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In The Absence Of A Father
No one is ever truly alone and what we lack in the natural, God always makes up the difference.

Silencing The Voices Of Your Past
The introduction from the forth coming book by Frank Francis.

A Piper's Tale
A true story about the rewards of rising to the top 1% or 2%…even for a bagpiper.

My Daughter, My Hero
Who sets the baramator for your success?

Focus: The Power of "NO"!
Mastering this 2 letter word can change your entire life!

Personal Growth
Dr. John C. Maxwell shares the process of a personal growth plan including seven statements about the growth process.

Charting Your Destiny
(coming soon)
Learn the 4 principles for successfully charting your destiny!

3 Questions Jesus Forbids Us To Ask
(coming soon)
Questions are powerful…and some are so powerful that Jesus forbid us to ask them!


My Daughter's Eyes


A Piper's Tale

I must admit. It really took me by surprise. As a counselor and life coach, I’ve learned to be supportive of people’s choices…especially career paths. But this one was hard to swallow. Stanley Fontenot stood in front of me with eyes the size of saucers and a smile I was sure would dislocate his jaw!

“I know what I want to be in life!” he said, “I want to be a professional bag piper!”

Blink once. Blink twice. Take a deep breath Frank. He just said “bagpiper”, and he attached the word professional! Surely this is a bad career choice for a young man just starting life. He needs to go to college…get a degree…or at least a good paying vocational job. That’s what our society would say…right?

That’s not what Stanley had chosen. He had a higher calling. He wasn’t answering the call that we all so often name success. He was following the superior path called fulfillment. Music touched his heart, and to be more direct, bagpipes were his passion, even though he had yet to take one lesson. That big smile and those saucer eyes were blossoming from something rooted deep in his heart, and he wasn’t going to be denied.

I was sold! I dedicated myself to giving him any support and encouragement he would need from me. Time would be the ultimate test. And time it took.

Stanley sought out an instructor and was soon on his way. I’m no piping expert, but it seems the first step to learning the bagpipes is beginning with a practice chanter. I would ask Stanley how it was going and he would say, “I’m still just on the practice chanter.” I never did hear the practice chanter, but obviously it’s nothing you would want to hear…so I’m told.

Months went by and I never heard any bagpipes. Finally, Stanley decided to show off his new level of achievement. He had his first practice pipe set and what may have been his first audience, our little community church. Honk! Squeak! Squelch! Honk! Honk!

This was the result of all those months of practicing? Maybe he should go back to the practice chanter! Just how long does it take to learn to play this ancient instrument? I was still going to give him my support no matter how bad it sounded.

As time passed Stanley would demo his pipes for us. Slowly, he became better. Little by little, each demo moved from being a test of audio endurance and dog calling to an actual appreciation for the rewards of good old stick-to-it-ness. “Amazing Grace” was starting to sound fairly good and people were actually beginning to request to hear him play…even in church.

Stanley’s story doesn’t end there. It’s a big step between playing occasionally in church to being a “professional” bagpiper. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how “professional” pipers earn their money, but Stanley knew. He said he dreamed of playing at weddings, funerals, police events, concerts, and as he put it, “Playing his instrument to the glory of the Lord.”

It wasn’t too long after this that Stanley was asked by his instructor to help teach beginning students…for pay! The money was on the way and a new wave of energy flowed through Stanley. Step by step, his goal was being achieved. Stanley would practice and become better and better. He grew from apprentice to master…and we all saw it. Soon his little DayTimer was filled with bookings. He played those weddings, funerals, police events, and special concerts. Churches from the area began inviting him, for pay, to play at their services. It seemed everywhere I looked, I saw Stanley. He was in the local paper, on local TV, newsletters, Celtic events…everywhere! He even serenaded some of my friends and myself at Starbucks.

Seven years ago Stanley stood up for his dream and today he’s reaping the rewards.

So how much does a “professional” bagpiper earn? I don’t know, but he sure seems to enjoy the fruit of his labor. Stanley has a brand new Tacoma 4x4 truck (for which he paid $7,000 dollars down on purchase). He has a kayak. Oh! Did I tell you? He’s my kayaking buddy! He travels on a regular basis. He hikes, camps, caves, takes cruises, has a Nikon D70 digital camera, and all of this after giving 10% of his income to his home church, supporting a child in India, giving of his time to his church, and pledging money to the local Christian station. He reaps from God’s law of reciprocity (giving and receiving) and pure determination.

When you rise to the top 1% or 2% of your career path, WHATEVER it may be, you find great reward, and like I said at the beginning of this article…fulfillment!

I hope and pray that everyone who reads this article will someday have the privilege of hearing Stanley play “to the glory of the Lord.” Most of all, I pray that you will find the courage to live out your passion and dreams. Stanley will be the first to encourage you…and I concur.

Stay Blessed!

© 2004 Frank Francis