Friday, September 30, 2011

Basement Flood

As you may know, we are applying for new station in Toronto. Applications are a monster of a project - quiet time to think and focus is critical so I took the day off yesterday to bring it all together.

And then -

I was down in the basement and noticed water creeping around my drums. Then more water. Oh crap we have a mild flood!

The sump-pump stopped working! There was an inch of water in the front half of the basement, and since we are still unpacking from the move, there are boxes and boxes everywhere, sitting in water -including my record collection! (The last time this happened was 20 years ago and it was an oil spill - I lost my whole album collection!)

I figured out that the hose from the dehumidifier had jammed the float switch, causing the water to rise.

Frantically I'm trying to lift up soagy boxes before the cardboard bottoms fell out. And figure out which boxes had my 45 record collection, while I'm walking around in a low ceiling basement, wading thru water, in the near dark.

Here's what's funny - I'm feeling blessed. I caught it in time before the whole basement filled up and we lost everything. By chance, when I touched the hose the floater started working. When the plumber came he recognized that it was working fine and it was a simple case of misfortunate that the hose got in the way. He could have sold me a whole new unit and I wouldn't have known the difference.

So, I'm praising God that it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

I wonder why I happened to go in the basement in the first place? Hmmm! Thank you, God!

Meantime, I lost a day of working on the Toronto application. Well, I wasn't in the mood anyway!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Better Than Freddie!

Marc Martel of the Canadian Christian band DOWNHERE, has the most awesome voice! Downhere have two lead vocalists, (with Jason Germain) and Marc is the higher pitched of the two.

You might recognize "Little Is Much", "Hope Is Rising", "Let Me Rediscover You" or "My Last Amen" as a few of their many radio hits.

Last time I saw Downhere I thought - this guy's voice is like Freddie Mercury's. High, powerful, gutsy - a rock killer! I wonder what he'd sound like singing "Bohemian Rhapsody". Well, now we know.

Watch this! Especially after the the instrumental break where he comes back with " you think you can stone me and spit in my eye." It's the climax of the song and Marc sings it effortlessly.

And I think - better than Freddie.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Living For Jesus!

This morning Tom Roe invited me to join the band for the worship set at Living For Jesus Outreach in Orillia.

This place is A-MAZING! Pastor Jim Woolcott not only oversess Sunday church but LFJ also prepares meals for 70 people every day! Wow - 70! Donations of food, clothing and cash run the charity. This is Jesus Christ in action - sharing the gospel, feeding and clothing the needy!

LFJ is also kind of rare because it's not part of a denomination - you could feel it. (They may be part of a greater organization that I'm not aware of). The vibe wasn't pentecostal or baptist or luthern or vineyard - just a room full of people who follow Jesus, read the Word, sing his praises and often hurting. No announcements, no churchy programs - just Jesus. Nothing fancy.

I'm going back on October 23. Come check it out at 11am.

Awesome God
Glorious One
Amazing Love
Let There Be Joy
Majesty (improv)
I will Give Him Glory
How Marvellous

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Riding The Ferris Wheel

Ben Davy on the ferris wheel for 49 hours - I took a 5 minute spin!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hazel - Mayor of Mississauga. Inspiring!

The Mayor of Mississauga - Hazel McCallion. Watch this video - you'll be inspired! Especially, "Hot Child In The City". Woo hoo!

Go Hazel!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Oro World's Fair

Today was exciting here in the Oro Station Super City Centre. It was the annual ORO WORLD'S FAIR!

Can you say - WOW! Words cannot describe the excitement so I thought I would post photos with captions. Consider this your invitation to come next year!

Me and a heffer. I'm not getting any closer. Robert, the owner, sold her for $45,000. I'm in the wrong business.

Janice and the pony rides.

Apparently there are prizes if you add "art" to your hay stacks. Yes, they hand out red ribbons for the finest. Ok.

What are these things? And why are we compelled to shove our faces in and snap a goofy photo. Why? IDK.

Ok, now this just gets weird. There are rows and rows and rows of chickens and roosters and geese - with first place ribbons. Yes, I'm a city boy. I don't get this. How do you decide which is "the best chicken"? And aren't you going to eat it anyway? Ribbons and awards for poultry? Maybe if I continue to live in Oro I'll learn to accept it. Maybe I'll enter my chicken, if I get one. Where do you get one?

The Demolition Derby. This was huge. The audience seating area was packed out. Ok, so maybe there's no rock stars playing at Casino Rama and this is the only entertainment around. But cars smashing into cars? Cars that are already a right-off? Smashing? I'm from the city - this is an average day on the DVP. Move on.

