ANDREW LANDERS

Andrew Landers has spent 2 decades playing his narrative in the unsung Americana Folk genre, a colorful brainy singer songwriter who has shared the stage with a myriad of national artists. His music has been heard all over the United States, Europe, Africa and Latin America. With 11 records to his name, he is the epitome of a modern day traveling corduroy storytelling troubadour changing the world one song at a time.

The Wedding

I'm preparing for a wedding that I'm super stoked about officiating (yes, that’s not a typo... the corduroy hippie troubadour poet is in charge of sharing thoughts about LOVE and WAR) smile emoticon So I asked my wife of 17 years what paradisiacal thoughts would you throw at these young-in’s about to enter into this amazing institution called marriage. So, here’s how it went down: First off, she looked at me with a blank stare for about 10 minutes, almost like someone put her under anesthesia (a tad disheartening... but in a weird way peacefully quiet). Secondly, she then reluctantly comes out of the coma and says, "talk about that verse in the bible that says... love covers a multitude of sins" (lots of happy joy joy romanticism around here people!) So I said... seriously that's all you got? Too which she says, "I’m headed to Trader Joe's, grill hot dogs for the kids, take them swimming, read a few books to them, clean the house, and make it big in the music industry." smile emoticon I'll get right on that! 

So after all that, here are the 5 things I feel I have really learned after examining the last 17 years of marriage to share with Shae and Steven at there celebration:
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"Kodak Moments"

If we only lived inside of the "Kodak Moments" of this life our souls would be so freakin empty and colorless. It's the valleys that ignite the soul with courage, strength, and compassion to see through the lenses of Jesus. We tend to say things like "I am blessed" with the best of intentions, but the real translation is: When I'm on the mountain top and my world is right then I proclaim the goodness of God. Let me share a few thoughts if I may on this rainy morning in Fredrick Maryland. 
-God's goodness is never separate from the valleys of struggle and suffering. In fact I would say he resides in those places of doubt, fear, confusion, and pain. 
-God's blessing is that "HIS PRESENCE" is always with us. Remember God was not created for you. We were created for HIM!
-I hate when I see pro athletes after hitting a home run or scoring a touchdown lift there head to the sky and give props to Jesus. Metaphorically saying to the world..."Jesus helped me do that and I am blessed." I think thats okay if one thing happens (theology lesson #1) When they strike out with the bases loaded or throw an interception they display the same kind of props and pleasure of His goodness. You see thats acknowledging that our God is good all the time. And that "being blessed" is not about defeat or victory - failure or success. It's about Gods presence being with us IN BOTH! This is really, really GOOD NEWS!

Anyway... I needed to write this today. Medicinal for me. My heart is breaking on lots of levels, that may just be BY DESIGN in the context of God's goodness to and for me. I know I'm called to this passage, and he is with me. I want to sail on the wings of faith through these storms, not jut get through it, but proclaim the wonders of the goodness of Jesus. The end. ‪#‎neveralone‬‪#‎cantstopthebus‬ ‪#‎kindnesstoall‬ ‪#‎blessed‬

Family & Jerry Springer

- So I have an older sister Mandie and a little sister Randie. Yep, that's not a typo... it's Mandie, Andy, and Randie. A devastating reality that usually finds you on Jerry Springer sometime in the middle of your life, somewhere in the middle of America. I was teased incessantly by kids that would yell "Handy Andy Pandy" "Ragady Andy" "Modus Operandi Andy" or the worst "Tony Romo". So anyway... why would loving parents give us names such as this? Glad you asked. My Mom and Dad were Undercover-Right-Winged-Evangelical Secret Agents for years infiltrating the Italian Mafia living the drug-infested life of murder, espionage and truly amazing pizza. To get your head around it, you need to think... "Mission Impossible" meets "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" but with a Conservative Baptist Christian K-Love bent to it. Anyway... that's NOT how it went down, but that would have been PRETTY FREAKIN RAD!!!!!! You see, my Dad is an identical twin. His name is Ted, his twin brothers name was Ned, and there Fathers name was Fred! Ted, Ned, and Fred. TRUTH. So, through lots of therapy, amazing support groups, and a few chemical addictions me and my sisters have finally found peace with the names Amanda Landers-Each, Miranda Landers Rigg, and "King Most Gorgeous Man on Earth" (that's what Siri calls me... AND I LIKE IT!) The moral of this story is: Be thankful... your parents could have named you (and these are REAL names folks that I found online, hard to believe, but true) Steve Sharts, Brownie Shytles, Misty Hyman, Dr. James Gross Weiner, Hashtag Jameson, Ben Dover, Mike Litorus, Yolanda Squatpump, Dr. Pornsak, Oliver Loser, Uranius Johnson, Tahra Dactyl, Chris P. Bacon, Alma L. Knack, and Donald Trump smile emoticon So to my Mom and Dad Mertie Peterson Landers and Ted Landers I thank you for giving me a GOOD name and a GREAT story. Love you. ‪#‎INEEDANAP‬

