The Six Degrees of Matt Redmond

This is about Matt Redmond, author of The God of the Mundane , not the well-known (to some, not me) worship leader Matt Redman.

I had to do some digging around back in time for this post, so bear with me. On August 22, 2013, I wrote a post titled Daily Praises – you can read it HERE. I first heard of Matt and his book via my husband who heard of him via Rev. Shane Lems.

Fast forward nine months and we are living in Birmingham, Alabama, where Matt lives. Somehow I found him, read his book, and interviewed him for a small local newspaper. We met at the library and I got to know him a little bit. I have searched high and low for that interview/article to no avail. But, an offshoot of that meeting was that in addition to our faith, we also have a love for music in common, his much deeper than mine. But he was the one that connected me to a guy who sold me tickets for the first Avett Brothers’ concert that Chuck and I went to. At the concert we saw Matt and were able to meet his wife Bethany. This was now November of 2017.

Jump ahead again to 2021. I’m attending Holy Trinity Presbyterian Church where I now live in Tampa and I meet a sweet woman named Suanne. She tells me about Tim Challies and I sign up for his emails. So, today’s email has a list of book recommendations and guess what shows up? Yep. the new edition of Matt’s book!

Side note: I just finished reading Ordinary by Michael Horton, which is similar in many ways to Matt’s book. Of the two, I’d probably recommend Matt’s only because it seems more focused on the topic, whereas Horton’s rambles around a little more. And, FYI, Matt’s was published first.

Sad Souls

“A sad soul can kill you quicker, far quicker, than a germ” – from Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck, 1961

I wonder what Steinbeck would think today about all the sad souls hidden away in their homes, locked away from others in nursing homes, out of work because their job just wasn’t deemed as important as Hollywood. Sad souls living in fear.


If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint, I will put off my sad face and wear a smile,’ – Job 9:27

my heart

I often take song lyrics to suit my circumstances. And I think that’s okay. Music and song soothe my soul, make me think, make me cry, ease my pain and bring me joy.

I’ve taken these lyrics as my own:

What do I get when I find out I am nothing?
Who am I without my name?
How do I stop this emptiness from growing?
The dumb instructions coming from my brain

I go to my heart on my knees

I know I am not nothing, but I feel like a half these days. I still have my name, but it’s no longer wife. And yes, there are a lot of dumb instructions coming from my brain.

I go to my heart, frail as it is. On my knees in prayer.



My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

Lord Willing #2

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”;whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” – James 4:13-15

Today I came across Chuck’s Field Notes 56-week planner. There was a binder clip on the week of May 11. That was the week we moved back to Jacksonville. He’d written Mayo Clinic 8:10 appt. for May 14th. and Move in Banyon Bay for May 16. Those were probably the last things he wrote in the notebook.

It’s a notebook that you fill in all the dates yourself. So, it began December 23, 2019 and went through THIS week, the last date being January 10, 2021. He wrote every month and every date in it by hand. He was so organized and it was not full of fluff like my calendars and notebooks are (except for his notes about Bosch). He’d written all the late shifts and backups he had scheduled for 2020. Then after he’d made the final decision to retire he’d put in that date (June 1), then his last work day (April 30).

All the family birthdays were in it, even our parents who are no longer here. Some anniversaries, too. Even on the day he died he’d written my brother’s birthday and late shift.

The hard part is seeing the plans that were made but never fulfilled.

  • April 24 – Avett Brothers
  • June 22 – Bell Camp
  • September 14 – Maine Trip
  • December 16 – Anniversary 42

But, Lord willing, I’ll see the Avett Brothers in concert again one day. And, though Bell Camp wasn’t when and how we’d planned, I did have a mini-camp with the kids. And one day I hope to make that trip to New England. And, always, I’ll remember our anniversary. Lord willing.

Say Love

I used the song “Living of Love” as a springboard for a post last October. Once again the lyrics hit home. Some days aren’t easy, But, some are surprisingly wonderful. Yesterday was a mix of both. I heard a good message at church, but could hardly sing the hymns for the lump in my throat. I went to Pastor Eric’s home for lunch where I met some new people and got to know them a little bit. I listened to Eric’s mom tell funny stories and remembered my mom who could tell some funny stories. And Mom had a few good jokes up her sleeve, also. Just ask my family about the southern lady on the train.

If the days aren't easy and the nights are rough
When they ask you what you're thinking of
Say love, say for me love
Say love, say for me love

No matter how rough and lonely the nights, I can still Say Love. I think of God’s love and how He has not forsaken me. I think of Chuck’s love and all the little things I miss. I think of my kids’ love and all the ways they show it.

Texts from the past #1: thinking of you

 

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The end of June I went through Chuck’s phone and wrote down some of the texts. I haven’t been able to go back again yet, but I hope to soon. Even though the phone is turned off, I think the texts will still be there.

Just about every one triggers a memory.

