So much has happened since I last posted an update! Here are the highlights:
- Alex, the one who designed the Music to Pray By website is in the process of creating the album artwork.
- We had a number discussions about the album theme and title and concluded that there needed to be a change from my original thoughts. The new album title is “My Father in Heaven”.
- About one hour of MTPB MIDI is edited, and I think it sounds really good.
I have gone through some pretty major life-changes over the past couple of months. I made another career move to a company called Fortinet, and this move affords the opportunity for me to learn their technology solutions from the ground up. Though this is a challenge, it is exciting times and the future looks bright!
Here is what’s remaining for the album and podcast:
- About 30 more minutes of recorded MIDI needs to be edited
- After this, all of the edited MIDI needs to be reviewed through the acoustic piano in order to make final edits
- Once this is done, the piano needs to be tuned
- Mic placement is going to be extremely important as I have a total of 8 mics now and some really good pre-amps. This is going to be fun!
- Then there’s tracking and listening back through everything
- Songs that’ll be on the album will be chosen and the remaining will be posted as a podcast. I hope to have this done the end of October
- At this point, all that’s left are final touches on the album artwork and song titles while the album songs are mastered
I’ll try to post another update towards the end of September. Thanks for the prayers and support!
It is often times difficult to find balance in life is it not? This year has been the most challenging yet, and I feel as though I have grown closer to God more than ever! He has been so faithful! I am so excited about 2013. The goals I hope to reach next year seem impossible, but with God, ALL things are possible. (Matt. 9:26) Here they are in no particular order:
Start and finish the next Soundwave album – We will start recording our next album after DCYC in January. Jeremy has enough songs written and so far what I’ve heard has been amazing. I am truly excited about God’s plans for us!
Retake the new CCIE Security Version 4 lab exam – In order to avoid taking the written exam again, I will need to attempt the lab exam by November 14th. For those who don’t know, I attempted version 3 of the lab last month and did not pass. The new version has a huge amount of new technology so I have hundreds of hours of preparation to undertake before November.
Finish the Music To Pray By Album – This is a difficult one since we plan to release the Soundwave album early 2014, a large amount of my spare time will be dedicated to Soundwave in the studio.
Post quarterly Music To Pray By podcasts – I believe part of the reason it has been difficult to be consistent in the podcasts is I’ve had unrealistic goals. A podcast every 3 months should be an attainable goal. This means podcast 67 should be posted in February.
Remain faithful to the Worship Team, the Ministry Leadership Team, and our small group at The Connection Church – This has become almost second nature, but does require time and is a very important goal. Our church has continued to grow and reach the lost for Christ and it is truly exciting and inspiring to be a part of it!
With my “day job” of IT consulting absorbing around 50 hours of my week, there are two remaining parts of my life that I know have to take priority over everything. My time with God and my time with my family. 2013 will truly be a great year, but I believe above all, seeking first His Kingdom (Matt. 6:33) and trusting in The LORD with all of my heart (Proverbs 3:5-6) is my true goal as I try to find a balance.
One more thing – I made a minor change to Podcast 66 about 4 days after it was posted to bring down the midrange a little since it was a bit much so if you’d like the update, just unsubscribe, delete the old podcast 66, resubscribe, and you should be prompted to download it again.
Our God is Faithful! This year has truly been life-changing for me, and I question whether I would have made it through without your prayers. I’m a little over 2 weeks away from my exam, and though I’m about 20-24 hours behind my study schedule, I have peace. I’ve already begun the editing process of Podcast 66 so it will hopefully be posted within weeks after my exam. My next consulting venture is a two-month long project in Houston so please continue to keep me in your prayers. For Jesus!
It is difficult to get into the details of what has happened to me over the past 3 months, but I feel it is important to share this with you. Mid-April was a huge turning point in my life. I had just left my job at AT&T to become a consultant with a much smaller company, the Soundwave tour was in full swing with weekly practices and concerts, there was my commitment to The Connection Church ministry leadership and worship teams, and Yoko and the kids were getting ready to leave for Okinawa without me for 3 weeks. On top of all of this, the enemy took huge advantage of a very weak point when I was under for a dental surgery. I literally thought I was dying and it was as though every Truth about our existence in God’s Word ceased to exist and my entire foundation was shaken to the core. I was flooded with more doubt and depression than I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. I began to spend every spare moment I could find listening to God’s Word in the car, praying, reading the Bible, but the “near-death experience” had me convinced EVERYTHING was meaningless. It was so crushing that it took me 3 days just to recognize it as a spiritual attack. When I did, the enemy no longer tried to hide the evidence of the attack, which increased exponentially with fear added to the mix – unexplainable fear. I immediately began to call and text family and friends to pray. That night, I sought after God and relied on The Holy Spirit more than ever.
