Friday, May 22, 2009

Finally Friday

Okay, so after reading way too many people's blogs I've decided to start my own fun theme. I'm going to call it "Finally Friday" and it's just a recap of what I've done this week. The highs and lows, the sunny days and the cloudy ones and...okay, who am I kidding, it's basically what I can remember from the week. Sometimes that isn't a lot. we go!

So this week has been pretty hectic. I think as the phrase goes, "When it rains, it pours." It has been pouring this week. Last night, for instance, my wife and I tried a new recipe courtesy of my sister. We made cheesy potatoes and baked chicken. While the potatoes were in the oven, my choir accompanist called and asked if we wanted to go to dinner and sit outside some place over a few drinks. Ugh! Of course we do!! But then we can't eat cheesy potatoes.

This all happened before I had choir practice to rehearse for a wedding this weekend. We have an event called Walnut Hills Has Talent and the choir was "up for bids" as Drew Carey would say. We were won by a member of the church for her son's wedding. I'm a little put out by this because the process of getting the songs picked and then rehearsed has not been worth the outcome. But, it will all be over tomorrow after the wedding.

So, after a pretty fun choir rehearsal where I gave out prizes like duct tape, toothpaste and old t-shirts, all of which I found in a cabinet in my room, we went home and watched the last hour of "So You Think You Can Dance."

SYTYCD can only come too soon since American Idol ended on Tuesday. And, boy, what a finally. I told my wife that the show was going to have to go on hiatis for a year after that huge KISS performance. I figured the show is bankrupt after all those effects. I was happy with the outcome. Many people pointed out reasons for Adam not winning, which was an upset since he is clearly the far more talented of the two, but as my wife pointed out Kris would have faded into the background if he didn't win. Adam will do well no matter what.

Of course, it was also pointed out to me by someone at my church that perhaps Adam didn't win because he was gay.

This is where the record squeeks and I say, "Whaaaaaat?!"

That is a rediculous reason. First of all, how do we know? So he wears a little bit too much eye liner and paints his nails. So...big deal. I think they call that "Emo." It was also pointed out that his voice is just soooo high. Therefore, woman-like.

Second we go...Whaaaaaaaat?!


I'm going to move on. You can draw your own conclusions of how that conversation went.

So, back to Thursday. SYTYCD is BACK!!! Unfortunately, three things were weighing against watching it: 1. Mary Murphy drives me nuts. I think her voice is like the Seinfeld episode where Kramer has seisures every time he hears a certain woman's voice. That's how bad her voice drives me crazy. 2. The Ugly Betty season finale was on. Now if you don't watch Ugly Betty...shame on you. Such a funny, sarcastic show with lots of heart. We haven't been too faithful to the series this year since choir is on the same day, but we've tried to catch it whenever we can. 3. 30 Rock was on. Crap!!! There are too many options! How to choose. Luckily for 30 Rock, it was a rerun so we only scanned over to NBC a few times, just for some giggles.

As for work, everything has wound down. Preschool is finished, so no more Peanut Butter song until next year. Thank goodness. My programming is ending for the year, although I have started two new things for the summer: Youth Choir, which I HOPE HOPE HOPE is a success and Summer Choir, which is already looking like it's going to be a success.

Emerging worship is actually looking like at some point it might happen. Of course, that may be in 2012, but at least we're talking about it and moving forward. We had a meeting this week and I did the agenda. We actually stayed a little more on task. It's an odd meeting because all of us in it are "leaders" (I use the term loosely) of our own programming. So, in this case, I'm not really sure who is leading the meetings. I've kind of taken on the leadership role and I like it.

The Ad Council met this week, which is always a frustrating time. I wasn't at the meeting, but they decided that the programming people needed to come up with more "stuff" to do during the summer months to keep people connected to the church. Really? Becuase I'm pretty sure my summer is my time to work on next year's music and catch up from this year....not to plan more stuff for nobody to come to during the summer.

Well, I think that's all that has happened this week, at least that I can remember. Really, it's a journey through what I watched on TV this week, but like I said, it was a big week. I hope that everyone has a great weekend and enjoys their holiday. Hopefully, it won't be too rainy here. Join me next week for Finally Friday!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A New Blog Post

Okay for so long I couldn't figure out how to put a photo into my blog. I know, "That's childs play" you say. And yes, I agree. I should have been able to figure this out. I don't think I've mentioned that technologically I'm not that quick. I can usually figure something out, but not too fast. So, here is my first blog post with a photo. This is the beginning of a whole new blog, picture-filled and all!!


I was just recently directed by my sister to a blog by Michael Hyatt. Hyatt is the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing, which is the publisher of my favorite book: 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell.

While reading Hyatt's blog I scrolled down to one post entitled, "8 Things Leaders Can Learn from Symphony Conductors." I thought, "What providence. I am a conductor and I try to be a leader. How pleasant."

Just as a side note: isn't that always the way we find something? We are hooked by something that sounds like something we do. And then we HAVE to read it or watch it because it has to do with us. Two cases-in-point: GLEE, the new television show. I play for a show choir now and I enjoy myself immensely. I have to watch and enjoy Glee because it relates to me. The other point: Shawn Johnson winning "Dancing With the Stars." Of course, the news was all over this one. There is always a connection to Iowa, but this didn't disgust me, but made me want to know more and say, "I live in West Des Moines, just like Shawn Johnson."

Anyway, I digress...

The article (if you can remember back to the topic of this post...if not, scroll up) was to compare the conductor's roll to that of a leader. For instance, a conductor recruits the best players, is visible, leads with his heart, focuses on what he can do, keeps his back to the audience, and shares the spotlight.

One of these points jumped out at me more than the others: the conductor leads with his heart. At a summer music camp that I accompanied for at Simpson, a choral conductor said to the choir, "You have the hard part. I have the easy part. I'm directing this piece because it's what my heart feels. You have to follow me." I've always remembered that and I use it in my rehearsals. I used it in the directing part of my interview for the job I have now!

I try to direct from the heart as much as possible. I've been taking a different direction with my choir recently. I've been trying to lead them to the conclusion that they aren't "just" the choir, but are worship leaders. This has changed the group, not only their sound (which is much improved) but also their outlook to the worship gathering. Before, they came in and sang their song and then left. This perturbed me. Now they actually lead worship from the front of the Celebration Center.

I've shown them to lead with their hearts too. At least I hope I have. I'm a very organic person when it comes to finding new music for us to perform. I like to try and fit the theme for the week. If I can't then we sing something that moves me. In all reality, we usually end up singing something that moves me!

I find it harder to lead with heart than I do to conduct. With conducting it's very easy to find an emotional connection to a piece of music. You can't always find that with people. I find it difficult, even though I've read more than once "Winning With People." Another book by John C. Maxwell.

I'd like to point out "The Patience Principle" which states that "the journey with others is slower than the journey alone." This is what catches me up. I'm usually a pretty fast moving person. I don't like to wait for others nor do I like to wait for them to catch up. There are times when getting out of the car my wife moves too slow. Very slow. I get irritated because I don't like to wait.

But I'd also like to point out "The Partnership Principle," which is one I have to keep in front of me a lot: "working together increases the odds of winning together." I think that the only way to work and win together is to lead with your heart. You can't work with other people for long if you lead with your head. Well, you can work with them, but they'll probably usually get pretty mad since you'll be bulldozing over them a lot.

That's really hard NOT to do. But, I keep trying!

Yes, because everyone else does it, here's a question for you:
How do you lead? What makes you successful with your leadership?