Saturday, February 27, 2016

A New Year, A New Life

I used to start each new year with some general idea of what the next year would look like. Of course, there are always surprises, but most of the years of my life have looked pretty much like the year before. The year Sharon and I moved to Denver (1978), and the year I became self-employed (1988) were major life-change years. This year figures to be like those years. We have no idea what's coming. It's actually exciting. I know many people resist change, but I've always embraced it. I love moving on to the next phase, whatever that is. We are definitely on to the next phase now.

We had a wonderful time last Saturday night and Sunday morning with our special friend Nikki Nielsen. She doesn't read this journal, so I can say whatever I want about her. So this is what I'll say. We have certain friends that we consider family, and she is not only family, but immediate family. She's like a younger sister to us. She's the best all around singer I've ever known. Easily. No contest. I've always been very confident in my own vocal ability, but I'm not in her class. At least, not anymore. I've worked with some amazing singers in my time, but if you list all of the qualities you hope for in a singer, she is one of the very few who checks all of the boxes. Great soloist. Great in a group. Stage presence to burn. Educated. Understands music theory. Hears harmonies like nobody's business. Stone cold sight reader. Put Nikki in any group, and the sound of the group improves. She's become quite an accomplished worship leader, vocal coach, and mentor. Shall I go on? She's just awesome.

She's also, in my book, a spiritual giant. I asked her to say the blessing for breakfast on Sunday morning, and the prayer she prayed for me blew me away. I still get choked up thinking about it. But then, I also got choked up yesterday when Peyton Manning came back in the game! And what I love about Nikki is, she was probably crying then too.

We met at Denver First Church in the early to mid 90's. She sang a song in a church service called, "I Will Be Free." I was very impressed, and said to Sharon, "She's the real deal." And boy, was I right. We introduced ourselves to her after the service, and we've been friends and colleagues ever since. I was singing in wedding bands for Moment's Notice at the time, and I wanted to work wedding gigs with her. She didn't end up pursuing that very far, but instead of a work partner, Sharon and I got one of the best friends we've ever had. It's such a privilege for us to spend time with her each year at Christmastime. At our house, it's not Christmas without Nikki. And Christmas is officially over when she leaves for California.

Is anyone else relieved that the holidays are over? I love this time of year, but I'm glad to get back to my routine. Not that I have much of one anymore. This right here is my favorite part of it. Writing this journal. I haven't been able to write as often recently because the holidays have been so busy. I still have to take the decorations down, which I'll do over the course of this week, but like I said earlier, I like moving on to the next phase.

I probably lost weight this past weekend, but I don't know for sure because the battery in our scale is out! Thanks for your prayers, love, support, encouragement, and just for being here. Nikki may have left, and Christmas may be over, but I'm still the richest man in town.

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