Listen to LIttle Worlds

November 25, 2015

Orange Hands (Part 1)

van photoIn hindsight, I was probably more of an effective communicator as a solo artist performing around the world, but I loved playing with a band. It is just soo fun making music with a group of guys who are inspired to give their best to making music for everyone.
When I came to the point of being dropped by WB and had stopped playing for youth groups to pursue my rock and roll dreams, I still had a family to provide for. My day job had always been as a contractor/ house painter. I used to practice my tour with paint stains on my hands, and think, “in 36hours I will land in Europe and be a musician.” Funnest transition ever!
So when I would come back from a tour I would have no work lined up. So I would call the temp services to get some work while I could start booking shows and rebuild a painting business. After my last tour the temp service sent me to a bank for a very low wage, I said “which jobs pay the most?” they said office jobs. So I went in two hours early everyday to the temp service before going to the bank, and took the self tutorials to learn excel and completed it.
A record company asked my temp service to send someone who knew excel to work for 3 days. I had just completed it, so I showed up and they gave me a large book of Gift market Conventions because they were behind the ball and had just gotten approval to attend, and wanted an excel spread sheet of what was available and what the costs and deadlines were.
After a bit, I asked for a phone as I realized they had missed all of the published deadlines for the top shows. I called the event organizers and by the second day I had built them a spread sheet with discounted prices.
“Well, we are paying you for three days, so if you want to, you can come in and I will show you our warehouse and you can just follow me around if you want,” Lee Porter said. So I did.
I thought, hmm, I used to be signed to a major label as an artist, why not see it from the other side?

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November 19, 2015

Whose Story?

What is the story of my life!
Ok, I wrote a post about the three senior men who have influenced my life, and that I most admired.
My dad, was the son of a strong battled farmer from Iowa, a heck raiser from Butler county who wound up Committing his life to Christ, and became a church planter in New Jersey.
Around the same time a Dutch youth, Leo, who gave his life to Christ, became a policeman who held bible studies in The Netherlands for the gang members he arrested. Then he was supported to start a Christian television network in Kenya. And believed he should stay when he had finished his mission trip.
Around the same time a Cuban youth, Pepe’s family fled to Guatemala. Believing Castro would take control and nationalize their family business. He gave his life to Christ and started a Nice restaurant chain and distributed Gospel music for the Americas.
Then the Dutch one asks me, like the Dutch are prone to do,” What is the story of your life.”
I do not have a worthy answers to this man I admire, mostly cuz I don’t have an ending yet. But it does remind me of something I said to concert goers many times. Your story is interesting. If no one else thinks so, don’t worry, God does. Tell it to Him.
What is the story of your life!

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November 16, 2015

True Myth

Hmm, have I told you this story? I was staying in Nashville off of Trinity Lane after my wife and I brought our baby to a total dive motel. We were heading back to Minneapolis from Nashville after my failed attempts to get a record deal in LA, New York and finally Nashville. When we crossed the TN/KY state line I pulled over at the rest stop, looked at Lynette, and said “where are we going?”

We had nothing going on in our hometown of Minneapolis, we had nothing anywhere at that moment. Why not start over, so we turned around a rented a room in a dive motel for a week with our last $125 bucks and a few bucks more for food.

My baby learned to walk in a coach roach ridden motel room. But we were so excited and happy to experience it, that it could have been the Taj Mahal.

I am not kidding you. On the last day of our 7th day prepaid stay. I got a call in my hotel room telling me that I had a publishing deal. And that Warner/Chappell would be sending me some money the next day.

So I woke up early the next morning. Like you do when you are pumped and walked over to the restaurant. 7am, smell of fresh beer on some of the patrons breath, more missing teeth then I had ever seen in grownups, but they all gave me a smile and some conversation when I walked in. When I finally sat down in a booth and the waitress came over and I said, “I just got a publishing deal, and they said they are going to send me money today, but right now I have no money. Is there any way I could get a cup of coffee.”

She congratulated me and said “sure honey, I can bring a free cup of coffee to someone who just got signed.”

At the time I thought she believed me, but as I am writing this and after living in Nashville for a while, I think she was having some fun and just brought a broke young man some coffee.

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June 17, 2014

Leave them kids alone…

Arie and friend
I talked to my dad today, apologized for calling him a day late cuz I was at church and then took the youths to a WannaBeatles show at an out door park in TN, the weather was glorious and a lady came up behind me and Lynette and told us, “I have been watching these young people all nite and I have renewed faith by seeing how wonderful they are.”

How fun to be told in a crowd of thousands, that the dozen teens were being watched and giving hope to a grown woman, and that she wanted to credit us for it, truth be told, Lynette and I just sat there, held hands once or twice, (not part of the story, but she also gave me a great neck rub.)

Well, the parents of the kids in the core group were believers and yes they home schooled their kids. But, I know not every mom or dad who loves their kids feel that they can afford to home school. In fact, we could never really afford to home school our kids.

