Friday, August 15, 2008

In Memoriam: Richard K. Smith

This week my family (both sides) traveled to Lake Tahoe to enjoy a huge family reunion. On both sides there were sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles who had not seen each other in years. It was so neat to spend the time with both my mom's side and dad's side of the family. One of the other purposes was to celebrate the 60th wedding anniversary of my grandparents (which took place on June 20).

On Monday night all of us got together on a dinner cruise and sailed around lake tahoe, drinking champagne and celebrating. We even had a cake for grama and grampa's anniversary!

On Tuesday we had a small gathering of just my mom's family with a "trip down 60 years of memory lane." It was an amazing and special time and we all cried with joy.

On Wednesday, tragedy struck, as it does - seemingly randomly, always at the worst time. While a number of us traveled to Reno for the day, my grandfather decided to stay and gamble at Tahoe casinos. Around noon, he had a heart attack and was later airlifted to Carson City. He survived long enough for all of us (except one cousin, who flew in as soon as he could - he was the only one missing from the trip) to be with him at various points through the 24 hours.

But around 1pm Thursday, his heart gave out. He was 83 years old, and loved to laugh and make jokes. He teased my granmother constantly, always trying to get her frustrated with him, but he loved her deeply. He was loved by all who knew him, and was fiercly loyal to his family and friends. He loved to gamble and it was grampa dick who taught us how to bet horses! He was a woodcarver who carved a number of carvings for his church, Faith Lutheran in East Wenatchee, Washington.

He was one of my favorite people in the world. Today my heart, and the hearts of my family are broken. But I also rejoice in knowing that our Lord is the author of every day, and every experience. I have felt God's presence in this time, and saw his mercy in many of the experiences of the week.

Grampa is survived by his wife of 60 years, Joy, two daughters and two son-in-laws who he loved like sons. The daughters gifted him with two grandsons and a granddaughter, and two great-grandchildren. He will be deeply missed.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Music – yours for free, supporting independent musicians

Sometimes I post things that are ads, etc, but this is not an ad – it’s like a Public Service Announcement. There are some Christian Contemporary artists who I really enjoy – among them: Derek Webb, Jill Phillips, and Andy Gullahorn – who are not signed with any major label. There are a lot of reasons for this, and Jill and Andy have been to Baylor Chapel a number of times to talk about piracy and the difficulty of being with a major label. I won’t get into all of it here, because surely I will misrepresent them if I try.

But they have formed a group of independent artists, supporting each other and helping get their music out. In fact, Derek Webb has been releasing his CD’s free of charge for a few years now (I got “Mockingbird” as a free download at least two years ago). Today, I got information about a new website:, that features these artists and others with their albums FREE if you refer three friends to the site, or you can “pay what you want.”

This is a great way to get exposed to new music and to support independent artists. The artists at the site are very diverse in their sound and approach to music, so no matter what kind of music you like, you might find something there to enjoy. I would absolutely recommend the three artists I mentioned above (!)

If you get time, visit and take a listen. If you like it – download some of the albums, refer some friends, and help small (but great) artists to succeed!