Living in the Margins

April 3rd, 2010

I used to get nervous if I saw an open calendar, with too many days not filled in.  What… no gigs this month?  Won’t people think we’re not doing anything? My natural instinct is to begin every year with goals, plans, things to work on etc.  Well, I haven’t had a total personality change, but I think I’ve learned to ease up on the throttle, and in fact take my hands off the wheel altogether.  Time and time again, God has shown me that if I let him take control, he usually has something better planned.  I guess I’ve learned this through trial and error, mostly error, through too many plans made that didn’t quite work out.  I’ve especially learned that if I fill up all the spaces with my own plans, there isn’t time for the occasional cool thing that God might bring along.  I’ve learned to keep the margins of my life free for God’s doodles.  This year God has already been at work, “filling in” the calendar.  In January, I had the opportunity to work with a children’s production company, accompanying rehearsals for a Disney production of “Geppetto and Son.”  Though I fought doing it at first, in the end I learned so much and it felt good to be helpful.  In February, Sharon and I were surprised by two more WAMA awards from the Washington Area Musicians’ Association.  We were especially pleased to win one for our most recent CD, “Follow the Cross.”  March brought along several gigs, and we have enjoyed meeting new people, sharing our music and selling some CDs.  April has just begun, but we have been very busy with Holy Week services, finding creative ways for people to participate and more personally experience the meaning of Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection.  And May…. a big margin filler… we have the opportunity to go to Kenya to minister and teach in a seminary, school and orphanage.  We are excited about the plans God will reveal, if we are faithful to seek and listen and set aside time for Him!

When it rains, it pours

April 16th, 2007

It seems like Sharon and I often have a big cloud over our heads.  For me, it’s often the cloud of forgetfulness, not remembering the words to songs, or what I’m supposed to play, or what I’m supposed to do next!  Ah, the joys of aging.  For Sharon, it’s the stuff of life with all its challenges, of which she faces many.  (I have to add that she doesn’t let the challenges get her down, for the most part.)  Collectively, it’s an actual cloud of rainstorms.

It seems that we can count on all of our hands the number of times we have booked a gig and brought the rain with us– not just a few drops, but torrential rain.  The kind that ends droughts, washes out roads, and creates floods.   We’re good at causing Nor’easters to form, I guess. We especially recall our summer tour in 2005, planned in a very dry year, that began and ended with huge rainstorms.  One of our performances was under a pavilion in the park– everything went well until a huge clap of thunder and the skies opened up.  We hurriedly finished our song and everyone raced for their cars.  We called that one, “Upstaged by God!”

We had one of those kinds of storms this week-end– not the thunder-clapping kind, but one characterized by endless rain and wind.  As we drove to our first performance, a morning service in Columbia, MD, we saw several accidents on the side of the road, and figured nobody would want to come out on such a bad day.  Unbelievably, the church was full– helped probably by the scheduled baptism of a very cute baby. 

Throughout the day, the rain continued and the winds picked up.   We were scheduled to play for a dinner in Falls Church.  Again, we passed many accidents and debris.  When we first arrived to set up, there were only a handful of people.  I looked out the window, and it appeared the Nor’easter had arrived in full force.  “What a shame, they’ve gone to all this trouble and no one will come,” I thought.  But people came– and came and came.  In fact, they ran out of seats at the tables and one group ate in shifts. 

People were gracious at both events and encouraged us with their positive comments about the music.  So, if you’re having a drought, perhaps you’d better invite The Braeded Chord to come!  From now on, I think we’ll look forward to rain storms.


March 30th, 2007

Sharon and I just played a new venue this past week and because it was new to us, I was more nervous than usual.  We also invited a friend to play bass for us, and worked to get all of our lead sheets in order so he could read along.  To be honest, it would have been a lot easier to just do what we always do– show up and play our stuff,  just the two of us.  But we have found how much better it is to invite others to participate, audience members included.  Wow, it really added a lot to have that great bass line!  We really felt like a band.  There were some tricky parts where we weren’t quite together (I’ll admit, I often have a  hard time following our own music, so I can’t imagine how difficult it was for our friend).  But overall, it added so much and we hope to do it again.  I guess our mothers were right– it’s so much better to share!

Hi everybody!

March 24th, 2007

I’m kind of new to the blogging thing– these days, it seems as if it’s easier to talk to strangers via the internet than it is to talk to my kids across the table.  Watching tv, listening to strangers’ conversations on their cell phone, everyone seems to be spilling their guts via technology.  Is this a good or a bad thing?  Is there such a thing as too much information?