Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thoughts On Ending

I picked up my boys from school yesterday right after I got home from the airport.  This was the first time I picked them up with no more tours looming on the horizon.  It was a moment I hadn't expected or prepared for.  They were expecting Mom to pick them up so it was a great surprise that was immediately obvious on both of their faces.  I think it was Bram telling me that he missed me that snapped everything into focus though.  He got me choked up yet again.  There's been a lot of that lately!  I can pick these guys up nearly every day now if that's what we want to do. Extended away times are done!

For how great that is I still found myself, just a couple of days ago, suddenly weeping because of this ending.  Although parts of this job have been so very difficult, we have endured so much together that it makes it difficult to finally stop.  The drive that has kept me pushing through all the tough times has an incredible amount of momentum behind it.  But here we are.  It has stopped.  Everything eventually does.  We loaded the trailer for the last time, slept on the bus for the last time and set up all our gear for the last time.  I've been marking so many of these "last times" I've lost track.  Now it is time to enter the next season and there is so much to look forward to yet again.

I have shared an incredible 12 years with some of the most talented people I know. Jason, Marc and Jeremy, we have made a great team over the years and it has been a privilege to share the stage and to share life with each of you!  My life has been enriched and will continue to be by your friendship.  I sure hope we have another album in us when the dust settles!

A good chunk of those 12 years was also spent with Dave and Jessica Lewis and Wesley Morris.  I sure have missed all of you since you have left this circus but I'll always think of you when I think of the road.  You are some the dearest friends I have!

And to those of you who have listened to our music, come to shows, bought the t-shirt, hosted us in your home, shuttled us around, promoted shows, told your friends about us, etc... A HUGE thank you! It is because of you we were able to record as many albums as we did and stay on the road as long as we did.  But the biggest thank you needs to go to our wives.  If you are a fan of Downhere then by default you are a fan of the ladies who have supported their husbands throughout this whole process.  Words will never truly describe the thankfulness and awe I have for these ladies and what they have endured to keep the music coming.  Thank you girls and much love to all of you!

And now;
A new day, a new dream, a new life
This is only the beginning


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Yes, this really is what we are doing...

My life is in a serious change of seasons right now.  For the last nearly 12 years I have spent most of my working hours with the same few guys.  Together as the band Downhere, we’ve seen all but one of the U.S. states, all but one of the ten Canadian provinces, plus ten or so other countries in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean.  It has been grueling, rewarding, fun, frustrating, exhilarating, and many other emotions.  That focused time together is coming to an end this year which means something will need to take its place.  I’m going to write a separate blog post altogether at a later time to reminisce about our time as a band.

But now I want to write about what is coming!  I have accepted a job in Williamsburg, Virginia as Director of Worship Arts at Williamsburg Community Chapel.  We were not planning on leaving our home in Cambridge, Ontario anytime soon so this is coming as a surprise to us too.  My family came to Virginia for a position I had with the Chapel over the summer and it gave us a great opportunity to get to know the people, the community, and the potential job.  We have come to know and be a part of a wonderful church family in Williamsburg over the past ten weeks.  But we have deep roots in southern Ontario and there will be a lot of difficult good byes.  It is definitely home and a place we love, full of people we love.  Making this decision has been so very difficult.  There will be so many changes that we feel like we can’t even keep up with them all.

So here I am on the eve of making this announcement to the church body, feeling a little nervous about even publishing this post.  It’s almost like it makes it more real.  It’s not unlike how I felt before posting the Downhere announcement in July.  It’s a choice I/we have made and we have peace about it but it still doesn’t seem real.  This big of a change seems to require many times of saying, “Yes, this really is what we are doing.”  So yes, this really is what we are doing!

Even though we are truly sad to be leaving family and friends we are excited about this next season.  It is one that is going to look so much different.  For starters, I’ll see my family every day and that is HUGE!  I’ll also see a regular pay cheque where I can actually expect the same amount each time.  WOW!  Plus, I’ll be in the same church every Sunday. 

Speaking of church, I have had the pleasure of visiting and participating in so many churches over the past decade and I can say that the Williamsburg Community Chapel is truly a great group of people.  It has a focus on intergenerational ministry, which was a big part of my experience growing up in The Salvation Army.  The value of having both seniors and young people living out their faith together is one that I think is often being forgotten but is so sorely needed.  I love that there are elements of tradition that need not be discarded as well as a willingness to try new things to see what works.  In the end, it’s about more people getting to know Jesus.  If it works, keep it.  If not, throw it out.  And this church is committed to that.  That is something I want to be a part of and can get excited about.

So we’ll be back in Ontario until mid October as I finish up my time with Downhere and as we try to tie up all the loose ends we need to deal with before leaving.  One thing is certain, that life following Jesus is an adventure, a rewarding and costly one at that.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Reading Chaim Potok

I have friends with great taste in literature.  Last summer I ventured out to read Chaim Potok's My Name Is Asher Lev as recommended by one of these friends.  I mentioned it here.  I enjoyed it but it was definitely a different style of reading for me and pretty thick with unknown terms (to me) used in the Jewish culture.  What I loved about it was that it placed me in an environment and culture that I really knew very little about.  And it also made me feel very smart to be reading a book that wasn't by Dan Brown and also was not intended for children!  

So when I was looking over another friends bookshelf and he told me that The Chosen by Potok was one of his favorite books of all time I thought I would check it out.  I would also feel smarter too!  Well I once again immersed myself into the war time Jewish culture of Brooklyn and wasn't disappointed.  I was pulled into this book much quicker than Asher Lev.  Perhaps the fact that it started with a tense baseball game was helpful.  I love the way Potok develops his characters and the pace at which he moves the story along.  It's definitely slower than most modern novels but I was still finding it difficult to put down.  His attention to detail and emotions really kept my attention even though there wasn't any kind of quick paced action.

Upon completing The Chosen my friend told me there was a sequel.  Well that was a good piece of news.  I felt like I had said good bye to two friends when I finished that book and now I would get to spend another week or two with them!  So I dove into The Promise.  I think I actually enjoyed this one the most out of the three Potok books I've read.  As I am no literary critic I'm guessing I just finally understood his style of writing and was able to get into the story quicker.  I found it interesting how so much of the story was based around one of the characters and his time in class with a particular teacher and how tense Potok made me feel while reading those passages.  I would finish reading a chapter and think back on it and wonder how I was so wrapped up in it.  A simple thing like students reading to their teacher and then explaining what they read was quite fun to read.  Potok did a great job in these classroom settings of not getting too technical with the content but still being able to explain why there was so much conflict about what they had read.  

Anyway, all that said I look forward to reading more Potok.  Maybe Davita's Harp will be next.  But right now I have some pop culture to take care of.  Hunger Games 1 complete, 2 half way done and 3 soon to be.  As well as the best seller Heaven Is For Real.  I'll post about these as I finish them up.



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