These Songs, These Words, Closer to God

Talking to a good friend recently, talking about my struggles of late, my thoughts and feelings therein, and how my writing relates…

For better or worse, I lay a lot of it out here, you see…

It’s a blend of diary and journal and blog, giving me both the personal and creative outlet, together,

I prefer together, living and figuring it out, together,

Spinning the words oft indirect, sparse, wandering.

I’m often inspired, often relate to lyrics, that’s been true since I can first remember,

And so has God, been near, somehow coming close to me through those words, storied, and in song,

Closer to God, somehow even before words, the music a bridge,

And so this, so it is, these two from Dave bare it out, good examples laid out,

“Eh Hee”

Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh 

Praise God, who has many names but the devil has many more and with the love that my mother gave me I’m gonna drop the devil to the floor 

I’m gonna drop the devil to his knees I’m gonna drop the devil to his knees 

there’s always someone who’ll try to convince you that they know the answer no matter the question be wary of those who believe in a neat little world because it’s just fucking crazy, you know that it is 

Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh 

Walking along in this haze of confusion sometimes I can laugh but at times it takes all of my strength just to find enough reason to take the next step step, but I will, but I will, ’til I do 

Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh 

Brother, sister, brothers, sisters brother, sister, brothers, sisters 

Praise God who has many names but the devil has many more and with the love that my mother gave me I’m gonna drop the devil to the floor 

I’m gonna drop the devil to his knees I’m gonna drop the devil to his knees 

Strange evolution, that people have come to believe that we are its greatest achievement when really we’re just a collection of cells overrating themselves hello God, I’m avoiding the truth 

Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh 

I’m gonna drop the devil to his knees I’m gonna drop the devil to his knees 

Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh he…”

And…

“I can’t believe, can‘t believe we would lie in our graves, wondering if we lived our living days well…”,

And this sort of lyric, these words,

They lift me, inspire me, bring God near, to share, however sparse, however wandering, and,

To try again,

And be better,

For me,

For them,

For you.

Transfer

Freestyle on it, on the transfer. “What transfer?” you ask? The transfer of power, political power, the power over others.

We mark Inauguration Day in these United States as a cornerstone of our American Democracy. The peaceful transfer of power.

This time it’s 45 to 46. In spite of the struggle and the lies and the violence and even insurrection. Forward now peacefully.

Forward we go. Together.

As many as are willing to compromise to move our community and society forward.

Together.

And let it be so.

Another Voice for Change

After MLK Jr. Day, after all the many situations and examples and tragedies that have been freshly brought to light of late around racial inequality, and the many things we need to do to change things for the better…

I came across these two posts from one of my more favorite voices on social media. Fred Wilson.

He’s a business guy, a big money guy, but he’s also got one of the best perspectives and voices and balance to social and economic and cultural topics I am aware of. He’s no B.S., and he’s worth listening to.

And so though I have a couple hundred followers on WordPress, and six hundred some followers on Twitter, and Fred Wilson has more than six hundred thousand followers on Twitter – point being he’s got plenty of social media reach -?I’m going to share these two posts anyway. Because I agree with his remarks and I want to elevate them.

This is a guy whose making a difference on a lot of levels, including racial / social justice in these United States of America. Thanks, Fred ~

He wrote:

JAN 18, 2021

Six Months Later

In early June, I wrote this post explaining that I and we need to do more to reduce the inequality issues for Black people in tech, venture capital, and startups.

I think MLK day is a good time to talk about what has happened since that post.

We have identified a number of areas where we must do better:

  • Increase the number of Black founders we back
  • Increase the number of Black team members at USV
  • Increase the number of Black VCs we work with and support
  • Increase the number of Black board members in our portfolio
  • Increase the number of Black leaders in our portfolio
  • Increase the number of Black employees in our portfolio
  • Increase the number of Black engineers in our portfolio
  • Increase the number of Black investors in our funds
  • Increase the number of Black college graduates going into tech, venture capital, and startups
  • Create pathways for Black students to study STEM and find their way into careers in tech, venture capital, and startups

We have ongoing projects, workstreams, investments, and efforts in each and every one of these areas and we have made tangible progress in almost all of them.

I believe that the inequity issues are so severe and deeply rooted that it will take a concerted effort over a number of years to truly erase them.

