Not My President?

Differing weights and differing measures—
    the Lord detests them both.
(Proverbs 20:10)

Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!”
    Wait for the Lord, and he will avenge you.

The Lord detests differing weights,
    and dishonest scales do not please him.
(Proverbs 20:22-23)

So, as far as I can tell, it’s now official.  Donald Trump is our next president.  I know there has been much ado over whether or not the electoral college would “vote their conscience”, and not for Trump.  I’m not sure, has that ever been encouraged to this degree in previous elections?  Maybe?  I’ve never paid attention.  In fact, I didn’t pay it much attention this time either – just that there have been so many postings, videos, etc.

People have attacked Trump, Trump voters, Trump supporters, Never-Trumpers, Anti-Trumpers, Never-Ever-Anti-Anti-Trumpers.  Pretty much EVERYONE has been vilified, threatened, harassed – some even harmed, due to the results of this election.  I had a dear friend seek out his Facebook “friends”, looking for Trump voters or supporters, and systematically unfriending each one. And then call out for others, who may be hiding.

And – even encourage them to take their own lives…

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
(Matthew 7:1-2)

For some, these verses I post may mean nothing.  I get that.  But they do mean everything to me.  And when I read the verses in Proverbs 20, I think about what Jesus said about judging others, as referenced in Matthew 7.  See, it’s very, very easy for us as humans to hold others to a standard we don’t want to hold ourselves to.  And before you jump to, “Oh, I don’t do that!”, please look at your heart with sober judgement.  Are you being honest?

Donald Trump is my next president.  Because I’m an American citizen.  He wasn’t my choice.  I don’t like him, or at least what I’ve seen of him.  I’m saddened by his behavior – past and present.  I’m completely flabbergasted that he thinks tweeting relentlessly about things that – just shouldn’t be said by a president, or – ANYONE really –  in public for the world to digest – is acceptable, presidential behavior.

Please don’t get me wrong – he has EVERY right to tweet away, to his hearts content.  As do we all.  But it’s just – childish…  I wish he would stop…

But he’s my next president.

And guess what?  If you are an American citizen, he’s yours too.

And further – I think he’s the president we ALL wanted.  Stop and think about that for a minute.  Even if we didn’t want Trump in office – we wanted this…  Oh, we wanted this… On his Twitter activity alone, he’s a perfect reflection of what we have become as a social media society.

Don’t agree?

Look at your social media feeds.  You all see it, if you haven’t blocked everyone you disagree with, or hidden all but pictures of cute grandkids and awesome recipes.  And even if you have blocked everyone you disagree with – read closely the language used by those you DO agree with.  Is IT “presidential”?  Yes, I know, you’re not the president-elect, nor are your friends.  But most of you who might read this ARE adults.  Is it becoming of you, or whomever may have posted it?  Does it foster conversation, discussion, even debate?  Or does it build walls and shut all communication down?  Does it foster love, or hate?  Would you say it to someone’s face, without a care as to how they might be hurt or offended?

The news does the same thing – no matter where you get your news.  Pick your poison.  We might get a nice feel-good piece on occasion.  But much of it is drama, because drama sells.  It stirs us up.  And we buy more and more, further feeding the beast inside us that so wants to hate…

Yes, there is a lot of bad going on in the world.  Yes, we should stand up for those who are oppressed.  Yes, we should absolutely be saddened, shocked, appalled, at what has happened in Aleppo, at Standing Rock, with the recent shooting of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, the bombings this year in France and Orlando and Istanbul, and elsewhere, the taking of innocent lives – whether by police officers, private citizens, mothers, fathers, sons or daughters.  We should be appalled.

But are we becoming people who have forgotten how to forgive?  Have we let fear and anxiety and hatred of our perceived enemy overcome us, to the point where we cannot love?  Someone I know made these cool shirts with the slogan, “Love trumps fear”.  And it does!  But are you letting it?

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
(1 John 4:18)

FEAR – is what is making so many lash out against the election, against Trump, against those who may support him.  FEAR – is what is making so many feel the need to DEFEND Trump and call those who have expressed their disdain for him less than honorable names.  FEAR – is what seemed to enable some to finally feel “empowered” to do some very deplorable things to Muslims, gays, blacks, hispanics, women, and anyone else I may have forgotten to mention, in the name of our next president.  FEAR – is what leads so many of us to respond almost in kind, attacking our next president for not saying anything about all this, or if he does he “doesn’t really mean it”.  FEAR – is what leads us to see all the ugly going on and assume that is what the next four years will be like.  And if we allow our fear to rule – that IS what the next four years will be like…

We don’t have to fear Trump.  Even IF he were as completely horrible as he’s been made out to be in news and social media (and as much as I dislike him, I do not think that’s even remotely the case), we don’t have to fear him.  Love truly does trump fear.  And whether you believe in an all-powerful mighty, just, loving God or not – you were created in His image.  Which means you have in you a desire to love and be loved.

