This Is Me--2019 A to Z Theme

This blog is part of my life journey. I've got places to be and people to see along the way. Hope you'll join me and maybe join in the discussion...

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Christmas Is Ready, But I'm Not ( #BOTB Results )

 

Merry Christmas and a ho-ho-ho!


     Are you excited about Christmas this year?   Count me out I guess.  Of course I'm thankful for the "Reason for the Season"--our Lord Jesus Christ--but as far as the earthly human festivities I am afflicted with disinterest.  No shopping for me.  My wife and I are probably going to visit some of her family, but that's about it.  We didn't even put up a Christmas tree this year.  The accoutrements of the holiday for us have been replaced by the inconvenience of home renovations. 

         What we all need is a massive renovation in thought and in the actions of our government.  We need to dispense with all of the absurdities of life in pandemic times.  People have become so fearful that they willingly accept absurdities.

          The other night I started watching a Christmas themed music special on PBS because it sounded like something that I would enjoy--various solo artists performing sacred songs backed by a string orchestra in a beautifully decorated old church.  The opening looked nice with all of the stained glass and seasonal greenery.  The conductor was a pleasant looking fellow.  Then they showed the orchestra fully masked.  Come on!  Really?  Is this Christmas or Halloween?

          I'm done with all of the feelings and fear-based nonsense.  We're all gonna die and that's a fact.  And at my age I'm probably closer to death than many.  Please--I'd gladly forfeit years in exchange for a quality life for the rest of my days on this Earth.  Life like it used to be before masks and other COVID silliness.  I want to live and not merely exist in a surrounding of fearfulness.  Personally, I don't see that much to be afraid of in this world.  But that's me and what do I know.

          Well, I do know that results for my recent Battle of the Bands are in and here they are...


Battle of the Bands Results


Your Love Broke Through

        My most recent Battle was a showdown between Phil Keaggy and Randy Stonehill  with their versions of the Contemporary Christian song "Your Love Broke Through".    The outcome was a bit of a surprise to me since I figured more voters would be more familiar with Keaggy and thus have a preference for his version.  Not the case.   Randy Stonehill was the big winner this time and that's where my vote went as well.


Final Vote Tally

Phil Keaggy               2 votes

Randy Stonehill        8 votes


Next Battle on Saturday January 1st, 2022

         Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and New Years Eve as well.  Let's hope for a better year ahead--or at least as passable as 2021 was, which wasn't much.






Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Your Love Broke Through (BOTB)

        I put this off until the last minute so I'm whipping this together at the last hour.  We've been having some remodeling done in our house so things have been upended for us.  But still, Battle of the Bands calls again.  And it's Christmas.  Might as well celebrate in song...

Battle of the Bands

        Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens each month on the 15th and on some there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle excepting over these summer months.   The premise is simple:  Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it.  Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this                                                                                 post for more Battle action.

(Until) Your Love Broke Through

       In keeping with the true spirit of Christmas I'm again offering up two versions of a song about the honoree of this time of year--Jesus Christ.  "Your Love Broke Through" is a 1977 song from the late Keith Green, a prolific composer of Christian songs.  He died in a plane crash in 1982 while at the height of his career.   He left a legacy of music loved by many and oft recorded by other artists.

         This current Battle is between two popular Christian male artists who are also favorites of mine--Phil Keaggy and Randy Stonehill.   Hope you take the time to listen and enjoy...


Phil Keaggy   "Your Love Broke Through"  (1977)




Randy Stonehill    "Your Love Broke Through"  (1985)





Time to Vote!
        
         Which artist do you enjoy the most?   Of the two versions, which do you like better?  I hope you'll at least give the versions a listen to discern your favorite.   Which version do you prefer?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind.  You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.

        Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.



Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 




Winner of this Battle Announced on Wednesday December 22

             Few folks ever seem to comment on those Results post but I do them anyway.  It will be a few days before Christmas so maybe I'll post something additional.  Or maybe I'll just do results.  Or maybe--maybe.  Well, I hope to be back then with something.






Wednesday, December 8, 2021

It Was 1987 ( #BOTB Results )

       The Christmas countdown has begun!  I'm not counting the days though.  The days are just coming and passing by.  I'm California cold and not going anywhere much at all.  It's California after all.  Nowhere I care to go and wear a mask to do it...



Battle of the Bands Results


         In my most recent Battle I had Christian artist Matthew Ward up against Leslie Phillips with two very different sounding songs that were praising God.  This was in honor of the Christmas season as well as to remember songs that I'd enjoyed many years ago while working on the road.

        Since several hours a day were usually spent riding in our van as we travelled from town to town, we tended to listen to a lot of music on cassette recordings.  Consequently, in order to keep a flow of new music playing, we bought many many cassette tapes during those years.  I tried to keep a wide range of different types of music on hand in our library.  One genre that began to dominate in the collection was contemporary Christian music.  I scoured record stores across the country trying to acquire interesting finds new and old.

       One record store that stands out in my memory was in the mall at the Christian theme resort run by Jim and Tammy Faye Baker--Heritage USA.  Since our company was based in nearby Charlotte NC we made a number of visits to the park.  During one of those visits I spent some time perusing the cassettes at the Heritage record store.  It was spring of 1987.