I had been dropped by WB a couple of months before we were sent a letter that our son had to attend Ashland City Public School. Lynette and I looked at each other and after a few moments of silence said, no way is that the right thing for us to do to our son. I know there are some wonderful teachers at public school, but we both agreed we were not ready to send him to the government school, after living in Holland and knowing about European education, and having him being taught for his first five or six years by us.

My roommate in College had told us that he and his wife were homeschooling his kid, so we thought maybe it was legal, but this was pre internet, so with no out side resources, I wrote out my sons first year curriculum. It was basically hand written work sheets I remembered from first grade, math questions, logic, reading comprehension, etc.

Lynette and I went to a government little house on the prairie type school, half local and half federal as far as I can tell. But we lived in North Dakota. She worked in the nursing home during High School and I picked rocks, cleaned out manure, painted barns, and hauled hay bales during High School to earn some spending money.

I snuck into the governors office in Bismark as a teen, (the door was open, and I kept saying, hello is anyone here.) I thought, wow, this is where it all happens. We visited the constitutional hall in Philly a few years later and thought, “wow, this is where it all happened.”

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May 31, 2014

Sleep Well…

Sleep photo

I slept in a pastors home for eighteen years, with five people.

I slept in a dormitory for one year with one person.

I slept in an apartment for one year with a roommate.

I slept in the same apartment for one year with my new bride.

I slept on airplanes.

I slept in guest houses in many places around the world.

I slept in one and five star hotels.

I slept on children’s beds.

I slept on the ground.

I slept in mansions.

I slept in Kenya, Singapore, Brazil,

China, South Africa and South Korea.

But, my favorite sleeping memories are,

Sleeping with my wife in Spain.

And in the USA, on my birthday.

Hampton Inn in Dickson, Tennessee.


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May 24, 2014

Africa has the Coolest churches…

I went to a huge church in South Africa and was surprised that we had to pass through some armed guards to get there.

I went to a beautiful old church in Holland, the door was locked so i knocked on the door and yelled, Is God home?

I went to a baby dedication at a church in Nigeria, wow!

I stayed in a hotel that had armed guards, and a dozen young prostitutes lived there, (they told me they didn’t like doing it, but were sold by their fathers from outlying areas,) and it was the most expensive hotel and dump i had ever stayed in, it catered mostly to international businessmen, pilots and executives from the major oil companies.  They told me that Nigeria could be one of the wealthiest countries in the world because of their natural resources, i was inquisitive and a BP guy said that a few dozen politicians made the deals for the oil and kept all of the money, they laughed and shook their heads.

I moved over to my friends house and when we pulled up to his house he had two goats in his driveway, outside of the gates, I said, “Why do you have goats in your driveway?”  “That’s dinner”, He said it was traditional for men of a certain stature to give goats as a gift for a special event.

It was his child’s dedication day and hours later, i sat with a King, the Minister of Defense, a bishop and the Chief of Police for Lagos in a private VIP room eating goat.  I shyly informed the Chief of Police that i had learned that his officers were taking bribes. (i had to get to my hotel safely somehow)  He laughed and said they all do that, but i was more fascinated that they were openly discussing the battle between the Christian and Muslims politically,  several Christians had recently been killed in a Muslim region.

I ignored the warnings from our government for Americans to not travel to Nigeria.  Turns out that it is more dangerous to travel from Holland to Detroit, even though Holland had full body scanners way before we did, and it didn’t stop someone from giving a kid a underwear bomb on the plane.

My Nigerian friend told me that his country used to be beautiful.

His church was! I walked into a church of a couple of thousand people who were there to celebrate!  The speakers were distorting but the band grooved. Everyone danced as they went up front to put money in the offering plate.  Me too, but an hour later, they started another offering time, I told my friend, “I don’t have anything left, why are they doing this again?”

He said, “You always have to hold something back.”

I can still paraphrase the sermon, so that could count as the best i ever heard, it was more of a prayer really. So I just stood there and watched the most wonderful dancers dressed in the most beautiful colors and outfits (that reminded me of 1940’s movie stars), who came there to celebrate for seven hours make their way to the front to give money to God.

I only lasted for an hour and a half, and left with no money.


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May 14, 2014

Mayflower, Leiden, Radio…

220px-John_Alden_and_Priscilla_Alden_grave_in_Miles_Standish_Burial_Ground_in_Duxbury_MAMy Great, great.. (keep going) grandparents left Leiden on a ship called the Mayflower, they were not married at the time, in fact, as the story goes my grand papa tried to convince great grandma Priscilla to marry another honorable man named Miles Standish, but apparently she was having none of it and told John Alden to ask for himself. He did, and according to my family bible had kids who had kids for 13 generations that eventually bore my mom.

Cousin Henry Wadsworth Longfellow mentioned great grandma and grandpa in a poem The Courtship of Miles Standish, it mentions a gal choosing not to marry a perfectly good prospect, so most of me believes it, cuz it rings true to how my daughters seem to be considering a spouse.

