|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
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About the Author
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"See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."
— Isaiah 43:19
In 2011, our barn at Twin Pines Ranch burned to the ground. We lost both of our tractors, both ranch pickups, and seven of our best horses, including a stallion that carried a bloodline we had been working with for almost twenty years.
When we first built our house in 1979, I met with the builder and told him what I wanted: a big barn with several stalls, a hay loft, and an oversized, lighted stall — where we could keep watch of our mares when they gave birth to their foals — along with a shop and an office. When it was finished, we had it all under one roof with an adjacent lighted roping arena. But within just a few hours, it disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
Our ranch manager, Thurman Mullins, was devastated. He had worked for many years building the reputation of Twin Pines and the purity of our breeding stock. Now it was all gone. But the main loss, of course, was the horses and the Twin Pines' bloodline. Most of the other things could be replaced, but it looked as if our bloodline was gone forever.
The morning after the fire, I assured Thurman that we would rebuild. We would make a new beginning. Today a new barn stands on the site. Most of the items we lost in the fire — the tractors, the trucks, and the tack — have been replaced.
And, by the way, we found a stud colt, a magnificent animal, a direct descendant of the stallion we lost. Against all odds, the loss that hurt the most and seemed irreplaceable had been restored.
We named him TP New Beginnings.
If you get up one more time than you get knocked down, you're a winner.CHAPTER 2
Never Out of Reach
We live within the shadow of the Almighty, sheltered by the God who is above all gods.
— Psalm 91:1 TLB
We were in Iraq, entertaining the troops. We were flying in a Chinook helicopter on our way back to base in Baghdad from doing a show at the soccer stadium in the city of Balad.
Balad had been our third show of the day. Earlier, we had flown to two Forward Operating Bases. FOBs are small remote facilities with limited personnel and strategic missions. They hardly ever see the entertainers who come overseas because most of them only travel to the larger bases, and they're very gratifying shows to do.
The show in Balad had been well received, and we were just winding up a great day. Flying back to our quarters in Baghdad, I heard a ping — what I realized later was likely a bullet piercing the outer skin of the helicopter and striking the armor plating under my foot.
Suddenly, bright colored flares started firing, and the pilots jinked the Chinook hard left.
We were under attack! The enemy on the ground was trying to bring us down with small arms fire and a rocket propelled grenade (RPG).
It was over about as fast as it had started. The RPG had missed. The small arms had done no damage, and we landed safely at the base in Baghdad.
To be honest, I thought the whole thing was a maneuver the pilots were doing. I thought it was a practice run on evasive moves, having no idea there were people on the ground trying to kill us.
In fact, I was never really afraid the whole time we were in Iraq. I was being prayed for back home and had made a decision to put my safety in the hands of God.
Actually, it's always in the hands of God anyway.
Trust in the One who is able to protect you in all circumstances.CHAPTER 3
Faith and Reality
If God is for us, who can be against us?
— Romans 8:31
Back in the seventies, when we were getting started, our foot was barely inside the door of the music industry. We were struggling, and we played our music just about anywhere we could get anybody to listen. Each small victory, receptive crowd, standing ovation, or word of encouragement was savored and converted into confidence to fight another day.
The shows we played were small or we played as an opening act for a larger band. But we were working hard, turning the crowds on and making headway, and our aspirations for the future were bright, to say the least.
Then something that could have been very discouraging happened. One of the biggest, most famous and influential concert promoters in the world made the statement that the Charlie Daniels Band would never make it. I don't know what prompted him to say such a thing. Maybe it was just an offhanded remark someone had overheard and passed along until it got to the media. But, whatever the reason, it was hurtful and could have been discouraging if I had let it.
What it came down to for me was this — will I let what he thinks he knows override what I know I know? I believed that this band had the potential to have hit records, to draw big concert crowds, and to make an international name for itself. And nobody, no matter how prominent he or she was in the entertainment business, could dissuade me from that opinion.
So I put my head down and carried on. I used both the encouraging words and discouraging words as fuel to keep fighting. My resolve was to take advantage of every opportunity, go the extra mile, and give it my all every time I walked on stage.
I actually got to be friends with that promoter, and I worked for him many times over the years. He even introduced us one night as the "GREAT, GREAT CHARLIE DANIELS BAND."