The McDonalds Olympics

I was debating weather or not to post this, but because my mind has zero on deck circle and this is pretty freakin funny... it’s batter up baby! Every one I’ve ever laid eyes on has experienced this dreaded moment in one way, shape, or form, when you say “Sweet Jesus help me live, I promise I'll never eat that many fresh cut jalapenos again.” So the numerous ridiculously hot peppers that were strategically placed on my “I'm So Stoked I'm Home Burger" Monday night ushered me into a depraved Olympic event yesterday morning called... "Let's see how many kids I can drive to school without blowing a gasket" (metaphorically speaking). So for any of you who have had the privilege of participating in this "running" event, you fully understand the complexity and uncertainty of this competition. So after a few spontaneous bouts of labor pain, I was able to push through because of the breathing techniques I learned when our children came into the world. But then it happened… like a jalapeno tsunami from hell that decided to unleash the kraken. I realized that time was not on my side; I had a very small window to find a porcelain messiah that could save me from the consequences of my wicked choices. It was then I looked up and saw the Golden Arches leading me home like a lighthouse in a sketchy bowel storm. I ran into that heaven sent McDonalds past all the guilt ridden humanity who were waiting to start there day with horrible life defeating decisions. As I made a quick right turn for my salvation I slipped on the greasy floor like an unprepared skater at the Ice Capades. As I lay there for a second I thought to myself, people say love is the best feeling, but seriously… finding a toilet when you have diarrhea is much more glorious! As I got up a sweet old lady enjoying her morning coffee with her husband asked, “Are you ok?” to which I responded “Yep, just super stoked to see the decor in the men’s Restroom” (Not sure she will ever be the same.) So I made it without having to buy new sweat pants. Whoop! Whoop! The journey was a tad crampy and filled with lots of cold sweats, but I learned something as I sat and stared at that stall door. Life is super hard, and laughing really is the best medicine... Not so much when you have diarrhea, but you get it. Happy Wednesday! Laugh, live, and love. Just another day in the life of Daddy of 6, writing music for a small world. 

P.S. My wife doesn't know this happened.... because my wife won't think it's funny! smile emoticon

Monday Blues

Welcome to a never been used before "Monday" morning. So many things to think about as you start this week, I'm sure the list is long. So do me a favor today... make sure you take time, some time, anytime... TO STOP! Stop and breathe deep into your lungs the miracle of life you've been granted. Weather you are facing some really difficult things, or heading into a season of feeling like the world is as it should be. Remember... STOP! Just stop! We spend so much time running so fast doing this thing called life; we fly by LIVING all together. So many things that are put in our path every day to fall into that give and share hope to the world. People who are in our traffic patterns that need some love, encouragement, a minute of your time. Folks, we are witnesses to each other’s lives. We account for each other, we don't go it alone. My life WILL NOT go unnoticed because of people who will ultimately find me throughout this journey I walk. Don't just wait for opportunities to bless and encourage... be on the look out for those precious invitations to change lives with the simplicity of a smile. Or "How can I help you?" God forbid "Are you ok?" People, this gift you've been given to be fully alive today, is just that... a GIFT! SO BE THAT GIFT to others. It's not convenient in light of your busy schedules and it won't make you rich, but it is the greatest joy this world has to offer you as you give your life away to the humanity in your home, across the street, and or across an ocean. We are self-centered, and entitled by nature, concerned primarily for ourselves. Lets throw those lenses off, because the world can change! We don't need to wait in dependence on the government, or any other organization to enter into this possibility. Be that change today on this Monday morning. One person at a time... every time. Be courageous enough to step outside your problems, your needs, your world, and your views and insert yourself into a world that so desperately needs your life, your gift. Your heart beats today. Your eyes see today. Your mind thinks today. Your feet walk today. Your hands work today. So if that’s true... let this day be lived and lived well. Happy Monday. ~andy

