So I had the opportunity to lead the music last Sunday - messed up in a couple of places (once pretty noticeably I think) but overall it was a good experience and I got some positive feedback. Looking forward to trying some more, knowing it will get easier with more and more practice.
Then we rushed home to celebrate David's birthday. Sometimes it's hard to believe that our oldest child is now 25 years old. It was a nice celebration and I think he was pleased with his gifts - portable 500G hard drive, monitor, flying jacket (on order).
Walked back and forth to the Frederick Theatres to see "Thor" for $4 on Tuesday night. It was mildly entertaining but nothing special. Got quite soaked walking back in the rain, even with the umbrella. It's been pretty dark and depressing this week as we've been having a lot of rain, the sun finally reappearing by Thursday evening.
Our Thursday night house church/study group volunteered to serve a meal at the Ray of Hope Community Centre in downtown Kitchener on Friday night. We spent Thursday peeling potatoes in preparation. Then on Friday we ended up serving over 100 people a ham and scalloped potatoes dinner. Everything went smoothly - Beth and 2 other ladies got the last minute things ready that afternoon (she had the day off) and I helped with serving the vegetables and meat. It was a good experience and I hope we can do it again. The folks there seemed very appreciative.
Saturday we headed across the border with our friends Dan & Ellen, and our son David, to see a concert in Oxford, Michigan. We stayed overnight in a motel in Port Huron - visited a mostly vacant outlet mall nearby. Is that a sign of the times in the U.S.? The concert was amazing - a duo to start: Frank Vignola & Vinny Ranniolo. Unbelievable speed and very entertaining. Their version of Flight of the Bumblebee is astounding! Then Phil Keaggy, who is probably the world master JamMan user - he layers/records up to 6 sounds and plays along. A couple of very nice instrumentals and some great vocal selections as well. Later I realized there were at least 5 or 6 more of his classic tunes I would have loved to hear. Next up was Doyle Dykes who is one of the best fingerpicking guitarists around. Picked up his new book which includes some of the wonderful stories he shares from the stage. He also brought along his daughter Haley who has a powerful voice and was a nice addition. Then Doyle called back the other guitarists and they took turns soloing through The Sounds of Silence and When You Say Nothing At All. The concert lasted over 4 hours and needs to be in my top 10, though I don't know who I could bump out of there;)
8 albums worth of walking (in the rain) this week [my legs are sore!]:
Rez Band - Appendectomy (one of the best album covers ever)
Darrell Mansfield - Get Ready (great rock a-la Boston)
Swirling Eddies - Let's Spin and Outdoor Elvis
Doyle Dykes - Chameleon
Over the Rhine - The Long Surrender (smoky jazz, not so much my thing)
Budgie - Bandolier (favourite rock band from my teenage years)
Chuck Girard - self-titled, first solo release, fantastic Beach boys-styled vocals
Read through Frank Shaeffer's "Patience with God" this week - not very impressed. He's pretty snarky and paints both fundamentalist atheists and Christians with a broad black brush. Fundamentalist anybody can be a pretty easy target I guess, and while he makes some good points I would have appreciated a more reasoned, balanced and thoughtful approach to the important issues he brings up. He sure likes to overstate things: "I recite the Nicene creed with complete incomprehension." Really? Complete? It's obvious in other sections that he does have belief, even though it's a struggle - nothing wrong with that, but too bad he generates way more heat than light here. Not very helpful.