Over the past few months, there have been victories, but there have also been struggles with depression, doubt, and fear like never before. A split-second thought followed by wave after wave of spine-chilling goosebumps, sometimes occurring over and over for hours! Throughout most of my life, the enemy has used my flesh with sinful desires and bad habits, occasional doubt, etc., but this was different. It was truly a non-stop war on my mind. I have never had thoughts enter my mind that made my soul cringe like this – thoughts I don’t have the words to describe, and the enemy would trick me into pondering these thoughts to the point of spiraling into deep, dark depression that would last for days. Over time, God began to bring into greater light the spiritual war that was going on. Truth in the scriptures like 2 Corinthians 10:5, prayer, family (especially my bro David), and the same Power that raised Christ from the dead gave me renewed hope and peace. Our God is so faithful!
I truly believe that God is doing some GREAT things through this ministry and the enemy is not happy about it. Prayer IS the way we wage this invisible war by the Power of the Holy Spirit, and this fact has never been more real to me. A few days ago when I posted on Facebook asking for prayer, it had been another very rough few days dealing with a weight of depression that had no explanation whatsoever. I could literally feel the depression lift as you guys prayed for me.
I hope this encourages you to pray continually. Pray for the state of our nation. Pray for those affected by the Colorado shooting. Pray for the unsaved in your churches. Pray for your pastors, your family! …and if you have time, I am eternally grateful for any prayers lifted up on my behalf. Satan is a formidable enemy, but GREATER is He that is in me than he that is in the world!!! – 1 John 4:4
So much has happened since my last blog post almost 2 months ago! Soundwave has played at over 8 concerts/events across the state of Texas as part of “The Start” tour. Please check out our new album here if you haven’t already. Our drummer got married this past weekend. Of course, Soundwave played, which made us seriously think about doing wedding gigs for a living. 🙂 We have our first out-of-state concert in Kansas in a couple of weeks. It’s gonna be off the chain!
Things have been full throttle at The Connection Church. We are now serving for 3 services on Sunday, and ministry is happening! Rene is doing an amazing job leading worship, and Cole has been delivering powerful, applicable messages with passion 3 times every Sunday. It is truly an honor to be a part of that ministry, and if you live in the Austin area and don’t have a home church, I promise you it will be worth your time to come check it out!
Yoko and my two precious children went to Okinawa, Japan to visit her side of the family. They have been gone for a week and a half with a little over a week to go. I miss them so much. Please keep them in your prayers.
I also made the decision to leave AT&T after 8 years and accepted an opportunity at Accudata Systems as a Senior Consultant. It’s been almost 3 weeks now and I have to say that I love it and can’t wait to see what God has in store for me in this role. Adjusting to this new world has been a welcomed challenge. I also committed 10 hours a week to AT&T temporarily to help in the transition so I’ve had no time to devote to the MTPB album. Thankfully, this is only for a season.
One last thing – some of you may remember when I put everything on pause to focus on obtaining my CCIE. Well, I’ve decided to go for a second CCIE in Security. This time the plan is to spread it over a year in order to have more of a balance between family, ministry, and work. I am still planning to have the MTPB album out in Q1 of 2013. Please keep me in your prayers as I go through this very challenging time.
It has been too long since the last podcast. For this I apologize. Podcast 65 is almost ready to track. My goal is to have it posted by the end of the week. I’ve also scheduled a week off from work this month to spend time on the album. I haven’t made much traction on either front the past few months, but I do believe one day there will be much more time to devote to this ministry. Great things are coming – I will trust in You oh LORD!
Soundwave had the CD release concert last month, and some friends of the band put together a really nice “official” video of one of my favorite songs. Here it is:
I cannot believe it has been almost 2 months since I last posted any updates. For that I am sorry, but there is good reason. Now that Soundwave’s new album, “The Start” is about to be released, we have been intensely preparing for what God has in store for this ministry. Since my last podcast, we’ve done a weekend-long camp for some little ones, we’ve had a number of practices, and I’ve spent many many hours preparing some new technologies that should help us in a major way when playing live. We’ve also done four in-home pre-release concerts the past 2 weeks. Here’s a song from one of them requested by the host called “How He Loves” by John Mark McMillan:
This weekend is DCYC, an event we’ve been a part of the past 2 years, and it continues to grow. So far, there are over 2,100 young people signed up to attend, and we are stoked! After this, I’m headed off to Canada for a week (work related), and the weekend I get back is our CD release concert in Lockhart.
Soundwave has a few more concerts in February and March, but I hope to record and post another podcast between now and the end of March. I actually recorded a podcast in December, but had technical problems again. I’ve also started work on the “Music to Pray By” album, and I’m torn between putting time and effort into that project and posting podcasts. Sometimes it’s difficult to find a balance.
With all that said, I am truly blown away at the number of downloads MTPB has had even without new podcasts. The site has just recently hit over 500,000 downloads with an average of over 1,400 downloads a day now. To those who continue to use this resource to enhance your prayer time – thank you. These numbers are truly inspiring to me.
I left out all the boring technical stuff for the most part. The event was an unbelievably amazing experience! Hope you enjoy the video – all of it was taken from my iPhone except for the last bit. I chose the song “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train mostly because they performed a concert at the Cisco Customer Appreciation Party towards the end. It was outstanding!
