Showing posts from 2012

Whistling Tea Kettles and Popcorn

It was June of 1986. I was a high school graduate. My future was brighter than ever, and I was ready to take on the world. I was eighteen years old, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to be a music teacher. I was intelligent, motivated, and had all the makings of a true success story. “Local tuba student plays Carnegie Hall!” I had a PLAN! MY plan! It was a brilliant plan. I couldn’t wait for fall to arrive so I could begin my studies at the University of South Carolina, which I was attending on, ahem, a FULL music scholarship.

Fast forward one year. It is now 1987. I no longer want to be a music teacher. I dropped out of college, lost all scholarship funding, and began taking classes at the local Technical College (where, ironically, I now teach). Twelve years, three kids, two states, and three colleges later, I earned my Bachelors Degree in Biblical Studies from Southeastern Baptist College in Wake Forest, NC. My plan, which was doomed from the start, becam…

Lesson Learned, Value Added

As I write this post, I am at a new place in my psyche. I have been taking stock for the last year. Asking myself this question: How did I end up here? “Here” is not a pretty picture in some ways. As I write, I am 44, broke, twice divorced, and alienated from my two daughters. Now, to be fair, it’s not ALL bad. I am happily remarried to the most amazing woman I have ever known. For the first time in 25 years, I am happy and hopeful. Iammoving forward. I have learned, however, that in order to move forward, it is good for me to know what I have done wrong, and look backward, so as not to repeat any mistakes. That is very good for me because I have made some big ones. My many mistakes all stem from a lesson I learned very early in life. I now know that the lesson I learned was wrong in so many ways. Yet, it has defined my entire existence until now. I have burned some very good bridges and lost many wonderful friends because of this one lesson I learned as a young boy. 
This lesson shape…

Second Place Is NOT First Loser

Irving Berlin never learned to read or write music. He hummed or sang his songs to a secretary, who wrote them down in musical notation. His name was Helmy Kresa, a songwriter in his own right. Mr. Kresa's was the first published arrangement of "All of Me," written by Gerald Marks and Seymour Simons. Mr. Kresa composed the instrumental sound track for Martin Scorsese's film "Raging Bull" and, with Carroll Loveday, he wrote "That's My Desire," which Frankie Laine recorded. In 1926, Mr. Kresa began working for Mr. Berlin and eventually became the general professional manager of the Irving Berlin Music Company. Obviously, as a composer, he never reached the level of notoriety as his boss, though without his notations, there would be no songs like "White Christmas," "God Bless America," or "There's no business like show business." The question arises: would there even be an Irving Berlin without a Helmy Kresa? 


The Hole Truth

It was dark and cold in that hole. In reality, the hole was not that deep. However, to a four year old kid, it might as well have been an abyss. I was the four year old kid, and I cannot remember ever being anymore afraid in my life. There was some construction being done in front of our house, and right outside the front door was a hole that was around six feet wide, four feet across, and maybe five feet deep. I had just finished breakfast, and my mom announced that we were going shopping. I remember being very excited (ironically, I despise shopping now), leaping to my feet and running out the door. The next thing I remember is being at the bottom of the construction hole, terrified and screaming. Within seconds, I saw my mom’s hand, grabbed it, and was returned to safety. Had I waited two more seconds before running out the front door, I would have heard mom instruct me that we were going to go out through the garage because of the large hole by the front door. Whoops. I was excited…

Guest blogger: Dr. Tobin Chase

I have been extremely busy with work and interviewing printers for my "I Survived My Facebook Fast" t-shirts. Since I haven't had much time for blogging, I have invited a good friend and fellow writer, Dr. Tobin Chase, to share with us. -- Todd

My fellow Americans and people of Mother Earth, what in the wide world of sports is wrong with you???

Two days ago, North Carolina poo-pooed on Gay Marriages and Civil Unions. A lot of people are pissed about this. Mostly gay ones.

Before I continue, I think you need to know that I, myself, am not gay. If a dude looked like George Clooney with legs like Katie Couric, maybe. I don't know. He would have to be filthy rich, too. Cigarettes aren't getting any cheaper.

So why all the uproar? Gay people want to get legally hitched. So what??? The religious community has erupted in a mass of malcontent. People of Gawd, listen to me. Gay people are not asking you to rewrite Scripture. They are not asking to get into Heaven. They jus…

Facebook fast, Day 20

Has it already been 20 days? I have hardly noticed. I was tempted to get on this past week because I needed to reach a couple of folks to get their mailing addresses. It can wait 10 more days.

