It's actually kind of funny that on Nov. 20 of last year I wrote a similar article about my organizational woes. If you haven't already, you can read that here. Anyway, from that article you'll see that while I wish I had better time management, more structure, and better organizational skills, I also would like to embrace that fact that I am made the way I am made.
But you would think I would have learned my lesson by now!

You see it is nearing the Thanksgiving/Christmas season and I'm the midst of holiday music and program preparation. I love playing and leading Christmas music, and I enjoy trying to make our services special and unique during this season. But I have to be honest about it this year, I have stepped off in it, and don't know what I'm going to do. If you're not sure what it I speak of that I have stepped in, this is it.
That's right, I may have bitten off more than I can chew, may have dove into the deep in without my swimmies, may have cooked my goose, may have counted my pretty little chirping chickens before they hatch.

You see for the past three years for Christmas, our church has done something called "Christmas on Ivory". Basically it involves 3 grand pianos, 6 pianists, 12 songs, a children's and adult's choir, a full band, and a whole lot of talent. It really was a neat program that became a community event. Last year we probably had 800-950 people come through the doors for "Christmas on Ivory" (COI). The best part is that I was in charge of 2-3 songs. The rest was overseen by my amazingly talented piano player Amy.

But as with everything in life, all good things must come to an end. We decided that 3 years of the same thing was good, and that we would try something different. I say we.......ultimately it was my decision, but I did seek council (funny how when the hammer falls, it never falls on the wise council....only on the counseled!) Anyway, so we decided to do something a little different.

By July of this year, I had found our program for Christmas and was really excited to see it all come together! I thought surely this event would at least compare to COI! Well that was all fine and good until all the wheels started turning to pull this little shin-dig off. Perhaps I underestimated somewhere. I've got the food people in one corner, the actors in another, the band and musicians in another, the tech team in another, the set up and take down team in another, the construction team in another corner, the servers in another corner, and then of course I have the vendors for the lift we need and the mics we have to rent and the construction supplies and the paint and and and (for those of you keeping score, I've officially created at least an octagon..what with the corners and all)!!!!

"Why don't you delegate more?" you ask? Well I do and I have. In fact for every corner mentioned above I have a point person handling all of the details. The problem is that I have to know all those details in order to tell the point person how to make it happen. And truthfully everything is going relatively smoothly as it can when you put the fate of the Christmas program in the hands of 60 able-bodied volunteers. But as the date of the program draws closer, my sanity gets further and further away. At this very moment I am asking myself a grand series of

1) What have I done?

2) What if this is a flop?

3) Will this be a disappointment when compared to COI?

4) Will ol so-and-so remember his lines?

5) Wonder what's for dinner?

6) Did I make a huge mistake in letting ol such and such be in charge of that?

7) Is that a hippopotamus? I've always wanted one of those for Christmas!

We have successfully created a reputation that we need to maintain. And I feel as though I have successfully put the entire weight of that reputation on my back....carrying it around like a pack mule, just waiting to see how long of a journey I can take before my legs drop out from under me, and with it falls my great Christmas program and our church's reputation for the best Christmas gig in town.

My aversion to all things organizational have officially kicked in as I painfully try to keep my head above water in the pool of a Christmas production. I know, without a doubt that every volunteer will rise to the occasion, and pull off every task in their area with ease and excellence! I also know that this play is worth it. It is, after all, a joyous modern telling of the greatest story ever told. It involves a lot of people, a lot of work, and a lot of time. My life for the next 3 weeks will be completely wrapped up in getting this program off the ground. And at the end of the Christmas season, I will probably be totally exhausted.

But it will be worth it....right? If it flops, we'll just know not to do it next year right? One can learn, and learn by failing right?

My one nonnegotiable is that we do the Gospel justice by telling it faithfully, truthfully, artistically, and excellently. And if we do that, then all the work, sleepless nights, hours of rehearsals, and yes even the organization will all be worth it!

I thought it was bad last year when, on Halloween, I was in the grocery store and I heard Christmas music playing. Yes that's right, on Oct. 31st they switched their store music to Christmas music.

Well it's getting worse. This year I walked into a brand new Belk store in Macon, GA on Oct. 7 and they were putting up their Christmas decorations. Then just yesterday, I was flipping through the radio dial and found a station already playing non-stop Christmas music. IT'S NOT EVEN NOV. 15th.

You know the tragedy of starting Christmas so early is that Thanksgiving gets completely overlooked! I mean poor Thanksgiving. Sure it still gets a parade, but what is the highlight of that parade? Santa Claus! He steals the show at the end every year. Oh I know we still get together, eat entirely too much as a way of giving thanks! But where are all the thanksgiving decorations? The cornucopias of hope? Where are all the thanksgiving day songs? "I've never heard one" you say? Of course not, they all get edged out by the onslaught of Christmas music that is now flooding the airwaves 45 days before Christmas. And the day after thanksgiving, it's as if thanksgiving never happened, as people rush to their local mall and/or shopping center to get the hottest deals on....CHRISTMAS GIFTS!

