Thursday, May 29, 2014

Music That Moves Me

Sometimes we hear words so profound we remember them for a lifetime, and occasionally we can recall the exact time, circumstance and location of when we heard a particular quote.  Indeed, sometimes those words can have a profound affect upon our life.  Like Kennedy's challenge to go to the moon and beyond when he said, "...We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard..." (9/12/62).  This speech didn't move me so much, as it moved our nation to step-up together to build our space program.  That is the most inspiring result of that quote to me.  It's been a long time since our nation has been moved in a positive, peaceful direction in that way.

About seven years ago at 4-H Camp I asked a ten year old little country boy about a particular song, I think we were talking about rap music, Britney Spears or some pop music topic, and he said, "The music moves me, but it moves me ugly."  I laughed and laughed.  I'll remember that for a lifetime, especially the way he said it, in a shy, kicking the dirt reaction.

Music has always been a huge part of my life, and I've never been bound by a particular genre.  Like Kennedy's or Martin Luther King Jr.'s speeches or so many other great people, art and literature in any form can touch our soul and raise us to greater heights or soothe our broken hearts.  Music is art and literature in a combined form, and it can give us hope and motivate us to go on when we may otherwise not be able to.  Music can be something we can relate to, knowing that the artist is speaking of an experience we're living out or have been through.

Below is my current, but not complete list of songs that move me or have played a significant part of my life.  Even though the first iteration of this list is May 2014, I'll be updating it over time.  After the top five, the rest of the listed alphabetically by song name.  I'd love to hear some of your comments about my particular choices!

1) Night Riders Lament, Jerry Jeff Walker
2) Wild Montana Sky, John Denver, Emmylou Harris
3) Voice of Truth, Casting Crowns
4) Testify To Love, Avalon
5) It Is Well With My Soul, Horatio G. Spafford
6) Mary's Boy Child, Boney M

Battle Hymn of the Republic, esp. verse 5, Mormon Tabernacle Choir and others
Blackland Farmer, Frankie Miller sung by Elizabeth Cook
Broken Beautiful, Ellie Holcomb
Cajun Moon, Ricky Scaggs
Cherokee Maiden, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys
Christ Has Risen, Matt Maher
Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue, Toby Keith
Doxology/Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow, Ken Thomas 1674
Guacamole, Texas Tornados
Here I Am, Downhere
Hey Baby (Que Paso?), Texas Tornados
High Hopes, Frank Sinatra, 1959
I Dreamed A Dream, Anne Hathaway ver., Les Misérables 2012
If I Could Only Win Your Love, Emmylou Harris
I'll Do It All Over Again, Crystal Gayle, 2008
In My Daughter's Eyes, Martina McBride, 2003
In The Garden, C. Austin Miles  / Alan Jackson
It's a Great Day To Be Alive, Travis Tritt
King of the Road, Roger Miller
K-K-K Katey, Billy Murray
Knee Deep, Zac Brown Band
Lead Me, Sanctus Real
Little People, Les Miserables Original Cast
London Homesick Blues, Gary P. Nunn w/Jerry Jeff Walker
Meet Me In Montana, Marie Osmond and Dan Seals, 1985.
Morning Has Broken, Cat Stevens
My Favorite Things, Sound of Music, Original Soundtrack
Old Hippie, The Bellamy Brothers
On My Honor (Boy Scout hymn) by Harry Bartelt
Overcome, Jeremy Camp
San Antonio Rose, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys
Some People Change, Montgomery Gentry
Stuck Like Glue, Sugarland
Telephone, Lady Gaga (PG-13 video)
That's Right You're Not From Texas, Lyle Lovett
The Auctioneer, Leroy Van Dyke
The Battle of New Orleans, Johnny Horton
The Likes of You Again, Flogging Molly
When I Get Where I'm Going, Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton
Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning, Alan Jackson
You Are My Sunshine, Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell, 1939
You Never Even Called Me By My Name, David Allen Coe

47 songs above, last edited October 18, 2014.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I Used To Hate Christian Music

There was a time in my life that Christian music turned me off.  If it came on the radio, it would immediately get changed, to more than likely country or NPR.  Then one day, one of my best friends Gayle, a University of Florida County Extension Agent was going on and on about this group Avalon, and how they were playing in Orlando.  As I recall, it was about October 2005, and I think she even got out of a work detail to go see them.  Because of that interaction with Gayle, it made an impression causing me to to think, "hey, if she thinks they're this good, I'll give it a listen."

