FROM RULES TO LIMITLESS

By Terry Carter, Editor

I once heard a story of a newly married couple, and the husband was helping his wife cook dinner in the kitchen of their new home. She had purchased a roast, seasoned it, cut off the ends and put it in a large pan. 

While the oven was preheating, the husband asked his new “Why do you cut off the ends of the roast? It seems like a waste of good meat.” She gave him a defensive look and explained, “My mother has always done it this way – and so did her mother.” Several months later, the newlyweds met the whole family for a big holiday meal. The husband promptly asked the bride’s mother why she cut off the ends of the roast before cooking it. She said her mom had always done it that way, and it was tradition.

After some family talk on the subject, the husband asked the grandmother why she had cooked roast that way. Being an honest woman, she went right to the point and revealed a revalation. “I cut off the ends of the roast because my oven at the time was too small to fit the whole roast.” 

She had sacrificed out of the necessity and passed on this cooking tradition to her daughter and granddaughter. And no one realized the reason or that ovens today are big enough for even the largest roast. It was simply a rule of the day because ovens in the 1940s were small.

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Much of our lives today is run by rules we learned young and still follow, even though those rules may have reached their expiration date or are simply not benefiting us. Look around analytically, and you will see that many rules we expect to be universal laws are not always accurate, such as we must have a college education to succeed. I know many men and women who have not college experience, yet they are successful, in my view.

I grew up absorbing the wisdom of my parents, and my father worked for large corporation, averaging 40-50 hours a week on a Monday-Friday schedule. I only recall him working for perhaps three companies in my life, so the mantra of the day seemed confirmed: Get a good education, work 40-50 years for 1-3 major companies and then you can retire early.

Upon earning my bachelor’s degree, I encountered a changing world that destroyed that ideal career scenario. I was laid off three times in five years in my chosen field. As a result of my desire to control my destiny, I have started or co-founded six companies so far while still staying in touch with the consulting or employee side of my life. 

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Most of us live a life of lies because we firmly grasp these rules growing up. Work hard, for example. Reality is: We all work hard, but only a small percentage work smart and employ the creative genius thereby leveraging their time, talents to get ahead. Fewer still actively create a framework that allows them to pocket millions of dollars while traveling the world in opulence.

I have means and end goals currently, but means goals are more common for nearly everyone because of the rules we heard when young. And you have means goals about career earnings, raising a family, retirement, purchasing a special home and working for a great company.

But end goals are probably where we as humans want to go because as we begin achieving the means goals set by society and our culture, many of us wind up NOT happy at all when we are in our 30s, 40s and 50s. We may have a high-paying career, but we are actually stuck in boring, stagnant positions running from home to work, home to work and home to work.

We have less time with our families than we truly want. And because of that, we often find our relationships at home suffering to the point our spouses ignore us, our children don’t want us around and our pet growls or hisses at us. For millions of Americans, it is the literal rat race, and we are the rat being chased, pressured and squeezed by deadlines, bills, work, home, retirement (if we can afford to consider it) and more.

This is a real-world case. Even with a Master’s Degree as a 1-percent earner and at the top of his or her field, the achievers today are not truly happy. Sure, they look good on camera. But many are struggling to get through each day, wondering why they are not happy with their vaults of money, garages of fine vehicles, multiple homes. And somehow, we sit in our 10-year-old Honda, driving to work from an apartment to a deadend job and believe we have all the answers about happiness. 

The truth is less than one percent of us would be content if our income fell 50-70 percent today because it is way beyond our comfort zone. But layoffs happen, and that is often a 100 percent pay cut. Retirement happens too, and many retirees settle for less than half of their full-time career income.

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So how do we get from “living within the cultural rules” to having limitless options for improvement?

We pay attention to movers like Elon Musk, founder of Tesla Motors and numerous other major companies. We learn from Richard Branson and Vishen Lakhiani and Michael Beckwith and Marisa Peer. These people are changing the potential for extraordinary achievement by ordinary folks like you and I. They are telling us how to do what millionaires Musk, Branson and Lakhiani have already done.

