show up" to support their 8th grader-becoming-a-high-schooler is among other things highly entertaining and it's just one of those experiences you love participating in......not to mention watching kids celebrate their past (3) years and now "move on" to the next (4) hopefully!!

So, CONGRATULATIONS BEN WORLEY - if I could write in your yearbook, I would write that you are one great, great guy with great hair and a great personality. (wow, that sounds so 8th grade, doesn't it?) Thanks for loving God, life, and people...

P.S. Man, you look great in a tie!!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hilarious and Disturbing

If you have already seen this, then pardon the repeat. If not, go HERE, click on "King Of The Hill - Church", and watch the 5:00 clip.

I could blog about this for days, but it's really late, so I'm going to bed......

Monday, May 15, 2006

So You Think Anyone Can Do It, Eh?

For those of you who watch me do what I do and think to yourself, "what's the big deal, I can do THAT!"

If that's what you think, then this is for you.

Man, it makes me want an XBOX so bad........

Thursday, May 11, 2006

$120 Million Worth Of Art & Culture

Whoever thought that Nashville, Tennessee would spend $120 million on a Symphony Hall?

This place is something else......and I am someone who is excited to experience our Symphony in their new home.

If I don't get there before, I know I will be there on Friday night, April 13, 2007 and Sunday night, April 15.

My friend, Billy Ray Hearn approached David Hamilton and myself about a year ago with the idea of doing a Hymn-Sing with the Nashville Symphony in the new hall during their Inaugural Year. Because of his relationship with the Symphony, Billy Ray convinced them (mainly Alan Valentine, President & CEO) to do it, so it is on the books. David Hamilton will conduct the Nashville Symphony, and David, Billy Ray, and I are working with the Symphony Production Staff in putting together a wonderful evening of hymns that will feature the Nashville Symphony, a 290-voice choir, and special guest artists (yet to be named!).

It promises to be a unique evening in this beautiful new hall.

Get your tickets now - I promise it will be worth every penny you spend!!!

For more information on this incredible landmark and on the Hymn-Sing, check out these sites.....

Today's Tennessean Article

Hymn-Sing Event Information

Take A Glimpse Inside The New Schermerhorn Symphony Center - this is SO amazing!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

I Like What I Like - Southern Gospel vs. "All That Other Stuff"

This afternoon, I attended a most delightful service of music and worship that would best be described as "southern Gospel". I don't know why God made me this way, but I am glad He did - that "way" is that I really do love all kinds of music. I only care that it is presented with excellence (or to the best of their abilities), presented with great emotion, and those presenting it are authentic in their presentation. All were evident this afternoon.

I had the luxury of sitting out in the audience since I did not have any leadership responsibilities. Following the service, I had several similar comments from church members and (me being the "guy in charge of music" at my church), I figured I would receive such comments.......

"why don't we do more of this?"

"I was wondering when we were going to do more of this - after all, this music is the best music"

"there are plenty of groups just as good as this group - why not have more of them more often?"

I have learned that such comments "come with the territory". People are never more opinionated than in church (except maybe in politics), and personal musical preference certainly brings out the comments!

One of my personal spiritual "heroes" is Bob Kauflin. He wrote the following in his blog on Friday (regarding a recent conference where he led 3,000 men in worship!) -"The goal of our singing was simple, and in line with the conference – to incite our hearts to worship and our lives to godliness by painting a clear, compelling view of God’s grace in the Savior."

WOW - what a statement - using words like "incite our hearts", and "painting a clear, compelling view"....... oh, that that would be our goal whenever we gather to sing songs to Jesus and about Jesus......

Bob goes on to say the following -
"It seems that when it comes to worship, we tend to speak in polarized categories. Rock music or a cappella. Edifying or evangelistic. Planned or spontaneous. Reverent or celebrative. For God or for us. We determine who’s on our side, draw lines in the sand, and seek to discredit those who don’t see things our way. Rarely do we consider that God is so vast and our understanding so finite, that we often have to hold conflicting, or at least apparently conflicting, truths in tension. Or maybe we just have a hard time understanding how God made us different in some ways so that we might learn from one another.

