New Life!

A_Plant-New_Life

This is going to be one of those posts where I’m very transparent and I know some of you would rather I not share so much, but I also know that some of you like it when I do.

I’m feeling new life in two of my three dream categories. If you’ve been following me a while you know that my categories are Music, Money, and Marriage.

Musically, here’s what’s happening. I’ve re-connected with a friend from 20 years ago. I knew him when I was in college and he was 13 years old at the time. Now, two decades later, he lives in my tiny town (population 2500) and operates a professional recording studio. That’s where I recorded my recently released single Wings, and there’s more coming from Pyrate LLama Studios. What are the chances!! I feel set up to win!

I’m about to perform my first concert in almost 2 years. My farewell show was January 26, 2013. I meant to be done, not for a little while, but done. The term Sabbatical is what we’re using in hindsight. At any rate, on July 26, a couple weeks from now, I’ll play a concert in Vancouver BC at an SDA camp-meeting. I put the set-list together yesterday and remembered the excitement of planning a shared experience for an audience.

I’ve now led worship 4 times since coming back to music and I’ve been loving it, both spiritually and musically.


 

Regarding Money, also known as the measure of my value and relevance in the marketplace,  I am blessed with the progress I’m making as a marketer. I’m learning so much and partnered with two companies.

One is iLA(Inspired Living Application), a brilliant mobile app concept going through some growing transitions as we learn to execute the vision properly. I hope greatly for the future of this company. I get excited about changing lives through inspiration and hope. Today I was so very thrilled to visit our newly upgraded website, a  responsive  (meaning it adjusts to your mobile device’s screen size) site designed and created by the amazingly brilliant John Marr of Savage Apps. I’m honored to be affiliated with his genius!

I’ve also partnered with Zurvita (“The Risen Life”), an international marketing firm specializing in wellness products. I’ll be traveling to Houston next week for the company’s annual convention and there I hope to meet and learn from various leaders in the company and in the industry.

The more you learn, the more you earn.

I took Zurvita’s Zeal for Life Challenge, a 90-day challenge to be in the best shape of your life. Today is day 90. I am pleased with the results. Pleased but not satisfied. There’s more I want for my body in terms of strength and muscle definition. In the next few days I’ll post before and after pics from this challenge.

I’ll take a weekend off to enjoy and celebrate my accomplishments on the first 90-day challenge, and then I’m starting a new 90-day challenge next week, building on the foundation of the one that ends today. Next challenge will be about increasing width and strength in legs and shoulders.


 

That brings us to the third M-word, Marriage.

I got nothing…

When I think of that word, I have no dream.

This reminds me of the time I had no dream in Music and I set it aside, only to discover a new dream with new life a couple years later. Allowing my next steps to be informed by what has gone before, I simply placed the dead third dream in God’s hands, trusting that He will either give me a new dream or give me Peace to live without a dream in that area of my life.  As I was processing these thoughts in mid-June, I decided I would simply take the rest of the year off from thinking about it, and re-visit in the new year, a 6-month Hiatus, so to speak. Why not? TV shows do it all the time!

The other two dreams give me plenty of living to do. I have dared to suspect that my diligent passion for those two dreams just might contribute the needed spark for the third, but that’s just me speculating. For the next 6 months, it’s a thing I talk to God about in the secret place.

 

New Track “Wings” Now Available!

Wings Cover

Photo by Anthony DiRocco

My newest single “Wings” is now available for streaming from my Reverbnation page.  The song has been submitted to iTunes and as soon as that approval process is complete, I’ll share that link. In the meantime, check it out at  and please share this link with your friends: http://www.reverbnation.com/lennoxfleary/song/21175282-wings

Numbers aren’t everything, but I want to share with you that I’d really like to see a combined total of 500 or more downloads of this song from iTunes or Reverbnation or any of the other outlets where it’s being posted in the next few weeks. That will help us fund the next song that’s up for production: “My Father’s House.”

We need your help to spread the word, so please share that link: http://www.reverbnation.com/lennoxfleary/song/21175282-wings

Wings, a song re-visited.  I am excited and grateful  that we have completed this project.  I like it that there’s a “we” involved.