If you can't get what you want, take what you can get and make what you want out of it.CHAPTER 4
But no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
— James 3:8 HCSB
There have been times in the heat of the moment that I have willfully said something hurtful to someone. Something spiteful or mean-spirited was said with the sole intention of inflicting pain or exacting revenge for some real or imagined slight.
After delivering some scathing barb that hits home and has the intended effect of putting the other person in "their place," I feel so remorseful that I can't have any peace or rest until I find that person and apologize.
Even if I had felt justified in my hasty words, after the swelling of pride goes down, the vitriol of anger has cooled, and rational thinking has returned, there is an uneasy feeling that can only be eased by making things right with the person I've unloaded on.
I have to catch myself before my emotions get out of hand enough to let my anger take over and make me do something I'll regret. Sometimes it seems that our tongue has a mind of its own and gets out of sync with our good senses. Controlling it is a full-time job.
Hurtful words are often completely forgiven but seldom ever completely forgotten.CHAPTER 5
Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds.
— Proverbs 27:23
I don't consider myself to be a great businessman.
I am basically a romantic, a dreamer who prefers to spend his time rhyming lines of lyric. I would rather be pulling together the notes of a new song or composing lines of prose for some project I'm writing than poring over bank accounts and instructions.
I surround myself with people I trust implicitly, people who have been with me for decades. They add the columns, dot the i's, cross the t's, and bring anything out of the ordinary to my attention to make a decision on.
I can find out the overall and current condition of any aspect of my business by making a quick phone call.
It hasn't always been that way. There was a time when things were falling apart business wise. By the time it was brought to my hardheaded attention, it took divine help and drastic measures to correct our situation.
Though I had put too much confidence and trust in someone else's competence and stewardship, I take all the blame. It's too easy to put the culpability on someone else when I could have taken the occasional hour to catch up on what money was coming in and what money was going out.
Because, even though I could not understand the intricate tax codes and the myriad of ever-changing business curriculum, I could have stayed on top of the overall numbers. I should have kept a closer eye on my flocks and herds.
Times change. People change. Keep a close watch on both.CHAPTER 6
Bring Your A Game
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.
— Colossians 3:23
It's a proven fact that some days we have more to give on our jobs than on other days. But that is never an excuse not to give everything you've got every time you go to work.
In my case, that means writing a song, recording an album, staying in shape on the instruments I play, and above all, maintaining an attitude of thankfulness for being able to make a living in the business I chose above all others.
Some nights you walk on stage full of energy and the notes just roll off your fingers. It all comes so naturally. Sometimes the lyrics explode in your mind like popcorn, and sometimes you get it on the first couple of takes in the recording studio.
But some nights you stand in the wings of the stage praying for the strength to get through the show.
Sometimes you have to slog through the alphabet time after time to find a word that will rhyme with a lyric line. Other times, it's take after take in the studio to finally hook a performance.
I'm sure everybody's job is that way to one degree or another. Whether you drive nails, operate a computer, or entertain like me, give it all you've got. Take all three strikes every time you come to the plate.
You're going to knock one out of the park once in a while.
Never leave your A game at home. It's a little heavier but always worth the extra weight.CHAPTER 7
Going Up — Coming Down
The eyes of the arrogant will be humbled and human pride brought low.
— Isaiah 2:11
I once knew a man, a talented, driven man, whose work ethic knew no bounds. He went the extra mile and burned the midnight oil in pursuit of success.
And he achieved success — great success — until he was perched near the pinnacle of his profession, with money and accolades coming from many directions.
He was sought after and much respected. The wins just kept on coming, the money kept rolling in, and his prestige and importance kept growing.
But instead of receiving his blessings with humility and gratitude, he became arrogant and self-absorbed. He treated those around him disrespectfully. He flaunted his power and acted as if his judgment superseded all others' and should never be questioned.
He belittled, made fun of, and embarrassed those he considered to be below his intellect and talent level.
He pursued grandiose projects nobody else believed in and spent lavishly trying to find backing for self-indulgent pipe dreams nobody wanted any part of.
Slowly, his fortune and his popularity drained away. The people he had treated badly, many of whom had gone on to prominence, had no interest in helping him.
