April 2006

Family30 Apr 2006 08:14 am

Yesterday was a huge milestone for my wife.

It has been an incredibly long, difficult journey. One that started years before we ever met. One filled with obstacles, detours, pitfalls, much hard work, and a few big disappointments. In fact, the disappointments got so big that at one point the Dream seemed to die. But she always kept going, and yesterday realized the attainment of the goal she dreamed about as a little girl.

If you ask her when she started wanting to be a nurse, she’ll tell you “as far back as I can remember.” Indeed, if anyone has ever been called to be a nurse, it was my wife. She loves people, cares deeply about them, she loves to serve, she loves to nurture. It feeds her soul.

She began pursuing the Dream at PCC. Three and a half years later, the Dream was crushed and she was back home wondering if it was all a big mistake. But God kept it alive, and due to her parent’s encouragement (and later mine! We met a while after she was home from PCC), a year or two later she was ready to tackle it again.

She entered the ADN program at Bethel College, and began the whole process anew. There were many tough days and weeks, for she also worked part time as a Nurse’s Aid at Goshen General Hospital. Oh yes, and she worked the night shift. Some semesters her schedule kept her going for two days with next to no sleep.

And of course we got married somewhere in the middle, I’m not sure if that helped or hindered the school career! But no matter how tough it got, she kept going.

Jewel and her husband.
With Mom and Dad and Todd.
Her good friend Erica.
JoLynn and Isabelle were very special instructors.
Some of her class.
And of course, Mom has believed in, stood behind, and encouraged her for years!

God has been faithful, and has been there through all the highs and lows. I’m very proud of my wife, and I love her very much.

At this point, she’s planning to go back to school this fall for her Bachelor’s completion. What with some classes transferring from PCC, it will only be one night a week for eighteen months or so, and it seems to make good sense to do that now. But the hardest work is over!

Music27 Apr 2006 05:17 pm

Not too long ago I posted a 3-part series about some changes in the King’s Heralds. I’ve had the chance to hear some of their new stuff now, so we’re going to revisit the subject.

A friend attended a concert and snuck some low-rez video clips which he of course sent to me. Then today I discovered you can listen to nearly their entire new album (Encores) at SouthernGospelNews.com!

Some brief thoughts: I really really like most of their arrangements, very cool. They even go back and redo a couple of tunes on the “It’s Spiritual” recording from 1974, Walk That Milky White Way and Children Keep in the Middle of the Road! They stay pretty true to the original arrangements but make just a few little changes here and there. Pretty cool! Oh yes, and Jerry Patton returns for a lead vocal on Milky White Way.

My main concern earlier was with the addition of Jeff Pearles as very-southern-gospel bass. It turns out that with this first exposure to the latest incarnation of the group, I don’t know that he’s the source of the few issues I have with them. Not to sound negative, overall I really liked what I heard.

With any personnel change in a group, there’s going to be changes. Even if the group is dedicated to remaining on the same musical course they’ve always charted, there will still be a slightly different feel and direction. Not that that’s necessarily bad, often it’s a good thing. But in a group with a track record like the Heralds, I’d think you’d want to be pretty careful about alienating your fan base with too much new direction. On the other side of the coin, they’ve always been astonishingly, unfairly obscure. So who knows, maybe they need to change things up a little.

I’m actually a little impressed with how Jeff seems to be fitting in. This new album is completely a cappella save for one track, so that’s an excellent way to get on my good side! But really, I think he did a pretty good job. However, there are a few other areas my attention and concern were drawn to.

Please understand this is my initial impressions from a quick, lower-quality listen to one album, and some low-rez videoclips from a concert. I’m afraid their musicality has slipped. They’re a little less flexible, more straight dynamically, a little square in spots. They stacked way too much. And unless I’m hearing something incorrectly, they WAY over-tuned this thing. Oh my. Far too much.

More later. I don’t like ending on a negative note, but I have chicken to barbecue!

Poetic Masterpieces23 Apr 2006 02:00 pm

I was going through some files recently and I came across another poetic masterpiece I wrote some time ago. There are some deep, real-life, working-man, salt-of-the-earth brilliant thoughts, realizations, and philosophies here. Timeless stuff.

The Rat Race

I took one step, then slid two back,
This row was tough to hoe.
They told me to take up the slack,
Then said the pay was low!

We work so hard to stay ahead,
To get those ends to meet.
And then we find we’ve fought and bled
To just stay on our feet!

This rat race wouldn’t be so bad,
And maybe good I’d say,
If someone would put just a tad
More cheese along the way!

Tom Troyer, Copyright 2002
Inspired by LeRoy Yoder

I don’t really remember LeRoy, but he preached at church for a series of meetings. Oops. Probably shouldn’t have said that, you may figure out where I wrote this thing!

Any blue-collar working man who slaves his life away for a barely-above-poverty-level wage will be able to identify with this masterpiece. And he’ll know it could have only been created by a fellow blue-collar brother!

