Monthly Archives: October 2016

“I’m not that old … but, I remember”… The Power of Music

I don’t know if you can have too many series going at the same time, but here’s a new one:

It’s amazing how powerful music is; how powerful songs are; how powerful the words can be. Not just to enhance a current moment in your life, but, the power that a song can have to take you back … to a moment, or series of moments, from years ago. How a song can just make you “think back” and remember … both good, and bad, times. The pure emotion that hearing a song can bring out.

On Friday night, I try to catch up on business paperwork, and do all of “the financials” for both home and business. It’s always “been an exhausting week,” so it gives me a chance to at least sit down, while still “getting stuff done.” Between doing the laundry and running the dishwasher, I get caught up on paperwork, ship out free gifts to customers …wait … this doesn’t seem like much of a “night off,” but, for me, it is among the “least busy” times of the week … So … I “treat myself” to listening to music, while I work. It is the only time I actually listen to the radio, except for Sports Talk, when I’m in the truck running errands or back/forth to work. Really … it’s not the radio at all that I listen to. It’s online music. I listen to AOL music online, and it’s always “oldies,” like their “Super Seventies.”

This may be odd for someone who is “an old radio man,” but, I like to listen to what I like to listen to … and … I don’t like the commercials on broadcast stations. It’s not the content of the commercials, just the commercials, period. At least they are limited, online, and are almost always for Home Depot or Lowes, so I can bear with those. Anyway, I probably do this “online music” thing about 2 times a month, but I enjoy the music when I do.

As an old radio man, however, sometimes listening online has its drawbacks. For instance, I always want to look at the picture of who is singing the song. I like to know what album it is from. I like to know the history of the singer, or the song, which you can usually get as each individual song plays. So, sometimes … I don’t get as much done as I could, because I am researching each artist and song … Sometimes, they play I song I really love, and I’ll just have to jump over to YouTube, and see the live performance … and, you know how that is … before you know it … you’ve spent the evening bringing up all those “related” songs showing up on the right side of your screen …

Ok, so one night, I’ll admit it … I set aside the paperwork, and compiled a list of my favorite songs, which could be shared, via YouTube, with our friends … Yes, I recorded them, or copied the links, just in case I wasn’t allowed to use them on our online ministries … Didn’t get much done that night … or, did I?

One of these days, I’ll have to write about our YouTube channel. Our writing, and what we do online, is never to “promote us,” so we don’t talk about it much. But, we are grateful for our friends who join us over on our YouTube channel. I will put a link at the end here, so that you can access all of the videos we’ve shared.

Ok, so I admit I love music, even though I don’t listen to it often. I recognize the power a song has. The power the words have. The memories they can “jar loose.” As a writer, I know the power words have, and how the words I have been so blessed to write have affected other people. I guess I am taking this moment to realize how words so many other people have written, have affected me.

The power of music. Is it any wonder that in “Old Testament Times,” before a battle … the musicians and “praise teams” would march out first? Often, the battle would be won before the soldiers “fired a shot.”

It strikes me now, this “singing and playing music” before a battle. I’m not comparing the two, I’m really not, but understand the intent: Don’t we play or sing (or both) our National Anthem before a sports contest? Wouldn’t we consider sports a “battle” of sorts? Again, I’m not comparing the two, trust me, but consider the point. Music, a song, can unite us, can spur our emotions, really, like nothing else.

So, I think it’s ok to listen to music. To even enjoy music. Some of my best friends have been musicians. Still are. I don’t get out much, but I enjoy, so much, listening to live music. To watch the band. Even between songs.

It looks like, yet again, I have written an introduction to a piece that is so long, I don’t have room for the original piece …

This series will be called “I Remember,” and will talk about memories I have, from not that long ago. It hasn’t been that long ago, has it?

It would be sub-titled:
“I’m not that old … but, I remember…”

I remember when there was no question: When the National Anthem played, you removed your hat/cap, and stood.
Period. There was never, ever, any question. Never. Ever.
No question.

I watched the football game from England last week. We have so many friends who join us from “across the Pond.” Bless them.
It was awesome to see both Anthems being played before the game.
The power of music, or a song, to unite us, to stir emotions. Like nothing else.

