It’s a Wonderful (Amazing) Life!

New words to Amazing Grace inspired by an old movie

A wonderful life
God’s given us
through friends and family.
Each morning breaks
with hope anew
like waves upon the sea.

There’s beauty in
a walk at dawn
and geese upon a pond.
Our lives are blessed
by thoughts of times
with loved ones who are gone.

There’s wonder in
a moonlit night
and in a child’s face.
Our blessings morph
to grateful hearts
and hymns that praise God’s grace.

Greg’s book,
Finding God in
It’s a Wonderful Life
is listed on the
BOOKS menu
at $2.99-$14.99
Lulu Books.

Sitting by a Cozy Fire

There is just something about a blazing fire that warms the soul

Sitting by a cozy fire
listening to John Rutter’s choir
frees me from the quicksand mire
of daily life demands.

The dancing flames invite my gaze
and penetrate the inner haze
of foggy thoughts from stressful days
and deadlines yet unmet.

And in the fire’s warmth I find
a respite from the daily grind
and faith to trust when I am blind
to how God cares for me.

The Man and His Music

Celebrating the Legacy of Ralph Carmichael

Black horned-rimmed glasses, long white hair.
I’d recognize him anywhere.

A heart for God and young folk, too.
He touched my life but never knew.

For Pete’s sake! Ralph gave our faith wings.
His upbeat praise songs helped us sing.

A restless one? I think he was
‘cause Ralph was bored with hymn-drum blahs.

This gifted bulb was soon root-bound
and could not flourish underground.

Ralph’s blades and shoots broke through the sod.
This rebel was a gift from God.

His plant grew up. Became a tree.
The rest they say is history.

From first violin to Big Band king,
Ralph Carmichael was everything.

He’s everything to me and you
because he saw we needed new.

I sing his praises though he’s gone.
Because of Ralph, the song goes on!

The man and his music both brought us deep joy.
Ralph Carmichael gave grace a voice.
Composing, arranging, conducting and such,
Ralph wired our hearts to rejoice.

With Mar at his side, this musician of note
continued to show us the score.
The soundtrack for living that flowed from his pen
was embellished with grace notes galore.

I’m just one of those grateful for what Ralph has wrought.
There are millions who counted him friend.
A friend who inspired our childlike faith
through his music again and again.

There is a thoughtful article on Ralph Carmichael’s life and work, including a few videos. Use this link to Christianity Today:
Composer Who Fought for Freedom of Christian Music

On Each Continent We Worship

A new hymn for World Communion Sunday

On each continent we worship
breaking bread and sharing wine.
We are joined in sweet communion
tasting grace while marking time.
Purchased by Christ’s blood and body,
we’re diverse as we can be.
On this holy day we gather
mindful of our unity.

On each continent we worship
to proclaim Christ Jesus King.
Borders blur as anthems echo
in the lyrics that we sing.
In all corners of Christ’s Kingdom
we proclaim His majesty.
On this holy day we gather
mindful we are family.

On each continent we worship
one in mind and one in heart.
Children of a common Father
each a necessary part
of the whole that God intended
to achieve His Kingdom come.
On this holy day we gather,
mindful that the Church is one.

Tune: Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee

A Tribute to the High School Band Director

The Mr. Hollands in our lives deserve an opus

With your music stand a pulpit,
your baton a shepherd’s staff,
you led your students daily
with stern words and belly laughs.

Yes, you modeled truth through music
by the way you loved the kids
as they looked to you for answers
lest they end up on the skids.

With marching band your metaphor
you helped each section see
just how to work together
and to be a family.

Like Richard Dreyfus’ Holland
you invested in the young
and the dividends you’re earning
is success’s highest rung.

Mr. A, you’re most successful
for the music you have made
echoes far beyond the band room.
It’s an ongoing parade.

Marking time or earning millions,
those you taught (now fully grown)
march through life most confidently
making “music” of their own.

* This tribute was written for Steve Accatino. I first met “Mr. A” exactly 30 years ago when our family moved to the Bay Area. Last week Steve retired from Ygnacio Valley High School where he has been the band director for thirty-three years. High school band directors are a much-loved breed. I kept in touch with mine for thirty years until Mr. Huber prematurely died of a brain tumor. (If you never play in a high school band, you need to watch “Mr. Holland’s Opus.” That inspirational movie will clue you in!)