musicians and airplanes

So musicians and airplanes don't have the greatest track record.
13 musicians who died on planes:
Randy Rhoads lead guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne. Otis Redding. Rock & roll singer Ricky Nelson. Patsy Cline. Singer and R&B vocalist and actress, Aaliyah. John Denver. Jim Croce. Blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Richie Valens. Lynyrd Skynyrd's Ronnie VanZant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines. Buddy Holly.

So we are experiencing some pretty swag turbulence on this here Boeing 737. Traveling 608 mph at this very moment and at an altitude of 37,000 ft. In the isle seat of my row is a gentleman in a super loud Hawaiian shirt who obviously is terrified to fly. He is closing his eyes, with his hands white-knuckled clinched to his arm rest most likely praying that we don't limp away from this. In the middle next to me is a middle aged woman name Sherry who has 2 kids and doesn't like her husband. I kid you not... everytime it gets super bumpy she freakin screams like she's accidentally dropped her baby over a bridge. This is where it gets funny. So I'm in the window seat just chilling with my headphones on listening to music and playing on FB. I randomly come across this old video and started watching it when psycho Sherry asked... "is that you?" I said "yep" She then said "What song are you singing?" I said "Free Falling" to which unhinged Sherry says... "Free Falling! That doesn't feel very appropriate in all this turbulence." LOL!!!!!! She is still freaking out! I am getting a tad nauseous so I am going to draw this to a close. Enjoy the video. And by the way... those musicians listed above, were legends. I think I'll be just fine... it's crazy Sherry that I should worry about. 

P.S. They flight attendant just came by and served me communion. My little cup of wine and 6 pretzels.

Random thoughts from a corduroy poet

Random thoughts from a corduroy poet falling into flannel grace on this Thanksgiving Eve.

- Seriously, Diet Lemon Coke still taste like PLEDGE!
- The Dallas Cowboys suck and that, my friends, is pure goodness. 
- Your life is not defined by your past mistakes or your future failures. It's defined by this moment you're living in right now.
- Super stoked that Miley Cyrus doesn’t have a Christmas album. 
- If you're not willing to fail, you don't deserve to win.  
- Chuckie Cheese is a Casino for little people where they eat overpriced cardboard cheese pizza, play Skee-Ball like a crack addict, & get frontal hugs from a stalking creepy Rat. 
- The difference between great artist and good artist is: Great artist have failed more times than the good ones have ever even tried.
- When you break a string in the middle of your song, you should: Quietly speak to the audience and say, “I’ll be right back, I apologize for this interruption. I have a problem with my guitar that needs to be fixed. I will be back in 10. Thank you for your understanding and patience”. What I did say was: “I have just snapped my G-string and need to change it out and that requires privacy… be back in a few. The dude at table 9 is buying drinks for everyone”. 
- DO NOT believe everything you think. 
- Toilet Paper has now become Bathroom Tissue. I say lets roll with "Rump Wipes", "Buttocks Blankets" or "Disinfectant Opportunities that will Affirm Your Hiny" 
- Picking up McDonald's coffee now for tomorrow morning. Hopefully, it'll be cooled down by then. 
- My brain is 75% song lyrics and 25% that other thing I think about.smile emoticon
- WHO you are will be so much more important than WHAT you did.