Lakhiani founded Mindvalley and transformed the company into a industry-leading personal development mastermind organization that is setting the world of achievers on fire currently. I am re-reading his book, The Code of the Extraordinary Mind, for the second time in seven days. The hardback version has been highlighted beyond belief because it reveals startling, new information. Since I read 40-60 books annually of business, personalities and improvement, I think I can safely say this book is probably the best book I have read in decades. 

Jack Canfield, co-author of the best-selling series Chicken Soup for the Soul, said it bluntly about Lakhiani’s book. And Canfield is an expert on this type of writing: “Vishen Lakhiana’s knowledge base and his ability to present it clearly and to actually put it into practice is above anyone I have ever seen in this field.”

Lakhiani has many unconventional suggestions. But when it comes to finding the end goals that lead you to your desired destination in life, he mentions these:

  1. What experiences do you want to have in this lifetime?
  2. How do you want to grow?
  3. How do you want to contribute?

(More on this topic soon)

ASK BIG, PRAY BIG, LIVE BIG  

  • EACH DAY YOU CHOOSE EITHER A SLAVE MENTALITY OR GOD’S ABUNDANT MENTALITY

By Terry Carter, Editor

When we hear of a friend or relative speak of a blessing, an opportunity or a miracle in their life, why do we doubt that a great gift could exist for them?

Is God unable to hear our prayers and bless us in special ways? No, God hears all of us, but some prayers – like the ones Pastor Joel Osteen spoke of recently – seem to remain unanswered. And like most of you, I feel frustrated without instant gratification of my prayers. What Paster Joel Osteen recently mentioned during a televised sermon is changing my mind regarding routine ideas, prayers in my life because they often orginate from a limited or “slave mentality.”

When we pray, do we ask God to keep us alive through a tough time or to keep our old car running? Those are weak prayers. By asking and praying big, I suggest you ask God not to become a better slave in your current life. Ask to become a better dreamer, a better achiever, a better go-getter, to set a new standard for this generation. 

How big are your dreams? Ask big today!


Our God is the God of abundance, and you cannot reach your fullness in life without asking for and pursuing your biggest dreams. In order to reach grand dreams, you must first begin to think great thoughts and envision greatness in your life.

 Now will God make you rich, famous and fabulous just so you can look good on the red carpet? It is unlikely you will be blessed greatly despite a strong prayer unless you also tell God that you will give back and help others.

The Book of James 4 describes praying a sick prayer, a weak prayer or a prayer for the wrong motives that seems to go unanswered. Joel suggests that asking God for big dreams and miracles is exactly what the Lord wants.

When we ask God, we acknowledge that He and Jesus can do the impossible. When the blind men called out to Jesus, Jesus asked them what they wanted

You are God’s prized creation, the apple of His eye. Joel suggested asking Him daily for your biggest dreams like it is your special birthday. It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you treasure. Be bold enough to ask. Ask big in child-like faith, and there will be times when God will show you miracles even though it looks impossible in your eyes.


God said you are to reign over your life – not hide in the shadows hoping the poverty, pain and desperation will subside one day.  What you do will prosper and grow abundantly, based on The Bible. The Lord will give you the desires of your heart if you “ask for explosive blessings.”

So why do so many of us back away from helping friends and chasing our dreams? I have seen good christian people turn their back on a friend who is offering needed help or an opportunity. Often their reasoning for rejecting the gift is unsupported by facts, but I suspect they lack an inspired dream – or they are too embarrassed or complacent to improve their situation.

Sitting on the sidelines and watching the world go by is not God’s plan for us. We are directed to seek out and pursue Godly, inspired dreams, missions, achievements. I believe we should look for inspiration each day in nature, in music, in art, in people, in love, in friends, in business and much more. 

Regardless of your sex, dimensions, skin color, education, you were created for greatness. Either you pursue that every day, or you avoid it by running away from inspiring moments, great people and life-altering events. Will you boldly ask for blessings and go where no man, woman or child has gone before?