The older I get … the more I love “Georgia on my Mind,” regardless of who sings it … I’m listening to a version of it now…

I remember Karen Carpenter.
The older I get … the more I think that she may have had the most beautiful voice … ever…
Karen Carpenter.
I remember.
I remember being on live Radio when the news broke … and, announcing, live, that Karen Carpenter had died.
I can still see the teletype paper in my hand … shaking as I read…

In 1977, I was live on the Radio when the news broke about Elvis … I still remember the date…
I still remember.
August 16, 1977.
I still remember the time of day. The teletype in my hand. The teletype machine going wild.
Bells … News … Bells…

I remember “Ringing the Bells” at noon … each day of the Hostage Crisis in Iran…
I remember…

I’m not that old … but, I remember…

I remember when “instrumentals” were hits … even the themes of TV shows.
I remember “The Rockford Files.”
And, the theme.

I remember Henry Mancini.

I remember a lot of things.
Yet … I’m not that old…

Blessings,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

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Wealth Stored for the Righteous-Part 18: “Attention Shoppers!”

Hi Friends:

We are back to the series “in which, yes, we are thankful for what our Heavenly future holds, but, let’s not forget all of the benefits … all of the blessings … we have, in our life right now, which, often, we take for granted …”

I think that many of the blessings we enjoy are things and activities which we do … so often … things we have to do, that they become a “chore;” that we just don’t realize how blessed we are, just to be able to do these “chores.” High on this list is a chore, a “have-to” activity, done weekly, or even more often:

The opportunity, the ability, to just go out and buy groceries. To have “Grocery Stores” available to us, with such a variety of products. We can just go in, choose what we want, and leave … without incident. This “without incident” is important. Think of the situation so much of the world is in, right now. Just the ability to “go out without incident” is a pretty rare thing in a lot of countries around the globe. How blessed we are in this country, and in many countries, just to be able to “go out” and shop … where we want, and when we want. What a blessing this is! What an opportunity so many don’t have.

There is an example I’d like to share, which really brought this thinking on. Several years ago, our Pastor told this story:
This, again, was several years ago, and it was during a time when, in Russia, there were massive food shortages. Remember? People were lined up … lined up for blocks … just to get bread, or other basic food necessities. It was a terrible time in Russia, and we saw all this on the nightly news.
Our Pastor, like so many Pastors, worked a “regular job.” This is one of the reasons we try to do all we can to honor Pastors. So many we’ve known, have held down full-time jobs, while serving as Full-Time Pastors. Our Pastor worked in a grocery store. He had worked in a grocery store pretty much all his life, and was a manager when he received the call to preach. So, when God called him to a small town, many miles away … in order to support his family while beginning this new Work … he worked at a local grocery store.

One day, a lady, from Russia, came into the store, accompanying the friends she was visiting, here in America. This grocery store was laid out like all grocery stores, set up so that the first department you had to walk through was the Produce Section. In a marketing course I once took, I learned there is a reason that all grocery stores are set up this way. Anyway … our Pastor was working the Produce Department on this particular day. This lady, visiting here in America, during the time of a national food shortage in her home country, walked through the entrance of the store, veered to the right (notice it is always to the right), and the first Section she saw, in this American grocery store, was the produce department. She passed out. She fainted. She really did. She was so overwhelmed by what she saw, she just “shut down.” Fainted. Passed out. Overwhelmed. She could not comprehend how so much food … how so many choices … were available … She could just reach out and pick out … whatever she wanted … Where were the crowds … the pushing and shoving … the mass hysteria …???
I wonder … how many people … in that grocery store at that exact moment … were complaining? How about the “line” at checkout? I would image … once this lady revived … she could have told us about what a “grocery/food line” really looked like.

I think of two things as I write this: Knowing the outlay of the store, I know that the Deli Department would be the next section she would have encountered. All that fresh bread … all that fresh food … all those choices … All those people at the Deli Counter looking like they had better things to do than stand in this line … Somehow, she must have made it through. The other thing I think of, is this: I’m not knocking this particular grocery store, as they do have a fine Produce Department … but, I think about the first time, down in Rhode Island, when I walked into a “Whole Foods” Market for the first time. I must have spent an hour just in the Produce Department! At least! It was like a world tour of produce. I think … had this lady … from Russia … walked into this Store … well, they would have had to send an ambulance, at least …

How blessed we are. Maybe it’s because of this lady’s story, but, I never complain about going to the grocery store. I go down every aisle, whether I need anything there, or not. By the way, in the South, when you go to the grocery store, you call it, “go get groceries” or “grocery shopping.” In the North, it’s always called, “Food Shopping.” And, those grocery carts? In the North, they are called “carriages.” Just thought I’d throw that in. Yes, we all complain about prices, I guess. And, how about this, in the middle of this story: How often have we complained about the selection? Not enough brands. Not enough choices. I wonder how this lady would respond to our complaints over the pains of grocery shopping in the United States?

