Amazon and Me

Amazon and Me

When I retired from being a local pastor I knew I would still be “working” in some capacity. I knew I would continue to sing, play piano & guitar, lead worship, and visit many churches. I’ve been part of Sunday worship services, revivals, retreats, and camp meetings.

St. Andrews UMC acoustic worship with Valerie Godsey, Chad Conant, Steve Davis, Lanna Mullens, and Larry Roach

Shartel Church of God Hymn Sing

Council Road Baptist Celebrate Recovery with The Least of These – Mark Smith, Deanne Curtis, Josh Towe, Lorena Davis, Jeff Dreesen

St. Andrews UMC Worship Team

Louisiana Church of God Camp Meeting

Christmas Eve at St. Andrews UMC

 

 

 

At Fresh Start Celebrate Recovery with Aaron Whetstone, Rachel Mosher and Will Huebner

I also knew I would continue to entertain at the Skirvin hotel and other venues.

Skirvin Hotel with Jim & Janice Baker, Mort & Dawn Wilson, Jim & Jan Barela

Last year I started doing something new.

Amazon and Me

Last year I started selling on Amazon. There are several E-commerce sites out there like Ebay, Shopify, Walmart and even Facebook.  But I chose to learn about Amazon and become a third party seller doing FBA – Fulfillment By Amazon.

What do I do?  Basically, I buy products (NEW) from various sources. I package them, label them, and send them to one of Amazon’s many warehouses across the US. Then, my products are listed on Amazon’s powerful website. Someone sees my products, likes my price, and decides to purchase. Amazon fulfills that purchase for me and sends the product to the buyer, usually using Prime (two day free shipping). The buyer is happy. Amazon gets paid.  I get paid. It’s a win-win situation.

I have had a lot of fun sourcing products, meeting new people, and sharing in our private Facebook group.

Click on the Amazon Logo and you’ll be taken to my store. You’ll see toys, shoes, sporting goods, and products for the home.

Amazon and Me

2016 Selling on Amazon Milestones:

Marketplace and FBA

FBA delivered more than 2 billion items worldwide.

Active sellers worldwide using the FBA service grew more than 70 percent.

Outside the U.S., FBA units shipped grew more than 80 percent.

Using the FBA service, Amazon sellers from more than 130 different countries around the world fulfilled orders to customers in 185 countries.

The Seller Fulfilled Prime program added more than 6 million new items that are now Prime eligible across the U.S., U.K., France, Germany and Japan.

Sellers on Amazon that reached $100K in sales grew by 30 percent.

Sellers worldwide have created more than 600,000 new jobs outside of Amazon.

Holiday Season

Sellers worldwide received orders for more than 28 million items on Cyber Monday.

FBA items shipped worldwide grew more than 50 percent year-over-year during the holiday season.

Prime members worldwide ordered millions of items from sellers in the Seller Fulfilled Prime program offering free two-day or next-day shipping.

Sponsored Products

Sponsored Products clicks worldwide grew by more than 150 percent driven by expansion of advertising placements on desktop and mobile sites.

The number of sellers worldwide using Sponsored Products grew more than 100 percent.

Sponsored Products introduced a new and convenient payment method, Unified Billing, which allows Sellers to deduct their advertising spend from sales proceeds.

Category Growth

Amazon Business (www.amazon.com/business) generated more than $1 billion in sales in its first year, with sellers receiving over half of the orders. Amazon Business now serves more than 400,000 business customers in the U.S., and includes more than 45,000 sellers with access to the business-specific selling tools. Amazon Business launched in Germany, marking its first international expansion.

Handmade at Amazon (www.amazon.com/handmade) launched in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, expanding its selection of handcrafted artisan-made goods to customers in the EU. In the U.S., the Handmade at Amazon store added six new categories (Accessories, Baby, Toys and Games, Beauty & Grooming, Pet Supplies) and now offers over 500,000 items sold directly by artisans across all 50 states from 80 countries around the world.

Amazon Home Services (www.amazon.com/services), a marketplace for on-demand professional services, expanded to more than 50 U.S. metro areas. Home Services now offers over 1,200 unique services from providers across 60 professions. Customer orders fulfilled by Home Services pros grew more than 200 percent.