Will you feed the desire to love and be loved in you?  Or will you feed the beast that fears and hates?

I have another dear friend, whom I recall some years ago, calling out the “anti-Bush” people, who would not acknowledge him as president, or give him any sort of respect that our president should receive – only to be the one treating President Obama with the very same disrespect…

Some might jump to the conclusion my friend was a racist.  But he wasn’t a racist.  He was just a hypocrite.  As am I sometimes.  As are we all…  But we don’t have to stay that way.  We do not…

President-elect Trump is not the president I wanted.  But come January, he will be my president.  And yours as well.

Differing weights and differing measures—
    the Lord detests them both.
(Proverbs 20:10)

Song Story #8 – Wedding Coat

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Wedding Coat

A little more than a year ago, I released a record called “The Wedding Coat“.  The record was written from the perspective of marriage, divorce, the pain around that.  It was a response to not only my past, but seemingly so many that I love, going through similar things.  I did a campaign around that record, ultimately raising $3000 for marriage counseling.  My hope was, and is, that God would use that for SOMEONE.   Some couple, or couples, where money might be the obstacle to getting help.  I still believe that the God who raised the dead to life can restore a dead marriage.

By the way – I’ve seen it with my own eyes, very recently.  God is so good…

So this song, I wrote with the theme of wrapping up the record.  The first verse was my past, how I treated my ex-wife.  Many can relate.  Some would still be proud of that.  Some, like me, not so much.

The second verse is actually my son-in-law.  See, at their wedding (an outdoor wedding in October, and we had SNOW.  It was COLD).  He stopped their wedding, mid-swing, to take his coat off and put it on his bride.  I still tear up, when I think of it…

The last verse is Christ, and we are His bride.

So – a couple things.

  1.  This song.  The original version is acoustic.  I wrote it that way.  I recorded it live, with a mic on me and another on my guitar.

    Note:  The original recording is actually two takes spliced together. If you listen closely, you can hear where I spliced together.  🙂

    Anyway, I played this song at a show last spring.  A friend came up to me, commenting on how he loved the song.  He told me, “Man, I hear a full band doing this song…”.  Huh…  I’d never thought of that…  So I did.  🙂

  2. These two records.  When I put together the “Wedding Coat” record, I would have loved to have done a full length.  I just didn’t have enough material.  In FACT – when I was writing, I wasn’t even planning on doing the record, or the campaign.  I was working on another record at the time.  And most of the songs on the “Wedding Coat” record were slated for that one.  I pulled them out, making two records.

    I did record some covers, that would have fit into the “Wedding Coat” concept.  But they weren’t my songs, so I opted to just give them away to those who supported the campaign instead.

    Then, I started writing new songs.  And the material for “Sins of the Father” materialized.  I thought, “THESE songs could have been side two of ‘the Wedding Coat'”!  Alas, it was a year later.

    So I think of this new record of mine as “the Wedding Coat, Part Deux”.  Where “The Wedding Coat” was about marriage, “Sins of the Father” is about family.  To me, they go hand in hand.

So to me, it seemed appropriate to do a full-on electric version of this song.  I really love how it turned out.  And so did my friend.  🙂

So there you have it!  That’s my new record.  Hope you enjoy!

Love you!

T.

Wedding Coat
I’m gonna buy myself a wedding coat
My life is over now, that’s all she wrote
I am no longer free, she killed my joy
Sucked the life from me, gave her a girl and boy

Toil and heartache is all you gain
A lifetime’s wages, such a waste…
Why am I so selfish, so self-absorbed?
There must be something better…
Better, Lord…

I’m gonna give my woman my wedding coat
To keep her safe and warm, this world is cold
But she belongs to me, I’d die for her
And a family we soon will birth

Joy and goodness, you give to us
What can I do, Lord, to measure up?
Why am I so blessed, so favored Lord?
There must be someone else…
Someone else…