 

December 22, 2017

From Chuck to me: “Packing to the sounds of the Avett Brothers and thinking of you.”

 

He was always thinking of me. This was when I went to Jacksonville before Christmas and he followed a few days later. It was the last Christmas we had with Mom.

117948468_851617048899791_3623615452668130153_nHe thought of me in the special surprise gifts he got me throughout the years. Like the sandals he bought me one spring just because he thought I’d like them. I did and I still have them, 9-10 years later.

 

 

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He thought of me when he got the tickets last fall for the Avett Brothers concert  in April, which ended up being canceled. And even if it hadn’t he was so ill by then we could not have gone.

 

 

He was always thinking of me.

He knew how much I missed the family and he let me go and stayed behind with first Loretta and then Ruby.

He got left behind so often during our Birmingham years as I flew back and forth to Tampa to see the grandkids or drove to Jacksonville to see mom. Juliette so often asked, “Where’s Grandpa?” My response was, “He’s working.” He was so looking forward to retirement just to spend more time with the kids. Last summer’s Bell Camp  was such an absolute blessing and fun time. This year it will just be Grammy Camp and I don’t know if I’ll do it justice without him.

 

This Song – Not Just for July 4th

Last October Chuck and I waited excitedly for our copy of Closer Than Together on vinyl to arrive. I’d heard a few songs ahead of time, others were brand new the first time we listened. Some songs took a while to grow on me, but I came to love them all, with New Woman’s World being the exception. But, a few packed a real punch. Like We Americans. The more I listened, the more I loved it. A few weeks after our record arrived, we got to hear it sung in concert (and sing along)  in Pelham, Alabama. It was powerful.

The music of the Avett Brothers makes me happy and sad all at once. It will forever be their music that brings me back to these last few years Chuck and I had together.

Say Love

I Walk

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Bring Your Love to Me -The Avett Brothers

Like I said in my last post, God’s Word, poetry, sunshine, and fresh air get me through these uncertain days. Today’s prompt from NaPoWrimo was to write a poem based on a “walking archive”.  Those of you who follow me here or on Instagram  know I post a lot of pictures of things I find on my walks and hikes, so this one was a natural prompt for me.

I Walk 

I walk for sunshine
I walk for sanity
I walk to remind myself
Of Pippa’s song
God’s in His heaven
All’s right with the world
Even when it feels all wrong
I find a dandelion
And think of Ray Bradbury
And The Avett Brothers
And blow my wishes
to scatter the seeds
I observe moss on the rocks
And dream of the fairies who visit at night
Knowing it’s all pretend
Think of how we used to pretend
Give each other different names
Like Twenty-One Pilots
And I hum the song
Wish we could turn back time
I catch the sun
Filtering through the trees
Making shadows on my arm
While the birds sing
A song I do not know
I see beauty in the wildflowers
Beauty in the ruins
And I walk on
Ruby by my side
Man’s best friend
And mine, too.

There’s Hope For Sure

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Red Mountain Park 2/22/20

 

In the middle of a very rainy winter, when it seems like spring will never come, I welcome the sunshine. I head to Red Mountain Park and am never disappointed. There, amidst the lifeless flora, I can always find some green. Sometimes a flower, even though IMG_7054considered a weed, peeps out below my feet to remind me that spring will come.

I find the abandoned railroad tracks where trees have grown up in the middle.

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When my mind is burdened with thoughts and decisions that need to be made, I can find a calm. Though I return home with those decisions still unmade, the burden seems less. I not only have the assurance of spring, but the assurance that my future is in God’s hands, just like spring.

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See, you can only live one day at a time
Only drive one hot rod at a time
Only say one word at a time
And only think one thought at a time
And every soul is alone when the day becomes night
And there in the dark if you can try to see the light
In the most pitch black shape of the loneliest shadow
Well then you ought to sleep well
‘Cause there’s hope for sure

High Steppin’/The Avett Brothers

 

 

Altering Forces

In the introduction of Here is New York (originally published in 1949) by E.B. White,  Roger Angell, White’s stepson, describes television as, “the biggest altering force of our century”.  This was in 1999.  I’d say now it’s internet and smartphones.

In the 1950s, TV was considered a form of family entertainment. Today it seems rare for  families to sit down watch a show or movie together.

Studies have been made that link childhood obesity and attention disorders  to “screen” viewing. This includes television, ipads, game systems, and especially smartphones. Smartphones — now that’s an oxymoron.

There is much debate about the issue of violence on the screen and its influence on viewers, but my opinion is that it numbs the viewer to reality.

As a substitute in high schools I see the downside of the smartphone. I watch students sitting side by side, faces glued to their screen. When they do converse with a classmate, it so often is just to share and laugh at something on their phone, I am not saying all this in innocence. My smartphone has dumbed me down, my computer has wasted so many hours. I take that back – I have done this to myself.

Please turn it off, I’m tired
Of bang bang bang shoot ’em up movies — Bang Bang by The Avett Brothers