Christmas Penguin

The Christmas Penguin (Give this a listen)

 

 

 

 

I wrote this a while back as just a silly idea, played for laughs. It was inspired by the old Rankin & Bass Christmas shows… most of which I love.

I share it this season because I just read a news story by someone who says that Santa Claus should be portrayed as a penguin because… RACISM!

I wonder if the writer has heard of my song… I get full credit for this idea! If anyone uses it, I want royalties!!!!!

THE CHRISTMAS PENGUIN                   (Tefft)   12/17/05

 Intro:     You can talk of Santa, his reindeer and his sleigh. / Or think of snowmen come to life one certain magic day. / But I believe it’s time the truth was told: / The presents come from way down south, the land of snow and icy cold…

 1)         Here’s a story you may not have heard \ About a magic, flightless, southern bird \ Who once heard a story and it touched him deep within \ And so he became The Christmas Penguin.

 2)         He travels from the south, down by the pole \ Bringing Christmas joy, his only goal. \ At the end of every year he does it all again / That’s why they call him The Christmas Penguin.

 bridge:              He doesn’t have a list, he just talks to your pets \ That’s how he knows if you’ve been good and just what you should get. \ And so, remember this if you have a Christmas wish: \ Penguins don’t eat cookies, they eat fish.

 3)         He swims across the ocean with the toys \ So try to be good now, girls and boys. \ You must be really nice to the family pets, and then \ You might get a visit from The Christmas Penguin.

Oh… here’s the article I read: http://weaselzippers.us/2013/12/11/lib-rag-slate-portraying-santa-as-a-white-man-is-racist-should-be-depicted-as-a-penguin/

Merry Christmas, everyone!

After the Break

In mid-August of 2012, Stephen broke his wrist.  It was unclear whether or not he would ever play guitar again.  This was a very difficult time for all those who have appreciated his music over the years.  Ten weeks after the break, it was discovered that he also had suffered from a torn rotator cuff.  The news was not getting better.

Heal Me

He had to make a decision.  Did he sell all of his equipment and take up a new interest, or did he push forward with music? 

After a great deal of prayer and discernment, he chose music.  He played hand drums and sang a cappella for his concert in September of 2012. 

 Faithful Forever

He finished his physical therapy and picked up his guitar at Christmastime.  He has been writing new songs and playing for short periods of time for the last six months. 

Thanks to all those who have been praying for him.  He will be performing for the first time in nearly a year, this Saturday at Bear Creek Coffee.  We hope to see many faces in the crowd.

Song-a-week XVIII

This is in the news again… and hopefully will be for awhile as it is extremely important. My small contribution to the fight against tyranny.

We Will Not Comply

Share it if you like it.

WE WILL NOT COMPLY!                  (Stephen M. Tefft)

Inspired by the Declaration of Independence and a letter by Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample, Bishop of Marquette

 1)         As when in the course of life / A tyranny should arise / It becomes necessity / Free men should strive for liberty. / Some might say that time is here / When the freedoms we hold dear / Are all, once more, stripped away / And we must rise again today!

 Chorus:            Stand up, brothers! Stand up, friends! / Against this we must unite / To regain our liberty again / Don’t let them take away our rights! / We will not comply! / We will not comply! / Let this be our battle cry! / We will not comply!

 2)         There are truths self-evident, / Not bestowed by Government, / But by Nature’s God to us / And so in Him alone we trust. / First among these rights is Life, / (To protect this we must strive) / Liberty is what comes next / And then Pursuit of Happiness.

 3)         We petition for Redress, / Just a little common sense, / Then we do as free men must: / And may the Good Lord be with us. / For when in the course of life, / A tyranny should arise, / It becomes necessity / Free men should strive for Liberty.

Bridge:             When the Government will not defend / But becomes destructive of the ends, / Then it falls upon us to resist / And to alter or abolish it. / It is plain the People don’t consent / To the Congress, Courts, or President. / And, as what was done in history / Once again we fight for Liberty!

