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Guitar Story


At 48, I have decided to do something that I have been meaning to do ever since I wrote a lyric. Ever since I learned Cat Scratch Fever. I bought a guitar. I thought I would write something out to explain why I did this even though I don’t need to, but I know I should be writing more. I also like to share my story because I know it is unique but others may enjoy it and who knows what good it can do and how God can work in you. I at least know I am a better writer than I am a guitar player.
Back when I was like four or five years old, my parents got divorced. I remember living in an apartment in St. Charles way across the river for a short bout before my mom found a house right behind my grandparents. That was also a pretty short stay and we ended up settling in a house a few doors down from that for a couple of years. These years were key in my life. My brother was around for a bit and then he joined the Air Force. You see my sister was already in the Marine Corps by this time so I don’t have any idea why Bobby chose the Air Force. Probably had something to do with him thinking he was smarter than her or some space program stuff. Anyway, that is for another story. When my brother was home, he had a guitar. Heck, it was the 70’s. Every teenage boy like my brother wanted nothing to do with disco and dancing, he wanted to listen to the rock music of the day and play guitar. I remember albums of artists like Kansas, Boston, Ted Nugent, and Carlos Santana. He would just lay there and listen to some songs over and over attempting to play them on a tennis racket until he bought a guitar. I don’t remember when he got one, I just remember him with one. Never would I be allowed to touch it. It would only be there when he was around so I honored his wishes. I don’t remember when but he showed me how to play a part of ‘Cat Scratch Fever’ by Ted Nugent. I can still play that to this day. He never showed me anything else besides his love for what now is called classic rock music of the 70’s and 80’s. He didn’t really care for my love of pop music and country.
A few years later I became more interested in girls. I had no clue what to do those interests as my dad was barely involved and my brother was barely around. I remember Bobby coming back to live in the basement at a few of our houses. I think he actually had a better set up there than mine at one house. Anyway, I was keeping to myself as I was an extrovert in a very chaotic family. This time alone got me to think about these girls in interesting ways. I really was a jerk of a kid as I made top 10 lists of girls. I do remember lots of those names but that was a different time. I might have been a blogger or something by middle school back then if that tech existed. Anyway, I started focusing this passion for girls on trying to put it into words because I knew I was never going to tell them in person. I wrote lyrics and poems that were mostly just for me. I doubt most people knew I wrote them because I never shared. My goal was to get some of this stuff put to music. Most of them sounded like crappy pop or country love songs. They have titles like ‘1+1 is 2’, ‘Miracles Only Happen Once’, and my own version of ‘Straight From the Heart.’ To this day I think I may actually have gotten something there but I never put any of them to real music because I never knew how to play the guitar.
My former brother-in-law Rick could play the guitar. He played it quite well. I looked up to him being the center of the party as he was strumming along. I wanted to be like him. I think he let me borrow my step-nephews guitar once or twice and tried to teach me but never had the patience.
After joining the Marine Corps, I kind of gave up my guitar playing goal until right before the Gulf War in July of 1990. For some reason I bought a Casio 220 keyboard because I knew I could at least play that some as I had piano lessons growing up. That keyboard went back in its box about a month for storage purposes while I went off to Bahrain. After I got back, it took a few months for me to even unpack it and probably a little while for me to play it again. Those dang girls started to really get in the way. Turning 21 didn’t help either. I am thinking that if I would have found a girl who liked a guy who played the guitar, I would of went for it then, but that never happened. I met Lyn when I was 22 and the dream of playing a guitar got buried. Oh, trust me, I was busy with life, love, and more of those two to worry about playing a guitar.
God has a funny way of working things in life. Never did that seed of playing a guitar go away. Through the years I remember admiring friends who could play hoping that someday I might give it another shot. A few years back at Northern Pines, God, with the help of Dean Jaderston, brought Lyn and I together with another couple by the name of Todd and Janelle Rau. We immediately connected with them because of our mutual loves to serve, of Disney, and something we knew would be around forever. You see I learned that Todd played guitar. Not only did he play guitar, he played guitar in a worship band. A few years later, I got to visit Todd’s house and I am convinced that if I lived anywhere closer to Todd, how different my life would be. Trust me, I am not moving 800 miles to be 40 degrees colder or to be that far away from Busch Stadium and Lion’s Choice, but you know what I mean. Todd has more patience than any friend I have had. He listens and understands that I can’t always say things what I mean but he knows what I mean. He would make me an outstanding guitar teacher.