My dad was of Dutch/Prussian decent, when I ask him about it he said, the borders used to change all of the time back then. I married a Methodist from Scottish/Irish decent, I guess country of origin or religion never mattered to us, dad was a German baptist pastor. (His church voted to change their name to North American Baptist during WWII, I assume to not be put in intern camps.)

So I put my mom on speaker phone (so my girls could hear) and asked her why she married my dad. She said that she would sometimes go on blind dates, but if she didn’t think the man was a strong Christian, she wouldn’t go out with him again.

I asked her how or why she gave her life to the Lord and she said when she was sixteen she heard a radio preacher and asked her dad to pray with her to accept Christ. I asked my dad why and when he gave his life to Christ. He said he was listening to a radio preacher when he was twelve and his brother asked him if he wanted to become a Christian. Dad said “yes” and uncle Paul led him in the sinners prayer.

Mom said she didn’t know she was going on a date when she met my dad, she was tricked by a friend who invited her to the Jersey shore with a friend and my dad also showed up, and six months later she was married.

A farm boy from Iowa heard a radio preacher when he was twelve, and committed his life to Christ. A city girl from New York heard a radio preacher, and committed her life to Christ. They got married many years later in New Jersey, where I was born. But what I didn’t know, was they both committed their lives to God four years apart, after listening to the same radio show.Courtship_of_Miles_Standish_a_Plymouth_Pilgrim

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May 11, 2014

Mother, oh Mother…

Mom and Aunt Miriam

My mom was a beauty queen, she got several offers to be a model when she was young, but she was having none of that.

Instead she went to college, got a teaching degree and like her mother, taught in public schools. Both of my parents were english teachers. I panicked when I failed my senior English class final. I was the editor of the school paper and student council president, but I wouldn’t graduate HS if I failed English.

Mrs. Dempsey let me redo the final again. I think I failed again, but she gave me a passing grade, and allowed me to graduate. (conjunction junction, what’s your function?)

At age tenish I wrote my mom a note and left it on the couch. Do you love me, check yes or no. She checked YES, and I was soooo happy.

She is amazing, no one will ever know all of the challenges she went through as a young girl, but she was determined in her mind to trust her Savior.  She always said she would never marry a pastor or a farmer.  She was set up on a blind date with my dad, a pastor raised on a farm, got married shortly after at age thirty, had her first kid nine months later and 2 more babies within the next two years.

She was the buffer between my dad and I when I was a headstrong teen, and she was the strait man to my dads comedy. She loves God and prays for me, and walks on her exercise machine every day. I love her sooooo much. Bless you Elizabeth Simmons who became my beloved mother, Betty Huisinga.

“Another mothers day has come, and i’m not home

I wish that I could see her

I hope she knows how much I really love her

I hope she knows how much I care

And I wish that I could tell her

I love you”

Dans mom and dad


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May 10, 2014

Curfew broken…

My girl went on a date last night.

She missed her midnight curfew by a half hour.

What should I do?

What would you do?

She was dressed like Audrey Hepburn,

In a classical dress with a train.

Her hair done up in bobbins,

She looked beautiful to me.

She danced alone and sometimes with her date.

She ate food fit for kings of old,

And engaged in conversation,

With a princess from Minnesota.

A bard mentioned her in his song,

In the town square of Nashville.

She was wonderful and Godly in all ways.

But she missed her curfew.

What would you do?

What should I do?

I know what I will do!

I will change the curfew I imposed.

Or try to obey my rules next time…

arie dad date

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May 1, 2014

Prayer, cigarettes and pinball…

A Dutch friend of mine once told me that she was desperate for a cigarette and searched her apartment for one to no avail. As someone who had recently put her trust in Christ, she decided to pray to God. “Lord, you know what I need, please help me.”

She soon after found one in the back of her desk, and was thankful to Him.

I played a show somewhere in Holland, and after the show I got in a discussion with a self proclaimed atheist, we were playing pinball together and I foolishly said, “if I win, will you agree to ask God if He is real tonight before you go to bed?” My dutch friend was winning by a ridiculous amount after the first ball went down, so he laughed and agreed. This was back in the day, when a pinball game was five balls each and he increased his lead on the second ball.

My third ball drained, and he laughed, and made a comment. I prayed “please Lord help me win so he will know You are real.”

After my fourth ball drained and my new friend was winning by an unbeatable amount, I prayed, “God I am soooo sorry I brought You into this, please give me to words to say to him after I lose this pinball game.” “I am sorry and I will never do this again.” I haven’t.

He pulled the plunger for his last one and had his best ball of the evening, and looked at me.

I pulled the plunger, knowing I had lost, but the ball would not go down. After ten minutes, I was half way to his score, we looked at each other in semi shock, the best I could do was press the buttons when the ball got near the flippers, everything was lighting up, bonuses and ringing bells. And it kept going and going, the ball would not go down. Weary and exhausted, the ball finally went down the drain.

No one spoke for a few moments as I had topped his score. I should have said nothing, but I said, “are you gunna hold up your end of the bargain?”





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