What's a World's Fair without music, right? Here are The Rugby Boys - a little country, bluegrass and gospel. I sat on a haystack with the other five people in the audience and enjoyed the show. It's a bit small-time but, like I said, another year living in Oro and I'll probably be managing these big boys!

The Oro World's Fair - everything I expected - AND MORE!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Newsboys STILL rock!

Ok, I've been apprehensive about the Newsboys. I saw their show a couple of years ago in Toronto, just after Tait joined. It was good. HE was good, but the band was different. I figured Tait would finish the tour and that would be it.

I was wrong. Again.

Tonight was "Maple Noise 2011" in Toronto, part of the 10 city cross-Canada tour. Several Canadian bands were on the bill - my friends in To Tell, Jodi King, Greg Sczebel, Jon Bauer, Manic Drive, Manafest, TFK - and Newsboys.

When Newsboys hit the stage, they SCHOOLED everyone else! Michael, Jody, Jeff and Duncan were wearing skinny, cool suits and even on these 40 year olds, they were stylin'. While a great deal of the music was tracked, it only enhanced the sound. (It's hard to jump around stage, play an instrument and not be pitchy.)

(Michael Tait on left, Jeff Frankenstein bent over behind the keyboard.)
A long catwalk poked out into the crowd, quite a distance and Tait made great use of it. As he strutted the catwalk, singing the songs we know well when sung by Peter Furler, Tait gave it a richness that is - different. Tait is probably a better vocalist whereas Furler is a personality waiting to go off the deep end. Both great performers.

But Tait and the boys are "a new Newsboys". They should probably change the name of the band - it just isn't the same. Not better, not worse, just different. And very, very pro.

"Way Beyond Myself" sounded awesome. All songs sounded awesome, but better than the music was Tait's preaching. He is sincere, truthful, relatable and makes you feel like "you can do this Jesus thing if you just give it more effort." That was the message I got.

What a night! Newsboys rocked it! (Now, how do we get them to play Barrie...?)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Reflecting on my first day in Barrie - 1997.

Thanks for all your comments on today's Facebook status. It’s been 15 years since I moved to Nashville and 14 years since my relocation to Barrie. I’m not sure why I’m so reflective on this event today more so than the last decade. Maybe I'm supposed to write this blog - for someone else.

The last dozen years of my life have been the most exciting. Working in Nashville at WAY-FM was my dream job. The day I left Nashville I cried like a girl. It was a great city; I had made good friends; it was an exciting place to live; O'Charley's Restaurant, Cool Springs Mall - arrrrg - I could go on and on.

In September 2997, it was like God was dragging me out of the country with me kicking and screaming. And I was very verbal about it! As I crossed the border from Tennessee to Kentucky I felt like I was leaving everything that was good, behind. It was a horrible, long drive back to Canada. I had no idea that WAY-FM would be the catalyst for LIFE 100.3.

I moved to Barrie for one reason only - I had nowhere else to live. I spent all my money in the U.S. avoiding coming home to Canada. My parents brought me and my family to Barrie to live with them. It was a humbling time - having a wife and kids, no job, no prospects of a job and having to live off my parents.

I remember picking up three part-time jobs and grossing $12,000 in 1998! I could put gas in my car and pay my insurance.

This was a valley in my life. I was fed up with secular radio and the sexy rude music. It was evidently more offensive having come from a Christian format where the lyrics proclaim virtues like trust, honour, purity and love. While living with my parents in their basement I continued to attend church, pray, seek God and ask people for advice.

One day I was leaving my parents house to go to my part-time weekend job and my Dad was in the driveway. I was totally forlorn at my hopeless situation. I stared at my Dad, my eyes welled up and I grabbed him for a hug. He patted me on the back, like a father and told me everything would be alright. I know he felt my pain.

Living with my parents in their basement lasted a year a half. I often was angry at my parents about my situation. As if it was their fault that I got fired. I am embarrassed to say that I was ungrateful for their generosity and hospitality, blind to the fact that they fed me, clothed me, paid my dentist bills while I searched for the next chapter in my life.

Most people think that starting a Christian radio station was my lifelong dream. It wasn’t. It just happened. The CRTC had changed the broadcast rules and were awarding licenses to full-time Christian stations and I wondered what might happen if I combined my faith and experience. So, I sent in a pitiful application that not only won me the license for LIFE 100.3, but skipped the entire hearing process.
Now LIFE 100.3 is here. Today I continue to lead this radio ministry and realize that wherever God has you, that's the best place to be.

The advice I got along the way:

Pastor Ian McLean told me “you have to give up your idols before God will reveal the next plan”. What’s your idol? Figure it out and surrender it.