Amazon Exclusives (www.amazon.com/exclusives), a store that gives customers direct access to innovative new products from 600 up-and-coming brands, with thousands of unique items being added each month. Sales from the Amazon Exclusives store grew more than 250 percent.

Doctor Strange A Movie Review

Doctor Strange A Movie Review

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Doctor Strange (2016) is rated PG-13 and runs 115 minutes.

I was able to view it today at the Moore Warren Theater in the IMAX in 3D.

Oh, be sure to stay for ALL of the credits to enjoy some nice surprises.

This movie is a result of the character written by Marvel Comics.

It is directed by Scott Derrickson.
Music was by Michael Giacchino.

I liked the use of images in this film, such as watches (for time) and mirrors. One scene shows Dr. Strange getting dressed for a speaking engagement picking out the perfect watch to wear.  There is a tray of 15 or more watches and they spin somewhat so you can see them better.  This is a great thematic part of the movie.

The watch he selects was a gift from Christine. The inscription reads:

Time will tell how much I love you.

Some quotes from the film that I liked:

Kaecilius tells Dr. Strange –

Time kills everything.

The Ancient One: We never lose our demons, we only learn to live above them.

Doctor Strange A Movie Review

The Cast:

Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange. Benedict is famous for Sherlock (TV series), The Hobbit (the voice of Smaug), War Horse, Amazing Grace, Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Imitation Game.

Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo.  I love this actor and have enjoyed him in The Martian, 2012, 12 Years A Slave, Inside Man, and Amistad.

Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer. Rachel is famous for her roles in About Time (about time travel), Sherlock Holmes (Irene), Midnight in Paris (Inez), The Time Traveler’s Wife (Clare), State of Play, The Family Stone, Red Eye, Wedding Crashers, The Notebook, and many more.

Benedict Wong as Wong.  Mr. Wong has been seen in Marco Polo (TV), The Martian (Bruce), Prometheus, and more.

Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius. The actor who played this villain is also known for Hannibal (TV), Clash of the Titans and more.

Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One. This fantastic actress can be seen in The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Chronicles of Narnia (The White Witch), Burn After Reading, Julia, Michael Clayton, Constantine, Vanilla Sky, The Beach, and more.

Benjamin Bratt as Jonathan Panghorn. Mr. Bratt is known for Ride Along 2, Modern Family, Law & Order, Miss Congeniality, Red Planet, Traffic, and Demolition Man.

Stan Lee in a cameo appearance

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Doctor Strange A Movie Review

I loved the soundtrack of this movie. It included

Feels So Good by Chuck Mangione
Shining Star by Earth Wind and Fire
Interstellar Overdrive by Pink Floyd
and a very short clip of Beyonce’s Single Ladies.

This was a very entertaining movie. It has elements of the dream sequences of Inception, the sorcery of Harry Potter,  the action of Star Trek and is just a fun movie to watch. There are very few four letter words, but there are some. Since it is PG-13 most teens will have already heard such words.

Again, go see this film on the Big Screen. If you like movies, if you like Sci-Fi, if you like action, go see this movie.

Open All The Time Song Story

Open All The Time Song Story

 

In high school I wrote a few songs. I would also take the lyrics of old hymns and gospel songs and make a new melody and chords to make them more modern. I still do that.

As I went off to college and was in a band called Theophilus I continued writing songs as I was inspired.

I remember writing down some words in one of my classes. I had already been experimenting with the music taking some of the chord progression in the turnarounds from Ray Steven’s version of Turn Your Radio On. I shared it with my friend, Paul Donaldson, and he made the lyrics much better on one of the verses. It was a joy to sing it with him. I called it Keep On Walking. I’ll share it with you sometime.

Open All The Time Song Story

Being a married student in 1975 Julie worked full time and I worked part time so I could concentrate on my schooling and also make music with Theophilus.

I worked part time at a day care at a Nazarene church. I think I worked there about 4 months before we went on tour that summer.

Besides watching the kids, one of my jobs was to drive a van and go pick up the kids at their school. I enjoyed it and I liked the kids, even though I got ringworm on my arm that spring.

One day as I was waiting to leave to drive the van I was in the rest room doing what you do. I observed the stall door. I think it had springs on it because it would swing back and forth.