        Among the tapes I purchased were Michael W Smith's The Big Picture and the then newly released Second Chapter of Acts Faraway Places, which was being heavily promoted at that time. I had heard of Second Chapter of Acts for quite some time, but had never purchased any of their albums.  They struck me as some kind of weird Jesus Freak group that sung songs that wouldn't interest me that much.  However I knew they had quite a reputation and I guess I succumbed to the store advertising and my own curiosity.

          Their music was pleasant enough--better than what I was expecting--but one song by the brother member of the group, Matthew Ward, somewhat perplexed me.  I never paid the song much mind until in about September of that year.  We had stayed in Sedalia MO on a Saturday night so we could be in town for a Sunday matinee show.  In no hurry to make a jump to another town, I was taking my time in the motel room getting ready.  I happened to have the Faraway Places cassette playing in the room.

          When the song "You Are All in All" came on I became transfixed by it.   I began to play it repeatedly as I focused ever more closely upon it.  The original perplexed feeling came over me. What was it about this song?  It somehow made me imagine that the music had been read upside down or backwards or something that I couldn't quite figure out.

           I now think "You Are All in All" is an incredibly beautiful and unique song.  The group Second Chapter of Acts was an amazing group.  I probably have most of their albums in my collection.  I can't say where my original perception of them came from, but not for the first time I was wrong about something.  Again.

          In this contest you probably would guess correctly that my vote went to Matthew Ward and his sisters in the group Second Chapter of Acts.  And really the outcome wasn't all that shabby...

Final Vote Tally

Matthew Ward         8 votes

Leslie Phillips           10 votes           


Next Battle of the Bands...

      Might be on December 15th but ultimately whenever I please.   If you don't see me on that day then it's probably because of something that kept me from doing it.  But you probably know that.







Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Reason for the Season ( #BOTB & #IWSG )

       The Season is here again!   Time for fun, family, and maybe some holiday stress?   Fear not--no stress here.  I hope not at least.   Instead let us indulge in a couple of delights.  How about starting with...

The Insecure Writer's Support Group


Join us on the first Wednesday of each month in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group--a forum of writers who gather to talk about writing and the writer's life. For a complete list of participants visit Alex's Blog


The co-hosts for the December 1 posting of the IWSG are PJ Colando, Diane Burton, Louise – Fundy Blue, Natalie Aguirre, and Jacqui Murray!


December 1 question - In your writing, what stresses you the most? What delights you?

      Generally I tend to be a fairly low-stressed person.  In regard to writing there is not much that might stress me.  It's not like when I was still in school and contending with deadlines.  A deadline can stress me if I'm not well prepared or under some sort of time constraint.  If I'm under pressure to complete a writing task by a specific time then the stress might hit me.  

        These days the pressure is typically not there--not to any serious extent.   Ask me about stress if I get some sort of writing job or a contract to produce written work.  For now that is not any consideration for me.

          What delights me about writing is the act of getting things out there for others to read. And when they read my work then that can result in great satisfaction for me.  If they don't like it then I might be disappointed or sometimes even annoyed.   Whatever the case might be, writing can be a great release for me and I'm delighted if my work receives recognition.

          Hope you enjoy my next bit of writing exercise...

Battle of the Bands

        Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens each month on the 15th and on some there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle excepting over these summer months.   The premise is simple:  Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it.  Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this                                                                                 post for more Battle action.

The Reason for the Season

         Since it's December I'm going to go with a Christmas theme for the Battle of the Bands.   The songs I have chosen are not exactly Christmas songs, but they are songs of praise to the entity whom we celebrate during this season--Jesus Christ.  

         It's very likely that you may have not heard these songs before or perhaps even the artists.  Both artists were significant figures in contemporary Christian music in the eighties. They are both artists that I have appreciated enough over the years to have bought a number of their albums.  Now I'll share them with you for this Christmas season...


Matthew Ward    "You Are All in All"  (1987)    

       Officially this song is by Second Chapter of Acts which consisted of Matthew Ward and his sisters, but Matthew cowrote it and is the singer.  The song comes from the album Faraway Places released in 1987.  Matthew Ward also recorded numerous solo albums over the years.  He is a phenomenal singer which is displayed in this recording.  It's a somewhat challenging song in structure and sound, but it's also very beautiful.  Hope you enjoy this "song for the Season"...






Leslie Phillips  "No One But You"  (1987)

        From the same year as the previous song comes a more mainstream sounding pop style tune from a young female artist who was sometimes referred to as "the Cyndi Lauper of Contemporary Christian Music" because of the similarity of the vocal styles.  Leslie's final Christian album was the critically acclaimed The Turning which was produced by the well-known musical artist/producer T-Bone Burnett whom she later married.  After that album she also changed her professional name to Sam Phillips and recorded a number of secular albums as well as appearing in acting roles in films. Take a listen to this song and see how you would compare it to the first of this Battle...





Time to Vote!
        
         A bit of a challenging song and another that sounds like a pop radio hit.  Which style do you prefer?  Which artist do you enjoy the most?   Of the two, which do you like better?  I hope you'll at least give the versions a listen to discern your favorite.   Which version do you prefer?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind.  You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.

        Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.


Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 




Winner of this Battle Announced on Wednesday December 8th

          In my follow-up post I'll not only announce which song recording won the most votes, but I'll also give some personal background regarding the songs and artists in this Battle.  Please vote and then come back for more in my next post.

         Do you get easily stressed?  What do you do to help relieve stress when it enshrouds you?   Are you getting ready for Christmas and the holiday season?