Every year since 2008, Cisco has spammed me constantly the months leading up to the event, and every year I have asked to go and have been denied the privilege. I was certain the same would happen this year. In fact, my manager told me last Wednesday he was unable to make it happen, which was no surprise, but the following day, a reservation within our company became available! God is good!
For those of you who don’t know, Cisco Live! is one of the largest technical conferences out there, and is by far the largest in regards to the technologies I work with on a daily basis as a Network Engineer for AT&T WiFi Services. Not only will I have the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the industry, I will get to see and possibly play with some of the latest and greatest network technologies out there. The conference will be held at one of the hottest tourist destinations in the U.S. – Las Vegas, NV. With that in mind, I think of Psalm 119:11 – “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee…” might I add, “…while in the heart of Sin City for the first time” 😕
Please keep me and the family in your prayers this week – it breaks my heart to leave them for 5 days straight. It also breaks my heart to miss Sunday Morning service at TCC – especially with Jeremy, lead singer of Soundwave, leading worship.
For the techies, here are some of the seminars I’ll have the opportunity to attend:
– Enterprise Network Virtualization using IP and MPLS Technologies
– Advanced Enterprise Campus Design: VSS, Routed Access, and Resilient Campus Networks
– Advanced Scaling for Core and Edge Networks
– CCIE Service Provider Operations
– Data Center Town Hall: Enabling Cloud Adoption
– Cisco NX-OS Software Architecture
For the non-techies – I also get to hear William Shatner give the closing keynote, and Train will be performing one evening as well. Another huge bonus is I’ll have the opportunity to attend an AT&T VIP event as well as a CCIE-only VIP party.
* On a side note, as the audience for Music to Pray By grows, I have considered moving these personal posts to a different blog. If any of you subscribers are annoyed by them, please send me a message using the contact form and I’ll make this a priority.
God bless, and stay tuned for Podcast 61 coming early August. It was recorded over a month ago, but I remember it being special with a new original starting it off.
With the commitments I have to family, church, Soundwave, and work, I have come to the conclusion that the amount of time required to edit, record, mix, and post bi-weekly podcasts is throwing my life out of balance. I’ve thought and prayed about this for a while now and I know this is the right decision. I pray someday I will be able to do music ministry for a living, but just as Paul temporarily built tents to provide for his needs, I temporarily build internetworks to provide for my family. I still intend to sit down at the piano on a bi-weekly basis and record podcasts with hopes that in the future I will be able to catch up or employ help for the editing and mixing. At any rate, expect the next podcast to be posted on the 8th of May. I hope you had a blessed Easter.
It’s not to another country or anything like that. Things are bad, but they’re not that bad yet. 😉 We’re just moving across the street to Buda. I probably should have blogged about this sooner but life has been full speed ahead! Since my last post, we’ve completely transformed this house into a new home staged beautifully. There have been a dozen people in and out of it helping us. We’ve got it listed for sale, packed up half of our stuff in boxes, and still have more to go. Somehow, I found time for a local Huey Lewis cover gig. We had a 10-piece band – there were 4 singers, two of which were the electric guitarist and drummer with an electronic pad, trombone, trumpet, and sax players, an organist with an old 60’s B3 and Leslie cabinet (beautiful sound), bass player,and myself with every synth sound I could hear in Huey’s songs. We performed for Valentines Day, and had a really great time. At work, we brought hundreds of servers into production in our new datacenter in San Antonio. It’s our primary datacenter supporting AT&T Wi-Fi Services. It’s huge, and I’m responsible for the network – lots and lots of pressure. 🙁 Yoko had her yearly Okinawa Tomonokai event in Downtown Austin where hundreds of people go experience traditional Okinawan food and dance. I also got to serve with Soundwave at a wonderful church in Bastrop, TX this morning. We had a great time – lots of similarities to my home church. I would have most certainly fit the podcast in if my piano were tuned. I’ve held off since it’ll need to be tuned after the move, which should be the beginning of April. In the new home, I’m going to turn a room into a studio where the piano will reside so recording podcasts will be so much easier. The new piano will just have to wait for now.
Below you’ll find a video I took of Sanban a while back on my iPhone, and I just had to share it.
Thanks for your patience in waiting for the next podcast. The next one will be recorded in our new home – stay tuned!
I sat down at the piano last week ready to record the next podcast, and due to all the cold weather, it’s really caused my piano to get out of tune so 10 minutes into recording, I decided to wait until the piano gets tuned. It has been extremely busy at work the past couple of months because we are moving our datacenter to San Antonio and I’ve been put in charge of bringing up the network which is pretty complex so I’ve put in probably over 150 hours this week and last working and driving back and forth to San Antonio. I actually have to go in today to wrap some stuff up before Monday so I’m afraid that the podcast has been postponed yet again. I hope the archives can provide enough music for prayer in the interim. God bless.