Advent into Christmas

I know many people who dislike, and loudly protest the use of Christmas songs, imagery, etc. before the actual day of Christmas. And I can see their point… I guess. You wouldn’t sing happy birthday to someone everyday for two weeks or more leading up to the actual day of their birth… unless you really loved them… or they found it annoying and you were just trying to get a dig in…

I disagree, however. I really like Christmas music, when it’s done well. It puts me in mind of what’s coming and thus gently reminds me of how I should be acting. Much like the sacramentals we use year round and the holy pictures and statuary we keep to help us constantly recall God, Jesus and all the saints. It helps redirect our thoughts to what’s important and true.

I will agree that so much of what is put out there as Christmas music is really, well,  junk and noise. And having to listen to the trivial constantly from before Thanksgiving up to the 25th is maddening. I really feel sorry for those who work in retail for they have to listen to the, dare I say it?, crap, all day everyday over the in-store loud speakers. It’s no wonder they often seem surly and cranky.

As a songwriter, I often listen to music and think to myself, “I could do better.” So I try. Thus I will be sharing some of my original Advent and Christmas music here, where no one will listen to it except my wife, who, because she loves me, has no choice but to pay attention. I love you, honey! Thanks for marrying me!!

To begin:

The Annunciation

1)         In the town of Nazareth in Galilee / God began His greatest plan in history. / To redeem the fallen nature of the world / He sent an angel to speak to a young girl.

Chorus:             He said, “Hail, highly favored one. / You are full of grace. / You shall bear the Lord God’s only Son / To save the human race.” / The Spirit will come over you, / The prophecies fulfilled.” / Humbly the virgin answered, / “Be it done according to God’s will.”

 2)         The obedient reply of this one girl / Made it possible for God to save the world. / Because, in God she knew she placed her trust / The Word became flesh to dwell with us.

3)         May we follow the example she has set. / May we do our very best to not forget / In the town of Nazareth in Galilee / God began His greatest plan in history.

This is from my Rosary CD, available wherever fine music is found on the web (see sidebar). However, if you want something more traditionally Advent-y:

O Come, Emmanuel or perhaps:

Put the Holy Back in the Holidays or, for the more secular crowd:

Bring Me Back To Home

And one more, just for laughs: Mister Santa Claus

I try to do it all. And don’t forget that CD’s make excelent stocking stuffers.

God bless!

Song-a-week XVII

Haven’t posted in a while… Been a bit down due to the injury. I really miss playing guitar. Turns out that when I broke the wrist, I also tore my rotator cuff and it went undiagnosed for 10 weeks bacause no one thought to check out my complaints that my shoulder still hurt. Oh well, life goes on, but physical therapy hurts a lot.

Anyway, I have two new CD’s available for anyone interested. The first, Before the Break, is a recording of the last concert I did at Bear Creek Coffee in Omaha prior to my injury… Thus “before the break…” The next is a recording of a concert I did at the Holy Family Shrine in Gretna, NE after the injury, hence it is all a cappela. If anyone might be interested in purchasing these, please email me at smtefft  @  gmail . com (minus the spaces). They are $10 each. Personally, and this is a totally unbiased opinion of course, I think these songs are some of my strongest. I really like Before the Break and I’m having trouble deciding which song I should share first. I’ll go with this one for the following reason…

Heal Me

I’ve given away 15-20 CD’s to friends, family and co-workers with the request to let me know what they thought of it. Crickets. I even asked a co-worker what she thought of it, weeks later: “Oh, I haven’t listened to it yet… But I will!”

It really makes me wonder why I do this.

One exception. My friend, David, (may the good Lord abundantly bless him) told me he really liked this song. So, for him, I share it here where no one will listen to it.

I guess it’s better that no one listen to my music here than no one listening to my music on the CD’s I give them.

