– Journey to Excellence


Christmas 23

Twas actually Christmas, twenty and 23. At my sole daughters home, where the party would be.

Great Grandmother Crossley and her husband of old, were the first to arrive, just as had been foretold.

So now there was Russell, and Amber and Rye, and Zoey and Lily, and some other guy. What? No other guy? Well there were animals, but mostly hidden away.

Anyway, Troy came along, the longest trek made, and Nicholas came too, sharing his birthday.

Soon Dillon appeared with a tiny reindeer, and… What? He did have a small reindeer of some sort. He left it in the car because the animals were all hidden.

Bass and friend Cass were the next to appear, but an influx of others were already near.

Derek and Susan, Logan, and Miles, Sophia and Belle, who knows how many cars.

And I haven’t forgotten my first son’s first born. Naomi has gone off and joined the Stevenson family. But she was here, along with her fine husband Danny and their two little ones; Indy and Remi. I was struck by little Remi’s walking. At first I thought he was making fun of me, but then I realized the learning process looks a lot like the remembering process.

Poor Belle was ill and spent her time resting, I hope comfortably. Hopefully the joy of those around her was a comfort.

There was another Riley(sp)  there, a friend of Miles. We put her to work as the photographer in charge of the master shot, and so unfortunately, she is not included in the photograph she composed. There was way too much food and a lot went to waste. That was the sad part of the day.


So 20+ people all together at the best time of the year. 4 generations. For me, it was a great and deeply personal treasure. I know the labors of making such an event happen and I am so glad for everyone’s participation. The giving of time, money, and effort to try to ensure everyone will have an enjoyable time. No part of such an event is easy and truly only love overcomes all the obstacles. I thank everyone. I am especially thankful to Amber and Russell for hosting and by association, accepting the greatest of the burdens. I had an awesome time.

After the party Nicholas had promised to play a few Christmas songs on the violin. I wish he had done so at the party but I expect, having only first picked up a violin a couple months ago, the venue was a bit crowded. But he played them at Dillon’s (my home) along with Dillon on guitar and Troy on Bass. It was remarkable and I have edited together a bit of the video I captured.


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This second video closed the show. After being encouraged by his brothers to just experiment, in this song Nick dared go off script and hit a note so sweet that we all got choked up. He was so overcome (and sore) that he called it a night for playing. Troy and Dillon finished us off with a superb bit of playing. As a note, I officially fell in love with the bass after hearing this.

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Last but not least. A few of the photos I took.

Mary did you know

Another Christmas song I was glad to get a chance to do. Believe it or not, I had really never heard this song before coming across it on Smule. I think it’s an awesome song, and while Baby it’s cold outside is ‘cute’, this one is really what Christmas is all about.

Mary, Did You Know?

Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy
Has come to make you new?
This child that you delivered, will soon deliver you
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would calm the storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy
Has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby
You kiss the face of God
Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know? Did you know?
Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?

The blind will see, the deaf will hear
The dead will live again
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak
The praises of the Lamb
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy
Is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
That sleeping child you’re
Holding is the great, I Am
Mary, did you know? (Mary, did you know?)
Mary, did you know? (Mary, did you know?)
Mary, did you know? Oh

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Greene Lee Rufus / Lowry Mark Alan
Mary, Did You Know? lyrics © Greensleeves Publishing Limited, Rufus Music, Word Music, Llc

Baby it’s Cold Outside!

First off, yes, I know this song is the target of political activist anxious to make everything in the past an indictment against something. I don’t care. I partnered often on Smule to sing with this amazing woman and when she asked me to join her on this song, I jumped at the chance. Here’s a thought. If you hate the song, piss off and don’t listen.


Baby It’s Cold Outside
Idina Menzel

I really can’t stay
Baby it’s cold outside
I gotta go away
Baby it’s cold outside
This evening has been
Been hoping that you’d dropped in
So very nice
I’ll hold your hands they’re just like ice
My mother will start to worry
Beautiful what’s your hurry?
My father will be pacing the floor
Listen to the fireplace roar
So really I’d better scurry
Beautiful please don’t hurry
Well maybe just a half a drink more
I’ll put some records on while I pour

The neighbors might think
Baby it’s bad out there
Say what’s in this drink?
No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how
Your eyes are like starlight now
To break this spell
I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell
Why thank you
I ought to say no, no, no sir
Mind if move in closer?
At least I’m gonna say that I tried
What’s the sense of hurting my pride?
I really can’t stay
Baby don’t hold out
Baby it’s cold outside
Ah, you’re very pushy you know?
I like to think of it as opportunistic
I simply must go
Baby it’s cold outside
The answer is no
But baby it’s cold outside
The welcome has been
How lucky that you dropped in
So nice and warm
Look out the window at that storm
My sister will be suspicious
Gosh your lips look delicious!
My brother will be there at the door
Waves upon a tropical shore
My maiden aunt’s mind is vicious
Gosh your lips are delicious!
Well maybe just a cigarette more
Never such a blizzard before
And I don’t even smoke
I’ve got to get home
Baby you’ll freeze out there
Say lend me your comb
It’s up to your knees out there!
You’ve really been grand,
I feel when I touch your hand
But don’t you see?
How can you do this thing to me?
There’s bound to be talk tomorrow
Think of my life long sorrow!
At least there will be plenty implied
If you caught pneumonia and died!
I really can’t stay
Get over that old out
Baby it’s cold
Baby it’s cold outside
Okay fine, just another drink then
That took a lot of convincing!

