Sunday, August 31, 2008

What I Do, Not Who I Am

I'm surprised when people I've known for awhile ask me what I do for work. It used to be that I didn't really know anyone who didn't know what I did. I was a High School Choir Director for 5 years and a Music Pastor for 10 years. Having come from a Christian University and a Christian High School before that I was pretty well in a bubble. I feel into the trap of "what I did is who I was."
There were great times during those 10 years. There were also many personal challenges that I failed to meet successfully. In 1999 I left church ministry and searched for work in the "real" world. After painting our rental house I knew I wasn't pursing painting or construction or any career with ladders, buckets, brushes or hammers.
So I spent 2 weeks of paid training at Rose Hills Memorial Park, the largest cemetery in S. Cal. I spent weeks making phone calls to unsuspecting people asking if they would like to purchase cemetery property. I even spent weeks stuffing envelopes.
That part of the funeral business was killing me so I transitioned to a company that sold and distributed window screen material and screen doors to installers. I loaded a truck each morning, drove all over 4 counties in S. Cal. selling all the parts and pieces that are keeping the bugs out of your house when your windows are open. When my employer closed his business he hooked me up with one of the largest S. Cal. manufacturers to do sales for them. I was able to get out of the truck and into a car doing sales. For 4 more years I sold things I really didn't care about and didn't know how to install. I would get pages on my pager (remember those) that said 9-1-1. An emergency over a screen door just didn't compute for me.
So how does a Choir Director's resume translate to a "real" world job when you don't want to teach school? Not a whole lot of opportunity.
I have found a career that I really do like. I moved to Oregon in 2005 and became licensed to sell Home and Auto Insurance. In the Insurance field I found I could use many of my ministry skills in listening to people, understanding their needs and helping them with things that they truly need. While I am still selling what seems like a commodity in theses times, it is something that people truly need, that helps them, that they need to be advised on and need someone they can trust and rely on to serve them.
While I am excited to see an increase in business each year I continue, it has been a slower start than I anticipated. I do enjoy the work and enjoy meeting people for every walk of life. I also like the fact that Insurance is only what I do, it's not who I am.
That said, I hope you have enjoyed learning a little more about me. If I can serve you by reviewing your current insurance coverage and seeing if I can be sure your assets are adequately covered and possibly save you money, I would love to talk to you. Call me at 503.692.4595 x16.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cop In The Rear View Mirror

If your driving record is like mine you spend a lot of time looking in your rear view mirror for law enforcement. My driving record makes it quite ironic that I work in the Auto Insurance industry. But more on that in another blog.
Recently I was stopped at an intersection ready to make a legal right turn. I was getting ready to proceed, took a quick glance in my rear view mirror to see one of Tualatin's finest behind me. I looked up to see a pedestrian entering the crosswalk on the other side of the the street I'm turning onto. Thinking that if he's in the crosswalk at all I need to wait until he finishes he Sunday Stroll, I did NOT proceed, but stayed there anticipating the turn I would eventually be making. In the very next moment I feel a stiff and unexpected jolt from behind. You guessed it, the officer rear-ended me.
I made the turn, pulled into the next parking lot, which happened to be in front of my insurance office. You may think the details of this encounter are already pretty funny, but I assure you, they get better. The officer and his partner are embarrassed. They asked if I was OK and checked to see if there was any damage on my car, which there was not. The protocol required an outside agency to come and make a report and so we had to wait quite a while until the State Trooper could come and confirm the details of the embarrassment to the officer.
It was during that wait that I asked the officer that was behind the wheel how long he had been with the Tualatin Police force. He proceeded to hold up his index finger. This was his FIRST day in the field. The "partner" was his training officer who was already giving him a hard time. Imagine what would be taking place when he returned to the station later that afternoon. In fact, you can bet this event will be talked about at his retirement party someday in the future.
It finally feels so good to have THEM owe me one for once.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

How will he pay for it?

I was shocked today. I insure people from many different walks of life. Some of them have come to this wonderful country to have a better life. Many of them are hard workers and contribe to the community and thus help America to be what it is.
However, in the process of discovering who lives with my insured, I found out that he and the six other people that live in his Portland apartment pay NO rent. The $875 a month is paid by a government agency. The ENTIRE monthly rent.
How do I get my housing paid for? How many other people get their entire housing paid for each month? Who is paying for that?...Oh...
I liked the sound bites I heard of Obama's speach. I like the things he wants to do. I think he's a wise enough man to surround himself with a wise cabinet and so I'm not worried about his inexperience.
What worries me is the question: "How will he pay for it?" Bigger government is not something I am in favor of. Paying higher taxes is not something that I can afford. (see previous blog)
So one might think the "rich" can afford higher taxes. Obama said the if you make $250,000 a year you are "rich." I spoke to someone this morning who's income was $250,000 on his 2007 tax return. However, he is a business owner with under 6 years of time in business. He's newly married with a blended family and currently has 3 homes, 2 of which he is trying to sell in this struggling market. If his taxes are raised 10% he will definitely have to make changes in his business, meaning implimenting layoffs, which will add to unemployment. Other ramifications to higher taxes will be higher prices to compensate for higher expenses. That makes things difficult for consumers and hurts the economy.
I'm not very deep into politics, nor do I claim to understand economics. I do know that in order to accomplish what Obama promises to accomplish things will need to be paid for.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Obama McCain