My next area of greatness will never be reached by me if I sit at home watching TV each night. Because big ideas come true for others, I know I can also strive for better results and perhaps great memories. Success will never be a destination. It is simply a journey I am taking up a tall, amazing mountain slope where the view improves with each step I take. 

Success is reached daily by moving – sometimes falling – forward. I am traveling on this global quest with many inspired friends, and the comradery makes the sore legs and stumbles all the more memorable. They are quality people with big dreams, big prayers and big needs – all of which Jesus can meet at the right time. And failure is a healthy part of success – don’t think you can reach the pinnacle of life without hard work and failure.

Perhaps our journey together would be even better if our prayers also became fearless as we pray for dynamic miracles to help millions of people insteadof hundreds of people. For we are all humans, and each of us is a miracle worthy of great prayers, great blessings, great healing, great recovery, great strides and great achievements that may shock our own families.

But for the one small child who today decides that she will be the first Master’s Degree in her family, I say, congratulations. See it today. Chase it each day, week and year – and your life’s successes will begin today and never stop. You can climb higher and higher on the journey to success. Their is not summit – just more joy and challenge ahead.

See the biggest dream, and go get it.

FITNESS OR FATNESS – THAT IS THE QUESTION

By Terry Carter, Editor

I have weighed more than 200 pounds for about 25 years now, topping out at a mountainous 262 pounds about 3 years ago. As a chronic, Type 1 diabetic with a recently disabled knee at the time, my recovery prognosis for the knee was debateable. 

After surgery and about six months of rehabilitation three days a week, the doctor said I was permanently disabled, would always walk with a limp and may never run again. At this weight and an average diabetic diet that included fast food, taking more insulin to compensate for my sugar cravings and sodas, I was nearing 50 years old and losing a life-long health battle that began when I was 11 years old.

Back then I played 5-6 sports – including baseball, golf, tennis, wrestling and football – and led most teams I played on due to good hand-eye coordination, strength, flexibility and some athletic ability. After a baseball all-star game in June 1976, my mom bought me four Cokes, and I guzzled each one while eating two hotdogs. Then I asked for a fifth Coke.

As a registered nurse, she recognized this much sugar was a bad sign for my health. Two days later, I suffered through a 5-hour, glucose tolerance test and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. 

Thirty days in the hospital was the rule back then. So this hyper, athletic 11 year old bounced up and down the hospital halls in a wheelchair. It was the nurse’s way of preventing my blood sugar from falling due to extra exercise. Thus began the complicated daily adjustments in insulin, diet, exercise and even shoes that changed my life for the better.

Better, you say? How so? Well, the doctor was matter-of-fact and told me early on that if I listened and did everything he suggested, I may live to be 60 years old. We didn’t discuss the alternative.


So for more than 35 years, I had analyzed blood sugars, adjusted insulin doses, eaten OK and stayed semi-active as our three children grew up. But dietary knowledge and fitness gurus improved the system while I was preoccupied as many of us are today. Calories didn’t matter as much as Carbs. And cardio and cross-training became the fitness trends.

When I fell and hurt my knee, the Meniscus tore. And I was forced to walk like Festus in the old TV series Gunsmoke, kind of dragging my right knee behind me because the knee would no longer bend to lift it off the ground. Some of that was caused by the knee injury; some of the limp came from the hard scar tissue after the surgery.

So after the rehab doctor tells me I will likely never run again and am permanently disabled, my inner athlete chose to challenge those findings immediately. First I signed up for several seasons of slow-pitch softball. The first season, no one let me run. The second season, I ran the bases slow but steady after spending almost six months jogging sprints and trying not to fall on my face..

And the third season, I batted exclusively from the left side to get closer to first base, and I ran hard… for an old guy with one leg. On infield grounders, I forced myself all out to first base, and I beat a handful of throws. Playing infield was good training for the legs too because I simply didn’t give up.

Back to today: I walk about 30 miles a week and go running 3-4 times weekly. With my injury, I am forced to consciously take every step carefully and precisely to prevent stumbling on hilly terrain and stairs. I still fall, but I get back up and move on. As part of this rehab mission, I have always become a 3-day-a-week regular at my gym. It’s like CHEERS: They wave to me when I enter.

