Football Movies

So, I like football movies…

I only played for a couple years, but I think back on that time with a lot of fondness.  Maybe because the practices was so incredibly grueling.  I know that seems weird…you are sure that you are going to die right there on the field from pure exhaustion…I remember being so thirsty that I would suck on my sweat soaked jersey.  But you don’t die, you get a water break and nasty garden-hose-pvc-pipe water tastes like Evian.  The feeling afterward of having accomplished something is nothing short of exhilarating.

So, back to  football movies…

I watched The Express recently and was reminded of something that I want to be a part of my life now: The head coach in the movie (Dennis Quaid) talks about how they can beat the other teams by being more prepared — by the quality they produce.

In my songwriting I want to keep pushing through until I have a song that is the absolute best it can be.  There is a part of music that is intangible and you can’t control, but the part I have responsibility for, I want to be exceptional.

In my singing and guitar/keys playing I want to play the best parts possible for me.  I don’t want to just play chords…I want to write parts that I have to practice!  (I can’t believe I’m writing this down…)  It doesn’t have to be complicated, just right.  Sometimes the simplest things can be the most beautiful.  But I don’t want to just settle for something because it’s just good enough.

In my  relationship with God I want to press on and experience all that He has for me.  I don’t want to just get by and know that I’m a Christian.  I want to know more of Him.  I want to see and hear things I can’t even imagine.  I want Him to use me to do great things.  What He designates as great — not necessarily what the world thinks is significant.  I want to see Him move and touch people and shower them with grace and mercy like He has throughout history…I want to be a part of great stories that people tell years from now.

So, yeah, I like football movies…how about you?

You’ve Been Activated

Have you seen the movie Eagle Eye?  Two seemingly random people are thrown together by a mysterious voice that keeps calling them with instructions.  They end up working this wildly elaborate plot in supposed service to their country.  I won’t ruin the ending for you (and it’s not relevant to my point).

The thing that caught my attention is the when the voice calls them for the first time.  She gives them a directive and then says, “You’ve been activated.”

They are unsuspecting, normal people whose services are needed because they are in the right place at the right time.

I think God calls on us in the same way sometimes.  We are going about our daily routines and “bam,” we’re called into service.

“You’ve been activated”

Last week I was heading to work when I got on the subway at the normal time and normal place.  An older gentleman sat down and began to talk to me.  Now, if you are familiar with NYC subways, you realize that no one talks to each other…usually ever…especially in the morning.  The thing about this man is that he wasn’t annoying.  He was 73 and he had chronic pain in his back.  He was on his way to physical therapy in Jersey City where the doctors do not have any other options for him except live with the pain.  He kept saying “I just don’t know what else I can do.”

Almost immediately I knew that God said, “You’ve been activated.”  I thought, “Lord, You don’t want me to pray for this man on the quiet train, do You???”

It got even better when the man explained that he had seen a preacher on TV the night before talking about healing and he had called, but couldn’t decide whether to go…he wanted to know if I believed things like that could happen.  First, I thought about how the Lord has a sense of humor.  I told him I knew God could heal Him and give him a miracle.  I have seen it myself.

I still didn’t know if I should pray for him on the train, but it turned out he just needed someone to tell him he should go to the church.  Sometimes God just needs us to give people a prod.

You just never know when you’ll be activated.  But, rest assured, God has activated others for you and He will use you if you are willing.  If you and me are paying attention.

Do you have an “activation” story?

What New Music Do You Love??

So, I want to listen to some new tunes that are amazing and I need you to clue me in!  What songs / albums / artists do you absolutely love right now?  What do I HAVE to hear?

Leave your suggestions in the comments below and provide a link if you can :).

Thanks!!!

Healthcare Reform – Tell Me Why Not

health_care_reform

… Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), said his party may not even need to put forward a plan.

Why are my friends so vehemently against Obama’s Health Plan without offering any alternatives of their own?  I suppose it’s because they have jobs that provide health insurance for a nominal fee and if they go to the doctor or, heaven forbid, something catastrophic happens they know that they will be covered.

At most companies for which my friends work the withholding for their plans doesn’t amount to much and they feel justified in making a lot of noise ranting and raving for nothing to be done.

Nothing.

But every day more and more people – hard-working people – cannot afford health insurance so they drop their coverage and hope for the best. I am one of those people.  Sometime you have to make a decision between rent and health insurance.  You know what wins?

American history is peppered with beautiful stories of people standing up for beliefs and fighting for their rights – for real change.  But the present protests are against any change.  They are for nothing more than the status quo.

Recently a friend of mine told me his story:  His employer didn’t offer health insurance and he couldn’t afford to purchase a private plan.  He happened to get in an accident on his bike and dislocated his shoulder and had a gash that required stitches on his chin.  Everyone was yelling to call an ambulance, but my friend came to in time to stop them and say, “take me home” because he didn’t have insurance.  He had to “consider his options” before getting treatment.  Eventually he did go to the emergency room and had a physician’s assistant reset his shoulder. (He recently paid off the $3000 bill — this wasn’t even a doctor!)

Everybody’s against “rationing,” but isn’t rationing happening now? Care is rationed to those who can afford it and withheld from those who can’t.

The Declaration of Independence proclaims that we are given (by God) unalterable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  How can you have life without basic healthcare?  By denying healthcare to people in America, for whatever reason, are we not revoking one of those guaranteed rights?

So, please, speak out against ideals you don’t believe in.  But, so much more importantly, put forth ideas of your own.  We need them.  I need them.

I’m Breaking the Speed Limit

youtube sessions

Thanks to my friend Lani Brandon for letting me use her keyboard this week.  I wrote this tune after getting a few speeding tickets…seems I can’t speed without getting caught!

Download MP3 here.  Play here: [audio:http://benwardmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/Speed-Limit.mp3|titles=Speed Limit|artists=Ben Ward]

One of those days

Wednesday was not a great day.  Nothing bad happened.  It just wasn’t good.  Have you ever had one of those days?

I stayed home from work to wait on the exterminator (another long story…) who never came.  I tried to record a new song for the YouTube Sessions on keyboard and I just couldn’t get a good take.  At about ten o’clock I decided to pack the recording stuff up (it’s New York – there no room for a dedicated studio) and try again another day.  I must’ve spent five hours or so working on that song.  Nothing to show for it.  I wanted to write a blog – no dice.  I even wanted to go for a run…didn’t happen.

It’s been a long time since I tried so many different things and nothing worked out.  But I guess it’s just one of those days.

One of those days

One of those days

One of those days

No matter how you say it (write it…whatever!) it just doesn’t give you any more satisfaction.

But just before midnight as I was packing up the gear to shove into my closet I stumbled onto something.  I put a vinyl copy of James Taylor’s Sweet Baby James on the turntable and I just enjoyed it.

Didn’t sing along.  Didn’t play along.  Just enjoyed.

So I did accomplish something after all on one of those days.  Something I could have done all day long: Listen to the sounds of some really great songs.