THE DREAM…

The experience of losing and burying a child is not only sorrowful and grievous it changes every facet of your life. At least is has for me.

While on a recent cruise to the Caribbean a close friend who is a pastor noticed that I wasn’t my usual carefree, fun-loving self. He was concerned enough to confront me about it.

I’ll just let him tell you the story. It’s very supernatural and let me emphasize  here that I believe every word of this. It was indeed a life changing word.

 

DON’T GIVE UP YOUR DREAM

I’ve been cogitating on this…

I love Bluegrass music. I have a Bluegrass radio show. I’m an emcee at a large Bluegrass festival twice a year. I’m friends with Bluegrass musicians and bands, a few of which are very successful and many who just barely get by trying to make a living playing the music they love.

The one thing that has always intrigued me is why there are always one or two artists who are equally as talented and gifted as the top stars but are struggling and even on the brink of quitting the business?

Sure Bluegrass is a small market music genre but there are a few artists who are succeeding and developing lucrative careers with an amazing fan base. So what is the secret? Is there a magic formula for becoming successful in Bluegrass?

Certainly if i had the answer to those questions i would be very popular and could leverage that knowledge into great financial reward. I’m not an expert nor do i have any answers. I just have some observations and much concern for those at the point of giving up.

I’ve noticed the most successful bands have strong leaders. Leaders with vision, goals and a plan to reach those goals. These great leaders also have standards that others in the band must commit to. The way they dress on stage, the way they conduct themselves offstage, the way they interact with the fans are all a part of achieving success.

There are bands who play great, sing great, write great songs but never break into elite status. So it’s not “all about the music.” If you don’t put on a show, if you’re boring on stage or if you don’t connect with the audience during your show you won’t succeed, no matter how great your music is. It takes the total package.

That includes the way you dress onstage. The old saying “dress for success” is good advice for Bluegrass bands. Just think about the big star bands that you’re envious of. How do they dress on stage? You get my point?

Successful bands and artists take advantage of social media. Staying in touch with your fan base is imperative. Everyone in the band should be working Twitter and Facebook on a daily basis! Artists resistant to technology and social media are missing out on a free personal way of endearing yourself to fans.

Success in Bluegrass means being involved and being pro-active 24/7. Self promotion is something most artists don’t enjoy but it must be done. Managers, booking agents and producers have their place but there are some things you must do yourself.

Attitude is everything. It’s so true. When things get tough it’s tempting to let bitterness and resentment control you but you must stay positive. Reach out to family and mentors for support. Faith in God is most important. If you believe your calling is to play Bluegrass music then never give up. God is faithful.

I believe if you look at successful Bluegrass artists you will discover that all of them have endured hard times. The ones who stayed true to their calling, didn’t compromise principles, took care of business, treated others the way they wanted to be treated and didn’t quit are the ones who eventually worked through the hard times to reach their goals.

Finally, politics always seem to play a part in business and the Bluegrass industry has not escaped the effects of politics. It’s always frustrating when those with money can seemingly buy their way to success when everyone else has to earn it. So if you’re struggling, keep your eyes on your goals and don’t let the “fat cats” influence you to compromise your principles. Look for ways to create unity among your peers and success will come.

I recently had a great Bluegrass artist on the verge of giving up tell me, ” I feel like a failure.” The only thing I can say is, if you quit you’ll miss out on the success you’ve worked so hard for. The darkest hour is just before dawn. So go on to the next  festival, put on a great show, and as Minnie Pearl said, “love your fans and they will love you back!” Just don’t quit.

Cogitate on this.

Gene Reasoner

Two Years Ago Today

image9/11/2001 is a significant date in our national history. However 9/12/2013 is the most significant date in my family’s history. Two years ago today our daughter Brooke Erin Reasoner-Logan unexpectedly passed away. Our world dramatically changed forever.

Nothing can prepare anyone for such an event. Nobody can understand the effect of this kind of tragedy unless it happens to you. Then and only then can you relate to the pain that so many have experienced by losing a child, brother, sister or spouse.

Nobody wants to hear the doorbell ring in the middle of the night and open the door to two policemen bringing the news of a daughters death. That’s how it happened for us. I don’t wish that on anyone.

I don’t talk about this to get sympathy but rather to remind you that this happens to lots of people. If you know someone that has experienced the loss of a child there’s nothing you can say to relieve the pain. The best thing you can do is just be a friend. Stand with them and pray for them.