“Wings” was re-imagined in collaboration with General Cuffy and Chrissy Green, then recorded and produced by JD at Pyrate LLama Recording studios in Sheridan, Oregon (yes, that’s Sheridan 97378, I couldn’t be more excited about that). Joshua Humlie played drums, Cassio Vianna on keyboards. I contributed acoustic guitar, electric bass, and vocals.

We emailed the rest of the tracks to Cassio, he played his part and emailed back and JD mixed him into the song.  Pretty cool that my community is no longer limited by geography, not even a little bit. That immediately brings to mind several other amazing instrumentalists from all over the world, with whom I hope to collaborate on future projects.

Kevin Nettleingham mastered the single, Darlene Taylor shot the cover photo and there you have it, a community-produced piece of art.

Regarding my personal experience with this song, this recording illustrates a shift in my perspective about faith and trust. Faith is about expectation. Imagine I’m in a car on a road trip. God’s driving. Faith is about destinations and checkpoints. I used to have expectations about where we were going. I don’t anymore. I honestly don’t know. I know that I trust the driver and I’m in His car,  with no intention of getting out. Trust means “I’m going where you’re going, wherever that is.” Faith is something of a “What” intelligence; Trust is more of a “Who” intelligence.

It’s the same song as it was when I wrote it; I’m not the same man, though.

Different man +  same song = New Song.

Enjoy, and thank you for your support.

Love,

 

Lenn

4 Ways to Say I Don’t Know

dontknow

Yesterday’s  post got me thinking about how important it is to admit what we don’t know. And that, in turn, got me thinking about some of the attitudes in which we utter the phrase “I don’t know.”

Here are 4 attitudes, 4 different ways of saying “I don’t know,” that lead to different outcomes.

1. Defensiveness/Defiance: I don’t know, and I don’t care to know. I don’t want to know. You might be right but I am so attached to my way that I’d rather fight you and be wrong, than risk letting go of my cherished ignorance, my closely guarded blindness. This attitude is underscored by insecurity, the fear that admitting ignorance makes me appear weak and somehow less valuable.

Why in the world do we allow such a fearful choice to continue? That’s a different story for another day.  Just pay attention to the places in your life where you’re defensive about not knowing, or where you pretend to know more than you actually do.

2. Passivity: I don’t know and I might want to know but I’m too lazy to make a change. I don’t want to work hard enough to learn a more excellent way. I’m aware that there is a price to be paid for knowing and I don’t want to pay that price. I don’t pretend to know, and I don’t even argue that my way is right, but I’m comfortable and I’ll simply buy a collection of excuses that keep me comfortable.

3. Interest: I don’t know and I’m curious. I’ve asked around and I’m open to the answers if they come to me.  If you show me, I’ll listen.  I won’t go looking for it, but when wisdom finds me, I won’t resist it. This attitude leads to short-term change, temporary or incremental improvements.

4. Desire: I don’t know and I MUST know.  I am committed to knowing.  I will keep asking until I find out. I will not stop until I have the answers. I will not settle for even partial answers. This is the attitude that does not simply learn from those mentors who are conveniently placed nearby; It seeks them out, and persistently asks until they teach. This is the mindset that says “I will not be denied.  It’s not enough for you to tell me how it works; I’ll keep coming back until you show me!”

Desire is the attitude leads to lasting change, the kind of change that becomes leadership, helping other to know also.

 

He Who Knows

A-wise-man-can-learn

 

When I was 6 years old, I memorized this:

 

He who knows not and knows not that he knows not,

He is a fool; shun him!

He who knows not and knows that he knows not,

He is a child; teach him!

He who knows and knows not that he knows,

He is asleep; wake him!

He who knows and knows that he knows,

He is a wise man; seek him!

This poem shaped my thinking and relational choices throughout life. I am drawn to those in the know, or at least those who know that they do not know, and I have little time for fools.

That may sound harsh, but I’m looking in the mirror as I speak.  Any time when I don’t know something and refuse to admit that I don’t know, that’s me being a fool.  That’s me wasting time that could be invested in finding out, in finding a wise person, aka Mentor, who could show me.  I could be asking for help instead of pretending to know.  I could be seeking knowledge instead of opinion.