Mike Dukakis said of President Bush "This is the worst President in my lifetime." Many of you know exactly how you would respond to that statement. I think time tends to actually define the legacy of a President. Whether that's good or bad, I don't know. Here is what I do know:
- I am I a bad way economically.
- My home has lost value since I purchased it just like the homes of many Americans.
- Health Insurance eats up over 1/6 th of my monthly paycheck.
- Health Insurance went up $70 a month for me and my family in the last 6 months.
- Gasoline in a current necessity and it's price contributes to the bad way I am in financially.
- More and more people I speak with are out of work and having a hard time finding work.
- Budget constraints are making a greater impact on my children's education than ever before.
- Men and women are losing their lives in battles for things we don't fully understand.
- Others are coming back from foreign lands and not treated for difficulties they are experiencing.
- I was so hot last weekend I wanted to die. We gotta do something about this global warming.

Can one man, Republican or Democrat, Black or White, young or old, experienced or not, can one man fix all those things for me? I hope so, cause a lot of money has been spent to convince Americans that such is the case. I wonder what that money would have done for education in America or for health care or to care for returning soldiers.
My head spins from the "spin." My ears ring from the bashing back and forth. I'm not sure America doesn't need a makeover of parts of the election process.

What will I do on the first Tuesday of November?

Monday, August 25, 2008


No more Olympic games. Now it's back to educational TV, or Lifetime, which I will admit I watch. Didn't it used to be called "Lifetime FOR WOMEN"? I'm glad that's changed. I don't need another complex.
Anyway...I'm watching some guy trying to find proof of the NOAH FLOOD Story. He's trying to see if there is proof that the earth was underwater. Here is what I find humerous about what I am watching. He's is looking in an 8,000 year old village that, get this, IS NOW UNDER WATER. And after diving, he decides he has NOT found proof.
After you are done laughing, I will say he was hoping to prove a giant Suname caused the flood.
One of our customers commented as she left how funny it is that we continue to question if God is really with us or not. Maybe we're looking for proof in a village that is, indeed, flooded. Maybe God is actually with me every moment and as I think I'm looking for Him, I'm actually seeing Him but I'm too blind to see Him.
Oh, my counselor would say "Maybe? Not "Maybe". Definitely!"

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Today I heard a message on GRACE. The speaker mentioned that Christians have lost 70% credibility in the last 10 years among people 30 and younger. I've thought about the attitudes of Christians alot in the recent days as I'v thought about the upcoming election. I think it's funny how Conservatives hate that Liberals are always bashing them. Yet they are quick to bash Liberals. Both sides of the spectrum are quick to shed bad light on the other, not on the issues alone but on people and their actions and character. What I can't get a grip on is our ability to truely "know" any politicians. Most of the average Americans don't know these politicians or people who know the politicians. So we can listen to CNN on one side or FOX on the other We can read publications and blogs. What I do not see too much is in relation to these people (yes, politicians are people) is GRACE. Instead we draw conclusions about Presidents and candidates based on what we think we know. And bashing and judgemental attitudes continue to erode our credibility to a world around us.
That leads me to the title of the blog, "Healer". By now you probably know that what the composer of this moving worship song told us as back story for the song was a fabrication, given to keep from exposing his true pain and disease. So we can decide to judge his actions and character though we probably don't know him or anyone who knows him. Or we can extend GRACE.
One of my former pastors once said "Judgement is getting what I deserve. Mercy is not getting what I deserve. GRACE is NOT getting what I deserve. I dare you to extend to him the measure of grace you would wish to receive were you in his shoes. Truth be told, maybe you should be in his shoes. It may not be similar circumstances, but pain is pain, disease is disease, sin is sin. And regardless of how we as humans might want to fix every problem, lessen every pain and cure every disease, God is the healer. "For by GRACE we have been saved...and that not of ourselves. It is a gift of God..." Eph. 2.
So here are the lyrics to "Healer." Regardless of the back story, my guess is that they come from his heart, that they are his prayer, that they will ring true and that they are true for you and me.
You're my Healer
You hold my every moment
You calm my raging seas
You walk with me through fire
And heal all my disease
I trust in You I trust in You
I believe You're my Healer
I believe You are all I need
I believe You're my Portion
I believe You're more than enough for me
Jesus You're all I need
My Healer, You're my Healer
Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
You hold my world in Your hands