Brooke was a wonderful daughter, she was my baby girl. She was so talented and such a people person. She loved her family and loved doing things for ones she knew and loved. I thank God for her.

The tattoo is something I did to honor her. It’s very significant and meaningful.

I love you Brooke. Willies song is my truth now, You Are Always On My Mind. Two years ago today was my worst day. The day I see you again will be my best day. RIP Baby Girl. Daddy sure misses you.

Being Alone…

I’m not a loner per se. But when it’s necessary I can be by myself and function pretty well. I like me and for the most part I like my own company. I can get on my motorcycle and ride long distances alone and be perfectly content. I don’t always need to ride in a group. I can go out to eat alone and enjoy a nice meal. Sure, it’s more fun to share life with someone but I don’t usually dread spending a reasonable amount of time alone.

My wife is retired and my retirement is in the near future. Since her retirement I’ve encouraged her to do whatever she wants to as far as being with her friends or going away to spend time with grandkids. I’m perfectly fine with staying at home for my job while she enjoys her retirement. When the day comes that I retire then we will enjoy travel and fun together.

Lately when she has been away I’ve thought a lot about how incomplete I am without her. The Good Book says that it’s not good for a man to be alone. At this juncture in my life that reality is starting to sink in for me.  I guess it’s good for me to think about all this because when she’s gone I realize everything she does to take care of me and how good she is at making our house a home.

I can cook, do dishes and laundry, even clean house (a little!) and pay bills but how does she do all those things so efficiently? It takes me days to do what she does in an afternoon! In addition to all those practical things, since she has been retired she has spoiled and pampered me! I mean she waits on me hand and foot!

All those kinds of things are easily taken for granted and I try not to do that. If it sounds like I love her just for what she does for me let me assure you those aren’t the most important reasons I love her or miss her when she’s gone.

A little over 38 years ago upon taking vows of marriage before God we became one. Marriage is a miracle. It’s not just in the flesh although that’s a part of it, but a miracle happens in the Spirit. We become one…a part of each other. When we’re young we don’t think too much about that but as we grow older and wiser we understand more fully that reality. It’s a relationship that is truly a God thing. Yes it has to be nurtured, protected and valued and as we get older we understand it more and have a greater appreciation for the beauty of that relationship.

That’s why I miss her and why when we’re apart I realize how much I need her and how deep our love is. Being alone really causes me to think about these things. I guess it’s true…..abcense makes the heart grow fonder.

Anyway she’s gone for two weeks and it’s another week before she returns. I’m fine but I’ll be glad when she’s home. After all when she’s gone I have nobody to bring me my coffee! 🙂

Hope you’re having fun Viva…I love you. I miss you.

These are things I’ve been cogitating on today.

Peace.

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IT’S UP TO YOU….

I just recently learned a family member is gay. I wasn’t expecting that news. I admit I was surprised and maybe even a little shocked although not much shocks me these days. However, my reaction was much different from what it would have been just a few years ago. I’m thankful to be learning about Grace and Love.

Much is being written and debated these days about the gay issue. It’s such hot topic and causes division and great anger between conservatives and liberals. It affects all of us in many ways. Sadly it’s a cause of hurtful turmoil in families, churches and our society in general.

Until a couple of years ago my reaction was typical redneck hate and disdain as a result of a very strict legalistic upbringing so common in my generation. I had no gay friends nor did I want any or have a desire to establish understanding or common ground with anyone involved in that lifestyle.

However over a period of a few years my attitude towards gays has changed drastically. Through lots of reading, prayer and being forced to interact in the workplace with a few gay people I’ve slowly come to a much more compassionate and I believe Christ like stance on this issue.

Having said all that I just want to make the point that this is more a people issue than a sin issue. I’ve come to know that there really is no sin issue. Sin was taken care of at the Cross. Jesus dealt with sin and paid for it with his blood. The sin of the world was forgiven at Calvary, Hebrews 10:10. Once for all time.

I propose our reaction to the “gay issue” is the greater problem.

The church in America has dropped the ball. They say they love the person but hate the sin. However, I see much more hate than love. The preaching of sin and hell’s punishments has been going on for decades and I just want to ask the question…how has that been working out? How many gays have been welcomed into your congregation and how many of their lives have been changed?

Most gays in America feel unwelcome in our churches though we say we love them. I don’t blame them for not wanting to have anything to do with us. I’m at the point I don’t want to be associated with the self-righteous religious crowd either.