I never complain about the price of gas, because I know how much “the rest of the world” has been paying for gas for several years now …

A word about shortages: I can remember only a few “shortages” in my time. I think about how that must sound to those growing up in the World War II years, for example. How the word “ration” was part of their daily existence. How blessed we are! Right now! My first job, in fact, my first 2 jobs, were in a grocery store. I remember during this time, and I was still in my early teens, there was a “sugar shortage.” Remember? The cost of a 5 lb. bag of sugar “went through the roof.” There was a huge outcry from the public. I remember clearly, as I worked, bagging groceries. People just quit buying sugar. They did. What happened? Suddenly … the price went down … and, there was, suddenly, plenty of sugar to go around. It seems like there was another shortage I can remember, but I can’t quite remember if this was around the same time. But, at one time, I remember a shortage of peanut butter. Yes, peanut butter. A shortage. I remember it. Seems like the same thing happened, as happened to bring the sugar shortage to an end.

That’s it, the shortages I can remember. Of course, this doesn’t include the gasoline shortage. This was something we all remember. I can, so clearly remember, the statement that “Gas will never go up to over 1.00!” Never! Ever! Remember the lines at the pump? The certain days when you couldn’t buy gas?
I also remember this statement from that period: “As soon as gas went up over 1.00, suddenly, there was plenty of it.”

While I am writing about this lady from Russia, there is something else I remember, from hearing about her visit here, and it directly relates to this series, and how we take for granted, what so many people around the world just don’t have. Remember that this lady was staying with friends here in the United States, during a time of great turmoil in her home country.
You know how, when you take a bath, you drain the water?
And, when you finish doing the dishes, you drain the water?

Well, this lady, as she helped with the dishes … she was appalled when, after the dishes were done … the water was drained … What? What? She didn’t understand, and, as she watched the dirty dish water empty out, she exclaimed, “What are you doing???” Why aren’t you saving that water???
In her home country … there was also a water shortage … how could we possibly just drain out water we could use again???

Should I even mention her reaction when she discovered that, after someone bathes … they drain the dirty bath water?
She, literally, could not fathom such a waste of precious water. Precious water, which could be used. Again, and again.
How blessed are we?

I just got home from the Grocery Store. Our small town has a local grocer, and there is a “big” grocery store in the adjoining town, about 5 miles away. I am thankful to have the choice to frequent both, and that I get a sales paper from each … which determines which one I visit that particular week. Yes, one “large-chain” grocery store closed here a few years ago, and we still have that “big-box” store, where I can buy bags of dirt, and lettuce … and, check out at the same register.
We are blessed. We don’t have what many have, the choices and all. But, I am thankful for the choices we do have. Plus, if I want to save another 10.00 on groceries … I have the choice to drive, “without incident,” to other grocery stores in the region. My choice. I love it when I hear someone brag about how much they saved by driving 70 miles, and spent half a day … to get those veggies on sale!!! Saved 5.00!

It seems so silly to complain about any shopping experience we have, given the freedoms we enjoy, which so many don’t. My major complaint about my “gettin’ groceries” today is those “fridge-packs” of soda. Made to fit right in on that bottom drawer. Perfect! They have been out for several years … and, I still haven’t opened one right, yet! Today, I decided to change my luck, and, finally, learn the secret to opening one. They open, I see from the examples, where you can get one out at a time. It didn’t work this time, either. There are perforations to make it easy, but, to tear open from the perforations … I haven’t got it right yet … today, I set the “fridge-pack” on its side (pretty smart, I thought), and, as I tore apart from the perforations … I took out the spice rack from the wall …

I remember attending a lecture a few years ago about primitive cultures. How that they were “hunters and gatherers.” And, how we are, still today, hunters and gatherers. We just hunt for the bargains, and then we go to a certain location (the grocery store) and gather.
We are so blessed, just to have the opportunity to hunt and gather, without incident, in our country.

As a bonus, getting back to the story of the Russian lady, let us thank God, every day, for running water, for running hot water, for electricity, and for so many other things we take for granted. Every day. We are so blessed.

Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

On the left-hand side, there’s a direct link
to the entire series so far

Wealth Stored For The Righteous

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