I’m gonna waive my banner over you
You are my bride, I made you new
By my blood you gain my holiness
And my wedding coat shall be your dress…
And my wedding coat shall be your dress…

And my righteousness shall be your dress…

Wedding Coat

Song Story #7 – This Is Weird…

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The Lord Has Won My Soul

This song…  Is…

Weird…

I did not intend it to be.  I had the title, and the line came from it, “I’m gold, for I know the Lord has won my soul!”.  I really liked it.  It is a play on the passage in Romans 8:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:38-39)

But then, as I was playing it, it sounded too much like an older gospel song we do in worship from time to time, called “Bless the Lord”.  Like this:

Now, I’m not opposed to “borrowing” from songs or songwriters – there is no original thought.  And I am sure I sound like a pale comparison of my favorite artists.  But this was just too close for me.

So I decided to scrap the song, and instead use it as an odd transition piece.

The last song, “Shedding My Skin” , ends with a hallelujah chorus, because the subject of the song is finally free from the shackles of life on earth and are before their heavenly Father.

So I thought it appropriate to get ridiculous and praise the Lord as ridiculously as I could.  I mean – when I’m before Him, won’t I be filled with awe and wonder?  And – with COMPLETE PRAISE?  I mean, no holding back, I’m before YOU, LORD!  HALLELUJAH!

So – I thought, why not?  Why not make it completely weird?

Why not put peacocks in the song…

And it transitions right into the last song on the record.  More to come on that one…

See, I like to make complete records, not just collections of songs.  So it’s important to me that they flow in some way.  Whether that be stylistically, or thematically – I want to try and create a story with my records.  I don’t know that anyone else would get that?  But that is my goal.  So – given that, this song ain’t so weird.

And who is Joe Pyeweed anyway?  More on that some day in the future…  😉

The Lord Has Won My Soul

Song Story #6 – Shedding My Skin

sheddingskin

Shedding My Skin

Odd title, I know.  Odder still, if I tell you this song is about death?  And why would one want to talk about death, on the eve of Thanksgiving???

Death is one of the few guarantees we have in life.  It’s the most painful, terrifying thing.  We have NO CONTROL over it.  And we like control, don’t we?

I came up with this title 23 years ago, when my grandma passed away (she drew the picture you see above, by the way – I have it framed in my studio).  See, when my grandpa died in 1988, I watched my grandma turn from this feisty, firey, sweet old lady, into a depressing, depressed person just begging to die.  My memory of her may differ from others?  But I distinctly recall her saying, more than once after my grandpa’s passing, “I’m sick.  I’m dying.”, in a “life sucks” tone.  This was not her prior to his death.  Not to me anyway.

But I also remember, in her last days while in the hospital, a sense of renewed LIFE!  The last time I saw her, she looked younger than she had, maybe ever in my life.  Like she had shed her skin, and a new Grandma was there!  She was glowing, and vibrant.  So beautiful… Then she was gone…

So I wrote a song, trying to capture that.  I can’t remember much of the original version I wrote so many years ago, other than the chorus, which I used to write this one.

This new version is about those dear loved ones, who are left behind.  Specifically a spouse.  See, much like my grandma, who lost her life when she lost her husband, I have witnessed the same or similar in my own mother and mother-in-law.  It’s so sad to see…  Yet, at the same time, so beautiful…  You see how these couples really were “two becoming one”, when you see that person left without their life-long love…

The death of a long-time spouse – your lifetime friend, lover, confidant, basically YOU – that death is the death of two who had become one.  I’m describing this as one who has witnessed it but never experienced it.  I wonder if I have it even close to right?  But that is what I was trying to capture in the writing of this song.

And also, the ultimate freedom that comes in our physical death – for those who are in Christ Jesus.  The lines, “To be with you, I’d give everything just to be with you”, were written from the perspective of my mother saying this to my father who had passed on.  But personalized by my desire to be with my Jesus.  I’d give it all up – my wonderful family, the life he’s blessed me with here, my own wife – all of it – to be with Him now.