But we are making progress and if we keep at it, across many dimensions, we can get where we need to go. Roughly 15% of Americans are Black. Until we can look around the room and see at least one Black person for every six in the meeting, we haven’t done enough. Today is a good day to remind ourselves of that and recommit to the work that needs to happen.

Jeff Interlude: And before that one, he wrote this one:

JUN 4, 2020

Black Lives Matter

I believe that Black lives matter.

I understand that the phrase Black lives matter speaks to a movement to stop the murders of Black people at the hands of the police. I also understand that it speaks to a broader protest movement seeking to reduce the unchecked power of the police. I support these efforts and am sympathetic to them.

But the words Black lives matter mean even more to me.

They mean that a Black person’s life matters as much as any other person’s life.

They mean that the living situation of a Black person matters as much as anyone’s living situation.

They mean that the food a Black person eats matters as much as the food anyone eats.

They mean that the health care that a Black person has matters as much as the health care anyone has.

They mean that the education a Black person has matters as much as anyone’s education.

And they mean that the economic opportunity that a Black person has matters as much as anyone’s economic opportunity.

My record and that of the USV is poor on that last measure.

We have spent much of the last week at USV talking about that and we talked about it publicly on our blog and Twitter yesterday.

When the collective minds at USV focus on something we have always met our goals.

While we are late to put our collective minds on this opportunity, we are not too late. And we have already started our work on it.

We will do this the way we do everything at USV. We will stick to our thesis of access to capital, knowledge, and well-being. We will back teams that are working on these problems in ways we think are impactful. And we will be engaged, honest, and present in the work.

How Far? MLK Jr.

This is a day to remember many things.

Where we started.

Where we’ve been.

How far we have to go.

And of course, this man, Martin Luther King Junior, his words, his work, his inspiration.

Especially after these recent years, and all the divides, I think I’m most hopeful that King’s words only gain more credence, more salience, with time.

I’m also hopeful because my children know King’s stories, they know his leadership, his vision. So very VERY grateful for that.

“He was a hero, a leader, a speaker, a man of great courage, and a very wise man, a counselor, a believer, a pacifist, a preacher. And all people were the same to him.”

Yes, there is reason to hope. There is much MUCH work to do, be we should do it being hopeful. We CAN make it better. Let it be so.

Remote, Yet Close

Strange times, pandemic times we’re in, we’re living, so much has changed on so many levels.

We’re restricted from each other for school, for work, for worship.

Fundamental to most faiths, the worship therein, we’re meant to come together, have a sense of the come together, can’t be together in-person just now. Screens and social distance are the necessary norm just now.

What does that do to faith? How do we exercise our faith? How do we teach our faith to our kids in these times? More effort needed, starting with an example, striving to draw near to the perfect example, is God near?

God is near…find God in every moment, draw near, God is close…

Now not my words, but good words for sure, have a listen, God is near,

“The design that God has for each one of us is always a design of love. And the greatest joy for every
believer is to respond to that call, offering one’s entire being to the service of God and the brothers and sisters.”

“In each act of service, in every work of #mercy we perform, God manifests Himself; God sets His gaze upon the world.”

“We are always on a journey in life. Let us choose the path of God! We will discover that there are no unexpected events, no uphill path, and no night that cannot be faced with Jesus.”

“A society is all the more human to the degree that it cares effectively for its most frail and suffering members, in a spirit of fraternal love.”

These from Francis, Jorge, and grateful, so very grateful for this voice, this humble insight. In these pandemic times, to find our way, how to find our way? This is the path.

God is near, God is with us, God is waiting for us to turn, let us turn, amen, AMEN.

Change Up

A little like a pitcher to a catcher, right by the batter, WIFF!

My older daughter applied that sorta magic earlier today, when my son was going sideways. It was super to watch, super thankful was I for the magic.

I had run up against it, unable to sway his mood, still looking at a couple hours of work from home, a co-worker waiting for my call.

A change-up, tone, topic, tempo, and he was out of his rut and following her down the hall.

So SO thankful.

On the mound and certainly in life, sometimes the situation you’re in calls for a change-up.

Lyrics Post: “Lovin’ Every Minute of It”

Way back when — think, two score (40 years) — there was a bit of a Canadian invasion of the American pop / rock music scene. Loverboy was one of those bands that squeezed everything they could out of their time on that scene. I’ve not thought about them for years, but then somehow my eight year old son got turned on to one their tunes, THIS tune, and well…

Now, we’re lovin’ every minute of it. : – )

Good riff, catchy lyrics, it was one of the hits of the band road out for a long time. And with my son now singing along to the tune, and asking that we play it pretty well everyday, well, glad it’s a good tune. ENJOY.