I have made good progress on the weights, treadmill and swimming once a week. I am not concerned about sweating hard and growling during my last 2-3 repetitions on a challenging weight. And I am now leg pressing as much as the machine can handle, and that leg press is the best rehab exercise for my knees, bar none.


As I mentioned earlier, I weighted 262 about 2.5-3 years ago after the surgery. Now I am 224 pounds, a 38-pound drop based on taking known weaknesses and focusing on them – intently! I never ran cross country or sprints. So my 5K runs for practice and in competition are new stimulus to my body. Your body and mine alike dislike the same excercises over and over. I mix long walks with pure sprints with quarter-mile jogs, but the running itself is my body’s best cardio workout.

It may be different for you. And 224 pounds is the lightest I have weighed in more than 20 years. I could not have imagined that after I reached 35 or 40 years old. It’s incredible to be moving down in weight while eating well and taking all-natural supplements from Plexus. The combination of eating healthier, exercising consistently and taking vitamins and the right supplements is a rare combination that gave me more energy, endurance, focus and better results.

I cannot tell you how happy I am with the strength, quickness, flexibility and overall health I am feeling right now. Also I take less than 50 percent of the insulin I injected three years ago. To all of you real runners out there, I’m not Clydesdale size yet, but my goal of 205-210 is within sight. Then I will bust that 35-minute barrier in a 5K race.

And if a 51-year-old man with a chronic disease and one knee can do that, I’m sure you can at least walk 15-30 minutes after you get home from work. How about it? Are you willing to join me?

THE TAO OF STRUGGLE

A friend recently asked the rhetorical question we all must answer: Why is everything I NEED to do always so difficult?

After taking the same test administered by the hand of God and failing it repeatedly myself over the years, I choked back a giggle. Then I reminded my friend that life was never designed to be simple or convenient. Everyone has their own perspective on the why. However nearly everyone agrees we are tested daily with seemingly unpleasant challenges.

For myself I always viewed the hard work in life as a character-building exercise developed just for me by God. As a young student, I did well in all subjects and every sport I attempted in elementary school. I made excellent grades, led my age group in T-ball/baseball, golf and more. I even wound up on the front page of the local newspaper at about age nine because I was simply in the right place at the right time. Those were great years, followed by character-building events.

At age 11, I won 4-of-5 golf tournaments and completed a strong baseball season with an appearance in the county all-star game in early June. After that game, my mother observed that I drank about five Cokes to quench my thirst. With one son already living with Type I Diabetes, she was quick to have me tested for the chronic disease. I tested positive and spent nearly 30 days in the local hospital while adjusting to taking insulin injections and testing sugars consistently. 

Just as I was checking out of the hospital from that long visit — my friends called it imprisonment — the doctor checked my throat and found a lump that brought me back to the hospital days later. It was removed, found to be benign and left behind a long scar on my neck — pretty exciting for all of the wrong reasons. These are some of the struggles I deal with even today. We all have ongoing issues we adjust to keeping thriving, or they can conquer us.

In my case, I developed new-found abilities to make detailed charts of insulin doses, blood sugars, meals and exercise to make better daily adjustments to my blood sugars. I became proud of my scars, wounds. While I was quiet at times, I focused on growing into a responsible leader. I found recently after a personality evaluation that my personality is very strong in 3-of-4 basic personality types, which is a scarce quality. They give me a good chance to recognize and solve the battles that arrive daily in my life.

Consider the battle of opposing forces you observe regularly in every city. It is the Yin and Yang of your life: The wind and rain batter the Earth daily; the hustle of life versus the caution required to cross a busy street; debates that start among family or close friends; and much more.

