YAAAAAHHHHHHH, we did it!!!! It’s over! Everyone now; deep sigh of relief…
I’m really happy with how this last day went. It was a big one, but God was bigger. The 2 services at Oasis went pretty smooth, 2nd better than the first (I was more awake, audience had more energy, and I didn’t do quite as many clumsy things). Samme’s short sermon on “Poolman” was ground-breaking…in fact, I’m comfortable calling it legendary at this point. I will try to post it up on this site if I get a copy, and I definitely need to send it to TIM! Lou Gramm did not show sadly, but I did meet hundreds of warm, welcoming, supportive, and encouraging people! The CD donations, love offering, and church’s honorarium completely blew me away. It was a huge financial windfall that will propel our ministry forward in profound ways — THANK YOU, OASIS!!!
We all hit the Chinese food place again for lunch, and then I took off for my super-last-minute booking back in Geneva. My voice was doing well, but feeling a little stripped, so right after sound check in Geneva, I borrowed a pot and dish towel from the church kitchen, boiled water in it, found a quiet room, and with the dishtowel around my face, I inhaled steam for about 15 minutes. I have to say, that is one of my new favorite voice-care activities! It feels awesome! And it’s an excuse for more solitude and quiet…you should try it! The concert went OK…very small crowd…6, 7, 10 people? Very mellow, too. At one point, I felt compelled to say that “permission is granted to clap after a song, if you’d like”…hee hee… I really dug the pastor and his family. Good people with sincere hearts. Thanks to Paul Estro and his wife for helping me connect with this church. Paul is a unique, passionate musician that you should check out. He opened my Thursday night show this week and did a great job!
Well, New York is much bigger and more rural than I ever imagined…tons of open land with beautiful, vintage farm houses everywhere…it just goes on and on and on…I had a great adventure here, and I’m already plotting my return trip; Summer? Bring the family? Fire up the motorized surfboard??!!!! Oh yah, SAVE IT FOR ME, LOU!!!
I can’t thank all my hosts, concert promoters, and friends enough for this amazing week. I am humbled and honored to serve alongside you! Thanks, readers, for sharing in this trip with me. Please pray my flights all run smooth tomorrow and that I am home on schedule to pick the kids up from school.
4 days home and then the band and I pile in the van for a weekend of shows in Nor Cal.
…and The Tour rolls on…
PIZZA AND WINGS!!!!
…but I’m getting ahead of myself…
Today started out with the big drive back to Rochester…another long period of time with no CD player and miles and miles of quiet scenery. As I focused in on a time of intentional prayer, I tried to listen for God to speak (instead of me doing all the talking), and guess what? He talks like a New Yorker! I was having all these ideas running through my head, and I asked him, “Are these ideas from you?”. It was like he replied, “Yah, of course they’re from me! What are youzz, some kinda wizeguynow?” Anyway, I wish he would’ve said more, but that’s all I got.
One of the ideas I was thinking of was that these diary entries this week seem a little too “goody-goody-halo-wearing”, if you know what I mean. I am having a relatively good week spiritually and morally, but that’s not always been the case (and maybe the accountability of this blogging is helping me). The truth is; I am a broken, stumbling, imperfect person…often further off the mark than I realize most of the time. I read an interview with one of my touring heros; David Wilcox where he said being on the road is like “running in sand”. It can be like training. You can use the time on the road for spiritual, moral, mental, and physical discipline. Treat it like a running-in-sand exercise so that when you get back, onto solid ground, everything is easier. I read that about 5 years ago and never forgot it. David, if you’re reading this (I just found out he’s actually following ME on Twitter), thank you!
I really try now to live like a monk on the road…like an impoverished missionary in harsh conditions or something! My two temptations that I fall for most are TV (VH1, MTV) and shopping (clothes, sunglasses, shoes). I’d splurge because I was lonely, bored, whatever, but I’m learning; those things are not good for me. One of my problems is worrying. I doubt that God loves me about every 52 seconds, even though I stand up on a stage and passionately express God’s great love…oh, the irony! I need all the help I can get in fighting off worry and doubt, among a host of other things, and TV and the Mall just get me off track and make me sick – full of the world’s empty, hollow sweetness, like a big bag of Halloween candy for lunch…the LAST thing you want when you’re alone and far from home. So I’m learning…and it’s getting easier.
I checked back into the hotel here in the afternoon and headed to a school where the PA and chairs are getting set for tomorrow’s church gatherings. The Oasis Christian Fellowship band is rockin’ the house! I get to lead a few congregational songs with them, so we ran through them in rehearsal, and everyone is sounding great. Glen is doing a killer job leading the worship team and laying down some heavy guitar! After that, is was PIZZA AND WINGS TIME, BABY!!! I think I ate 42 wings. I’m serious, they are the best out here…it’s magic! They even combine the two with “Buffalo Wing Pizza”, which is, of course, awesome.