He died broken and bitter, never understanding why the world no longer had a place for him. I learned a lot from my observations. A little humility goes a long way, and pride truly does go before a fall.
You meet the same people on the way down that you meet on the way up.CHAPTER 8
The Whole Truth
"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
— John 8:32
There's a reason the oath you take when you testify in court demands you to tell the whole truth, because anything less is not the truth at all.
In today's world, the information we receive from media, politicians, and the business world is so often only half the truth — smoke and mirrors. They are sleight of hand statements designed to mask elements of an agenda, a piece of legislation, or a product that would give the public a look at the whole picture instead of focusing on the part of the iceberg that is below the waterline.
Deception, to one degree or another, has become the way of the world it seems. Polls say that trust for politicians and the media is at an all-time low. When I was younger, I admit I took refuge in a lie more than once. I found out the hard way about the tangled web we weave when we stray from the truth. And it starts to develop the instant an untruth leaves your mouth and grows in proportion to the extent you're willing to go to cover up the original lie you told.
"The check is in the mail" can turn into a convoluted game of cat and mouse — lost in the mail, returned to sender, the dog ate it along with my homework. Anything to postpone the day of reckoning when you finally have to admit you've been lying and wish you'd just told the truth to begin with.
I speak from experience and paid a price for my repentance.
It's always best to tell the whole truth to start with, no matter what the ramifications may be.
It takes years of truth and honesty to build trust, but only one act of betrayal to tear it to shreds.CHAPTER 9
Jumping the Gun
Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.
— Psalm 92:14 NLT
I think that one of the worst things to happen to the American workforce is the mandatory retirement age implemented by many companies.
Now, don't get me wrong: I have absolutely nothing against any hardworking folks who want to hang it up at sixty-five and spend the rest of their days on a golf course or in a bass rig. But, I think if the person is in good health, the retirement should be elective, not compulsory.
I have known some people who were forced to retire at sixty-five who were at the very zenith of their game. With forty years of experience and savvy under their belts, they are turned out to pasture.
Fortunately, I am self-employed, which is a good thing. The years since my sixty-fifth birthday have been innovative and productive and I have absolutely no designs for retiring.
Forcing a productive person to retire just because of age is a fallacy, and it's a shame to waste such a valuable resource. I understand the reasoning that prevailed when the policy was instituted — when life expectancy was around sixty-one. Their peak productive years were considered to be well behind them. If they were to have any retirement time at all, it was, for all practical purposes, now or never.
Technological advances and modern medicine have vastly increased life expectancy and extended peak years of productivity. So many times, the kind of wisdom and savvy that can only be acquired through firsthand experience of changing times and significant events is stifled and cut off by an employee reaching an arbitrary age. It deprives the company they have served for many years of their hard-earned expertise. People are not automatons. Each individual is different and should be evaluated by talent and attitude, not by age.
Experience is knowledge earned in any arena.CHAPTER 10
Never Let It Go
"For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay."
— Habakkuk 2:3
I am an impatient person when it comes to getting work finished, but there are times when it's necessary to be patient and put an unfinished project aside and let nature take its course.
The old adage "an idea whose time has come" is not only a truism but very applicable to my creative process.
I have held bits and pieces of songs in my head for as long as fourteen years, never able to put them together until, one day, a new thought pops. I pull out the old snatches of melody or lyrics, and, bingo, you've got a thing happening.
I have learned never to discard any good idea, no matter how brief or disjointed it may seem at the time. There will always be a place, at some time in the future, for a truly good idea.
I was sitting on a city bus in El Paso, Texas, in 1962 and had an idea for a song about the Mexican bandit Pancho Villa. I liked the idea a lot but could never get past the first couple of verses. In 1976 I began a song about Billy the Kid. I pulled out the verses I had written fourteen years before about Pancho Villa, made a few adjustments, and, holla, a new song was born.
Hold on to your dreams, your solid ideas, and be on the lookout for the right time to bring them to fruition.CHAPTER 11
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
— Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV
In 1967 Bob Johnston, who had just taken over as head of Columbia Records in Nashville, called me out of the clear blue sky and asked me if I'd like to move to Music City.