In any case, humble, thoughtful dialogue in these areas may not change our view, but it will certainly help us become more like the Savior we worship."

I want to believe that those who made a point to come to me to tell me how much they loved this afternoon and wished we would do more of it would also be the very ones to embrace whatever it is we sing in worship so that "unity in our diversity" would be evident to all who observe our singing and our worship, but most especially be evident to the One we sing to and sing about......

Thanks to my "senior" friends for a beautiful worship experience this afternoon, and thanks to a quality southern Gospel group, Legacy Five for making me remember why I love southern Gospel music just as much as all that other stuff!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Applauding Greatness

I love to remember, and I love to marvel at greatness.

I got the best of both worlds this week when I picked up the newest CD of one of the most talented and awe-filled vocal groups ever - Take 6.

I had not heard anything recently from these guys (and did not realize just how much I missed it), so I took the plunge and made the purchase. I was not disappointed.

The first surprise was a stunning rendition of a song almost 30 years old by an artist who influenced me in ways I cannot describe.

"This Is Another Day" by Andrae Crouch came along in 1977 and had to be (at that time) one of the most refreshing recordings for me! I remember so many things about that recording, so to hear Take 6 "get all over" that song - just have to hear it....

Then, later on the Take 6 CD, they do a song that is 50 years old - (appropriately titled) "Just In Time" - oh my.......way to go, guys!

I am thrilled that I get to appreciate songs written this year and those written 30 years ago and 50 years ago, and yes, even 300+ years ago (see my previous post). I hope you applaud greatness like I applaud greatness - it's a really healthy thing to do....

Do You Know This Man?

Probably not, but you might recognize his name, and you certainly know his legacy.....

(man, I wish I had his hair!)

This guy was an amazing songwriter in his be more specific, he was an extraordinarily prolific hymnwriter. Today, fewer hymns are being sung in churches and as a result, a new generation of worshippers is growing up possibly missing out on the depth and lasting effects of necessary theology on/in their lives. Well, this guy made sure that was not the case when he was around to make a difference.

Do you know any of these songs?

At The Cross
I Sing The Mighty Power Of God
Jesus Shall Reign
Joy To The World
We're Marching To Zion
O God Our Help In Ages Past
When I Can Read My Title Clear
When I Survey The Wondrous Cross

He wrote these and at least 490 more. He preached his first sermon at age 24, and his studies were impressive to say the least.

So, today I salute you,
Isaac Watts - you are an inspiration to many, and thank you for hearing from God and creating songs that the people of God are still singing some 300+ years!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Whole AAU World

For some of you reading this, my writings will be boring and totally irrelevant, but if you dare - stay with me for a point....

I spent Friday night and all day Saturday with my son, Matt somewhere between Tullahoma and Lynchburg, TN for an AAU basketball sub-state tournament. This is where some of the top teams in the region get together to determine who gets to compete at the state level, etc...

Matt's team of (10) guys won all three of their games against some great competition, and that was neat, but that is not the point of my blog entry.....

When we were not playing, we had to wait on some 11-year old teams to play their games in between our 17-year old games (even though, yes, Matt is still a ripe young 16)

These 11-year olds is the point of my blog.

I wish you could have seen these teams. Oh my - their uniforms, their coaches attire, their "fans/parents" attire, their "travel bags", their attitudes, their "swagger", their whole demeanor........what is the deal with that? These are 11-year old kids!!!!!!! They are in the 5th grade - in elementary school!!!! You would have thought you were in Chapel Hill or Durham, NC.......(I know - only hard core basketball fans will get that one!!)

It's a whole 'nother world - this AAU world.....where people spend loads and loads and loads of money, all of their weekends traveling and supporting their 11-year olds to "I'm-not-so-sure-what-is-next-except-hopefully-and-ultimately-an-NBA-contract" ideal!

I watched these 11-year old boys "hover" around the one parent who "kept the book" to see how many points they scored. It was frightening. I wanted to be optimistic and believe that this is encouragement for kids who might not have anything else to get excited about - to rally around, but that is not what I felt. I felt an immense void - a hollow feeling of "is this really all there is to get excited about"?

