Wy Oming

I live in beautiful Wyoming and am grateful for the opportunity to be part of the community here.

I have lived most of my life in metro cities where everything you need is right down the street. Here in Wyoming, you have to adhere to a lifestyle that gives you less options. The payout, however, is that your life is greatly simplified. And the perks… come on!!! Peace and quiet. Less stress. And the air you breath is actually more than the price of admission.

And besides the stunning views right from your own backyard, I think what’s really unbeatable is the lack of traffic. Having been a city slicker most of my life, I can’t emphasize enough how transforming that is to anyone who’s used to the daily hustle and bustle.

Anyway, what I really meant to write about is that being a musician and songwriter, I find myself writing about anything and everything but the beautiful state I belong to. One day, I just thought, I should write about Wyoming. Maybe from a point of view of someone who’s not a native but has come to love it enough to make it his home.

So here it is. My own take on the place I call home. Wy Oming. Hope you enjoy it.

Oh, and by the way, if you’re so inclined, help me collect some royalties. Follow me on Spotify and/or buy the song/album on iTunes. Thanks much!

Like Father Like Son

On May 26th, it will have been my dad’s 84th birthday.

Time. Wow! Time can be so merciless. I can still vividly remember him taking me to the barber. And I hated it every time! Perhaps, I’ve always wanted my hair long.

I realize how undeserving of God’s kindness I am. He’s been so good to me all my life. And I am complete today because of him.

Yet, if there was one regret I have in life, it would be that I failed to forge a meaningful relationship with my earthly father. A dreadful iniquity on my part. And the aftermath will no doubt continue to weigh on me for as long as I live.

This song I wrote is not so much a tribute as it is a confession. A longing. A moment in sackcloth and ashes, if you will. It was a difficult one to write, for sure.

I wish I could tell my dad, for both the first and last time, that I love him. Because I truly did! But it’s a bit too late now, isn’t it? I was given countless chances and I blew them all.

Indeed, time’s up.

A new album to close 2018

ghostnotesMan, did I start late on this but I just finished a body of musical work for this year. Work I should’ve started in the spring at the latest. I could’ve been done around summertime if I did.

Anyway, I still managed to come up with 8 brand new songs in a matter of 2 months! That’s a rarity for me nowadays. Plus I also reprised (did a remake of) 3 of my old songs from around 20 years ago! I performed these on a recent Wyoming Singer-Songwriter competition and thought the arrangement needed a makeover. For one, I could no longer hit the high notes like I used to back then so I had to sing them on a different key now. And play them on different instruments, as well!

So, 11 songs recorded this year! Not too shabby for having just started this project in September. I have not had that many songs recorded in a year since 2005! Or 2004, if we’re talking original songs!

As always, the album is quite varied in style. It’s the most diverse album I’ve ever made, actually! It’s called Ghost Notes. Check it out. I hope you like it.

Good Sam – Friend or Foe?

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” ~ Luke 10:36-37

It’s a classic, yes? Most people are presumably familiar with the story.

But what I’d like to briefly contemplate on is a view of this particular parable from an angle which I believe is quite easy to overlook. I know it is, for me.

goodsam

When Jesus told of this venerated tale, he made a case for all believers to pursue. He established a standard of righteousness through the likeness of a particular individual. He carved a hero out of someone whom the Old Testament-era Judeans considered not only a cultic half-breed but a downright outcast, as well. Or, a despised enemy, even.

One might not realize it but in many levels, we, in today’s society, are no different at all. We desire to be heroes. We long to be inspired. However, we naturally look up to the usual suspects, don’t we? Our examples typically come from the ones that we’re able to relate to easily – our friends, our family or perhaps, even revered celebrities. But when do we ever seek inspiration from the ones we might consider outcasts or, quote-unquote, enemies?

Think about it. It’s an issue of relate-ability. A matter of familiarity and comfort zones. It’s subtle but yet quite obvious, really. It can be about race, status or beliefs. It’s our perception of others. Our cliques. Our prejudices. The things we don’t enjoy talking about – because we are fearful of the subject matter and have nothing explicit to say about it. Unaware, we create invisible schisms, chasms and walls amongst each other. It’s a heinous misdeed and I certainly admit my own guilt!

How compelling it truly is to behold Jesus’ upside-down ideology and how it instinctively goes against the grain of our fleshly perspectives and leanings! Surely, I am in constant awe!

There is something astonishing and miraculous when we elect to pry our eyes open and witness the unexpected. The good within the perceived bad. Yes! To befriend a sinner; to plant a tiny seed of faith; to love as much as we’ve been forgiven; to knock in perseverance on God’s door; to find treasure in the unseen.

Or yet, to simply be a good neighbor, just like Sam. Good Sam. It’s a great place to start, if you ask me.

Meat or Manna

Today’s contemplation…

“If only we had meat to eat! … But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” ~Numbers 11:4,6

Discontentment. Ingratitude. If we’re truly honest, we’ll admit we all have these in us to some degree. They can be elusive, invisible or incognito even. A bit hard to spot at times. I don’t know about you but I struggle against it just about everyday. Even when I try not to show it, I can be a grouch deep inside.

Sometimes, our choice between meat or manna can be a matter of life and death. It’s a tough battle. Choose wisely.

@2002 Chris Alma Jose

Tomorrow, you little stinker you!

This popped up on my phone early this morning…

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ~Matthew 6:34

Happy Monday. Here’s your Verse of the Day. Eat up!