The Old Tree Fell

This happened in the middle of the night. You are looking at an 80-foot pine tree who finally was laid to rest in my neighbors yard. This tree was probably birthed around 1915 when gas was only 15 cents a gallon, the Model T was introduced to the world and the Boston Red Sox (with Babe Ruth) won the pennant. If this tree could have talked... The stories it could have shared would have been amazing. If this old fella would have fallen to the left instead of the right all three of the Landers automobiles would have been crushed (accept Dawson’s piece of crap Subaru that’s under the deck that will never rise from the dead. I seriously keep this car as a reminder to never buy a vehicle again without a left brainer present.) Pretty sure that giant tree was thinking about us when it took its last breath and fell onto that soft lawn. He new 2015 was a tad rough on the Landers tribe. He heard the laughter and saw the tears. He danced to the music and witnessed the fights. He watched the basketball games out front, and anxiously waited to see if the first time drivers would pull into the driveway safely. He welcomed a little boy home from the hospital after way too many surgeries and said a sad goodbye as he watched that same little boy be rushed back for more. He was present every single day. Faithful to always show up. A cool metaphor for us on this Wednesday December the 9th.
So live fully today... Cut loose the regrets of yesterday and let go of the worries of tomorrow. Fall into the moments you’re given and you'll soon realize you’re swimming in a sea of miracles. So be ever present today. Show up and be faithful to things you believe in and love so dearly.

P.S. I feel a song coming on, but before I write it I'm going to hug that old tree! Yep... I am a tree-hugger now! smile emoticon

Let the paint splatter outside the lines

The songs I sing every night are the songs that I need… not to learn how to play, but to learn how to live. The story is forever teaching me and reminding me of who I long to be.  I’ve been in the unsung folk genre many years and know the difference between spending money at Urban Outfitters to look “vintage, Amish, hipster Barbie” versus the weathered, dysfunctional bright-eyed troubadours who have spent years bleeding out over the people that inspire them. I have not made lots of money, or had my name in lights, but I have had the great privilege of being in front of and with people… people who are walking really tough roads. People who need a song to find them just in time. People who need to be known, to be loved.  People that need something human, messy, and not all put together as they pursue fearless hope once again.

May the paint splatter outside the lines as we celebrate the beautiful mess that we are. Blessed!

6 random thoughts on my visit to Taco Bell tonight.

6 random thoughts on my visit to Taco Bell tonight.

1. Taco Bell is not cheap when you add sour cream to anything. When did Sour Cream become a delicacy?
2. If your getting relationship advice from the Taco Bell hot sauce packets you have officially hit rock freakin bottom. 
3. When you have 5 boys... Ages 16, 15, 13, 11, and 10. 24 tacos is at best an appetizer. Crazy!
4. There are 2 sides to the Taco Bell menu. Both are the same... So why is the person in front of me staring at the right and then staring at the left? They're the same!!!!! That's like when you go to the refrigerator at home and see nothing to eat and then 10 minutes later go back and check again in hopes the "Fairy Food Messiah" surprised you with your favorite meal. 
5. Just remember no matter how bad your day was, someone has to clean the Taco Bell bathroom.
6. I feel like a kleptomaniac every time I walk out with 500 FREE packets of hot sauce. (Sticking it to the man!)

31 Things I WILL NOT DO in 2016

31 Things I WILL NOT do in 2016

1. I will not shave my man-beard ever again.
2. I will not buy dinner for my family at the Texaco gas station on Cooper Point.
3. I will not give up on what I was created to do.
4. I will not waste any energy on things I cannot change.
5. I will not twist the silverware to see how far it bends.
6. I will not get on social media when my kids are home, or if my home is on fire, or if my kids are on fire.
7. I will not be a Jackass Whisperer.
8. I will not vote for Hillary Trump or Donald Clinton, but will vote for FREE medically induced comas until after the 2016 election. 
9. I will not sell out to the corporate music industry… but if they offer me a $125,000 dollar signing bonus I will take the time to pray to the Good Lord.
10. I will not engage in the drama and politics of high school sports.
11. I will not allow a SNICKERS bar to define the mood that I’m in.
12. I will not ever leave the house without saying “I love you” 
13. I will not feel sorry myself.
14. I will not ask the person in the stall next to me where he got his NEW kicks, because apparently that’s a tad creepy and inappropriate. 
15. I will not win an argument with my wife, but I will apologize when she’s wrong.
16. I will not be so emojional in 2016. ☺
17. I will not be overwhelmed when trying to meet the emotional, physical, spiritual and intellectual needs of this kid, this kid, this kid, this kid, this kid, and this kid.
18. I will not talk over my spouse.
19. I will not make the same mistake twice. It’s usually a minimum of 10-15 times in order for me to learn anything.
20. I will not get overly excited while watching football and chest bump an 80-year old man.
21. I will not assume my VW Bus has enough oil in it.
22. I will not worry about tomorrow, or live in the regrets of yesterday, but immerse myself in the miracle of the present moment I’ve been gifted. 
23. I will not wear skinny jeans or super tight V-neck T’s
24. I will not book shows at places called “The Terminal Tavern” or “The Roaring Donkey”
25. I will not cheer for the Yankees, Cowboys, or Lakers.
26. I will not be mean.
27. I will not sing "Free Bird"
28. I will not put Ranch Dressing on everything this year.
29. I will not listen to Justin Bieber or K-Love both for the same reason :)
30. I will not allow my past to dictate my future.
31. I will not eat cranberries.
The end.