Until we admit that we don’t know, we are likely to keep repeating mistakes, hoping vainly that another attempt will yield a better result. I’m a huge fan of persistence, but I submit to you that only perfect practice makes perfect. Rehearsal of ineffective techniques will only continue to yield undesirable outcomes.

Know when to seek an expert. Know when to call for aid. When the student is ready, teachers appear.

Can we quiet what we think we know long enough to ask questions, or will we cling to ignorance simply because it’s familiar?

 

 

Trust and Obey

 

 

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Photo by Darlene Taylor

 

Here’s a song I heard a lot when I was growing up. Haven’t heard it much lately. Hadn’t really even thought about it for a long time, until Sarine suggested it a couple months ago. Thanks for the suggestion!

First I recorded the guitar and vocal live, and then I added a few embellishments from my keyboard.  Hope you like the result.

I’m able to keep making music only because of the support of my audience. If you like what you hear, help me make more music. Your donations allow me to run this site. I will email an mp3 of this track to every donor, with my heartfelt appreciation.

 







Write your comment within 199 characters.

 

 

That’s Not Me

The path

Photo by Zoe Pamintuan

I was talking with a friend a couple months ago and he observed that people excuse themselves from dreaming in all kinds of creative ways. They look at the wealthy, the healthy, the driven, the called, the led, the motivated, as a special class of people who are somehow genetically different, somehow pre-disposed to succeed.

By believing that success is outside of our control, we can rationalize that we were simply born with the mediocrity gene and thus it was written upon stars that our destiny lies in the realm of survival. We look at those who accomplish greatness and we relinquish our right to cultivate our own greatness with these words: “That’s not me.”

Examples? Have you ever heard these? Have you said them?

“Yes, some people get up early and exercise, but that’s not me…”

“Sure, some people have the ability to persuade others to gather around a vision, but that’s not me.”

“Some people throw themselves after their dreams with total commitment, whatever it takes, but that’s not me. “


I was 8 years old when my dream first whispered to me. I didn’t know what it was at the time, but even then, in the mirror I could see in the eyes of an 8-year-old a gleam that said, “there’s greatness in here, come find it!”

We’ve all been surrounded by people who look at greatness from afar, from the distant, televised remoteness of their couches, people who suffocate the sparkle in their own eyes by pretending that the vicarious greatness of the ones on screen can somehow replace, fulfill, satisfy the desires of their hearts.

And you know what, if we can keep ourselves distracted and avoid the silence, maybe we can keep on believing that. But I wonder if, like me, when you sit alone with yourself, when you look in the mirror and remember the child to whom you made promises all those years ago, I wonder if maybe you too can tell the difference between watching a dream and living a dream?

I don’t have to be better than anyone else, just better tomorrow than I am today. And I’m willing to commit to that and work for it. Because that IS me.  Because sitting around hoping for and wishing about, criticizing or theorizing about someone else’s dreams, standing on the sidelines while other champions win the game–THAT, that right there, that’s not ME!

 

We did not come here to just survive, 

Lenn

p.s. I love your comments and feedback. You’re invited to share your thoughts. I like hearing from you. 

People Stick

Purple shirt sitting on rail next to brick wall

Photo by Zoe Pamintuan

My good friend Dan was in town from Los Angeles by way of Kansas. Returning from his grueling 3-day karate belt-promotion trial, he made a stop in Oregon so we could visit. I got to sit with him at the Sage restaurant and introduce him to one of my mentors, John Rodgers.

I backed out of the conversation a little, allowing John and Dan to get to know one another, and began looking around the room. I made eye contact with the guy sitting by the far wall. I could tell by the way he smiled at me that he wasn’t a stranger. He knew me, and I was supposed to know him, too. I looked closer and yes, I knew his face.  I knew that I knew him. But why? From where?

As lunch ended and John took his leave, the guy from the wall table approached. He said, “Do you remember me?” and I said “No, I know that I know you, but sorry, I don’t remember.”

He said, “Eleven years ago you sang at my engagement party for me and my wife…”

My face lit up with a flood of memory, and I hugged this dude like the long-lost friend that he is.

He said, “Are you still playing music? You better be!”

Why is that the question people always ask me when we reconnect?