Martin arts legend Bruce Lee used the analogy of water to explain life and our role in it: Water can flow. It can be poured into a cup, and it becomes the cup… this analogy reveals how we humans can adapt and change to fit our responsibilities and environment. Bruce also said: “Water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” This suggests we humans can break down barriers, break out of bad relationships and overcome what holds us down in life. It also subtly suggests that without crashing out of the cup, we can become imprisoned inside the cup forever, while thinking that is all there is.

But how do we break barriers and overcome challenges? With faith, hope and prayers involving God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

To me, Bruce was telling me to be water. And as water, I could conform to the shape I was poured into, or I could crash and wear down the cup, the rock or the room that tried to contain me. It is my choice to flow or crash, and it is your choice also.

In the second paragraph, I mentioned my repeated test failings. It didn’t happen in the classroom. Yet it seemed my Father often created a specific test for me to pass or fail each week. And if I did not pass God’s test, the same assignment was waiting on my desk again Monday morning. God’s tests – in retrospect – closely resemble the math tests we all took in school as we learned simple mathematics.

Have you ever felt like you could not move forward in life until you solved this one puzzle – something like a Rubik’s Cube? Logic works sometimes. But here it did not. Random chance, guts and wild guesses did not help either. Following my heart solved little. After repeated failures, I studied my defeats — typically caused by my own selfish strategies — and resigned to God’s will. 

In reality, this is perhaps the second most certain path to wisdom in life. The best method I’ve discovered is learning from others by personal observation, interviewing people and reading books for knowledge.

Why is life so challenging? Because it should be for all the right reasons. Humans must learn, live and grow. If we all had a smooth, even walk to the summit in life, boredom would dominate the day. The potholes, curves, deadends, tangents, S-curves and roadblocks give us a challenge, a chance to overcome the obstacles.

Take on the challenges in your life. Drama or no drama, tests are for acing. Failure is there for the wisdom to be gained. Death happens to teach the living that today is vital. And setbacks pose only temporary walls in our path if we solve the correct riddle at hand. If not, we seem to take the same test again next week.

Perhaps I need to be more talkative and polite. Perhaps you need to be more resilient. We all have room to improve, except for The One – and I do not mean Neo. 

A STORY OF BLESSED LIFE

By Scott Thornton, Guest Editor

I have read The Bible approximately 15 times now, and I am consistently amazed at the detailed stories of miracles, faith and history that fill the pages.

But lately I am called to read and re-read the Book of Luke, which begins with the story of John the Baptist’s birth and the connection between John’s mother, Elizabeth, and her relative Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. If you have not read this story recently, open your Bible to Luke and study it carefully. It will bring you to tears if you understand the blessing and joy Elizabeth received  after decades of being unable to deliver a child for her husband.

Six months after Elizabeth was told by the Angel Gabriel that she would have a son who would be great and filled with the Holy Spirit, Mary received a similar conversation with the Angel Gariel. Elizabeth was told to name this son John, which was not a family name. That created some conflict as her husband Zechariah had been silenced during the pregnancy for not believing Gabriel when he delivered this good news to the priest Zechariah some nine months earlier. Fortunately both parents had been told by Gabriel to name the baby boy John.

When Zechariah was asked about this at the circumcision, he wrote that the boy should be called John, and then he was able to speak again. 

After Mary had been blessed with the life of Jesus, she traveled to be with her relative Elizabeth during the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. When Mary entered Zechariah and Elizabeth’s home and greeted the expectant mother, the Book of Luke states that the baby “leaped in her womb and Elizabether was filled with the Holy Spirit.”

The two mothers-to-be spoke like each knew the other’s holy secret already. It must have been an amazing time in their family as they exchanged stories that no one else has ever experienced. Both women were blessed with remarkable fortune and children who are famous across the world. It was a great day in their village.

According to Luke, John the Baptist was born approximately six months before Jesus was born to Mary. And John the Baptist and Jesus Christ were related through their mothers! Never heard that announcement before in church, and I have been oblivious to the holy connection until now. For decades I always remembered the story of John the Baptist started halfway through his life as he was preaching of repentance. I initially believed his was a loner, ranting in the wildness who eventually became more persuasive as leaders have done before.