Tweets from yesteryears and other random thoughts from a corduroy poet falling into flannel grace.

1. Your life is not defined by your past mistakes or your future failures. It's defined by this moment you're living in right now. 
2. Chuckie Cheese is a Casino for little people where they eat overpriced cardboard cheese pizza, play Skee-Ball like a crack addict, & get frontal hugs from a stalking creepy Rat.
3. Me: Son, are you keeping your grades up? Son: The important thing Daddy-O, is that we have our health. 
4. Your problem isn't people, things, or circumstances. Your joy can't be dependent on any of these. True joy defies them all. Joy is a choice.
5. I think for some people eyebrows should be considered facial hair.
6. Worship Leaders: PLEASE keep your finger on the pulse of your people & on the heart of God. If those two things disconnect... all you have is KLOVE KARAOKE.
7. My workout schedule: Mon cardio. Tue upper body. Wed lower body. Thursday 2 year break. Repeat the process. Who wants to go to Buffalo Wild Wings?
8. DO NOT believe everything you think.
9. Hollisters and Abercrombie & Fitch's electric bill must be like less than 50 cents.
10. Don't think outside the box. Think like there is no box.
11. Toilet Paper has now become Bathroom Tissue. I say lets roll with "Rump Wipes", "Buttocks Blankets" or "Disinfectant Opportunities that will Affirm Your Hiny"
12. Parents: Instead of creating little codependent entitled deleterious Pharisees. Let's teach are kids HOW TO THINK, not WHAT TO THINK. 
13. If your kids are fighting in the backseat, is it wrong to make a hard turn so the instigator hits the door? Not saying that happens.
14. People who blare "Screamo Music" through their Chevy Volt Electric car, need to be stuck in musical detention for a month with Kenny G.
15. I swear my brain is 75% song lyrics and 25% that other thing I think about. smile emoticon
16. We are given 86,400 seconds today. Use some of them eating Sushi.
17. I'm coming to grips with the fact, that in marriage there's always someone right and then there's me.
18. Stuff I think about at 6:13 AM: I'm starting a diet 2day. (2 min pass) Wish Krispy Kreme delivered.
19. WHO you are will be so much more important than WHAT you did.
20. Everyone you lay eyes on today is walking through something. So be kind.

5 Things Every American Roots Music Troubadour Needs

This photo was taken by my new friend Sam Powell from last night at the Rivers Edge in Washington State. I'm sitting here tonight in downtown Frederick Maryland laughing at this pic, because it displays with beautiful clarity the 5 essential elements needed for all worthy American Roots musicians:

1. 72 VW Bus (or any 40 year old automobile where children might have been conceived and or parts have the great possibility of falling off while you're driving.)
2. A killer beard! (James Taylor is the exception here, not the rule)
3. Coors Light (nothing darker than a urine sample for your beer. Singer songwriters are not beer snobs, they have no $)
4. A vintage acoustic guitar with a name like "Guthrie" or "Bonnie Lou"
5. And a hand crafted Rastafarian beanie that deserves more hair than I will ever be able to give it. 

-So appreciate all the love, support, and prayers you all have thrown at me. Life is short, lets live well and be kind.