As a writer I get ideas for certain projects. I wrote songs for the mysteries of the rosary. I wrote songs for Bishop Guglielmo Giaquinta’s book The Cenacle. (available online, see the side bar) I will, one day, write a song for all 150 Psalms… So I got this idea one day to write songs based on the 12 step program for AA. Don’t know where the idea came from but there it was. This one, Heal Me, is for step 7 and is the only one of the 12 steps I have recorded. I like it. It’s got kind of an old-timey feel to it. Almost an “O Brother, Where Art Thou” vibe. Or it would if I had better instrumentation and Allison Krause’s awesome voice on it. But this is a live performance CD and I only had myself. It’s still a good song.

 

Next: I had been scheduled to perform at the Holy Family Shrine last year. I got cancelled due to some construction projects there. They rescheduled and… I broke my wrist. My thought was, no guitar means no concert. The wife said differently. I even tried to cancel it myself. The wonderful people at the shrine said no, they needed me to do this. So I did. I tried to get some friends to accompany me… no luck. Too busy or not interested or too shy. So I went through my songs and picked out some I could sing without accompaniment. Still not sure if I did a good job of it but I did the best I could.

Intro_How Sweet the Very Thought of You - How Sweet the Very Thought of You

If you are interested, you can get the full concert of me @ the Holy Family Shrine or a CD with just the songs, no talking. Email me.

Heal Me!                (Tefft)

Step 7 – Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings

1)         From my every sin / From my every stain / Come and wash me clean / Come and heal me. / From my every fault / From my every pain / Come and wash me clean / Come and heal me. / Come and heal me…

 Chorus:            In humility and in all sincerity / O Lord, hear my plea and heal me… / I’m down on my knees, I’m asking You to see / O Lord, hear my plea and heal me…

 2)         From the bad I’ve done / And from each regret / Come and wash me clean / Come and heal me. / Help me to atone / For I can’t forget / Come and wash me clean / Come and heal me. / Come and heal me…

 3)         From my selfishness / From each sad mistake / Come and wash me clean / Come and heal me. / For the ones I love / And for heaven’s sake / Come and wash me clean / Come and heal me. / Come and heal me…

 

HOW SWEET THE VERY THOUGHT OF YOU                     (Tefft)

Based on Jesu Dulcis Memoria by St. Bernard of Clairveaux / Trans. Fr. Edward Caswall

1)         How sweet the very thought of You / With joy You fill my heart / The sweetness of Your presence, Lord, / Surpasses all earthly art.

2)         Mere words cannot express Your love. / No tongue can quite explain / The sweetest sound in all the world / Is our Savior’s Holy Name.

3)         O Hope of  ev’ry contrite heart / And Joy of all the meek, / How kind You are to all who fall / How good to all who might seek.

4)         For You can hear each childish prayer. / You know each foolish thought. / Yet, what great gifts; all grace and love / Are given freely when sought.

5)         All glory be to Father, Son, / And to the Spirit, blest! / In You alone, my Joy and Prize, / My soul can finally rest.

6)         How sweet, how wondrous is the Lord / Whose love sets sinners free. / Let all the world His praises sing / For now and eternally!

Jericho Revealed

Stephen wrote his song Jericho in 2002.  In it a man is searching for a way to court a woman who has emotionally locked herself away from the world.  He compares her to Jericho and vows to sing his song beside her wall in hopes that history will repeat itself, and her wall, too, will crumble.  In 2007 a friend asked him to write a song from the perspective of the woman, which became known as Inside The Walls.  In 2012 a new song was added to the story.  The man says he will sing his song beside her wall.  The woman asks why he sings his song for her.  What was the song?  Come With Me became the gentle invitation to the woman to let go of her past and have faith in the love God had intended for her.  The story ends with a realization that she does not have to remain in her self-made prison, and yet old habits are difficult to break as we see in Knock It Down.

JERICHO             (Tefft)

1) She is just like Jericho / Walls of stone so hard and cold. / Protecting her from all that might have been. / And all the things she won’t show, / Sights so wondrous to behold, / Are buried somewhere deep beneath her skin.