Somehow  I overlooked one of the most blessed events – and the miraculous nature of the birth and upbringing of John. 

With that knowledge, John’s passion, his works and his meeting with Jesus carry amplified significance. That was truly a troubled time to believe in Christ.

But simultaneously, it was the best of times to see the Miracles of God, the life of the Holy Son and a significant bit player who warned the world to clean up its act quickly. Clearly there were differences between them, but both were filled with the Holy Spirit and guided by the Father. And both died horribly to fulfill a sacred mission for us.

And we – either has historians or Godly people – will recall their stories for all time.

IS THE SUN SETTING LOWER EACH GENERATION?

Morality, where for art thou — in 2015?

Clearly none of us are flawless gems in the eyes of God. Only the Lord knows if I am righteous and able to defeat the daily battle with pain, temptation, procrastination and selfishness that haunt each of us. Perhaps my many flaws will result in a less than blessed conclusion. 

Only my decisions, God’s will and time will tell.

As a generational whole, however, I fear that greatness has been achieved numerous times in history. By generational whole, I suggest that our decisions and impact as a group are in line with what is right for all, not just a select few. 

In the history of the United States, the generation of the Founding Fathers stands as a landmark of an educated time of action by moral men and with respect to God’s wishes. Was George Washington a saint? No. He couldn’t even keep his own teeth in place.

However historical documents reveal Washington was absolutely a man of God, and he was protected from from near-fatal shootings on several occasions during the French and Indian War. A small museum in upstate New York still has the jacket Washington wore in battle in 1752 — with numerous bullet holes riddling the uniform.

Only the foolhardy would debate George’s value to the country or the quality of his character. His generation is well regarded because of their loyalty, ethics, education and independence.  They were people of high morals and wisdom, capable of analysis, reasoning and solutions that benefitted not just one man — but all men.

In the 20th century, the men and women who survived the Great Depression and converted America into an industrial world leader — as well as the dominant military force on Earth — were known as the Greatest Generation. They were hard workers led by strategic and creative genius and heart for doing what was right for all.

Look around you today, friends. Who among us represents these virtues  and creates greatness in our society? Steve Jobs changed the world for the better until his death. Much of the technology world, however, is lost without Steve’s charisma and his brilliant devices to use technology. Thank God for Steve, but the chasm left by his death is substantial and has left millions looking into the Grand Canyon asking, “What’s next?”

Likewise Bruce Lee was a life-changing man to whom I am eternally in debt. He was the ultimate physical specimen with muscles bulging in places no else even realized there could be muscle. Beyond that, Bruce was also the best fighter on Earth and proved it on film and in real life against bigger opponents. A person  I played golf against recently attempted to insult me by stating Chuck Norris was the best ever. Playing as BruceLee1940, I reminded him that Bruce was able to defeat the amazing Chuck in their on-screen battle and impressed Chuck enough in their personal practice time that Norris is credited with saying no one could beat Bruce Lee in his prime. After a couple of birdies, my opponent agreed. But Bruce was more than a physical being; he cared most about helping people reach their ultimate potential — and avoid accepting the status quo. He was an incredible and knowledgeable writer on the human body, martial arts and philosophy. Even today, he inspires millions who are as passionate about Bruce’s. Like George Washington and Steve Jobs, to know Bruce Lee, you must read his writings.

Again I ask: Who, living today, represents the maturity and wisdom to lead today? In terms of groups, some will say lawyers are smart enough to lead our society. But attorneys and judges (former lawyers) are partially to blame for the laws that require this nation’s downward spiral. 

Politicians? These are attorneys, and I suspect 90 percent are not truly representing the needs of their local constituents. Too many deals, double crosses and arm twisting for an ethical man there. In fact an honest man would have to start a filibuster upon his first day in office and continue it for his entire stay in Congress in order to survive the political maneuvering that is available on CSPAN. 

I suggest you look lower and more down to Earth. More on that in the future.

