Life has a way of teaching us valuable lessons and sometimes they aren’t all spread out like I think they should be; but instead they come like final exams . . . all at the same time. I feel humbled and blessed with the emotions and sympathies that I have had the opportunity of experiencing lately. We had a ward campout a couple of weeks ago out by the lake, and I was surprised at how much love I felt for the people in my ward (home congregation) here in Franklin, TN. Sitting around singing old-time songs with ten or twelve people playing instruments and countless others singing and talking around a large fire made me thing of memorable times surely had by early Saints along the pioneer trek. I love my peeps in my ward more than ever for that simple time we spent enjoying each other’s company outside of our usual “Sunday best” routine. I shot some footage of that experience and you can check it out HERE.
I took a moment recently to do something I have not done in years. The experience, as simple as it was, was like someone pushed the “refresh” button on my soul. As a kid I used to wander for hours and hours up and down the banks of the south Canadian River near my home in Oklahoma. One of my favorite things to do was to lay down along the riverbank under any number of towering giant cottonwood trees and I look up at the blue Oklahoma sky through thousands of silver-dollar-sized green leaves that softly rattled out a boy’s salvation when the wind blew through them. My dog Gabe would catch a nap snuggled up next to me and during those lazy summer days I learned early in life what “bliss” was. I’m pretty sure that heaven will feel something like that used to make me feel. Last weekend I suddenly go the out of the blue urge and laid down on my back with my two kids and together we looked up through a Tennessee river willow at a crystal blue Saturday sky. I think I may have heard the sound of my childhood whisper to me as a soft breeze made its way through willow leaves above me. iPhone in hand, I took a picture to remember it:
You may have seen a FaceBook post I made about my family attending a funeral procession through our little town of Franklin last weekend. Townspeople were invited to show up on Saturday afternoon and pick up U.S. flag poles at the high school to hold along Hillsboro Road as the body of one of our hometown boys, 22 year old Jason Edens, was carried in a hearse with a parade of local motorcycle veteran groups and emergency vehicles reverently following. My heart was moved by the turn out on a 89 degree, extremely humid Tennessee afternoon. I was softened with compassion as many of my fellow people lined the streets silently holding their left hands on a US flag pole and their right hands over their hearts in patriotic respect for a fallen hero who lost his life in Afghanistan. While my heart broke for the tearful faces of the soldier’s family and loved ones as they drove by, I was at the same time extremely grateful for the opportunity that my family had to feel the sobering humility of the price paid for freedom and to know the surge of patriotism that rises in the soul as the costs of liberty became a reality before our eyes. Here are a few pics:
I have had the pleasure of watching my three children play numerous soccer, volleyball and baseball games this spring. I love athletics. I love seeing kids learn the thrill of giving it their all and being pushed to their limits as they experience the valuable lessons of victory and defeat. I thought I’d include a short clip of my little man last week, no bigger than a minute, smacking an opposite field single and rounding first with the energy and swagger of a mini Derek Jeter. I love the game of baseball. I love that kid. Therefore I love little moments like this: CLICK HERE
And one more thing before I make a point of all of this. Early this morning I walked outside and just happened to notice the morning dew shining like tiny diamonds on a beautiful bunch of yellow day lilies that just seemed to shout to the world “Good Morning!”. I took a pic.
You may wonder why I am taking the time to tell you about these “little moments” that I have recently had. The reason is because I have felt a need in the last several months to slow down; to stop, to look, to listen. To see the sun rise. To see the sun set. And let me tell you the good stuff is in the small stuff. I count each experience that i have described above, as insignificant in the universe as they might seem to many, as precious portions of a collective personal testimony that God is alive and well, and his love and influence can be felt by his sons and daughters when we take the time to soak it in, like we did when we were children (Matthew 18:3); to see, smell, touch, taste and respect the little things all around us. Confucious said, “Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Involve me and I will understand.” Being involved in the little stuff is to understand this life experience.
OK, now that I got all of that off of my chest, its time for NTB to HIT THE ROAD!
Jump in my truck and ride with me a minute:
We are announcing a new show every Wednesday during the month of May, so be sure you check in on our Facebook page or here on the website.
For the shows that have been announced thus far, go to our “Shows” page or click HERE.
In other NTB News:
- Due West’s brand new single “Things You Can’t Do In A Car” will be released by their label Black River Entertainment to country radio on Tuesday, May 14th! You can check them out on Facebook or their Website. The new single should be available for purchase through iTunes on the 14th as well.
- Katherine Nelson is giving away a FREE song download of her new single “Beautiful” at Katherinenelson.com. Her long awaited new album Born Brave will be out later this summer. It is an awesome piece of estrogen YEE-HAW!
- Keep up on Dan Truman and his Grammy Award-Winning band Diamond Rio’s summer happenings at DiamondRio.com.
- Our very own Grammy nominated and Emmy Award winning Ron Saltmarsh is relieved to have graded the last of his semester papers at BYU in the past few days. Ron runs the Media, Music & Sound Recording Department at BYU. He will jump in with us when we head out to do shows in a few weeks, but I am guessing that he will be somewhere calm, quiet and hard to reach until then.
We love you all!