Rebecca St. James told me “God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.” While I had a substanial amount of radio experience, it was God who led me to the people who cheered on my vision and supported me.

Kevin Bushey told me “God gives grace to the stupid”. I interpret that as meaning, I knew programming but not business, not engineering and not fundraising and so God gave me a shortcut before I gave up.

Bob Augsburg, the head of WAY-FM told me “To whom much is given, much is required”.

If you’re stuck in a valley - seek God. He will bring you out of it.


Monday, September 12, 2011

A Happy Ending?

Because we’re Christians, and God is for us not against us, I think we have the impression that everything will work out in our favour because we ask God to do it. But, God doesn’t promise us a happy ending to our lives. People die; we grieve; it’s not happy.

I wonder what the disciples thought at the Last Supper when Jesus passed around the wine and said - "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."

Wouldn’t that be freaky? Imagine if, today, someone told us they were “the new covenant” - would we nod our heads “ya ok, I get it”. Or would we think “uh, I don’t know about that, man”. It must have been hard for the disciples to accept those words.

Then, Jesus was betrayed by Judas and his buddy Peter pretended he didn’t even know Jesus. Jesus was beaten to bits and hung as a bloody mess on a cross as the soldiers made fun of him. That’s not a happy ending. (Yes, I know the resurrection is a happy ending.)

We have the Bible to give us the whole story, but in Jesus day, they didn’t have the whole book. So what was happening then was a current event. Imagine that. Being there with Jesus, watching the miracles and watching him die. Wow.

My point is that our lives may not end happily. Am I getting it?

Friday, September 9, 2011

View From Ashore

The views from the new house are amazing!

A few nights ago there was an amazing sunset. We were watching TV and out of the corner of my eye I saw the oranges clouds. We dashed outside. My dad and Janice were the first ones on the dock while I pulled out my iPhone to grab this photo. The sky really looked like this. I like how the left side and the right side of the rainbow are distinctly different. And the reflection on Lake Simcoe is pretty cool.

The next night we were taking a walk and it was dusk. The sun was bouncing off the lake but the park was getting dark. The moon was fully visible in the bright sky. The moon, the sunset, the water, the park - it was like a painting.

For a few nights the waves have been much more than I expected. How rough could Lake Simcoe be? Well, now I know why everyone puts their boats on a lift - it's to prevent the waves from bashing it to bits against the dock! Wish I could get a photo of the waves but it's at night.

Then, if that wasn't enough, we woke up early yesterday. Our renovator was on the way over to build a gate and some other stuff.

As we turned off the alarm we noticed the sunrise and ran outside to enjoy it, and snap a picture.

It takes alot to get me out of bed in the morning, but this time it was easy!

I am so blessed to live here. It's absolutely awesome!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New Music by To Tell!

One of my favourite Canadian artists is To Tell, based in London, Ontario. Their new song is "In Your Eyes", which you can hear on LIFE 100.3 in Barrie.

Here's the audio. No video available.

Monday, September 5, 2011


At last, with the end of summer, we've moved from Barrie, about 15 minutes north. Moving is stressful, exciting, rewarding!

With early excitement for our new house, Janice and I laid a couple of patio mattresses on our bedroom floor and had "a sleepover" - in our new house. Fun idea, nothing but mattress and a toothbrush - but our backs were siezed up in the morning!

Friday was the move-out and move-in. Having spent a few days packing up each room we thought we were ready but the amount of "yet to be packed" stuff was unbelievable. Thankfully my brother stopped by for assistance. Then, a 5-man moving company came in, threw boxes on their packs like they weighed nothing and hauled them out to the van. By 4pm, we were moved in, more or less!

After a quick dinner, we dropped by an art gallery on Maple Street in Barrie to see Brett's band (Handsome and Gretyl) perform for 75+ people. A great night of music and a nice break from unpacking.

Saturday, a bunch of friends came to help unpack boxes. AJ sanded down the balcony, Jon unpacked books and photo albums and clothes, John hauled boxes up and down to the basement, Betty Jean and Crystal organized the kitchen. A good team!

Sunday morning I was scheduled to speak at Trinity Community Church in Oro. I was lucky to find a shirt and pants that weren't wrinkled!!

For the last three days we've been climbing over boxes, searching for various pieces of clothes and flashlights, moving around couches for the best fit and mopping duck poop off the dock.

Last night there was an amazing rainbow that shone over Lake Simcoe. From the sky to the water and the colourful reflection on the water - quite awesome! Quite the glorious sight.

Today, everything is where it should be - more or less. Each room sounds like a bathroom until we put up wall photos, etc. But we're settling in and there's still time to blog.