What happens to these young kids - these 11-year olds who don't make it to the NBA? What happens to the ones who don't get a college scholarship? Do they then attempt to "live their 11-year-old lives" through THEIR kids when they become 11?

Sorry - I am now beyond blogging and am rambling, but it really did get to me. After all, I was "one of them" (to an extent). I spent my weekend with (10) guys and a few parents. I love these kids, and I believe in them way beyond their basketball abilities. I will always remember this and other weekends that will follow......

So, maybe there is more to it than believing that the "pie in the sky" is the NBA. Maybe some of these 11-year olds I saw this past weekend will grow up to be solid, law-abiding, God-loving-serving parents who will believe in the AAU world of 11-year old basketball, but keep it in perspective of what life is really all about....

uhmmm.......makes me wonder who is intentionally ministering to this "world"???? Where is the church for this AAU world? After all, everyone - even the 11-year old AAU world needs Jesus, right?

I will ponder more on this subject - for now, my eyes and heart were opened this weekend - yes, even in the most remote parts of middle Tennessee.....

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

April 26, 1984

I remember that Thursday morning as if it were yesterday. A parent never forgets the birth of their first child.

I remember getting up very, very early and actually jogging before getting Karla to the hospital. I remember writing a check for $950 before Karla could be admitted to the hospital because our insurance did not cover the birth of our son.......the first of many checks, and all too glad to write everyone one of them!

Thank you, God for this beautiful gift of life - I honestly cannot believe it has been 22 years!

Happy Birthday Seth Byron Worley - you are a treasure to everyone you meet, and thanks for letting me be your Dad....

I love you.....
(I really wish I had some more pictures on my computer to "really" embarrass you!)

Friday, April 21, 2006

How Does He Do It?

This guy is 62 years old!

I am (8) years younger and after watching him in his latest movie today, maybe there is hope for those of us who wonder.....

Maybe it's his $200 million net worth????......nah, I doubt it......

Our Security

I love it that this little girl is holding the arm of her brother. I find myself holding the arm of God often, don't you?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter - 2006

(I took this photo of Ben and Karla today in my office - where does that kid get all that hair???)

I hope you had a fabulous Easter Sunday!

I guess I have now lived long enough to experience so much of what this day means to me as a believer, a minister, a husband, and a father. I love this day for so very many reasons.

I am blessed to have been introduced (at an early age) to what Easter is all about.

I am blessed to work with extraordinary people who understand how to come together to create beautiful and elegant Easter worship experiences for thousands who come to worship on this day.

I am blessed as a husband and a father to cherish simple traditions of this day with family and friends - doing things that we have done for many, many years together - may we never take them for granted.....

and finally - how I wish I could fully grasp what it means to live in the power of the Resurrection.....

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Now THIS Is Customer Service!!

Before you read one of the most delightful "your product has been shipped" e-mails ever, I must give you some background and history, so please stay with me.....

The year is 1978 (I am 26 years old), and I am browsing through a record shop in Temple, Texas just looking for some new records (yes, LP vinyl!). While I am perusing, I notice some of the most amazing music playing in the background, with lead vocals that are blowing me away. When I go ask about it, the guy points to the cover of the LP sitting high on a shelf and it is the solo LP of a guy named, Bill Champlin. I bought the LP on the spot. It immediately became a favorite. Bill Champlin has since become lead singer for the ever popular group, "Chicago", but nothing will ever take the place of that original recording - at least in my mind.

Fast forward to last night when I was hitting several of my friend's "my spaces", and I ran across this. This guy produced the Bill Champlin recording and has either played guitar, produced or written songs for pretty much every big name who has ever recorded music in the pop/R&B/jazz fields.

So, I went to his site, and immediately purchased his most recent CD.

Finally, here is what I really wanted you to read. This is the ACTUAL e-mail I received from them today letting me know that this CD has shipped:

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing.

Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved 'Bon Voyage!' to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Thursday, April 13th.

I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did.
Your picture is on our wall as 'Customer of the Year'. We're all exhausted but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you once again,
Derek Sivers, president, CD Baby
the little CD store with the best new independent music