That’s where the idea for the next song came from: a bathroom stall door!

Let me share this song with you. Oh, Theophilus even sang this. I think it’s a great children’s song, but something everyone can enjoy.

Open All The Time Song Story

Open All the Time
Words & Music by Chuck Whetstone

Jesus doesn’t want you to be like a swinging door
He wants you open all the time
He was the key that fit your door
Now you’re not locked up anymore
Jesus wants you open all the time

Open up to His Spirit
Open up to His love
Open up to the blessings from above

He was the key that fit your door
Now you’re not locked up anymore
Jesus wants you open all the time

Inferno Starring Tom Hanks – A Movie Review

Inferno Starring Tom Hanks – A Movie Review

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The Place: Warren Theater in Moore, OK
The Date: Halloween, 2016
Those involved: Chuck, Julie, Ken, Ann
What: The Ron Howard film Inferno, starring Tom Hanks (121 min)

Brief Synopsis

Professor Robert Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital. With the assistance of Dr. Sienna Brooks they travel across Europe trying to stop the release of a deadly plague that can infect 95% of the world’s population in 4 days, killing billions of people.

Professor Langdon finds in his possession a device that when shaken shines an image on the wall. The image depicts Dante’s description of hell, hence the name Inferno. See Dante Alighieri

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Thus begins an action packed story that will keep you guessing and maybe squirming in your chair.

The film is rated PG-13. The images seen in Langdon’s visions may be disturbing to some people. There is limited use of 4 letter words, but once again, Hollywood doesn’t always enhance the plot when they are used.

 

Inferno Starring Tom Hanks – A Movie Review

Directed by Ron Howard
Music by Hans Zimmer
The Cast:

Robert Langdon played by Tom Hanks (Sully, Angels & Demons, The DaVinci Code, A Hologram for the King, Bridge of Spies, Castaway, The Green Mile, Toy Story)
Sienna Brooks played by Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything, The Amazing Spider Man -2)
Bouchard played by Omar Sy (Jurassic World, X-Men, )
Sims played by Irrfan Khan (Jurassic World, Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire)
Elizabeth Sinskey played by Sidse Babett Knudsen ( HBO’s Westworld, A Hologram for the King)
Vayentha played by Ana Ularu
Marta played by Ida Darvish
Zertrand Zobrist played by Ben Foster (The Finest Hours, Lone Survivor, 3:10 to Yuma, X-Men)

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Inferno Starring Tom Hanks – A Movie Review

This is the third film from Dan Brown’s writings. Tom Hanks and Ron Howard teamed up for each one.

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Wake Up America It’s Time to Vote

Wake Up America It’s Time to Vote

There is one week left before we choose the next President of the United States.

Millions of dollars have been spent.

The American public has endured countless speeches and debates.

The candidates have had their good weeks and their bad weeks.

Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton are two of the most unlikable candidates in voting history.

I’ll be glad to vote early this coming Friday and I’ll be glad when the results finally come in late Tuesday night.

Wake Up America It’s Time to Vote

I wrote this song years ago before another election. The truth is still in the song.

It’s time for America to Wake Up. Enjoy this video.

 

Wake Up America It’s Time to Vote

If you live in the United States of America please vote.

The First Song I Ever Wrote

The First Song I Ever Wrote

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I’ve written well over 100 songs. Now, I say that not to brag, but to say I’ve done a good number.

I started writing when I was a teen. In fact, I remember the first two songs that I penned. One was a piano and vocal. The other was guitar and vocal where I made up the chords and the melody to a pop song that was already out there. (so, we won’t talk about that one anymore. Agreed?)

But, back to the first song. I was singing in a Christian folk group called HIS. But, I was also a teenager trying to find my way in life. Teens love to experiment.

For a period of two weeks I got my first taste of wine. Yes, I was under age. Still 17. But, me and my friends managed to get our hands on some by knowing someone who could legally buy it.

I don’t know who was riding in the car with me, but we went to a drive-in market and found someone that we knew. We talked him into going into the convenience store and purchasing our wine. He did. I think it cost all of $1.18. I think he must have laughed and said under his breath, “Crazy kids.”