God still has a reason for everything. Look at your paths. Realize all the little ways He is working in you. I will give you my other influence in loving guitar from afar. Several years ago, we started attending Quest Church. They have a worship band. I remember not caring for this lady who led them at one point but I was amazed when I saw the passion of a different young man leading worship. As Quest grew, I became part of the safety team and would frequently get to church early and hear the worship band practicing. Luke Sinak and his wife Beth became a friend from church quickly because of their families love for Christ, baseball, and music and arts. Beth has amazing gifts that are easy to see at church. I learned to see Luke’s gifts as I talked to him more and more.
Recently, with life being chaotic at home, others, with the help of God told me I need to really focus more time to myself. Writing like this will be one of those times. Documenting those experiences are something I really enjoy. I may go off on tangents in some of these stories but I hope you enjoy them. Anyway, back to the guitar. I knew with Northern Pines coming up I would have some free time and Todd told me we would get some time together so for some reason, I thought about a guitar. I looked online a bit and asked a friend of mine who told me she had a guitar I could borrow if I could borrow it. Well, bless her heart, it was a junior guitar and not what I needed to learn on. So, I went another route. Todd gave me some ideas of what he thought were some good starter guitars but they all seemed a bit out of my price range for something I was unsure of myself on.
Last Saturday I decided to go to Guitar Center and check them out. The South County one is much bigger on the inside. I walked back to the acoustic guitar room and looked in somewhat awe. Lyn wandered around the store doing who knows what. I looked at a few Todd had mentioned and they were all out of my desired price range. Eventually, a nice young man came in and asked if I needed anything. I told him my brief guitar history and told him I wanted a starter. He said he had a used Taylor in the back section. Yup, still way out of my price range and then he showed me a Yamaha he would recommend as a starter. Cool, told me there were two types of necks on them and said he would leave me to them to feel. Found one that would work but decided it wasn’t right for me. So, I headed off to another store not too far away Todd had mentioned called Music-Go-Round. They feature all used items and I admit their acoustic guitar section is about as big as Guitar Centers. Guy there talked to me about starter guitars and showed me a bunch over my price range and I asked about one I saw I liked. It was a nice Alvarez, but I knew it wasn’t my guitar.
The next day I was going to settle on not finding anything but our church had an ice cream truck present for National Ice Cream Day. I was done with mine and saw Luke had a second and went and told him what I was doing. Immediately, he was supportive and told me about the ones I looked at and I was on the right track. I also mentioned looking at Facebook Marketplace so he said to let him look at anything I found as a reference. I got home after lunch and took a bit of time to look on the Marketplace. I found two and I sent them both to Luke and Todd. One of them immediately stood out to me as it was an acoustic/electric guitar for an acoustic price. Luke agreed quickly and had me confirm the model number. I looked it up on reverb.com and I thought it was a good deal and Luke immediately confirmed saying you normally can’t get one with a built in EQ for that price. He also said that a Dean EFM-TRD would make a great first guitar. Todd came thru a few minutes later so I messaged the seller I would like to come see it. He said he would be home a bit later and it worked out that Lyn could come with me, so off we went thru Arnold. Knocked on the gentlemen’s house and he greeted us and invited us in. A very welcoming home and I soon noticed the Amazing Grace over the mantle. He showed me the guitar and explained to me that he had some other strings that sounded better on it but they don’t make them anymore. He was very forthright and honest. I told him I had a few friends that were giving me advice and one was my worship leader at church. He asked where then proceeded to tell me that the guitar I was interested in led worship at Oasis Church in Arnold for years. That sold it for me and after a deal and a handshake, I thanked him and we were on our way home. I messaged Todd and Luke on the way home to let them know my excitement.
So here I sit with my ‘Guitar For Dummies’ book and my hands that don’t know what they are doing hoping that I will be able to learn to play this guitar. She is a pretty one and has a story of her own. I am now just happy that God’s timing is good and I have myself a pretty red guitar.