2) She has built her garden walls / A thousand miles wide and tall / And there is no way over or around. / So, I stand here, looking small / To sing my song beside her wall / And hope that she might somehow hear the sound.

 chorus:                   How I long to find the song / To heal her hurts, to right the wrongs. / How I wish to free the love she’s bound. / I dream that I could make my voice / A trumpet blast, a heav’nly noise. / That I could make the walls come tumbling down.

3)             I have tried to catch her eye / To see all that she would deny / Beyond the lies she says that she believes. / There are hints that would imply / The tears she’d never ever cry, / She’s too afraid of foreigners and thieves.

4) Someday I may find the key / To repeat ancient history / But until then I wander ‘round her town. / She may look, she may see, / That tiny voice belongs to me, / A hopeful man who stands here on the ground.

 

INSIDE THE WALLS                        (Tefft)

1) My walls are tall. I’ve built them strong / To keep out all who don’t belong. / It seems a lonely life but not so much. / For protection, safety’s sake, / I’ve built them so they cannot break. / You can’t be hurt if you cannot be touched.

2)         Here in my heart alone I dwell / Within this mighty citadel. / A fortress keeping foreigners at bay. / I won’t expose my fragile heart / To those who might tear it apart. / My signs are posted, “Danger! Keep away!”

Chorus:            Yet, strangely I can faintly hear / A quiet voice drift to my ear. / Singing, “Let me in,” persistently. / It troubles me to hear this song / That gently echoes on and on. / For why would anybody want to be / In here with me?

3)         I like it here with only me. / Though I may hurt, no one can see. / My secrets safe from anybody else. / With solitude my only friend / My heart might have a chance to mend. / At least that’s what I try to tell myself.

4)  Perhaps, someday I’ll drop my shield, / My fortress then an open field / Where one might dance and play beneath the sky. / But until then I’ll keep them strong, / Staying here where I belong, / Where none will ever see the tears I cry.

 

COME WITH ME                   (Nancy & Stephen Tefft)     

1)         Walk away from your past / Don’t let loneliness last / Just take a chance. / Take my hand. Come with me. / Leave your sorrows behind. / Who knows what you may find. / Open your mind. / Take my hand. Come with me.

2)         I can see you’re afraid / Of the games you have played. / Just walk away. / Take my hand. Come with me. / I’ll be faithful and true / I will watch over you. / That’s what I’ll do. / Take my hand. Come with me.

Bridge 1:            If you believe / Then your heart will be free. / Love holds the key. / Take my hand. Come with me.

Bridge 2:            Don’t be deceived / By the doubts you perceive. / Love sets us free. / Take my hand. Come with me.

3)         It could go either way. / We could leave. You could stay. / Again I say, / Take my hand. Come with me. / You can run. You can hide / Or stay close by my side. / I’ll be your guide. / Take my hand. Come with me.

Bridge 3:            Don’t let your dreams / Remain just fantasies. / Look, you can see. / Take my hand. Come with me.

Bridge 4:            Won’t you agree? / That you want to be free? / Love holds the key. / Take my hand. Come with me.

 

KNOCK IT DOWN                (Tefft)

1) My heart has never been an open book. / Close it, put it way up high so that no one can ever look. / Though now-a-days confession’s all the rage / I do my very best so that no one sees a page. / And so you don’t think I don’t appreciate / All the extra effort you always seem to take.

Chorus:                         When my door is locked / And the key can not be found / When you come around… / Knock it down!

2) The soul is often seen through the eyes / That’s one of the reasons I am wearing this disguise. / And although some progress has been made / I am still more comfortable when I’m wearing mirrored shades. / And so you don’t think I don’t really care, / I really have to tell you, I’m totally aware

Bridge:  I know that it’s been difficult and you’ve been doing it for years / With an elbow to the ribs or a whisper to the ears. / Slowly you’ve pulled down some of my barbed-wire fences / No matter consequences, you bring me to my senses.                   