We must learn to follow the example of Jesus. He hung out with sinners, let prostitutes wash his feet, was kind to adulterers and even dined with crooked tax collectors. I’m convinced if he were here today he would be a friend to the LGBT community.

I have news for some of you. He IS here today! He is here in us! We are Jesus in the earth and we must be Jesus to the gay person. Let me ask you….how many gay friends do you have? For most of you I know the answer.

I’ve made it a priority the last couple of years to develop friendships with some gay people. I’m learning to see them just like I see everyone else. One of the best ways to spread the gospel is to be kind and caring. My responsibility is to be a friend, the rest is up to God.

Finally, I believe God is big enough to handle the “gay issue”. Let him do His job and let’s do ours. It’s up to you.

Cogitate on that,

Gene Reasoner

CAPTAIN

IMG_5956 This has been a difficult week. Our cat Captain has been sick and this morning we had him put down. This picture isn’t the best of him but it’s one of him with our granddaughter Emma who is Captain’s real owner. Here is the back story…

We had decided we probably wouldn’t have another pet. Pets are great but we aren’t your typical animal lovers and really weren’t cat lovers. You’ve heard it said that you will do anything for your grandkids and we lived that out with this cat.

Emma called her Nana one day in tears and heartbroken. She had just been diagnosed as allergic to cats and she loved Captain dearly. She called to tearfully ask Nana if we would take Captain so he could remain in the family and she could see him when she came to visit.  Well, what are you  gonna do? We didn’t want a cat in the house and didn’t particularly want the responsibility of caring for a pet. Nana told her we would think about it and after 30 seconds we said yes. What are you gonna do? After all it’s Emma and we do anything for our grandkids.

That was a few years ago and through the years we got very attached to Captain. After our daughter Brooke died in 2013 Captain really became Nana’s buddy. We quickly learned how therapeutic animals can be. Captain gave Viva a world of comfort as he sat with her in her recliner by the hour.

He was de-clawed in the front so he stayed indoors a lot. But did he ever enjoy being outside! He was quite the hunter dragging mice, birds and other varmints on the deck for his pleasure.

I just wanted to write this little tribute to  Captain and thank God for creating him. I can’t help but think that in the next life we’ll see him again. You may think that’s silly but after all cats do have nine lives!

Cogitate on that!

Gene Reasoner

IT’S A GOD THING, & A GOLD WING THING!

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…those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on GOLD WINGs like eagles; Isaiah 40:31

There is no other place I can think of where I’m totally relaxed and feel like my strength is renewed but on my Gold Wing motorcycle. I soar on that bike just like an eagle. Riding a motorcycle is scriptural and I would concur a very spiritual experience! Those of you who ride can relate….those who don’t are missing out.

I took a long week-end last week and rode over 1400 miles in three days. I went by myself so my only company was satellite radio, CB radio and “the still small voice”. It was quite a combination. Classic country and bluegrass music, truckers to give me traffic reports and Holy Spirit as my tour director.

I call western Oklahoma cowboy country because the landscape makes you feel you’re in a Cowboy movie. I’d ride along the remote two lane roads and Holy Spirit would say,” Look over there! Isn’t that pretty? I own all those cattle and I put the oil in those hills!” Every few miles I would thank God for blessing me with a good motorcycle and the opportunity to enjoy his creation with the wind blowing my hair. Yes! I did ride without a helmet for a while. Get over it. It’s legal in Oklahoma.

My trip was also a walk down memory lane. I visited May, Oklahoma where my father pastored a very small church when I was in the second grade. I attended church there on Sunday morning and just like 60 years ago there were about 15 people attending and still conducting services the same. There was even one couple there who were part of the church when I lived there. It was encouraging to see people who are still faithfully keeping the doors open and the lights on.

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When I lived in May, OK I began to travel with my dad and grandfather to wheat harvest every summer. My favorite memories of childhood are my summers in the wheat harvest. We were custom cutters and cut wheat from southern Oklahoma to North Dakota.

I really enjoyed seeing the beautiful wheat fields on my motorcycle trip. The wheat is looking good. There’s nothing quite as pretty as seeing thousands of acres of beautiful wheat waving in the breeze. I rode a few miles with tears in my eyes remembering the good times we had in wheat harvest.

The older I get the more thankful I become for the blessings in my life. I’m thankful for my family, friends, financial blessings and most of all thankful for realizing more fully who Jesus is, what he has given me and most importantly that He is in me in his fullness. I can meditate on that the rest of my life and never exhaust the fullness of that reality.