Listen, I am all for celebrating Christmas. I mean, there is no better season, especially when we consider that what we are truly supposed to be celebrating is the birth of our savior....emmanuel...God with us! And I am all for celebrating that! There's nothing better to celebrate (except for perhaps Jesus death, burial, and Resurrection, which goes hand-in-hand with Christmas!) I am also all for giving thanks, and setting aside a day to do so! And then, after thanksgiving is over, and the calendar turns to December, we can focus our attention on Christmas. But could we please wait until Thanksgiving is over? Is that too much to ask?

I realize that I am a little late this year, but next year I intend to bring back to splendor of thanksgiving! That's right, I'm gonna celebrate Thanksgiving like it's 1999. I'm going to put up a Thanksgiving tree. I'm going to give people thanksgiving presents. I'm going to crank up some good old Thanksgiving music. And what about cornucopias? Their hope will spill with reckless abandon, filling every room! I think I will even put a candle inside a couple and put them in the windows. Ah yes, I can see it now, the house strung will all manner of Thanksgiving lights. Those blow up turkey's out in the front yard. A loud speaker triggered to go off as each car passes will play "We Gather Together" through the night!

So, good people of the blogosphere, let's join our proverbial hands together,unite as one, and stand together as we shout from the rooftops "Can't we wait just a month or two longer on the Christmas music and decorations, and uh, if you don't mind and it's not too much trouble, uh, celebrate thanksgiving and all first, I mean if that's ok with you and all."

2012 Presidential Nominee

I promise not to say a whole lot about the outcome of yesterday's election. It is what it is and there isn't a whole lot I can do about it now. And though I totally disagree with our new President on most key issues, life is going to continue to go on. Now, that's not to say we don't have some work to do. And by "we" I specifically mean Christians. Because of Obama's stance on certain issues, specifically abortion, we're going to have to stand up and actively engage in order to defend the defenseless. However, the world isn't going to fall completely apart (I'm not saying some pieces won't break off).

Anyway, I promised myself I wasn't going let me stop. What I do want to do is go ahead and begin the campaign for the 2012 nominee. That's right, it's time to look ahead! I'd like to throw out there that it's time for change...already. Time for change from a president who hasn't even taken the oath of office!

On to the nominee. I'd put a party there, but I've found it nearly impossible to align myself with any political party ( which works out well in a two-party system) so I'll just say he's the 2012 Presidential nominee. So who am I talking about? Well I am glad you asked.

Before I spill all the beans, I bet there are some thoughts running through your head right now...thoughts like "Who could he be talking about? Could he be talking about himself? Wow Matt would be a GRRRRREEEAAAATTTTTT president he would be! Ewww...I should have written him in yesterday!" Unfortunately no, that is not who I am talking about. So I bet your next thought is "Oh I bet he is going to satirically postulate that we should campaign for Al Gore, given all the good his done with his global warming, oops I mean climate change scam." Nope! Wrong again.

Ok, not more stalling. Here we go. I'd like to see us, the American people, nominate Mr. Dave Ramsey for president.

Now if you've spent any time with me or Karen in the last 3 years, you've probably heard Dave Ramsey's name. But if you haven't you need to slide on over to and check out his site. Next, go to Wal-Mart and pick up a book entitled "The Total Money Makeover". Then check your local radio stations to see if anyone carries Dave's daily radio show. Finally, you can always catch Dave on the Fox Business Network at something like 8pm EST/7pm CST.

Anyway, Dave is best known for his Financial Peace University which is hosted by numerous churches around the country each year. The bottom line is this guy has a common sense, good-old-fashioned-hard-work and savings plan to get people out of debt and stay out. His principles are based on God's word and they work. His plan has revolutionized the way Karen and I handle our money and approach finances altogether, and it has saved us from a world of hurt when it comes to overspending and debt.

Well, since this tumultuous year of the election, the housing crisis, and that ridiculous bailout, Dave has become a huge contributing voice to the media concerning politics and finances. What makes Dave so great is that he is a straight shooter who approaches everything with common sense, level-headedness and extreme positivity. In fact, when the dummies on Capital Hill were trying to pass the bailout, Dave had a plan devise on how to better serve our country in that particular situation (many of you received that plan from me via e-mail).

Well, what finally brought this all to a head for me was when I heard him on the radio today! He was simulcasting with a television show, and they were asking him about that state of the country and especially finances with the election of Obama. In all honesty, I felt like the question posed to Dave Ramsey was in such a way that he could have took off on a right-wing, political, Republican rant. Instead, with much poise and grace, Dave politely answered that each individual is responsible for his or her own finances and life in general. He brought back to light the fact of personal responsibility and accountability. It was refreshing. That along with his other plans would make him an ideal candidate. I don't know his foreign policy, or his stance on the definition of marriage, but I have a feeling that if his policies are like his financial plans, then they are biblical and common sense.

So there you have it. I suspect I ought to go ahead and get the ball rolling. Perhaps I should start by contacting Dave.

So who would you elect president if you could pick anybody?

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