I know I had a bottle of Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill. I’m not sure about my friend.

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This was after a Friday night football game. Me and my buddy were in the marching band together and we were gonna go hang out at someone’s house because there had to be a party someplace in our little town.

I don’t remember when I opened the bottle and had my first taste. But, I finally did. It tasted kind of sweet with a little “wang” at the end. I didn’t care for the smell, either. Not much buzz. It was probably less than 7.5 % alcohol. You could get more with Nyquil. LOL

Anyway, throughout the next couple of hours I might have finished off the bottle or maybe thrown away the rest. This was 1971.

We left the party at some point and I drove my friend home. I didn’t notice my driving being impaired, but I was glad I didn’t get stopped by a policeman because he would have smelled the alcohol on my breath.

Sometime the next weekend I was in Corpus Christi at someone’s house or apartment. I have no idea who or why I was there. But, I remember having a bottle of Apple wine with me.  I didn’t like it much. I think I drank half the bottle and quit.

That was the extent of my drinking days. I didn’t enjoy it. Oh, and I don’t think my parents ever found out. At least they didn’t say anything.

The First Song I Ever Wrote

I’m sure at some point in a church service or at home I prayed and asked God to forgive me for straying in my walk.

But, one day I was at home playing some songs and trying some chord arrangements. I started writing a gospel song.  I didn’t plan on it. It just happened.

And as I sang it over and over, working out the lyrics and the music, it came together. In fact, it became one of our songs that we sang as a group. I want to share that with you.

Oh, if you’ll notice the 2nd verse: it pays tribute to my wine drinking days. 🙂

The First Song I Ever Wrote

Glory Glory
Word and Music by Chuck Whetstone

Glory, Glory, Hallelujah
Glory, Glory, Jesus set me free
Well, I walked with Jesus late last night
I talked with Jesus  last night
I’m so glad He set me free.

Something happened to me last night
Jesus set me free
I don’t know what it means to you
But it sure means a lot to me

Come along and sing this song with me
It’ll make you feel so fine
With Jesus in your life, my friend
It’s better than drinking wine

Swing Low Sweet Chariot

Swing Low Sweet Chariot

I have never picked cotton or processed it.  I’ve never baled hay.

But, I have sung or whistled while I worked to pass the time.

Today’s song is a Negro Spiritual (as they used to be called) — Swing Low Sweet Chariot. You can also say it is an African American song probably written and sung by slaves as they labaored in the fields.

The song has images of “looking over Jordan” and “a band of angels.” It definitely puts in mind the future of heaven and those who have already departed from this life.

There is the hope of the resurrection and being reunited with loved ones like your father or mother.

Please enjoy my interpretation of this significant and historical song.

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Swing Low Sweet Chariot

Swing low, Sweet Chariot
Comin’ for to carry me home

Swing low, Sweet Chariot
Comin’ for to carry me home

I looked over Jordan and what did I see?
Comin’ for to carry me home
There was a band full of angels comin’ after me
Comin’ for to carry me home

Swing Low Sweet Chariot

Well, if you get there before I do
Comin’ for to carry me home
Just tell my Daddy I’m comin’ too
Comin’ for to carry me home

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Hand Raising in Church

Hand Raising in Church

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Yesterday morning I was at St. Andrews United Methodist Church in OKC. It is my “home base” when I am not traveling. I have a great time playing music with a great team led by Shain Baldwin.

I usually invite the congregation at the Traditional Service (at 8:15) to stand and sing the first couple of songs. I try to have an encouraging remark that will act as a “Call to Worship.”

I had been thinking about one of my favorite scriptures and also one of the songs we were going to sing that morning.

I thought about God asking Moses, “What is in your hand?”

Well, the answer was his staff. Moses had a staff because he was a shepherd. He used that staff to lead the sheep, to keep them in line, to protect the sheep, the help him walk over rocky terrain, and more.

I told the people some of that and said “What is in your hand as you worship today?”

I proposed that they could use their hands to praise God, to worship God, and to testify. So, I quickly challenged them to lift a hand if they heard something in the service that was helpful, or that they identified with (like a way of testifying).

We proceeded to sing the first song and the service was started. All of my talking took less than 30 seconds.

