Category Archives: From My Library

Once Upon a Farm

I just finished the audiobook Once Upon a Farm. His inspirational story was written and narrated by Rory Feek, an American country music singer and songwriter.

Rory Feek at the 45th Academy of Country Music Awards in 2010

Rory Lee Feek (born April 25, 1965) is an American country music singer and songwriter. In his career, he has written singles for Clay WalkerBlake SheltonTracy Byrd and other artists.

Feek, who was raised in Atchison, Kansas began playing guitar at age fifteen. He served two tours of duty in the United States Marine Corps before moving to Dallas, Texas. He married Tamara Gilmer on August 3, 1985 and they divorced March 25, 1992. Feek has two older daughters, Heidi (born 1986) and Hopie (born 1988).

Rory moved to Nashville, Tennessee with his two daughters in 1995 into a run-down farmhouse. He had no idea of the almost fairy-tale love story that was going to unfold on that small piece of Tennessee land. … and the lessons he and his family would learn along the way.

Rory Meets Joey

In 2002, he married Joey Martin Feek, with whom he started the duo Joey + Rory. They have one daughter, Indiana Boon (born February 17, 2014), who was born with Down Syndrome.  Joey died of metastatic cervical cancer on March 4, 2016.

Now, two years after his wife Joey’s passing… Rory takes their four-year-old daughter Indiana’s hand and walks forward into an unknown future. He takes the readers on his incredible journey from heartbreak to hope. And ultimately, the kind of healing that only comes through faith.

A raw, and vulnerable look deeper into Rory’s heart, this book is filled with powerful stories of love, life and hope. And the insights that one extraordinary, ordinary man in bib overalls has gleamed along the way.

A bright sunrise will contradict the heavy fog that weighs you down
In spite of all the funeral songs, the birds will make their joyful sounds
You’ll wonder why the Earth still moves.
You’ll wonder how you’ll carry on.
But you’ll be okay on that first day when I’m gone

Dusk will come with fireflies and Whippoorwill and crickets call.
And every star will take its place in silvery gown and purple shawl
You’ll lie down in our big bed
Dread the dark and dread the dawn.
But you’ll be alright on that first night when I’m gone.

You will reach for me in vain, you’ll be whispering my name
As if sorrow were your friend and this world so alien

But life will call with daffodils and morning glorious blue skies.
You’ll think of me – some memory, and softly smile to your surprise.
And even though you love me still,
You will know where you belong.
Just give it time We’ll both be fine when I’m gone.

The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully

Recently Linda and I attended a class taught by our friend and  retired Methodist minister, Sue Gibson.  The class was based on the book The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully by Joan Chittister.

Although this was a book about growing older I found many of the lessons thought-provoking for those of any age.

“Old age is not when we stop growing. It is exactly the time to grow in new ways. That period in which we set out to make sense of all the growing we have already done. It is the softening season when everything in us is meant to achieve its sweetest, richest, most unique self.”

Lifelong learning

Living life to the fullest means active aging. One thing that can make the difference between healthy and unhealthy aging is lifelong learning. According to the Harvard University Longitudinal Study of Adult Development, continued learning determines “the degree to which life will be satisfying to us.” It also determines the degree to which we will be interesting, valuable, life-giving to others. Learning projects that keep elders’ minds active also expands their horizons. Additional it gives them them opportunities to be in community with others on retreats, study groups, or in online e-courses.

In a series of short, bright, and snappy chapters, Chittister provides a tour of other elements of growing older gracefully. As I listened to the audiobook I found myself thinking of songs that seemed appropriate for the topic at hand. Each week I posted these songs on a new website, Sue’s Classroom. You can click the hyperlink to the left or click on “Sue’s Classroom” from the menu at the top of this page to see these selections.

Growing Older in the United States Today

Growing older in the United States today really means, according to the latest statistics and research findings.

• By 2020, 18 percent of the country will be over 65.

• In 2005, only 7 percent of those between 75 and 84, and only 25 percent of those over 84, need help with personal care.

• Decrepitude and incapacitation that come with age are, on average, only about the last three months of life. Even then, mental clarity is more likely to remain to the end. “Clearly, life does not end till it ends.”

• Only 5 percent of those over 65 are in special-care institutions. And 80 percent of the rest of the older population have no limitations in managing the rigors of daily living.

• Old age is no longer a custodial care proposition. “Grandma does not ‘live in’ anymore. She is far more likely to live alone, in her own home or apartment, drive a car into her eighties, and volunteer at the library.”

• Old brains are no less intellectually competent than young brains. “Scientists have discovered that older people, while not as quick computationally as younger people, do think just as well as the young, but differently — with more depth, with more reflection, with more philosophical awareness.”

Tips For Growing Older Gracefully

Our 60s 70s and 80s can be some of the most satisfying years of our lives. For sure our physical health isn’t what it used to be. However, if we choose to see them there are many blessings. Consider just the following three examples:


We have more time. We can use this time to study, pursue leisure activities, volunteer, deepen our spirituality, etc.


Our lifetime of experiences give us the ability to think differently — with more depth, more reflection, more philosophical awareness.


Stay busy. Cultivate relationships both old and new. Find opportunities to volunteer. Check on others who may be shut ins and would enjoy the companionship as well as meals, etc.


Musical Sundays – 2018’s Coming Attractions

Coming soon to a browser or smartphone near you: your weekly invitation to join me in Brad’s Music Room. This year I have a mix of new, as well as familiar programs.

Moses Meet Mozart

We will continue reading the essential scripture passages of the Old Testament. Starting next week you will receive a monthly email with that month’s prescribed reading.

In 2017 we focused on the book of Genesis. This year we will finish Genesis and turn our focus to the book of Exodus.

Experience these stories with a soundtrack of some of the greatest classical music of all time. Featuring  music from familiar composers like Aaron Copland and Johann Strauss. In  addition you will hear pieces from lesser known artists and contemporary composers.

Record Digging for the Holy Grail

We all have a list of records that we would do anything to get our hands on, that we’ve been chasing for years. And we actually call this list our “holy grail.” Over the next 10 months I will share with you the top 10 albums on my “holy grail”. In addition to being a personal favorite, each represents a significant milestone in music history.

What Else Is Coming?

On This Day In Music History

From My Library–Audiobooks, TED Talks and inspiring Videos

What’s Going On? Random Posts About Things Happening in My Life

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway
And I wonder if I’m really with you now
Or just chasin’ after some finer day

And tomorrow we might not be together
I’m no prophet and I don’t know nature’s ways
So I’ll try and see into your eyes right now
And stay right here ’cause these are the good old days

I hope I have given you something to anticipate.