I’ve been hearing rumors that Lou Graham goes to this church, and that he might be there tomorrow…to critique my singing! HA! He is definitely a huge influence on me. “Juke Box Hero” and the Foreigner 4 album stoked the fire in me to perform and write songs. He’s a LEGEND! I hope I get to meet him.
Well, if Jesus doesn’t come back tonight…then tomorrow we ROCK!!!
I am rounding the corner, people! Over the top! I am feeling the momentum of the second-half pulling me toward home, and it’s all downhill now…in the best way!
I drove most of the day after my 11:30 am rock star breakfast by the lake. That’s livin’! I experienced the first feeling of warm sun since I left Cali and took a few pictures of the scenery, bought that capo and then hit the road. The Aspire does not have a CD player (or at least I can’t find one), so I’ve not been able to listen to the 5 or so CDs that people have given me – sorry, guys! I try to pray a lot when I’m driving, and today I reflectively journeyed through the Lord’s Prayer, adding in extra stuff and personal prayers to each line…it took an hour! The other hours I spent listening to Fresh Air, Prairie Home Companion, and This American Life podcasts.
After crossing miles and miles of farmland, I pass through Albany and then deeper into the country for my next stop. My hosts tonight are Pastor Roger and his family. They put on a great event to raise money for the local food bank…and cooked great meatloaf! The crowd was fun and responsive, my voice felt fine, and I ended up making my concert a little longer than I thought…the time just flew by! People were so kind and generous at the “tent table” and as I was reaching down to grab some more CDs out of the suitcase, I saw something shiny…something metal…MY CAPO!!! So, I guess now I have a back-up…
I’m in the extra bedroom at Roger’s house and getting ready to talk to Heidi and the kids and then get some sleep. I’m thankful that the fam has been doing good this week. I’ve called Heidi every day, talked to the kids several times, and I’ve been texting my 12-year-old ’cause that’s how she communicates now. I bought cheezy NY trinkets for them all…real crowd pleasers! Only 2 more real days to go, and then my fly-day home. I’m so stoked! I can’t wait to get back to Rochester tomorrow and hang out again with Samme and the Oasis crew…I’ll be rehearsing with his band for Sunday services and finally; PIZZA AND WINGS!!!
I’ll see my largest audiences of the trip on Sunday. It’ll be my fullest day so far. May God restore my energy and focus and keep me humbly dependent on Him.
On the home stretch…
Oh man, thanks for your prayers, everyone!!! My voice recovered and my singing at tonight’s concert was totally fine! A real miracle. I tried to stay quiet all day except to answer the U.S. Border officer’s questions…as he pulled me out of the car and SEARCHED IT! I didn’t know what was going on. I just tried to stay calm and not look guilty or nervous…but that’s when you look the most guilty and nervous, right?! They finally let me go, and I was sure happy to be back in America.
The Aspire is running like a champ!
My hosts tonight put me up at this really nice hotel overlooking a giant lake. I was so blessed! The concert went well. I’m just super relieved that my voice held up and seems to be getting better and better. Another big miracle: I was unable to schedule a Sunday night service on this trip, but still booked my ticket for Monday morning by faith that something could come up. Well, God’s plan unfolded…A pastor of the local Assemblies church was in the audience tonight and BOOKED ME for this Sunday!!! Amazing. I’m so stoked.
I uploaded a new video clip the other day. It’s a fun piece in the middle of our DVD documentary, including interviews with three of my brothers. They are STUDS! Oh yah, and I step in dog doo-doo…
Tomorrow I will sleep in for sure…and buy a capo after breakfast. The Albany youth group concert tomorrow is 3 hours away. It’s a benefit for the church’s food pantry. May hearts be touched, motivated, and inspired!
I made it! I’m here in another country…across the river. Today started awesome with a lively Christian school chapel concert at 10am. They were actually shouting for CDs by song 3! That’s never happened…and it’s the one gig that Samme told me NOT to bring any CDs! The Chinese food was really good, though.
I picked up the borrowed car, and it’s a beauty; a soulfully vintage ’95 Ford Aspire. The speedometer doesn’t work so I can go as fast as I want! Oh yah, and here’s the promised picture…2 words;
This thing is sitting in a NY garage on the Lake Ontario coast, and Louie will fire it up for you – It’s ready to roll!!!
I crossed into Canada this afternoon, stopped to catch a glimpse of the Niagara Falls, and headed to lasagna with a friend I haven’t seen in…gulp…25 years! Our families lived in Bangkok, Thailand together. He’s now a worship leader here and was able to sneak me into the youth gathering. Here’s the rundown; Canadian audiences are quite reserved – I misplaced my capo somewhere – my voice took a dive in the middle of the show – I nursed some tea afterward – inhaled some steam – and…well…it was kind of a challenging night. I’m thankful for my friend’s warm hospitality, his capo, his family’s generous support, and the comfy bed that’s calling my name! How cool to have a friend like that; a brother in Christ, reunited from around the world!
I pray God used my feeble ramblings somehow in the lives of teenagers today. I pray my voice recovers for tomorrow. If you’re the prayin’ type, keep me in mind…