“I’m not man or machine
I’m just something in between
Whoa, oh, whoa, whoa
I’m all love, a dynamo
So push the button and let me go
Whoa, oh, whoa, whoa

You want me to come alive
Flick the switch into overdrive
You and me can let it be
Ready (ready), aim (aim), fire

Touch that dial
Turn me on
Start me like a motor
Make me run
Lovin’ every minute of it
Lovin’ every minute of it

Turn that dial all the way
Shoot me like a rocket into space
Lovin’ every minute of it
Lovin’ every minute of it
Lovin’ every minute of it, c’mon

I got fun, you want some
I’m ever ready, Dr. Love
Whoa, oh, whoa, whoa
I’m antenna, aerial
I’m tunin’ in, I’m outta control
Whoa, oh, whoa, whoa

You got love, you got a deal
You wanna drive then take the wheel
You and me can let it be
Ready (ready), aim (aim), fire

Touch that dial
Turn me on
Start me like a motor
Make me run
Lovin’ every minute of it
Lovin’ every minute of it

Turn that dial all the way
Shoot me like a rocket into space
Lovin’ every minute of it
Lovin’ every minute of it
Lovin’ every minute of it, all right

Oh, you want me to come alive
So flick the switch into overdrive
You and me can let it be
Ready (ready), aim (aim), fire

Touch that dial
Turn me on
Start me like a motor
Make me run
(Lovin’)
Lovin’ every minute of it
Lovin’ every minute of it

Turn that dial all the way
Shoot me like a rocket into space
Lovin’ every minute of it
Lovin’ every minute of it
Lovin’ every minute of it
Lovin’ every minute of it

C’mon and touch that dial
Turn me on
Start me like a motor
Make me run
Turn that dial all the way
Shoot me like a rocket into space
Lovin’ every minute of it
Lovin’ every minute of it
Whoa, oh, whoa, whoa”

Bonus Bit? Just who IS the writer of this song…? Robert Lange wasn’t in the band…

Writer(s): Lange Robert John

Busy Brain

This little episode comes to from the middle of the night. Yep, awoken by my busy brain just before 1:00am, capturing the moment to share a few thoughts.

Mind you, I just went to bed three hours ago, intent on getting a good night’s rest to start the week. Hmm. Didn’t plan on this little situ.

But here we are. The kicker that got me writing instead of just rolling over? A middle of night “bio-break”, as we call it at work.

When ya gotta go, ya gotta go.

And now my mind is flooded with work thoughts, and parenting thoughts, and so on…it is a little sneaky overwhelming.

So figure I’d make some lemonade out of this lemon (and red-eye interlude) by jotting and sharing a few strategies I employ when Busy Brain hits. Not sure what the science says about how to battle this situ, but here’s what I do.

1/ Like I tell my kids all the time when they say they can’t got to sleep, “Clear your thought box.” In your mind’s eye, counter the Busy Brain directly by forcing out the thoughts. Push them out; take control of your mind. Be persistent and insistent; clear your mind, or otherwise, focus on what you want to, not whatever pops up.

2/ Count your breaths; and make them slow, deep and full. Start with ten. Then repeat. And repeat again.

3/ Do exactly what I’m not doing just now. Keep your eyes closed; don’t turn on any lights( no screens. 🙂

STAY IN SLEEP MODE. Insist on it. And stay relaxed; and cozy; and comfortable.

That’s what I’m going to do right now.

Busy Brain? Stay relaxed, stay in control, OUT.

Inspiration Everywhere: Nick Chubb, Running Back, Cleveland Browns Football Team

Baller. Grinder. Fun to watch. Brings it on every down. Inspired player.

Pretty quick, all these thoughts came rushing in when I watched the Cleveland Browns game Sunday night.

Nick Chubb was inspiring, the way he ran. And it came to mind, gotta share that simple thought: be inspired by the simplest of things.

I mean, I’m not a huge sports fan; and in football I’m really a San Francisco Forty Niners fan, having grown up and still living just down the road in San Jose.

But Chubb inspired, so I’m sharing it, it’s that simple. Allow yourself to be inspired.