Guitar

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Love Me as a Sinner


‘The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners, of who I am the foremost. ‘ 1 Timothy 1:15 ESV
I have quoted very few scriptures in writing my blogs in the past. The fact that I have many types of friends and write a lot about baseball may have had something to do about it. I get inspired to write more about my faith. God has given me this talent to put words on paper that some people find interesting, so I might as well use it.
I am a sinner. You are a sinner. Your parents are sinners. Your kids are sinners. Your friends are sinners. Your pastor is a sinner. You get my point? We were created in the perfect image of God but, as being humans who are descendants of Adam and Eve, we are sinners. God sent his son, Jesus, who died to save us from our sins so that we may have eternal life. The ONLY way to God is thru Jesus.
Cool, ain’t it? We are humans. We suck. We are unintentionally mean to the ones we love, make more mistakes than we can count, yet we can get to heaven because Jesus died for our sins. Not because we go to church every week, because there are people who have no church. Not because we study our Bible, because there are people who cannot read. It’s because we believe in our heart that Jesus is the way to God and He came to save us from our sins.
Do what you gotta do if you want to be part of a church. I could care less if you are Lutheran, Catholic, Methodist, or Evangelical. Just believe in Jesus and we can all be part of the family of God.

‘Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.’ Proverbs 14:21 ESV
What about the people that aren’t Christians and who don’t believe in Jesus being the way to God? Shouldn’t we do to them as we would want them to do to us? Hmm, I have heard that before. We should love them. Doesn’t seem too hard to me. Oh, but it is. But why? We already established that we are all sinners. Doesn’t matter what your sin is. I love my wife and family, my friends and my fellow Christians. I do my best to love everyone. Just because some people’s sin is more obvious than others, does that mean we should love them less? No no no, we should love them more.

‘And the Pharisees and scribes grumbled saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”’ Luke 15:2 ESV
Jesus came to save the sinners. He spent more time with the non-believers than believers. He ate with them and performed miracles on them. So shouldn’t we do the same? Yes. Have dinner with your Christian friends to share the community and fellowship but also do the same with the non-believers. Show them community and fellowship. Share your faith thru the love you show them. Be a witness to them. Be the best dang sinner you can be. You are going to mess up. Know that you are going to be loved no matter what you do. We are all God’s children.
So, no matter if you are red, yellow, black or white. No matter what church you go to. No matter what, show your love to sinners and they will feel your love to them.
Pray for them. Pray that they are winning their battle over sin. Pray that they have accepted Jesus into their heart or that they will. Pray that someday you will see them forever in heaven.
Love me as a sinner, pray for me as a friend.

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I Need to Pray More For….


 

I need to pray more for someone who wants equal rights for all and gets upset when people opposed to them get something legally that doesn’t go their way.

I need to pray more for a person who proclaims themselves a Christian and posts on social media negative and derogatory comments.

I need to pray more for people who believe their social media accounts are part of their freedom of speech.

I need to pray more for people who willingly break the law and expect not to be punished.

I need to pray more for people under age that want to drink alcohol.

I need to pray more for those who don’t know my business and are afraid to ask me.

I need to pray more for teenagers who don’t realize how good they have it.

I need to pray more for parents who deal with their children way different then I do.

I need to pray more for people with a busy holiday schedule because they don’t realize those of us without one would love to have one.

I need to pray more for people who get cold easier than me.

I need to pray more for the men and women involved in cases of harassment and all the truth, lies, myths and misconceptions.

I need to pray more for the best thing that has ever happened to me. She knows who she is because she edits this blog.