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Loesser Frank
Baby It’s Cold Outside lyrics © Frank Music Corp.

Thanksgiving Reflections 2020

It’s going to be a very peculiar Thanksgiving this year;in many respects just another day hanging around the house. Our son Nicholas will make it for dinner hopefully, but that’s the only family we’ll have the chance to actually be with. Our hearts and thoughts will certainly include all our family, and many others as well. Adversity is the greatest gift never sought, and this year has been a blessing of challenges. They are the energy of growth, the fuel that can carry us to greater appreciation and gratitude for the blessings in our lives. I love my family, my life, and my savior Jesus Christ, and I am so grateful for the countless blessings, lessons, opportunities, and challenges in my life.

I have shared a few video links below and I can assure you they are not the heartfelt Hallmark sort, but may bring a smile if taken in the spirit offered. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. Not everyone will of course, so please do what you can to lift the burdens of others. Trust me when I tell you, the blessings you may give come back many times over.

I saved my favorite for last in these videos.

Don’t know how many may remember WKRP but it was a funny show. This, from a Thanksgiving episode still makes me crack up.

Barney. Dead on Thanksgiving day. Murdered? or a victim of the wind?

A couple SNL classics. What need be said.

A COVID Thanksgiving

Could be our new puppy.

A commercial I think, but awesome funny IMHO.

The Bake before Christmas

Twas a week (more or less) before Christmas and panic set in

Momma knew that the baking prep had to begin

There was butter to buy, nuts and chocolate in bulk

and to bring it inside she would need that great hulk

So Pops would play chauffeur, cart pusher and bank

and Momma would lead him, sometimes with a yank

The aisles would be crowded with people in need

and yet most were friendly, like brothers indeed

When supplies are unloaded but not put away

Momma takes just a moment, to breathe or to pray

and then with her measuring cups and her spoons

she’s off like a whirlwind, a flour storm looms

Bowls and pans cover countertops littered with crumbs

and hands mix the cookie dough until they are numb

The dog patrols restlessly his circular path

ensuring the floors clean and stoking moms wrath

The heat from the oven and the cold wind that blows

make the windows look icy, like old Frostie’s nose

and Pops in pajamas, hot cocoa in hand

Just watching and smiling, like he has a plan

And time somehow stops while rushing ahead

and it’s the wee hours, well past time for bed

but Mommas still cooling and packing in tins

loving treats for her family, neighbors and friends

Poppas plan is completed, every batch tested well

his milk glass is empty and Momma can tell

She told him to stop, but he does what he can

and he tasted a cookie from every hot pan

The children all grown up with lives of their own

But this time of the year they may all visit home

So they rest on the sofa, mom tired, dad stuffed

and they gaze at the tree, both of them feeling chuffed.

It soon will be Christmas and our savior above

fills the hearts of all those who believe in His love

Though our faith must be tested and trials overcome

If our love is unbroken, we’ve already won

Of Christmas & Trees


I LOVE this time of the year. Starting with Halloween I begin to experience the sense of celebration. Yeah, it starts with candy and little kids dressed up to the bounds of their imaginations, or their parents purse, and actually going out in the world, knocking on doors, and meeting, however briefly, other real life people. God help us all when Facebook takes that over too and we need never actually see, or be seen, by others. People decorate! Well, some do. It may be as simple as just leaving a pumpkin on the front steps, but still, it’s something right?

Then quickly comes Thanksgiving and hopefully we begin to turn our thoughts from the ‘me me me’ focus of Halloween candy to a more pronounced contemplation of the joys and blessings in our lives. Family bonds pull us nearer and we generally hide the deep seated need we have for one another by focusing it on food, since it’s not really polite to talk with your mouth full. But we all know. We all realize at this time of year more than usual, how much we care for, need, and appreciate family.

Then, the magic really begins as we head toward Christmas. The big one. Now many will say it is based on commercialism and an old pagan holiday. Maybe. There’s no doubt a focus on buying things, and the time of year really doesn’t make sense for the birth of Jesus Christ. But none of that matters. Give unto Caesar what is his. For those who are blessed to know Christ, we know what the season represents and what it is we celebrate. It is that spirit that gives hope and makes even the non-believers seem a little friendlier at this time of year.

Anyway, this isn’t a lecture. I wanted to say to all who may read this that I hope you have a most awesome Christmas! Mama Crossley has been in good spirits this year and done a bit of decorating.