CRAZY iTUNE TIMES

iTunes ranks among the strongest apps to reach the hands of computer users for the ridiculous price of free.
With this musical database, you and I have the pleasure of storing our personal favorite tunes where they can be organized, played and modified to fit our whim. They can be transferred to music players, CDs, DVDs and shared.
What I enjoy best about iTunes is its enormous appetite for music from any genre, any generation and any artist.
Several years ago, my great friend Scott Pederson presented me a single DVD, which proved to change my relationship with iTunes forever.
The DVD in question contained a gift I hope all music historians receive while they are able to play it and dance to it. He sent me the Billboard Top 100 songs annual list from 1970-2005. In 35 years of rock’n’roll, pop, country, dance, hip-hop and various other styles, Scott has given me a way to re-live both my brightest moments and my darkest days.
In June 1973, the Carter family left its Michigan abode and commenced an epic, 4-week vacation driving from Lake Michigan to Arkansas, then Armarillo, Flagstaff and finally Southern California where my grandparents lived.
On the way back, my dad chose a northerly route through Las Vegas, Denver and Chicago. And during the entire trip — sometimes several times each day — Karen Carpenter joined us with her melodic rendition of “Yesterday Once More.”
I know I memorized the lyrics after hearing the song seven more times in Oklahoma on one of our famous 600-mile jogs. Some members of the family are now nauseous when the Carpenters are mentioned at the dinner the dinner table.
But I can still name that tune in two notes.

Three years later, we moved from Michigan to Mississippi. To prepare, three boys had the time of their lives painting a roomy, 1-story home. 1976 was the summer of America’s Bi-Centennial and Elton John and Kiki Dee’s duet, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.”
I do not intend for you to believe that these songs owned the charts, but they did well. And now the memories of an 8-year-old exploring the Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater and the Rocky Mountains and painting his gigantic home are easily retrieved with an iTunes search for 1973 or 1976.

Seven seasons later, I entered my senior year in high school in Texas. It was 1983, and Michael Jackson owned the Billboard charts with huge hits like Billie Jean, Beat It, PYT, Thriller and more. While the music set an unprecedented standard for excellence, I have to say that after 30 years, the Billie Jean, Beat It and Thriller videos are among my strongest visual memories from that year.

While I never found his tunes on the Billboard Top 100, Star Search champion Sam Harris, who later worked his magic on Broadway, stole the hearts of my future wife and I in 1986 with his version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow.
In recent years, my search for musical talent seemed struggle. Even so, the journey has revealed the likes of John Legend, Whitney Houston, Sugarland, MercyMe, Lady Antebellum, Adele, Josh Groban and Michael Buble among others.
It has been a continuing search for the immense talent the 1960s and 1970s that brought fans to their feet. Groups like Elvis, Eagles, ELO, Willie Nelson/Waylon Jennings/Johnny Paycheck/Johnny Cash, The Beatles,Pat Benatar, Gordon Lightfoot and many more legends.

Just tonight my youngest child, now 19, and her boyfriend were toying around with iTunes. Sensing some tension in the room, I asked Connor to pick a happy song, and almost immediately to The Beach Boys’ Little Deuce Coupe. Now there is a young man I can identify with.
I freely admit my iTunes music collection contains about 15,000 songs, and I don’t love all of them. So you take your chances when you push “Shuffle” around here.
Although the odds are perhaps working against me, I’ve always been an optimist, believing that God sends subtle messages to each of us with his song choices. It’s a bit like an answered prayer when the perfect song comes on the radio or the right artist grabs the mike as you enter the room.
Am I suggesting God and Steve Jobs worked on the invention of iTunes together? No. I believe Apple’s software wizards created a path for the all music lovers to get what songs they want and when they want them.
No more driving to the mall for an album purchase when only two songs are significant. No it’s much better.
And God’s role may appear non-existent to some, I choose to believe He plays a role in every aspect of my life. Without God’s input and the timely invitation of my parents, I may never have been introduced to Alfie Boe, a vocalist who has the chops to sing the most demanding roles on Broadway or the London stage. His lead role in the 25th anniversary of Les Miserables ranks as astounding and became a powerful prayer in a time of need in 2012.

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