P.S. Sorry Mom about the beer reference. :)
 #cantstopthebus

THOUGHTS FROM THE PHOENIX AIRPORT:

My heart has been stirring lots these days. These broken roads we walk are filled with complication. We wade through the debris of depravity trying to stand up straight and desperate to make sense of it all. We long to feel safe so we search for answers. What we really want is control, and we don't get that luxury. I'm realizing more and more that the freedom is truly found in the questions, not the answers. The questions cause us to pursue, to trust, to risk, to live in the tension of this beautiful fallen tragedy. But instead we claim top soil theological clichés to appease our conscience. Again, just another attempt to find discounted solace. The moment I let go of trying to package my faith up in a cute little hermeneutical box, was the day I set myself free from the notion that I can figure all this out. Maybe the greatest gift we've been given is the blessing of walking into the questions together. Maybe, just maybe that's why the questions are so important... Not for answers, but to bring us together as we journey home. All this melancholy introspection could be from lack of sleep, lots of travel, or Taco Bell. Either way, my heart is full of gratitude.

10 things I've learned while touring in the last 5 months:

10 things I’ve learned while touring in the last 5 months:

1.     The manager of every venue will tell you “This is the place to play”. But when you walk up and see your name in magic marker on a dry erase board below the “soup du jour” in the entrance of the club… you realize you’ve hit the BIGTIME! (By the way, the soup was amazing.)

2.     I hear this comment often: “Your music needs to be on the radio!”

My response: When the radio stops playing crap, it might!

3.     When you break a string in the middle of your song, you should: Quietly speak to the audience and say, “I’ll be right back, I apologize for this interruption. I have a problem with my guitar that needs to be fixed. I will be back in 10. Thank you for your understanding and patience”. What I did say was: “I have just snapped my G-string and need to change it out and that requires privacy… be back in a few. The dude at table 9 is buying drinks for everyone”. 

4.     Barry Manilow didn’t write his song called “I Write the Songs”.

5.     If the place you are staying for the night is called “Motel” and has hourly rates. It’s a tremendous idea to spend the extra cash to embrace different lodging for the evening. You wouldn’t want to be the star witness to an encounter with a “Lady of Pleasure” and her biggie-sized cretin pimp while your trying to peacefully buy a Diet Lemon Coke… which by the way taste a lot like Pledge.

6.     The best gig in the town is when you get to sing, “LIVE” the lullaby you wrote for your niece and watch her go to sleep.

7.     NEVER book a direct flight from DC to Phoenix.

8.     Pretty sure that "Chic-Fil-A" employees are somewhere between Barney and Jesus. They treat you better than your freakin family.

9.     I don't need to become super wealthy doing this music thing. I just want to be able to write music and then have enough money to never have to think twice about adding a side salad.

10. Creative people fail and the really great ones fail often.

Right Brain Thoughts

 

1. I keep thinking every Mumford & Sons song is that other Mumford & Sons song.

2. If you take relationship advice from the Taco Bells hot sauce packets... you have officially hit rock bottom.

3. Dallas Cowboys Suck!

4. I love Olympia. It's like a small version of Portland, but with a little more corduroy and people with pet crows

5. Unhealthy teams are a product of unhealthy leaders.

6. The first 35 years of parenthood seem to be the hardest.

7. Why do my kids say “beans beans the magical fruit” beans are vegetables!

8. You know those things that are better left unsaid? Yeah. Sometimes I say those things.

9. People who blare "Screamo Music" in there Chevy Volt Electric car, need to be stuck in a musical time-out for a month with Kenny G.

10. Is there ever a day that mattresses aren’t on sale? 

11. The only reason all of humanity learns the alphabet is because of the song. Thats why I sucked at multiplication tables... there's no song.

12. When I say, "Maybe" to my kids. What they hear is this: "I swear on my life that this will definitely happen."

13. Hope for humanity? I lost mine the day I saw a grown man pick his nose and eat it.

14. We embrace mediocrity because it requires no courage.

15. I have 3 hair styles: Hat-head, Bed-head, and Homeless.

16. I am total proof,  that there is a great woman behind every idiot.

17. In an effort to create more enticing & relevant gatherings, lots of churches are looking more & more like a hipster high school cafeteria.

18. Pretty sure if people could read my mind at my kids baseball games I'd get punched in the face.

19. I'm considered something of a fashionista in the Flannel Shirt community.

20. My thoughts this morning waking up: Can't wait to go back to sleep tonight. Sure wish Starbucks delivered. Why do my pajamas have pockets? Why am I wearing pajamas? Where am I?