Who have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You…

This is my favorite song on the new record.  The beauty and sadness in the lyric.  The fact that I accidentally stumbled upon a Phil Collins vibe in the music (I’ve spoken about my obsession with Mr. Collins before, so it may not come as a surprise when I say, this was a treat for me), the chanting crescendo of “Hallelujah” at the end of the song.  I hope I don’t sound braggadocios when I say, I love this song…

And I hope you will too…

Shedding My Skin
I’m so alone
Nobody knows
Nobody understands
I’m waiting to die
Cause maybe then I would matter
At least for a little while

And to be with You…
To be with You…
I’d give everything just to be with You…

Why am I waiting?
Why am I here?
Why can’t I remember…

That oh, I’m shedding my skin
I’m ready to live again

I’m less than normal
I’m less the free
Trapped in this bag of bones
I’m searching for comfort
I’m waiting to die
So maybe I’ll live again

And to sing to You…
To sing to You…
I feel so alive when I sing to You…

Why am I waiting?
And I’m still here praying
“Lord, help me remember”

That oh, I’m shedding my skin
I’m ready to live again

Hallelujah…

Shedding My Skin

Song Story #5 – This Is the Soundtrack For My Heartbreak

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This Is the Soundtrack for My Heartbreak

I wrote about this song already as well, as I had released it prior to the record.  This is my attempt at writing a cool, hip, up-to-date pop song.  I sounds in no way cool, hip, or up to date.  But I do like how it turned out.

Two things I remember, as I dropped my daughter off in Seattle, over a year ago.

  1.  I balled my eyes out, the night before.  I was in a hotel room with her, so I had to wait until she fell asleep, and then cry as quietly as possible.  I am not a big cryer – so this was all weird to me.
  2. I recall the next morning, the breakfast before – while we spent a few days together, had a wonderful time, chatted away – and generally did and do chat away normally – I couldn’t think of a single thing to say.  So I asked dumb questions, brought up dumb topics.  I’m sure the poor girl was thinking, “When is he just gonna drop me off already?”

I remember when I left the house, and how that relationship you have with a parent – changes…  I now know what my mom was going through, with each kid.  🙂

I am bummed that I cut the first nano-second of the song, as I was editing.  Ah well, is what it is.  🙂

This Is the Soundtrack for My Heartbreak
Sunday morning, waiting for words
The last chance to pour out
Sitting silent
Can’t think of a thing to say to you
Why can’t I say

All the things I wanna say
All the things I never say
All the things you needed to hear me say

You’re moving out, you’re moving on
Will you ever be home again?
The bird is flown and the nest is alone
And I don’t know how to deal…

All the things I wanna say
All the things I never say
All the things you needed to hear me say

This is the soundtrack for my heartbreak
And I just can’t seem to turn it around
This is the backdrop for your breaking out
And I never thought I’d have to say

I’m not ready…

This Is the Soundtrack for My Heartbreak

Song Story #4 – I’m Sorry

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I’m Sorry

This is another song I re-did.  I wrote this song like four years ago or so.  It’s about my time “raising” my kids, while I was a new divorcee, with a sole desire of seeking worldly pleasures.

Now “sole desire” is a bit strong.  Or was it?  Sure, I loved my kids.  I was super thankful that I had them 1/2 of the time.  But even that – 1/2 of the time – kinda really sucks.  For me, for their mother, sure.  For them – DEFINITELY.

And even on my 1/2 of the time, I was thinking about my free time.  Parties, drinking.  I was tired.  I was not there, even when I was there…

Heck  – even before my 1/2 of the time, I wasn’t really there…

And my kids suffered for it..

So this song – was originally my way of saying to them, “Please forgive me, I know I’ve wronged you.”.  But it ended up so much more.

I’ve played this song at shows in the past, and it always opened the door for me to talk about my past, and how I affected my kids.  And I’d plead with those who were the child in there own divorce situation (their past, or even going through it now) – to hold on.  Because God has their back, even if their parents don’t in that moment.  And I’d beg those who were “me”, the ender of the marriage, to consider the impact of a decision like this.  See – most people who get a divorce, are not thinking of the long-term impact.  They may like to think they are – but they are not.  They are mostly thinking of themselves.

  • I know a statement like that is a generalization, and it may not fit every situation.  And then some don’t have a choice, they are the left behind in a divorce (Much like the children).  But bear with me – if we talk in broad strokes, most divorces are convenience divorces
  • If this doesn’t apply to you, please don’t take it personally.  If you were left behind, or had to leave due to abuse or infidelity (which is also abuse), then know my description doesn’t apply to you.  And I mourn for you as well…

So this song, just fit the theme of this record.  I decided to re-record it.  The original was more of a piano piece, with a pseudo-techno beat.  I played this more straight on guitar this time around, as I had played it live (I can’t really play piano well enough to play it live – so even my piano songs end up on guitar live).  I really like how it turned out musically.  I hope you do too!