I need to pray more for the second-best thing that has ever happened to me. He probably won’t read this.

I need to pray more for far away friends because telling them I miss them doesn’t seem enough.

I need to pray more for those far away from family and friends because I have been there.

I need to pray more for people who are negative towards their sports teams on social media. My Grandma taught me that if you can’t say anything nice, just don’t say it.

I need to pray more for the police and firefighters who go to work every day.

I need to pray more for our wonderful country and the politicians who think they run it.

I need to pray more for you. If you have anything you want me to pray for you know how to find me. I will add you to my Echo app.

Please pray more for me.

 

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Things I Am Thankful For


Yeah. I haven’t written a blog in a while. Some of you might be thankful for that. LOL I decided I wanted to write down some of the things I have been thankful for this past year. This list will be in no particular order and I am sure will not include everything.

I am thankful I have received Jesus as my savior

I am thankful for being a husband

I am thankful for being a father

I am thankful for Quest Church

I am thankful for being 1 of ‘Party of Six’

I am thankful for being an American

I am thankful I have a house and I can look for another

I am thankful I have a job I most of the time enjoy

I am thankful for Pattonville High School

I am thankful for Northwest Missouri State University

I am thankful for the St. Louis Cardinals

I am thankful for the St. Louis Blues

I am thankful for MLB Network

I am thankful for Disney

I am thankful for being a Veteran

I am thankful for our military

I am thankful for the Police

I am thankful for the Fire Department

I am thankful for Framily

I am thankful for the Mountain Banshee Project

I am thankful for the Figment of my imagination

I am thankful for Northern Pines

I am thankful for long distance friends

I am thankful for disc golf

I am thankful for a Kansas wedding

I am thankful for an ice wedding Framily experience

I am thankful for baseball

I am thankful for movie theater popcorn and the movies that I go to see while eating it

I am thankful for Jeff the Moose

I am thankful for missionaries

I am thankful for shaving my head

I am thankful for my dogs

I am thankful for a good rare steak

I am thankful for dark chocolate

I am thankful for ice cream in many states

I am thankful for sweet tea

I am thankful for a good alcoholic drink

 

I would like to be thankful with you sometime. You know where to find me…

 

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Heroes Need Help


 

Normally I am not a hero. I am a Christian, husband, father, and friend.

For the past 15 years my family has gone to our dentist at Ladue Family Dental. We have referred friends to them because they make you feel welcome and comfortable. So when they got a new hygienist that fit my schedule we trusted them and said sure we’ll go see Paula. After chatting with Paula she told us about how her son would have been about Josh’s age. That’s when we learned about Dawson. Some years before Paula had lost her hockey loving son to a childhood cancer called Neuroblastoma. Then she told me about St Baldrick’s and how her husband and a group of friends raise money every year at a local bar called Helen Fitzgerald’s and it was coming up soon. How do they raise money to battle childhood cancer?  Shave your head of course.  I told her that Josh and I would love to help and shave our heads. So last March, Josh and I did. We joined many of Dawson’s family and friends and shaved our heads to help raise money to fight this ongoing battle. We also came together to support Paula & her family because that is what friends do.

So this year, Josh and I have let our hair grow for a lot longer period. There’s a bit of grey showing in mine and I need to use a comb. My hair hasn’t been this long since shortly after I was married. Even Josh’s hair is longer than he feels comfortable with.

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This is the 12th year total for the St. Baldrick’s event and Josh and I’s second as we continue to be a part of a group called Dawson’s Hairless Heroes. The group will get wacky matching t-shirts and shave our heads on March 4th.

Since I am a hero for this event, I need your help. Pray for us. Pray for Josh and I as we prepare to go on stage to get our heads shaved. Pray for Paula and the whole Ivanowski family as they fight against cancer and remember losing Dawson. Pray for the whole event at Helen Fitzgerald’s as many people will be there doing their part to help fight childhood cancer. Childhood cancer research needs financial support. So if you find it in your heart to help us financially, please follow the link’s below to mine or Josh’s page to donate using your debit or credit card or see me between now and the event and I will take cash or check.