It would mean making a living in one of the most musically competitive towns in the country. It would mean moving a wife and a two-year-old baby to strange surroundings where we knew practically nobody and starting all over again.
I talked it over with my wife, and it took her all of about two minutes to agree with me. Regardless of the obvious obstacles, we knew we should make the move. We heard the gentle knock of opportunity and heeded it.
We hit Music City with a twenty-dollar bill and the clutch burned out on our car.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Let's All Make The Day Count"
Copyright © 2018 Charlie Daniels.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. New Beginnings, 18,
2. Never Out of Reach, 20,
3. Faith and Reality, 22,
4. Hasty Words, 24,
5. Keeping Watch, 26,
6. Bring Your A Game, 28,
7. Going Up — Coming Down, 30,
8. The Whole Truth, 32,
9. Jumping the Gun, 34,
10. Never Let It Go, 36,
11. One Knock, 38,
12. Excuses and Complaints, 40,
13. How Bad Do You Want It?, 42,
14. Doing a Day's Work Today, 44,
15. Bucking the Odds, 46,
16. Thoughts Are Things, 48,
17. Keep on Knocking, 50,
18. Precious Wisdom, 52,
19. Making the Cut, 54,
20. Firm Foundations, 56,
21. Turn It Loose, 58,
22. Sweat versus Luck, 60,
23. Treasured Words, 62,
24. Unwanted Advice, 64,
25. Making Peace, 66,
26. Close Call in the Rockies, 68,
27. Perseverance, 70,
28. Nasty Habit, 72,
29. Words with Meaning, 74,
30. The Sense of a Goose, 76,
31. Wrong Turns, 78,
32. Work Ethic, 80,
33. Go for It, 82,
34. Real Respect and False Pride, 84,
35. As If There's No Tomorrow, 86,
36. Shortcuts and Setbacks, 88,
37. The Company We Keep, 90,
38. Empty Words, 92,
39. A Totally Unexpected Blessing, 94,
40. Your Own World, 96,
41. The Least Among Us, 98,
42. Questionable Choices, 100,
43. Investing Your Talent, 102,
44. Hurtful Words, 104,
45. Our Attitudes, 106,
46. Self-Confidence versus Conceit, 108,
47. Death and Taxes, 110,
48. Time Waits for No Man, 112,
49. Thoughts on Winning, 114,
50. Increments, 116,
51. The Holy Land, 118,
52. Satisfaction in Your Labor, 120,
53. Spending Your Life with Someone You Love, 122,
54. Work and Leisure, 124,
55. The Greatest Nation, 126,
56. Division and Defeat, 128,
57. First Impressions, 130,
58. God, Family, Country, and Work, 132,
59. Muleheaded, 134,
60. Take a Look, 136,
61. Set in Your Ways, 138,
62. Keeping the Flame Lit, 140,
63. The Mountaintop, 142,
64. The Biggest Apple, 144,
65. Facing Worry, 146,
66. Being Faithful, 148,
67. Dealing with Bullies, 150,
68. Chewing It Up and Spitting It Out, 152,
69. Face Tomorrow, Tomorrow, 154,
70. The Little Things, 156,
71. Self-Control, 158,
72. Admit Defeat, 160,
73. True Friends, 162,
74. Tenacity Plus Perseverance Equals Progress, 164,
75. Look in the Mirror, 166,
76. Reciprocity, 168,
77. Wisdom and Knowledge, 170,
78. Spite and Petulance, 172,
79. Course Corrections, 174,
80. Sticking to It, 176,
81. A Mile in My Shoes, 178,
82. Get It in Writing, 180,
83. Children Are a Big Responsibility, 182,
84. Limited Supply, 184,
85. Cooler Heads and Common Sense, 186,
86. Who Is in Charge?, 188,
87. Teamwork, 190,
88. Patience and People, 192,
89. Hope Springs Eternal, 194,
90. Money and Everything Else, 196,
91. You and Your God-Given Talent, 198,
92. A Time to Cast Away, 200,
93. First Things First, 202,
94. Decisions, Decisions, 204,
95. Watch Your Step, 206,
96. Standing Your Ground, 208,
97. Denying Hate a Home, 210,
98. Angels Unawares, 212,
99. Finding You, 214,
100. Profit and Loss, 216,
About the Author, 219,