Learning to Play Guitar

For as long as I can remember, my dad has been an amazing guitar player. I never took much of an interest as a kid because I was wrapped up in my own stuff – sports, school, girls, etc.

I come from a very musical family. My mom and dad were in a folk band in college called The North Door Singers (Google them). They sing at church. My brother sang at our wedding and could always carry a tune.

I’ve never had that confidence. I sang when I was a kid in church choirs and at campfires and I even tried playing the piano for like two weeks. But performing music never really stuck on me like it did with the rest of my family. That didn’t keep me from loving music. Not even a little.

My family, God bless them, has always said, “But you have a great voice! You should sing.” NO.

OK, maybe.

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For the past several weeks, Jake and I have been learning how to play guitar from my Dad. Each Wednesday, my mom cooks us dinner and we meet at their house for a few hours to learn new chords, progressions and lately, songs.

Last week we learned our first real song — an original that was written by our friends out in Wyoming (also known as the Cowboy-version of the Osmonds) for my niece. The three of us learned the song and played it for her and the rest of our family last weekend.

This week, I got to bring a song that I wanted to learn — “Poison & Wine” by The Civil Wars (which you may be familiar with if you pay attention here). And last night, I went home and I sang it to my wife. I didn’t sing it well, but I sang it.

I sent a text to my dad today that read:

I am terrified of singing. Having a guitar in front of me as a shield helps.

It’s the truth.

I still don’t think I can sing. People may pooh pooh that thought, but if you’ve ever heard anyone else in my family sing, you’d understand my trepidation. But ever since I started learning how to play guitar, I’m not as scared to actually do it as I once was. Having that shield/security blanket sure helps because if I think I sound bad, I can just play louder.

Regardless of that, Wednesday nights have been this wonderful combination of family and learning something new and it’s a lot of fun.

Special thanks to Alli who snapped the photo in this post.

Rest in Peace, Taz

Today, my parents had to put their dog Taz to sleep because his body was completely racked with cancer. He was an amazing companion to them and a loving host whenever you went to their house.

Taz and Dreyfuss

Taz (left) was Dreyfuss’ (our dog, right) brother (Jake also has one of the brothers from the same litter, Gutter). They were born on the same day to a litter of 9 other dogs. Losing Taz hasn’t brought into clear view the mortality of Dreyfuss, our family member for the last 10 years.

Words really can’t express my sadness. Dogs are such amazing companions who love and take joy in every moment. As humans, we can learn a lot from them. Their zest for life is something to be admired and Taz certainly had plenty of zest. I know that my parents are going to miss his joyful “smile” and his incessant, obtrusive tail-wagging.

Taz, your family will miss you and the joyfulness you brought to us through the wagging of your enormous tail. I wish I had better words for my mom and dad, but I don’t. All I can say is: I love you guys.

Dogs are amazing and enrich our lives. Please be thinking about ours tomorrow as he goes in to have dental surgery and to remove a lump on his back.

Thankfulness

My buddy at work posted a status update every day in November of something he was thankful for. I did something similar a few years back on this blog and while I didn’t get around to posting something every day (and it is December 1st), I have a lot to be thankful for:

  • Obviously, there’s nothing I’m more thankful for than my amazing wife. She inspires me and makes me laugh every day. Our relationship is the thing that I am most proud of in my life. 10 years of marriage and I fall in love every single day with her.
  • My family always is at the top of the list. I’m thankful my parents have returned from overseas and I’m thankful for my in-laws and my hilarious nieces (and nephew on the way).
  • I’m thankful to be blessed with a great group of friends…people I’ve enjoyed being around for most of my life, who make me laugh and occasionally let me win at poker and fantasy football.
  • I love my church family. For the past year, I’ve served as the Assistant Pastor at the Olathe Community of Christ, a church that I grew up in and has been our congregation since we got married. The people there are amazing and I’m so excited to serve another year.
  • I’m thankful for a terrific job that allows me to do something I’m good at (digital and online marketing) in a field that I absolutely adore (the movies).
  • I’m blessed to have a house that I love coming home to — cozy and perfect for the two of us and Dreyfuss. And our new backyard! (more on that later)
  • Speaking of Dreyfuss, I don’t know what I would do without that mutt. He is seriously one of the funniest personalities in my life.

I could name so many other things. I’ve truly found myself very blessed this year. I hope that as we’ve passed Thanksgiving and entered into the holiday season that you find time to be thankful.

Donut Day

Donuts in the Case

Once every 3 years or so, my family has this ridiculously excessive tradition. We wake up early on a Saturday and have a donut tasting.

And it is exactly as awesome as it sounds.

However, this is an amazingly un-local thing. The local-est place that we go is Lamar’s, but we also tried Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ Donuts this year. After my devotion

Then, there’s this.

Meesha is organizing a meetup at John’s Space Age Donuts in downtown Overland Park on May 19, the same day that the new Dunkin’ Donuts opens up just down the street. I’ve got some friends who freaked out when Dunkin’ Donuts came to town. After my donut day, I can categorically say that Dunkin’ Donuts is very MEH and they certainly can’t hold a candle to Lamar’s. I’m going to try and make it to John’s on May 19 and give them a try.

It seems like they’re the awesomest. What are your KC suggestions for my family’s next excessive donut day?

Merry Christmas!

It’s been an amazing 3 days.

We started on the 23rd, my birthday, by taking care of our nieces (and by “we” I mean Alli) for much of the day and having both our families over for some birthday festivities, Oklahoma Joe’s and funfetti cookies. I got a bunch of great presents…really good stuff.

Christmas Eve we spent with Alli’s family at Tyson and her sister’s house. More great stuff and lots of eating.

Yesterday morning, I got the present that I wanted all season: a white Christmas. So much snow! The family got up and did some shoveling — not just our driveway, but two others (and my back is paying for it today). We headed out and braved the roads to hang out with my family for lunch, more presents and really great times. Laughing with my family is one of my favorite things to do.

I made out like a bandit this year, scoring great presents from everyone and still having a wonderful white Christmas.

I hope everyone’s Christmas season has been as good as mine. A couple more movies this weekend and it will be complete!