Okay, so I’ve probably nibbled on this little breakfast nugget more times than I can remember. It’s one of the most lionized passages in scripture and intrinsically embedded in my subconscious. Well, I hope so anyway.

But you know how it goes: Just because you’ve read something once doesn’t mean you’ve wrung out every possible ounce of flavor from it.

Well, a few moments after I’ve taken a quick and superficial gander at my phone, I couldn’t shake off a feeling that I might’ve missed something vital. Something that had been hiding in plain sight all this time! So I stopped what I was doing and sat for a moment. I read the verse a second time.

And a third.

Road Closed

Hmmm… possibly a couple more. But what I ultimately saw blew me away.

Tomorrow will worry…

Did you get that? Tomorrow will worry. Not me. Tomorrow will.

Worrying is not my business. Not my monkey, not my circus! Nope!

Whew! What a relief! Right?

Wait… easier said than done, you say? Yep, I thought the same. I hear you, my friend. But let’s read on…

It says: Tomorrow will worry… about itself.

Now, is it just me or is tomorrow being portrayed here as a bit ambiguous and problematic? Kind of a nutcase, if you will?

Think about it. It doesn’t say that tomorrow will solve any of my problems. It doesn’t say that it will resolve anything at all or that it will eventually sort itself out. It only says that it’ll worry about itself!

The funny thing is that tomorrow never really comes. It never arrives, does it? When you think tomorrow’s here, it’s already moved on.

Okay, so if tomorrow is indeed ambiguous and problematic, then am I not crazy to even worry about it, to begin with?

This is what I gather from all this: Jesus is saying not to worry because if you believe in him, the cares of tomorrow gets deleted from the equation and hope takes its place. As far as time is concerned, we are already there. Through hope, we are where we belong. In Him.

And that, I believe, is nothing to worry about.

Perfect Unity – Is that even possible?

Some friends of mine and I were in a conversation a few days ago regarding unity. Oddly enough, we found ourselves in a dialectic disagreement.

“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.” ~‭‭1 Corinthians ‭1:10‬

Forget about the context of the entire chapter. Just think about the magnitude of Paul’s appeal here on this particular passage. Not to the first century disciples in Corinth, but to you and me, and today’s Christendom. Is this even possible? Maybe so, but in all my life I have not seen proof of this ever being put into serious practice by anyone. It may have been attempted at one point or another but I don’t think anyone’s ever been persistently successful.

unity

Let’s just begin with all the denominations that have sprouted since the first century. Countless! The schisms, the factions. They’re endless. And this notion ranges from corporate to individuals.

Paul wanted Christians to agree with one another in whatever they say. Now who’s word should we collectively concede to? If I say one thing and another says something else, who do we yield to? And how does pride and humility play into this?

No divisions! If this is the law, then we’re all guilty of breaking it. Being the inherent sinners that we are, there’s just no way we could’ve avoided this infraction on any level. I may be wrong (and I hope I am), but I have yet to see otherwise.

And the final appeal… to be united in mind and thought. And perfectly at that! Indeed, Jesus! Increase our faith! I can’t even begin to unite my own mess of thoughts, let alone be perfectly united with those of others. Most of whom I have nothing in common with other than a fundamental faith in God.

I don’t mean to sound bleak, but we do have work to finish here. Seemingly insurmountable kind of work. After 2,000 years, we’re barely scratching Christianity’s surface. If at all.

Someday

Heaven.

It seems distant, yet it’s near. It feels far away, yet it’s here.

It’s a promise. It’s my hope.

And hope does not disappoint.

It will come.

Windows Section Panaorama

Someday.


Change these colors of blue and grey
I can’t stand it anymore
The sun keeps rising on the wrong side of town
Don’t you walk out that door
I can’t breath, I can’t see
I call out your name
It’s alright you say, I can’t wait
I will be home someday

Have you been there, my friend
Searching high and low
Imagine closely a painless world
How can you say no

Don’t you run, don’t you hide
Don’t turn your back away
It’s alright you say, I can’t wait
Oh please come home someday

Let me take you to a land
With no castles in the sand
While there is still time
Won’t we do it today
Let me carry you away
From the scene of the crime

Take this rainbow away from the dark
Clear these clouds away
Let me smell your roses again
Send forth the light of day
I can’t breath, I can’t see
I call out your name
It’s alright you say, I can’t wait
I will be home someday

©2000 Chris Alma Jose

In Lieu of Flowers

Yes, we skipped Valentine’s Day. I confess that I’m really not as big a fan of the occasion as most people are. Too commercial for my taste, I guess. I would much rather do something special on a different day. When it’s least expected.

So on a whim, my wife and I decided to celebrate the following weekend instead. With a trip to Moab, Utah! Incredible!

Delicate Arch Trail, back of the Twisted Doughnut Arch

Now, that’s what I call romance. LOL!

Although, we got stranded on our drive back home when an unexpected blizzard struck in Vail, CO. There was a multi-vehicle wreck ahead of us that prompted the state troopers to close the freeway indefinitely. So we had to turn back and spend an extra night in the mountains. Oh well…

All in all, a great time was had. Can’t wait for the next adventure.

The photo above was taken on a hike towards the Delicate Arch in Arches National Park.  We also went to the Moab Giants Dinosaur Park. A great place to visit for kids of all ages!

Check out some more pics from the trip over here.