I know it’s a deep, depressing, sad topic.  I want to reiterate – my intent with this entire record is NOT to depress anyone.  And I don’t want to keep dwelling on all the ways I have sucked it up.  I don’t do this to make me, or anyone else, out to be the villain.

I do so to show there is hope, even for the most hopeless, in Christ.  If at all this resonates with you, then praise God!

I’m Sorry
For all the times I’ve made you feel like you were anything but precious to me…
I’m sorry…
For all the times I cast you aside, ’cause I had other things on my mind…
I’m sorry…

I’m sorry that I let you down…
I’m sorry that I broke your heart…
Can’t live with “what if’s” anymore
Let’s take it back to the start

For times I forgot about you…
Left you alone to figure out what to do…
I’m sorry…
For all the times I stole your joy…
You were too young to know anything else…
I’m sorry…

I’m sorry that I let you down…
I’m sorry that I broke you heart…
Can’t live with “what if’s” anymore
Let’s take it back to the start

I’m Sorry

Song Story #3 – Stars and the Sea

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Stars and the Sea

I talked a bit about this song in another recent post, but I’ll go a bit more into it here.

I wrote this from two perspectives:

  1. How I, a fallen man, can love my kids beyond measure – or at least my measure
  2. How a perfect God can love you and me, beyond measure…

When you listen and read the lyrics, from the perspective of an earthly father or mother, for many that is not hard to grasp.  Sadly for some, it is impossible to grasp…  But for many, they get it.  A parent loves their child more than life itself.

But when you consider that our Father in heaven loves us beyond our imagination…  I think that is overwhelming.  I think we either don’t want to know, or can’t fathom, just how deep and wide and far is the love of the Father.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love…” 
     (Jeremiah 31:3)

God is speaking to you.  Yes, you.

And not because of your beauty, or your body, or your brain, or your strength, or your ability to make an incredible pour-over.

God loves you, the child who feels like nobody cares.  Who wonders if his parents even know his name…  God knows your name.  He knew you before you were formed in the womb.  God numbers the hairs on your head.  Get that?  The Creator of the universe DOTES OVER YOU.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love…” 

God loves you, the girl who wishes her parents would stop yelling – at her, at each other…  God is patient, kind, keeps no record of wrongs.  God does not holler at you over and over, but leads you to Him by His kindness.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love…” 

God loves you, the man who strives for perfection, because he finds his identity in his accomplishments and in the praise of other men…  God doesn’t look at your accomplishments, your awards, your looks.  God looks at your heart.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love…” 

God loves you, the woman who continually gives herself to man after man, hoping one will actually mean it when he says, “I love you”…  God values you as his daughter.  Get that?  YOU ARE THE DAUGHTER OF THE KING!

“I have loved you with an everlasting love…” 

God loves you, the man who was passed over for every promotion, who is struggling to support his family, who wishes things worked out a little differently…  God has great plans for you.  Plans for your to prosper, and not for harm.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love…” 

God loves you, the girl who has known nothing but abuse, from parent, to foster-parent, to pimp…  God will gather you as a mother hen gathers her chicks.   God will guard you as the apple of His eye.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love…” 

God loves you, the man who has been told his entire life that his sexual preference makes him an abomination…  Let me be clear, God HAS NEVER CALLED YOU AN ABOMINATION.  No, He wants to run to you with open arms and embrace you.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love…” 

God loves you, the woman who thinks, “There is no way I can be loved by God.  Have you no idea what I’ve done?”.  Have you no idea what He’s done for you?

“I have loved you with an everlasting love…” 

God loves you, the man who thinks he has no need for God…  Your story is not yet complete.  And God’s kindness IS leading you to repentance.  And in the very same way, He will rejoice over you, His treasure.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love…” 

These might sound like just words.  I pray they don’t.  I pray they sink in.  I pray the lies you have believed your entire life would finally be recognized as such.  And the truth that will set you free, would be fully embraced.

I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
(Ephesians 3:17-19)

Stars and the Sea
It doesn’t matter if you want my love
It doesn’t matter what you’re thinking of
It doesn’t matter if you never think of me

It doesn’t matter if you tell me where to go
If if you tell me you don’t really know
All that matters is I love you eternally

As far as the stars and the sea
My love for you will reach

It doesn’t matter what you think you’ve done
I know it all, I paid it all, it’s done
All that matters is I love you eternally

As far as the stars and the sea
My love for you will reach

Stars and the Sea