Ihave written two hymns which may be downloaded, printed, and used free of charge in worship to God.
While I wrote the lyrics, melody, and harmonies I owe a number of people a debt of gratitude for their help in this effort. My daughter Torhi, was a music major for a number of years and first offered a number of suggestions which helped me correct errors in harmony and music theory. Judy Harvel, one of the members at Olsen Park church of Christ in Amarillo, TX worked on these hymns over a period of months. Judy is a high school choir teacher in Amarillo. Her suggestions on key signatures, tempo, and harmonization were invaluable. Finally, both hymns were submitted to the respected brother in Christ, and gifted hymn writer, song leader, and gospel preacher R.J. Stevens. R.J. did arrangements on both hymns which would make each more suitable for congregational singing. His patient help, particularly with When I Shall Breathe My Last was so valuable, I cannot express enough my appreciation.
It is my prayer that these hymns may be used by brethren to encourage love for God and faithfulness to Him to the end.
LET NOT THIS WORLD HOLD ME
In 1996 I moved to Lenexa Kansas to preach the gospel for the Lenexa church of Christ. During the entire time that I worked with the brethren there circumstances demanded that I work additional jobs to supplement my support. One of the first jobs that I did was to help one of the brethren there, bro. Jim Stauffer with a paper route. This involved getting in the middle of the night and rolling the newspapers, then delivering them. Some were thrown from my car, others were delivered on foot to an apartment complex. Balancing the physical demands of this work, with the full-time work of preaching the gospel was a difficult experience at times, but one which allowed me to continue my work in Christ. One night while delivering the papers through the apartment complex the words of this song came to mind. After moving to Amarillo, Texas in 2006 I worked out the parts and harmonies.
WHEN I SHALL BREATHE MY LAST
Only one month after moving to Lenexa Kansas I was diagnosed with diabetes. The medical assumption was that my condition was adult onset, type 2 diabetes. Over time this assuption was proven wrong. After a year or so I grew sick one night while working overnight at a local grocery store and came home. After being sick all night, I was forced to call an ambulance the next morning. I was taken to the hospital an was unconscious for several hours with a condition known as ketoacidosis, a condition in which my blood became acidic and began to eat away tissue in my body. If this condition had continued I would have died in a few days. This condition only comes upon people with type 1 diabetes. For the rest of my life I will be insulin dependent. My pancreas produces no insulin. Diabetes damages tissue throughout a patients body. A few years after this, diabetic damage built up plaque in my blood vessels causing heart issues. Before the age of 40 I had a stint put in an artery in my heart. I have had eye and nerve damage. Yet, thanks be to God my life has been preserved and I have been able to continue my work and provide for my family. The unfolding of these health issues brought to my mind as it never had before my own mortality. This hymn came as a result of this realization. Life is short. We are all mortal. We must all prepare our life for the day when we each shall breathe our last.