Here’s the back story: I once wrote a song called Without Love. It’s based on 1 Corinthians 13, the Love chapter. I wrote it while I was out walking off a fight that I’d had with my wife. The chorus has a call and response structure, where a voice sings the two words “Without Love” and then I respond with a lyrical line.

When Tyler and his lady were engaged(11 years ago), I somehow got invited to play at their party. It was just me and my Martin (guitar) and I played my best for them. Tyler was quarterback of the Linfield College Football team, so with his buddies in attendance, we had mostly football players crammed into the tiny space at the Wildwood Cafe. Big dudes, Manly Men. Muscles everywhere.

To this day, my favorite performance of Without Love was the time I had 20 or so football players singing that call at the top of their lungs. There was an awesome magic in those words borne on a chorus of gruff, hearty, powerful voices.

Without Love, it doesn’t matter what I lose or what I gain

Without Love, my best intentions would be totally in vain

Without Love, I might as well be lighting candles in the rain,

WITHOUT LOVE!!!

Back to the present (2014) — there at the Sage, Tyler and I made plans to reconnect, get together, do lunch, trade stories, catch up. We met exactly one week later. This is us at the wall table, reconnecting after 11 years.

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He’s done amazing things. And why not, he’s an incredible son of God! With a twinkle and a grin, he said to me and I submit to you:

“People Stick! Circumstances come and go, but people stick!”

Would it be crazy if I re-recorded Without Love with those football players as the back-up singers? Ty says he can get them all and their wives and kids to show up.

Good thing we record in a barn — we can fit everybody.

 

New Jazz Tutorial

Above is a video tutorial I made for Woo for a Jazz tune we’re working on. You’re welcome to jump in and follow along.

Here are the chords that are used in this tune. I’m using the chord generator at  Chorderator.com. If you find yourself needing to look up any chord, you can go there and type in the name and you’ll find a diagram of the chord.  It’s an excellent resource for a musician like myself who doesn’t have a lot of training or even know the names of all the chords I play.

In this tune, you’ll need the following chords:

GMaj7     Picture 3

Am11no5  Picture 4

Bm11no5 Picture 5

A#7b5      Picture 6

G#7b5     Picture 7

FMaj7      Picture 8

G7              Picture 1

CMaj7  Picture 2

C#Dim7   Picture 3

Bm7           Picture 4

Em7           Picture 5

Am7         Picture 6

A7             Picture 7

D9             Picture 8

See? Simple and easy, right?   🙂

Don’t be scared by the names of the chords. I’ll show you how in the video above. Go back and watch earlier videos in the Guitar Tutorial section if you need to do that. If I can learn this stuff, I know you can too.

 

YouCaring.com

In the last 12 months I’ve been blessed to meet some incredible people.  Matt Wolcott invited me along on a video shoot in Redding, CA, where I met Luke Miner, who was being interviewed by Blair Reynolds from On The Beam.

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Luke (red shirt) is one of those amazing individuals with wisdom far, far beyond his years. At the age of 20, he is co-founder of the already 4th largest crowd-funding website, YouCaring.com.  He began this adventure just a couple years ago when he was 18!

I listened to Luke’s story about failure and resilience, and his motivation to help people.

Sadly, the reason his site comes to mind today is that a very dear friend of mine had a death in the family last night, and one of the services that YouCaring.com provides is a campaign to raise memorial expenses.

Click Below to contribute to this campaign, and please help this family: http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/bucks-for-brandon/182092

As you’ll see YouCaring.com is also a great way for people to raise funds for many other needs and endeavors, including mission trips, so keep that in mind in case you know of a missionary who’s trying to fundraise.

Have a blessed weekend!

 

Love,

Lenn

Late Night

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My Dad being here for a couple weeks reminds me of this poem he used to quote when I was growing up:

Heights by great men, reached and kept

Were not attained by sudden flight

But they, while their companions slept

Were toiling upward in the night — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tonight my late night toil is the rehearsing of a riff on the ukulele. I’ll be recording it this coming weekend, on a studio remake of one of my tunes, My Father’s House. Thanks Karen, for letting me use this beautiful tenor instrument.

Must sleep, though, now. Savage workout in 7 hours. Tomorrow is day 40 of my 90-day challenge. Building me a 6-pack. It’s built, just gotta lure it into view.

Much love, and goodnight.