AHQ&Personal22 Apr 2006 10:28 am

I recently came across this astounding work of art from my past. Several years ago when AHQ was working on Purpose, I had a sleepless night. I wonder if this was when I was gravely ill or having a flare-up or something, because that’s the only time I can’t sleep. I can normally sleep with no problems whatsoever.

Anyway, I got up in the middle of the night and drew up a concept for the CD cover.

Click on the image for a larger version.

Here’s some excerpts of what I sent to the guys:

I couldn’t sleep last night. So I got up at 3:30 and drew up an album cover concept!

Of course, I have a level of artistic talent roughly equivalent to that of a handicapped pig, but nonetheless I think the concept has a quaint charm.

The left side is the front cover, the right is the back. On the front we have four mics and stands. Obviously the four squares consumed by misshapen orbs represent deformed head shots of the quartet.

Pretty interesting, huh. We did end up going with the overall idea of individual headshots, but I don’t remember if I can take complete credit (or blame) for that or not.

Personal21 Apr 2006 07:42 pm

You would assume from the lack of activity on ITF that headquarters is busy. You would be right.

Big and exciting things are on the horizon! I am the master of patiently waiting, of being content in the state I’m in, of maturely helping others to appreciate the journey and not just long for the destination. But lately even I have been wishing for a fast-forward button to fly through the next few weeks.

That’s what you get for thinking you have mastered something, I guess. You have to learn it again. Oh well, I’m learning.

PS No, we’re not pregnant.

Hoosierville18 Apr 2006 08:05 pm

Well, winter has finally departed this Amish-exhaust-strewn wasteland known as Hoosierville. And it’s about time. Soon it will be scorching hot and I’ll have something new to complain about!

Misc&Music15 Apr 2006 05:41 pm

I recently saw the movie Walk the Line about Johnny Cash (this site plays a ton of music). Very good movie, though not always pleasant and easy to watch. I tell you what, that man sure made a mess of himself for awhile.

It’s a fascinating look into his early life and career beginnings. You don’t need to have very much psychological insight to see the emotional damage he suffered growing up either, primarily received directly from his father. Makes you downright wince. And it wasn’t just growing up, his father was making it clear to him well into adulthood that he wasn’t good enough and that he didn’t approve of him.

The scary-looking (Johnny wasn’t too pretty himself) Joaquin Phoenix (pronounced Joe-ACK-quinn) plays Johnny, and Reese Witherspoon plays June Carter. The cool thing is, they both do all their own singing in the movie, and they actually do a pretty good job! I gotta tell you though, Joaquin completey blew the low note on “I Walk the Line.” Oh my. It’s bad. Not even close.

Well, I should really say this then. I just listened to the original (off of johnnycash.com), and actually Johnny doesn’t knock that low note out of the park himself either! On the original it’s a low C, I assume that’s what it was in the movie too.

There was a spot in the movie where some music came on faintly in the background and I whirled around to my wife and said “That’s the Blackwood Brothers!” It kept going and in a minute was turned up and brought to the forefront. I was beside myself. I forgot to look for them in the credits, but I was right.

The movie pretty much stops where Johnny and June were getting married. I really was hoping it would go a lot farther in his life and career, but I guess you have to end the movie sometime.

Good movie, painful but fascinating. I like movies about music and musicians.

Of course you remember the recent ITF Nod to Johnny. I like Johnny.

The Den of Iniquity12 Apr 2006 04:07 pm

Today my buddy Craig told me a couple stories at the Den of Iniquity. A little mean maybe, but pretty funny!

One of the guys in chassis prep sent a new employee (just a kid) on an errand. He sent him upstairs to Craig, with a box, to get something. Craig asked him several times what he wanted, he didn’t think he was understanding correctly what the kid said. He just couldn’t get it so he finally yelled down over the railing to Bill, asking him what was it that he wanted. Bill yelled “A BOX OF STEAM!!” and just collapsed in laughter.

Craig told the kid, don’t worry about it, they’re playing a joke on you!

In another department, somebody sent a rather gullible co-worker to maintenance for a “panel stretcher.” The maintenance guy was quick on his feet and told him it was being repaired. The guy went back to his department and reported that they couldn’t use the panel stretcher, it was out being repaired!

Hoosierville10 Apr 2006 08:12 pm

I had the opportunity over the weekend to listen in to some Hoosierville natives discuss Daylight Savings Time. I enjoyed it very much!

I’m sure you wouldn’t be surprised to find that I’m a strong proponent of daylight savings time, and that your average native Hoosiervillian would be adamantly against it. After all, this is the first time they’ve had to observe it, and they don’t seem to take a fancy to change very well!

I came away from the conversation with the distinct impression that their bodies must be exquisitely and inextricably connected to every miniscule movement of the sun. So when you change the clock, it throws their entire systems completely out of whack! Those finely tuned instruments they call their bodies just can’t take it when the clock disagrees with how they feel. The amount of physical persecution it evidently is for them was nothing short of amazing to me.

They have my profound sympathy, be assured!

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