News for September 2011

A New Pickup.

I know it’s a picture of an airplane.  Stick with me on this.

I’m getting a new pickup. Not the truck kind, the guitar kind. It’s coming today according to the online tracking information. I ordered it on Thursday and at any point I can look it up on my phone and see where it is. Last night it spent the night in Eagan.

I used to build model airplanes as a kid. Now the picture makes sense, right?  The kind that flew. Balsa wood and tissue paper. Exacto knives and attention to detail. The kicker was that I lived in Liberia West Africa. And yes, this was pre-internet, youngsters. So to order a kit you would write to the company in Iowa (Sig) and order a catalog. A month or two later you’d get the catalog. You’d pour over the catalog for days and weeks and figure out how much you could get for the US currency you had. Then you’d send in your order and miraculously, 6-12 weeks later, the kit would arrive. Usually. Late 80’s Liberian Post Offices weren’t exactly the height of dependability. Talk about anticipation. And risk. No guarantees. But holy cow was I excited when those models arrived!

Next Wednesday I get to spend 8 days touring down to Arkansas and back and I can’t wait. Touring is my favorite part about being an independent performing songwriter – not to mention it’s a big part of my income. For each contact along the way I’ve got emails, work numbers, cell phone numbers, google maps, gps on my phone. And when I needed to replace the pickup on my weissenborn style guitar I was able to not only find the one I wanted, but I found one that was used (cheaper) and googled around for a coupon code and got another 20% off. And now I’m tracking it’s journey around the country to my doorstep. No waiting for catalogs, no iffy post office shenanigans, no currency exchange… what a different world we live in.

And yet maybe not. Despite these amazing conveniences we can’t underestimate the human factor. When it comes to dealing with each other the anticipation and risk is back. The guarantees get thrown out the window. I am under no illusion that I’ll be playing for packed rooms and attentive crowds. I’ve played for empty rooms before and I’ve been the drowned out background music. But I’ve also, after strings of bad gigs, had a well lit stage, a sound man that still had his hearing, and a group of listeners that actually listened. And (knock on wood) I’ll see the same next week on the road.

It might seem overly calculated and well laid out, but when it comes down to it’s all a big risk. And I think risk is evidence of Love.

Posted: September 20th, 2011
Categories: Uncategorized
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transitional living

Everything is changing! Or so it seems. We’re selling a house, my home congregation moved to a new location (a whole block away!), my eldest started third grade today, my youngest has a new preschool, the Vanagon is getting new upholstery (thanks Mom!), my Dad is back in town after hiking the entirity of the Appalachian Trail, I took a part time job with Lutheran Campus Ministry at the U of M, I’ve got a jam packed fall schedule…

It’s pure craziness.

I’m excited for these changes. I’m also apprehensive/panicky at times. The other night I went to bed at 11 and woke up at 2:30. I was pretty much up for the day once I started worrying about how everything was going to happen in time. And if it would all work out financially. And it might. And it might not. It’s the ‘might not’ that keeps me up at night.

My friend Sue says that money follows mission. My dad was just telling me that whenever he’s followed a call that the money part has worked out. Jesus likes to point out that birds and flowers don’t worry. Well duh Jesus. That’s because we don’t charge the flowers rent for garden space and birds eat for free in our feeders.

But it is a fine example of being free. Of having someone take care of you. Watch out for you. And when I think about it I guess I’ve got those people in my life too. People that buy me coffee (thanks Jason!), that work to sell my house (thanks John!), that make sure I eat (thanks Jodi!) and people that support me as an artist in my vocation (thanks you!). You’re setting me free.

Transition is not easy for me. I’m a slow changer. I dig routine (Hello liturgy!). Perhaps part of my routine needs to be taking time daily to remember those who care for me and ease my worries and assure me of my calling. And in faith and trust I continue to live into my calling. You’re helping me figure that out. Thanks for the support, the love, the easing of my worries, and well… Shucks, once again thanks for being you. Keep being that which you are, Nate.

Posted: September 6th, 2011
Categories: Uncategorized
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