The story behind the song "Squeeze Play"

We have a legacy (minus me) of really great baseball players in the Landers DNA. Not like good… but really great. I loved playing baseball with my Dad (Ted), My Uncle Ned, Toby and Torrey (my cousins). We would play from sun up to sun down. Usually on fields so weathered that we would spend the first 30 minutes picking up rocks around the infield so we could at least lesson the chances of destroying our face with a bad hop.  We would bring extra T-shirts for all the bases, and then make sure our tetanus shot was up to date because of the rusty backstop that was barely upright. We would pretend to be our favorite players. Every at bat was the bottom of the ninth, 2 outs, bases loaded, down by 3, and a full count… and always against the Yankees. We learned more than just baseball. We learned LIFE.  Things like… Discipline. Patience. Concentration. Preparation. Teamwork. Perseverance. Humility. The list is long. But one attribute that sometimes gets missed in baseball and life is…Risk.  I’ve heard my Dad say before, "Do something everyday that scares you".  Take a risk. Take a chance. Failure is our teacher. And in baseball and in life, the difference between good and great usually comes down to adding one missing ingredient and it’s often RISK.  Dr. Tony Evans says, “If you don’t take CHANCES, you don’t make ADVANCES.” There are some great growth opportunities in RISK.

(Risk) helps us understand we’re not in control, but GOD is.

(Risk) keeps us engaged, and sensitive to the humanity around us. 

(Risk) gives us the opportunity to never arrive but to be life long learners.

(Risk) brings out the best and or the worst in all of us.

(Risk) has a way of exposing who we really are vs. what we think we are.

(Risk) will never let us settle in, but will always bring about growth.

(Risk) is always synonymous with progress, movement, and true vision.

I wrote a song called “Squeeze Play“ from a funny moment with my son Dawson. He was playing T-Ball, which is really just 5-year-old rugby. They hit the ball, all 9 players make a pile on the ball. The runner rounds the bases, and all the parents cheer and believe that there child might have a shot in the major leagues one day. Again, being that our DNA has the blood of baseball champions, I obviously knew that Dawson was way beyond these other poop sniffers, but had him play, just so the fans could see a real prodigy. So Dawson gets up. Has his stance balanced and loose, relaxed grip, super sweet gentle sway and then swings with great hip rotation and hits the ball a ton. People looking through telescopes at Mars would have seen this ball for a brief second. Anyway, it went about 3 feet in front of the 9 players diving on it. He started running to 1st, made a great turn, and then headed to second. I’m thinking, homerun, legitimate homerun 1st time up, ever!!!!! He hits 2nd and rounds to go to 3rd and then makes a sharp turn and decides to skip 3rd all together, running straight across the pitchers mound home. I was speechless, and a tad lost as I bashed my head on the oak tree next to me. When Dawson came up to me, I bent down and looked deep into those blue eyes and asked… “What were you thinking?” And he said, and I quote “Dad, I just wanted to come home.”

 I learned a few more lessons that day.

*Sometime living can suck the life right out of you. And what we think is so important, just might not be.   Maybe we need to sometimes just skip 3rd all together and come home to the things that really matter.

*Secondly, when taking a risk, make sure you know the rules, and make sure your “legendary baseball Dad isn’t watching his grandson run across the pitcher mound, while his Dad bangs his head on an oak tree.” Funny stuff. Listen to the song; I think you’ll dig it.  

I Lost my Soap Box

I so want to share my thoughts, but I can't find my soap box.

Love Shane Claiborne. This is a quote from his amazing book "Irresistible Revolution" 

“We do need to be born again, since Jesus said that to a guy named Nicodemus. But if you tell me I have to be born again to enter the Kingdom of God, I can tell you that you have to sell everything you have and give it to the poor, because Jesus said that to one guy, too. But I guess that's why God invented highlighers, so we can highlight the parts we like and ignore the rest.” 
― Shane Claiborne,

No Sleep

Couldn't sleep, been up a good long while thinking about this world and my place in it. Life can be so hard sometimes, but we need to always remember...  Sushi is really tremendous. The end. 

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