Since there are three services at St. Andrews UMC, I leave the sanctuary following the music part of the service.  I then attend the preaching part of the service with my wife at the last service.

In the last service I heard our pastor, DA Bennett, talk about a greeting card that someone had given him that depicted several ways for church people to raise their hands. It was quite funny as he described the different versions of lifting hands.  I had no idea he was going to talk about this. Amazing.

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Hand Raising in Church

Jon Acuff wrote a great blog talking about the different ways people raise their hands in church.

Please check this out: Hand Raising Worship – The 10 Styles

Hand Raising in Church

Our pastor also mentioned a video by funny man Tim Hawkins. He is hilarious. Let this video clip make you laugh today.

 

AM55+ Retreat 2016

AM55+ Retreat 2016

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The AM 55+ Retreat was once again held at Camp Christian near Chouteau, OK. We had the grounds and the Lodge to ourselves. It was good to see those who come every year and also to meet the new ones.

AM55+ Retreat 2016

Thursday Night – after supper we went to Howard Lodge and took the group photo with our great looking shirts. Then, I led worship and turned it over to Kevin Clouse. He had a menagerie of friends that he brought with him. It was a lot of fun.

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Chuck Singing and leading worship

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Kate & Margaret

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Kevin and Jake From Snake Farm

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Kevin doing “Old McDonald” with Jan, Betty, Karen, Bobby and John

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Friday – we had several guests arrive from Claremore for the day.

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Kevin with Jazz

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Kevin preaching.

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AM55+ Retreat 2016

Saturday – We had a great breakfast with some of my favorite cinnamon rolls the camp serves. We had a quick business meeting. I led some more music. Kevin shared.

We packed up and headed home. It was a great retreat.

See you all next year! (Last Thursday – Saturday in September, 2017)

Sully A Movie Review

Sully – A Movie Review

In 2015 we saw Tom Hanks in the cold war movie Bridge of Spies.

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In 2016 he gives us another biography of recent history in his portrayal of “Sully.”

And later this month he brings back Professor Robert Langdon in the Dan Brown thriller “Inferno.”

At first I was hesitant to see this movie.  I mean, it just happened in recent history. We saw the story of the Miracle on the Hudson on all the news channels.  I knew all I needed to know.

Well, once again I was wrong.

Critics like Rotten Tomatoes gave it 82%.  I liked it better than that.

This movie tells the story of what happened on Thursday, January 15th, 2009. After a bird strike Captain Sully Sullenberger guides his disabled plane onto the very cold waters of the Hudson River.  All 155 lives were saved that day.

The movie incorporates the NTSB investigation with the events of that day and also the back story of Sully as a young man and also a pilot in the war.

Sully – A Movie Review

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 06: (L-R) Actor Aaron Eckhart, retired airline captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, director Clint Eastwood and actor Tom Hanks attend the "Sully" New York premiere at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center on September 6, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 06: (L-R) Actor Aaron Eckhart, retired airline captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, director Clint Eastwood and actor Tom Hanks attend the “Sully” New York premiere at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center on September 6, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)

Directed by Clint Eastwood
Todd Komarnicki – screenplay
Based on the book “Highest Duty” by Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow

Tom Hanks as Captain Sully Sullenberger
Aaron Eckhart as co-pilot Jeff Skiles
Laura Linney as Lorraine Sullenberger
Vince Lombardi portrays himself as the Ferry Boat Captain

One of my favorite scenes is when the Air Traffic Controller (played by

Patch Darragh), who portrayed Patrick Harten, pleads with Sully to try and land the plane. Then, at one point, the plane goes off the radar. The ATC is devastated.  He knows that planes that land in water usually don’t have survivors.  He is visibly shaken and emotionally distraught.

Sully – A Movie Review

sullycockpitIMBD says Sully was rated PG-13 and runs 96 minutes.

If you didn’t know, Clint Eastwood is not only an actor and producer, but also a fine pianist and composer. For this film he wrote the theme:

Flying Home (Theme from ‘Sully’)
Written by Clint Eastwood, Tierney Sutton and J.B. Eckl
Performed by Tierney Sutton Band (as The Tierney Sutton Band)

This is an amazing movie.  I highly recommend it.