This time off has really been nice. I miss the professional connections, but I'm sure they will be there when I come back. I am also looking forward to "seeing" my friends again.

Right now I am gearing up for final exams for my students, reading their papers, and looking forward to my summer class. It's hard to believe I have been teaching for 2 years now. I absolutely love it.

I will also be resuming my own studies this summer. I am looking forward to it.

Facebook Fast, Day 6

All is well. I have had at least three moments where I wanted to take, "just one little peek," but have remained committed to the fast. I need it. Facebook just isn't fun for me anymore. There was too much pressure to post for everyone but myself. When I posted for myself, people close to me got mad. Ahhh, life in the Social Media fast lane...will surely make you lose your mind (Vick/Eaglesism).

In the non-Facebook moments, I have been getting reacquainted with a few people who I have lost touch with. A few close friends and family members, to be sure, but also with Todd R.Vick the writer. I haven't seen or heard from him in quite awhile.

Aside from my blog, I haven't written a word in "Purple Lilacs" in almost a year. I am not sure why. The novel calls to me every single day, "Write, Todd. Write!" I am missing something, though. I used to have a few things which were my impetus to sit down and write. I recently re-read an interview I did a co…

While Rome Burns

Found an interesting article today. It is short. Read it, and come right back. I will be here.

Welcome back. Pretty thought provoking article, wasn't it? I thought so too.

Lately, I have been spending more time than usual on Facebook. Too much? Maybe. But I am seeing something. I am seeing people who I look up to who are pastors, professors, and Christians. I see them bickering. Blasting liberals. Blasting conservatives. Hating the President. Hating this, that, and the other. Today I posted a verse of Scripture on my FB status. No commentary, just a verse from the Bible, Matthew 8:11. My first reply was a comment from a minister remarking about Universalism. I wasn't making a universalist claim. I don't think that is what the verse stands for. I wanted to engage him in a debate. But I stopped myself. I'll tell you why in a moment.

A pastor who I have admired for many years and consider to be a mentor made this statement on his FB profile. "If the Bible is Pro-Life…

No Sunshine When She's Gone

Today I said good bye to my sweet Little Miss Sunshine. She passed away this morning. She was old and tired, and it was her time. I miss her already. My animals really get into my heart; they always have. Sunshine was no exception.

In 2008, my family and I rescued her from a very neglectful situation. For most of her life, she had been used for breeding. When she passed the fertile age, she was simply turned loose. During her time alone, she was hit by a car. A family I knew had found her and nursed her from the brink of death, but they couldn't keep her. We took her in, even though she was still in bad shape. Sunshine had a tumor the size of an orange on her kidney. She lost the kidney, but remained vibrant and sweet. I am happy to say that she lived like a queen for the last 4 years of her life. She was deeply loved, spoiled, and pampered. She knew it, too.

Her health had been failing. I made an appointment to take her to the vet this morning, but she had passed away by the time…

"And some sweet day..."

It was 1982, and I was sitting in the youth section of Trinity Baptist Church in Cayce, SC. It was the first night of revival. I had been invited by a good friend, and I had no idea what was to come. Sitting at an upright piano in the middle of the platform was a man who looked just like someone out of my Mom's high school yearbook. He began to play and sing. He had such an amazing presence on the stage, I thought. For a moment, I could have sworn that the upright piano had started dancing! I didn't fully understand what this guy's deal was. He was happy and radiated a joy unlike anything I had ever seen. I had to know who he was.

In the printed program, the name of this captivating man read, Rev. Lloyd F. Brewer, Jr. I had no idea that I had just been introduced to the man who would literally shape most of my own ministry in the years to come.

For eleven years to follow, Lloyd Brewer was my Minister of Music. It was he and his equally amazing wife Joan who coaxed me out o…

A Big Hug From My Father

Ever just need a hug? too. More often than I am willing to admit. I will admit this, however, I really needed this one.

It all began during my last post, where I likened myself to the prodigal son. If you have ever read the story, you know how it ends. The father sees the son coming home, runs to greet him, then lavishes love and acceptance and restoration. My story got as far as me coming to myself amidst the pig slop and deciding that I wanted to go back. So I started back home.

My first stop was on New Years Day. I went to my good friend Dan's church and made a public recommitment of my life to Jesus. To do this with pastor Dan was very special for me. He has nurtured me through two failed marriages and a lot of other things and never failed to tell me what I was doing wrong. Once upon a time, I did the same for him.

The journey back home continued with some personal inventory. There were things in my life that were dragging me down emotionally. Long story short, I m…