Mike's Life

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Month: March, 2009

Pandora Radio gave music back to me

Pandora Radio Gave Music Back To Me

Music has played an important role in my life. Music was an early connector in the relationship between me and my wife (R.E.M. and many others). The power of music helped lead us to accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. It’s hard to beat that! We currently enjoy a lot of Christian music but our musical tastes flow in almost every direction. My wife Beth was actually in a band at one time (you’ll have to talk to her about that!), while I failed out of piano lessons at age 7. Last summer I bought an old guitar at a neighborhood garage sale. It has been a goal of mine, or maybe more of a dream, to learn to play for over 15 years.  It was actually a questionable decision at the time to plop down the relative few dollars that the old thing cost. I had zero energy to haggle on the price. Anyhow, I would have been haggling based on the money I had (or didn’t have) in my bank account and not based on what I thought it was worth. I knew enough to know that it had probably been a nice guitar in its day. I’d rather have a beaten down well made guitar than a cheaply made and cheaply priced piece of junk. I thought about it as I wandered around the driveway for 20 minutes looking at all the other stuff the older couple had on display; old tools, used fishing gear, refurbished snow blowers, and an old red fire-fighter’s axe that was owned long ago by the man’s father. Certainly there have been times during the past decade where I could have afforded a nicer guitar had I chosen to learn to play then. Back then, however, I didn’t make time for things like learning to play music, writing, art, or even reading for pleasure. Being unemployed, like I was then, and like I am now, has changed things for me. So, feeling  just a little like when in the past I’d made a spontaneous purchase on the newest techno-gadget, I bought the thing. The odd thing was that, although the guitar cost about 20 bucks, and the tech-gadgets were in the hundreds of dollars, the uncomfortable feeling in my stomach was about the same. It is all relative, I suppose. I need not have felt guilty about buying the guitar though. It was a good buy, and for a good reason, and it would provide a mental health benefit as well. As it turned out, the thing broke about 10 days after I got it. It lasted just long enough for the desire to learn to play start to burn inside me. Well, this certainly created a convenient opporunity (excuse) to buy an inexpensive (but decent) new one. Learning to play has been very slow going, although I am still going, and intend to keep going.

Pandora Radio single-handedly brought music back to relevance in my life. I think Beth would share equally strong sentiment about Pandora. After our children were born music took several steps backward on the priority-meter. Music never leaves you, thankfully, but for 5 or 6 years we did not explore new music or listen to much of our existing collection. Between 2001 and 2007 all the sounds emanating from our speakers came from “Baby Einstein”, “Blues Clues”,”Dora The Explorer”, and any number of Walt Disney films. Pandora woke us back up to the beauty of music and to the vital role that music has played in our lives. Our children, ages 5 & 8, love music and already have their own separate musical tastes. 

Some of the great artists Beth and I have discovered through Pandora are Eva Cassidy, Josh Rouse, Snow Patrol, Missy Higgins, Say Hi (To Your Mom), Ben Harper, Jose Gonzalez, Janove Ottesen, Vienna Teng, Iron and Wine, Allison Crowe, Nickel Creek, Pierce and E.J. Maggi, The Decemberists, and many others.

What sounds best right now, is to go listen to my Eva Cassidy playlist on YouTube. Am I ever plugged in!

Much of the information contained in this post comes from my Pandora Radio profile. You can view our full Pandora profile and all of our bookmarked music at http://www.pandora.com/people/trueleader04


Today was Wednesday, not Winsday, so… Whensday?


Wednesday is passing away now. 65 minutes remain. I’ve been told that it is important to live each and every day. I believe that axiom. I am certain that by “living”, it is not meant to merely exist, but to thrive, and to do my best, and hopefully to enjoy. Well, I believe I’ve failed you Wednesday. Wednesday, I couldn’t seem to remove myself from the stickum of my funk. So, I stayed stuck in the junk as you rightfully passed me by. With loss there is hope, and I hope that tomorrow will be “Winsday”, a day where I can remove myself from myself and simply be. Just be, me. I deperately need a victory, a win.  I’d like tomorrow to be “Winsday”, a group of hours where laughter may reign, or the quiet purity of worry-free anxiousness may prevail. Accomplishments and itineraries won’t matter when I’m set free. Tomorrow. If I do not give it all to God tomorrow, then I’ll just keep asking myself “Whensday”? When will it be that I can just be… me?

Goodbye Wednesday. Here’s the deal God… no more attempts to control, no more emotions to stockpile, and no more putting me first. Tomorrow, my sovereign Father, I’m givin’ it all up. I’m givin’ all of me to you. It’s gonna be so amazingly lovely when I’m set free. Gracefully me!

Thank you God.

Kate’s Teacher Conference

Wow. Beth & I are so blessed by our children. Tonight, with Kate in the lead, we attended Kate’s teacher conferences. We knew she was excelling, and that she is bordering on being under-challenged, but to see the glow in which her teachers spoke of her was beyond special. Kate’s face glowed too, which isn’t surprising, seeing as praise upon praise was being heaped onto her. How often does a second grader (or her parents) hear that she is so gifted that her career opportunities are blossoming even now. Top reader in her class, top writer in her class, top math student in her class, the model student in her class… and so on and so on. Very remarkable. Thank you Lord.

Hello world!

This is my first post! Well, what to say, what to say? Yesterday was a snow day for Kate as a storm blew through the night before, leaving about 10″ inches of very heavy snow. Got my workout shoveling and blowing the driveway.  I’m up in the middle of the night again, avoiding attempting to go back to sleep because the attempts are usually fraught with an unsettling uncomfortableness that usually builds to an unsightly anxiety. No thanks… I’ll just awaken myself into a sleepiness out here in the big chair by the computer. Hmmm, lets roam the web a bit…