When I finally heard the song Testify to Love, it made such a deep impression that I'll never forget.  The song means to me, the very crutch of what it means to be a Christian.  For Mr. Gus, being a minister of the Lord, a Christian, an evangelist, a pastor or chaplain or a good neighbor (in the biblical sense) means simply that I testify to love, showing Christ's example in everything I do.  It's not about living within the confines and structure or a particular religion, but following the example of the world's ultimate example of love. Since that time I have grown to love Christian music for what it represents, namely nurturing a relationship with God, showing gratitude for all things including challenges and taking care of what matters most which is our relationships with others, especially family.

Thank you Gayle for your witness to Christ by publicly sharing your passion for music with your colleagues at work.  I'm forever grateful that you testified to love.  Below are the lyrics, credits and how you can buy the song.

Testify to Love
by Avalon

All the colors of the rainbow
All the voices of the wind
Every dream that reaches out
That reaches out to find where love begins
Every word of every story
Every star in every sky
Every corner of creation
Lives to testify

Chorus
For as long as I shall live
I will testify to love
I'll be a witness in the silences
When words are not enough
With every breath I take
I will give thanks to God above
For as long as I shall live
I will testify to love

From the mountains to the valleys
From the rivers to the sea
Every hand that reaches out
Every hand that reaches out to offer peace
Every simple act of mercy
Every step to kingdom come
All the hope in every heart will
Speak what love has done

Chorus 3 times

Writer(s): Henk Pool, Ralph van Manen, Robert T. Riekerk
Copyright: Universal/Mca Music Holland B.V.
Album: A Maze Of Grace, available on iTunes, Play Store or your favorite music vendor.  Google the song, and it will pop up on YouTube to hear it for free.  Like this link.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Journal Entry, May 19, 2014, Part 2 of 2, Obsession With Life in the Desert

I'm obsessed with learning more about the Spanish explorers who lived, explored, traveled and mapped the southwestern United States, in the Utah, Colorado, New Mexico region; specifically the southern Utah desert.  (Why do Franciscan monks always come up for me??)  The Escalente' Expedition were dedicated Christians and Catholic Franciscan monks, (Wiki photo, left) who tried to convert native Americans, but had the outdoor and mapping skills comparable to Lewis and Clark, but came before him in the 1770's.  The flintlock gun era.  I must research their journals!!  Someday I shall return to my most memorable place on Earth, which I call Solace Overhang.  It is located on the banks of the Escalente River at N 37.77445, W 111.42385.  Dead or alive, I shall return to that spot where I spent seven days alone in September of 1979, with nothing but a wool blanket, a coffee can, a pound of mixed wheat and corn flour and a half-dozen honey packs.  It was by far, the most influential time in my life where the only thing I could do was survive and reflect upon my life.  The only friend I had to speak to was my own conscious and God.  Occasionally I would explore and see a rabbit or a rattlesnake, but most of my time was appreciating the rocks, stars and cool stream a hundred yards away.  I would reflect upon my life thus far, and what the future may bring.  I was a naive nineteen year old with my life in front of me.  It was at that point, where I crossed from being a boy to a man, and the first time in my life seriously acknowledged God's grace in my life.  I also realized that the universe was much larger than I had imagined, and that spiritual life was more than a religious upbringing, or a church and didn't necessarily have to do with any particular religion or dogma.

I'll never ever forget laying on the ground under my overhang, covered by my woolen blanket next to my personal fire.  Even though I could feel warmth from the flames, I was still very very cold.  I would just lay there and wait for sunrise.  My body was facing North, and I had a clear view of the North Star, and the Big Dipper just beside.  Through the embers of the firelight, I would lay there and watch the fixed Polaris, with Ursa Major pivoting around it, completing a near full circle.  As the Big Dipper came close to the horizon, I knew that dawn was eminent, and I would soon feel the warm sun rays.  At dawn, I'd walk down to the Escalente River and fill my coffee can.  On the way back up the hill, I would collect some sprigs of Brigham Tea, Ephedra viridis, and then prepare a breakfast of ashcakes and warm tea to start my day.  For the first four days I had a little honey to put on my cakes.  At 37-111 (lat/lon) were my first experiences of heaven.

I thank God for that wonderful experience, parents who encouraged me and help make this happen, and for the people who ran the program, specifically Larry Dean Olson, author of Outdoor Survival Skills, foreward by Robert Redford, ISBN 13: 978-1556523236, the founder of BYU's Youth Leadership 480 program, and my class D-12.  I would also like to thank my program director Doug Nelson and my local Fort Worth buddy Bobbie Baird.  I also have to thank my father,Karl L. Koerner who was a course graduate in 1976.  This program is still ongoing, but under the direction of Boulder Outdoor Survival School, or B.O.S.S.