Music and lyrics by Mike Guglielmucci © 2006 Planetshakers Publishing

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Portland Cityfest

Against my better judgement, I took my kids to Portland Cityfest today. Jill's mom used to live by the philosophy that goes something like this: If it's a holiday or if there is some big event happening at the park, etc. one should stay home because the whole world will probably be there.
Now I have thought that one probably misses out on a great deal if they live by this philosophy, yet I have subscribed from time to time. When in London on New Year's Eve I stayed in my hotel room because "everyone would be at Trafalgar Square."
Well, EVERYONE was at Waterfront Park in Portand today for Cityfest. We arrived to find the only seats available to see the skateboard/BMX exhibition were in the blazing sun. Oh yes, Portland had blazing sun today. Not overcast skys like we have 300 + days a year.
I can't tell you how many times Grace was nearly trampled by big men with "I Love Jesus" T-shirts, or mamma's pushing their 2 week old in a stroller. Oh, I probably saw you there from a far, but there was NO way to get to you to say hi.
We pushed our way up through the crowd, after spending $25 on hotdogs, and we got about 30 feet from the stage. Good place to stand for the concert. Unless you are 6 years old and short. I finally decided that she would not have a good time looking at Ashley's back. So I let Ashley and Jordan stay there to enjoy Hawk Nelson.
That was fine until Ashley called my phone and said she was sick and Jordan walked ahead of her and was now lost. That lasted only a few minutes, the lost part. But Ashley was nearly escorted into an ambulance. I found her backstage with a paramedic with ice on her neck and several bottles of water.
Oh yea, Cityfest...too hot, too many people, terrible crowd control. We did see several hundred people make a commitment to Christ during the BMX show. "All things to all men..."
Next year, my spot at Cityfest will be left open for an unsaved person to hear the gospel.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I Knew It..!

Nobody cares...I wrote 2 blogs and got NO comments. Never mind that I only informed 1 person that I was blogging. I'm just kidding. So am I supposed to inform everybody I know that I blog. Or does one turn into two, turns into four, turns into eight, turns into 16, turns into 32, and so on?
I suppose I could blog about why I reorganized my garage tonight, cause there are reasons.
I suppose I could blog about meeting a friend at Red Robin and seeing most of the music staff there.
I suppose I could blog about The Shack or Obama vs. McCain, or strange customers who predict tat I'm going to die in 2 years...But I'm still not sure anyone cares, so I'll just start here.
Brian Clay, graduate of Azusa Pacific Univ., the same small Christian university that Jill and I graduated from, just won the Gold in the Decathalon. He is now "The World's Greatest Athlete". I love the "6 Degrees of Seperation" theory and now I am even less than 6 degrees from another Olympic Gold Medalist.
...if anyone cares.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Conductor? Me?

I recently came across some photos that were doctored to be something unbelievable. Some are gulible enough to believe anything they see on the Internet. Many of them also believe Al Gore started the whole thing. I digress...
If you look closely at the photo on my blog page, you might believe that I conduct an infant choir. Look carefully past the music stand and you will see a baby in a stroller. This photo has NOT been Photoshopped. However, I do not conduct an infant choir.
I am the conductor of Voices of Hope Choir, a community choir I started in Tualatin. Voices of Hope Choir is a non-profit group who's purpose is to perform benefit concerts to raise money for charities. We are non-denominational and in fact do not require members to prescribe to a specific faith. However we sing Christian music in addition to a variety of other styles from Classical to Patriotic, Broadway to Spirituals. Our member range from 16 to 70.
You can find us at or e-mail questions to

Why I'm Blogging Now

10. Nothing else to do while watching Olympic Men's Beach Volleyball.

9. My mind feels overloaded. Maybe I can free up some space by downloading to a blog.

8. Those I don't get to talk to might find interest in the fact that I do have thoughts worth sharing.

7. I can be funny. Funny can be entertaining. Entertainment might attract readers. Thus, I blog.

6. I can be deep. Deep can be interesting. Interesting might attract readers. Thus, I blog.

5. I just saw a beautiful woman cleaning a Salmon...all on a blog. That was cool. Someone might learn something about me from this blog. That would be cool.

4. Until now I have said "who really cares?" I'd like to prove or disprove my theory.

3. Did I say there wasn't anything else to do while watching the Olympics?

2. My talented, intensely passionate wife is blogging.

1. Because I can.