Before they turn 20, about 1 in 285 children in the U.S. will have cancer. Worldwide, a child is diagnosed every 2 minutes. More children are lost to cancer in the U.S. than any other disease—in fact, more than many other childhood diseases combined. Kids’ lives matter. In the 1950s, almost all kids diagnosed with cancer died. Because of research, today more than 85% of kids with the most common type of cancer will live. But there is work to be done. Kids like Dawson and others with countless types of childhood cancers have little hope for a cure.

The St Baldrick’s Foundation has funded research in 27 countries, including all institutions that treat kids with cancer in the U.S. So when you donate money and pray for us, you’ll know you’re making a big impact.

If you want to join in the fun, come join us on March 4th.  As we get closer to the date I’ll know about what time our group will have their heads shaved too.

Jeff’s Page          Josh’s Page

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I am Not Sorry


 

I am a Christian. I do my best as try to live in the example of Jesus. I fail. Badly at times. I know I am nowhere close to the person I believe I should be. I am not sorry for the person I am.

The views I was raised to believe and have been confirmed in my life experiences have molded me. I came from a broken home. I barely speak to my blood family. I love every one of them. I am not sorry for this. Please don’t feel sorry for me.   

 

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth;

 

and in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son Our Lord,

 

Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.

 

He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead;

 

He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

 

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the one holy Universal Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.

 

Amen. 

 

Why are people using social media to be mean? Why do they think they can get away with it? I have unfollowed and unfriended many people on Facebook and Twitter who I believed were being hurtful to people or just cruel in general. I am not sorry for this.

 

I beg of all who would read this to be nice to people and not to post anything that could be considered mean or hurtful. I will never be sorry for trying to make this world a better place.

 

Everybody get together and try to love one another right now!

 

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We Finally Have an Answer


Do you and your family always get asked that same question over and over again? You know what I mean. No? Ok, I’ll give you a few examples. Some friends of ours were dating for the longest time and of course the question they got asked all the time was, when are you getting engaged? Well, earlier this winter, that question was answered. Or are you and your spouse happy and all alone at home like a few of Lyn’s good friends? I know they get asked all the time when or if they will have kids. So far, a dog has been a wonderful child to them.

If you know my family, you know that we are busy from March 1st to when we go to Northern Pines in early August. School starts right after that so we rarely have time for any other type of vacation. Well, Jeff, what does this have to do with you finally having an answer? If you don’t know where I am going with this, I invite you to reach out and contact me to get to know us better. I know some of our friends are probably getting excited reading this as they have figured it out by now.

Our family’s most asked question is ‘When are you going back to Disneyworld?’ Well, we finally have an answer (Hence the blog title). Josh has requested that we make one more trip to Florida before he goes off to college. To us, this left only one timeframe to plan this trip. That was Josh’s senior year winter break. The St. Louis Blues got awarded the next NHL Winter Classic at Busch Stadium on January 2, 2017 so going over New Year’s wasn’t really an option. We even had other options like a cruise or going to California instead to go to Disneyland. Some great old friends and In-N-Out among other things tempted us. Luckily, Lyn has been in regular contact with her friend, Laura Liden, Dream Vacation Planner, at Pixie and Pirate Destinations travel agency. So, she told us about a deal that got us a free dining plan to help with the raised prices of Christmas time at Disneyworld. So we jumped on it. Josh finishes finals around 1030 on the morning of December 21st, so we are flying out as soon as we can to check into Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort that day to take advantage of the deal. We will fly back as late in the day as we can on December 27th to take advantage of as much park time as possible.

 coronado-springs-resort-00-full

So if you want to join us at some point down in sunny Florida over Christmas, we welcome you. As of today, I believe the deal we got may still be available. We look forward to spending Christmas at Disneyworld. So just to repeat the dates, we invite you to join us December 21-27 at the beautiful Disneyworld resort!