3) And though I’ve never owned a welcome mat / And there’s never many visitors, I like it just like that. / And though I pull the shades and lock the doors / The invitation’s open and it is always yours. / Just so you don’t think I don’t appreciate / All the extra effort you always seem to take…

For Matthew

Let the Lord’s infinite love envelope him and perpetual light shine upon him.

We love you and miss you.

Gone But Not Forgotten

1)                  Life is often fleeting. You hold it in your hand. / It slips right through your fingers just like so much sand. / And the harder that you grasp it the quicker that it goes / And what it all amounts to no one really knows.

 Chorus:            I remember when I knew you as a friend. / And now it all is gone but not forgotten.

 2)                  I once saw a picture of a child in the sun. / Laughter there upon the lips, eyes so filled with fun. / I once saw a picture of a mother’s painful tears. / Live your life in moments, don’t worry about the years.

 3)                  I once heard a story. A lesson to be learned. / Someone set a fire and everything was burned. / And there, beneath the ashes was a diamond wrapped in gold. / Though everything must perish, love will not grow old.

Song-a-week XVI – We Will Not Comply

So, I broke my wrist. I fell backwards while playing basketball and broke my radius and scaffoid (sp?) bones. Now I have a plate and 11 screws in my left wrist, my thumb and wrist are splinted and I have lots of painful therapy ahead of me before I’ll play guitar again. Frankly, I’m quite scared I’ll never be able to play again. I’m trying hard to hold on to the thought of God’s will be done… that I can still praise Him without the guitar, but I miss it terribly.

Anyway… Luckily, I recorded my last coffee shop concert (as it might be truly that.) so I have all my newest songs safely recorded. And now I can share them with the one or two of you who might be interested.

We Will Not Comply

I’ll start with this one as I think it needs to be out there. It’s one of my few blatantly political songs. I’m not really an “in your face” kind of person. My attitude tends to be “live and let live.” However, I am a Catholic Christian and I truly believe my faith and take it seriously. Thus, I am called to defend my beliefs when they are questioned or attacked.

I wasn’t a political person until the John Kerrey election. I ignored all things political, and was really much happier, until he came out and said that he could be a Catholic in good standing and still support the evil of abortion. I’m sorry, you cannot. So that led me into the vast wasteland of the political realms.

I hate it! I hate the deceitfulness, the games, the bias, the manipulation, the hostility… and that’s just from the media. Don’t even get me started about the actual polititians!

Anyway, this song was inspired by a letter by Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample, Bishop of Marquette. That led me to re-read the Declaration of Independence and the song was born. There’s a time to be subtle and a time to be blatant. Now is the time to stand up and speak out.

Please share this song. With everything else that is going on, people are forgetting this issue is not resolved. The game is still afoot. The fight has not been won.

And while you’re at it, say a prayer that the evil of abortion might be ended.

WE WILL NOT COMPLY!                  (Tefft)

Inspired by the Declaration of Independence and a letter by Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample, Bishop of Marquette

 1)         As when in the course of life / A tyranny should arise / It becomes necessity / Free men should strive for liberty. / Some might say that time is here / When the freedoms we hold dear / Are all, once more, stripped away / And we must rise again today!

 Chorus:            Stand up, brothers! Stand up, friends! / Against this we must unite / To regain our liberty again. / Don’t let them take away our rights! / We will not comply! / We will not comply! / Let this be our battle cry! / We will not comply!

 2)         There are truths self-evident, / Not bestowed by Government, / But by Nature’s God to us / And so in Him alone we trust. / First among these rights is Life, / (To protect this we must strive) / Liberty is what comes next / And then Pursuit of Happiness.

Bridge:             When the Government will not defend / But becomes destructive of the ends, / Then it falls upon us to resist / And to alter or abolish it. / It is plain the People don’t consent / To the Congress, Courts, or President. / And, as what was done in history / Once again we fight for Liberty!

3)         We petition for Redress, / Just a little common sense, / Then we do as free men must: / And may the Good Lord be with us. / For when in the course of life, / A tyranny should arise, / It becomes necessity / Free men should strive for Liberty.