Those are just some of the things I cogitate on while I ride the Gold Wing. It’s a “God thing.” It always will be.

I hope you have a place and time when it’s just you and Jesus. A place where you can renew your strength and mount up on Wings.

Cogitate on these things….

Peace!

Gene Reasoner, Gold Wing rider.

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FOREVER CHANGED…

Yesterday was 9/11/2014, the thirteenth anniversary of a day that forever changed America. Lives were lost and sacrifices were made by many brave and heroic people. Most of us can remember where we were and what we were doing when we heard the news of the attack on the twin towers. We will never forget.

One year ago today, September 12, 2013 was the day that forever changed me and my family. It’s the day we received the news that our daughter Brooke had passed away.

It was a moment in time I never thought would happen. Our doorbell rang around midnight and two local police officers were at the door. We’ve all seen that scenario in the movies many times and we never expect it to actually happen to us. But it happens to many people and that night it happened to us. The officers brought the news that Brooke and gotten very ill and after being rushed to the hospital in Kansas City she had not survived. It’s a stunning piece of news to receive and complete recovery from the shock never happens. At that moment life changed forever.

It still seems surreal even after a year has gone by. Not a day goes by that I don’t question whether it really happened or not. Some days I still expect a text or a call from her. The pain has subsided though not completely. She is constantly on my mind and that dull ache is always there.

It’s amazing how life has forever changed. It’s changed the way I view life. It’s changed the way I react to tragedy. It’s impacted my philosophy, my beliefs, my theology, my priorities, the way I treat other people, the way I view other people and other cultures.

My faith in God hasn’t changed although I’ve questioned many things I believe and why I believe them. I’ve made drastic changes in my theology while things that remain true I still cling to.

I won’t ask you to imagine how you would feel if your 34 year old daughter unexpectedly died, because there’s no way you can know if it hasn’t happened to you. I can tell you this much, you would be surprised what will go through your mind and the questions you would ask. I pray you never have the experience.

I thank God for Brooke Erin Reasoner Logan. On the day she was born April 2, 1979 I was forever changed. Her short life of 34 years forever changed me. On the day she died September 12, 2013 I was forever changed.

I love you Brooke. You’ve changed me forever. IMG_0199

Cogitate on this,

Gene Reasoner

YOU GOT A WHAT?!!

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You’d think I’d have learned by now to never say never. You see I’ve always said I’d never get a tattoo. But now I have one. Yep I did it.

When our daughter Brooke died last year a lot of things changed. It really is amazing how that event has changed my thinking. Changed the way I view things. It has given me a different perspective on life and things really important.

My priorities are changing and some things thought important are now not so important. Things never important before are now important.

I have more grace for people I once disdained and am more focused on looking past the baggage people carry to focus on the person created in the image of God. I’m more aware that God loves everybody and because of what Jesus did at the cross he sees them forgiven and redeemed.

I’m also more aware of how important man is to God. More aware of the fulness of God inside me. I’m learning that God is inside every man and our mission is not to rant about whats wrong but to awaken every man to the truth of Gods fullness inside the spirit. That knowledge brings peace and causes man to turn from sin to worship Him in Spirit and Truth.

I no longer get bent out of shape about doctrines of man that I don’t agree with. We’re all more wrong about most of it than we are right anyway!

This tattoo has great meaning. One of Brooke’s wedding pictures was a shot she did just for me. It was a picture of her in her wedding dress. She was holding a little chalkboard and on the board is said, “Forever Your Baby Girl”. I used to call her Baby Girl when she was little and would sing her an old Bluegrass song with that title. The flowers on the tattoo represent her favorite flower the Yellow African Violet developed by Brooke’s uncle, Nolan Blansit. The B of course stands for Brooke. Family members called her ‘B’ and her nieces and nephews called her “Aunt B’. 

Getting the tattoo was very emotional and spiritual. Spiritual? Yes it was. It was a spirit connection with Brooke and that is a God thing. Our life is in our spirit and that life comes from God.

So if the tattoo bothers you……… as Brooke used to say, “build a bridge and get over it!” There are more important things in life than arguing over whether getting tattooed is right or wrong.

So if you’ve ever thought about getting a tattoo go ahead and do it. There’s a very talented tattoo artist in your area just doing his or her best to make a living. And who knows, you might be the one to let them know that God lives in them. Thats real evangelism.  

 

Cogitate on it!

Peace.