Thanks for checking out my playlists!

Music is a big part of my journey. I’ve never been a musician, I don’t play instruments, I don’t sing other than casually, I’ve never studied the process of creating music. I used to say that the only instrument that I could play was a CD player! Now, I can play Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube. My options have expanded!

I’ve always appreciated music. Music puts me in touch with my emotions, my sense of feeling and wonder. Since the mid 2000’s I’ve been creating playlists of music, and since 2011 I’ve been creating annual playlists of my favorite Christian songs from the year.

Below are the playlists from 2011 to the currently “released” one. Click on the “+” sign to open up each one. There will be a link to the Spotify and Apple Music playlists, along with some notes about the playlist and what it meant to me that year. I’m posting a new list on my Facebook page each Monday until I catch up. Hint: go like and follow that page to make sure you see the new weeks!

Please enjoy! If you like these, please share them with others. And check out the rest of my website! If I can help in any way, please contact me using the form below.

DCF19 Identity
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DCF19 Identity
What You Focus On Grows
Two related threads, that don’t appear related to start:

Thread One: the 2019 Playlist

I’ve written before (Click the + below Purpose of the entire DCF series (Why do I do this?) about my process for creating my annual playlists. Briefly, I “collect” songs that strike me all year, generally ending up with 50 to 100, maybe more. These songs may be from the radio, from church, from events, or even old playlists.

Getting back to the 2019 playlist. As the year starts winding down (especially if I get tired of Christmas music and need a break), I’ll start sorting through those songs on my song list. There are some “must-haves”, there are some “probably not”, and a bunch in the middle.

In January I listen to the whole list several times, and shuffle/sort/organize into potential themes or subjects. This year, it was interesting that several on my “must-haves” and several more in the middle all revolved around a common theme, that being “who does God say that I am”. And none of the other potential themes had more than 2 or 3 songs in common. Some years, the theme makes itself obvious.

In February I copy the playlist and start weeding out songs that don’t fit the theme. This year, there were 30 to 35 songs that still fit, and the target is 18-20 songs — 1 hour 20 minutes (80 minutes) max time. Some songs are easy to remove because there are multiple songs from the same artist and one of them fits the theme better than the other. Other songs don’t fit the theme quite as well, so if they were on the “maybe” list, I take them off.

I get the lyrics for all the remaining songs and look over them, to make sure there’s not something that is theologically incorrect, and to make sure the words fit the theme. In the end of this year, I had to remove about 4 songs just to get within the 80-minute limit.

Thread Two: My book
My first book The Identity Key was released on February 13th. It’s available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions — and all profits before July 2020 go to the Frisco Bible Church 2020 Costa Rica Mission Trip.

The timeline and story of the creation of the book will be the subject of this blog post (coming out this week). Briefly, I started an intensive effort in mid-to-late December to outline, create, and write the book. Amazingly, it came together well enough that I could get it out by February 13th, which is my birthday.

The book came out of my desire to put out in the world an overview of the tools that I know about that can answer the question “Who Are You?”

Tying the threads together:

As you can see, these threads interweaved — the fact that I was collecting songs all year that led to the “Who Are You?” theme likely influenced the creation and content of the book, and the fact that I was writing the book solidified the theme of the playlist.

I’ve heard it before the “what you focus on grows”. If you focus on peace, you are more peaceful. If you focus on thankfulness, you are more thankful. If you focus on anger, you’ll get angrier.

It’s obvious in hindsight that I was focused in 2019 on Identity because both the book and the playlist ended up with that theme. And my big personal theme this year was seeing that my Identity is more solid than it has been in quite a while.

What would you like more of in your life? Focus on it and watch it grow.

DCF18 Beyond Fear
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DCF18 Beyond Fear
2018 – This year was still a building year, a refocus year. I had to cut some good things that were not working even though it ended up costing me money. There was a lot of doubt and fear, because things were taking so long to get started. The year was an exercise in staying positive despite the fear. I kept moving and seeking God’s will.
One of the keys for me was getting a team of dedicated prayer partners to keep me covered and focused on God. Another key was maintaining the long term relationships with my peer coaches, the life group that I’m a part of, the prayer team that I’m a part of, and being open to new relationships.
Something that happened in December that set up a new, good direction in 2019 was going through the WeAlign Strengths Alignment Package. This was personally incredibly impactful in my life. 
DCF17 Waiting With Hope
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DCF17 Waiting with Hope
2017 was a year of “active waiting”. I did a LOT of networking, trying to find and build my coaching practice, while continuing to do my 20 hours/week at Stonebridge. All while figuring out who Dale was as a divorced 60+ Christian man. I even started entertaining the thought of dating again.
I was an integral part of a monthly networking group “Leverage Your Network.” I was one of the speakers at this group at least half the time. I did other public speaking as I could.
In April I was honored to walk my God-daughter Sarah down the aisle for her wedding.
In July I went with my church on my second Costa Rica Mission Trip.
As part of the networking and speaking, I was around a lot of other coaches and speakers who had published a book, and I started considering what topic I could write about. I prayed a lot about this and started getting some very hazy thoughts.
2017 was a building year, and overall was good in all areas except financial. I definitely put a lot of money into the business and did not get the ROI that I expected. But I was convinced that I was on the track that God wanted me to be on, so I persisted.
DCF16 Trust
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DCF16 Trust
Ah, 2016. The year where many things shifted but remained just as murky as before.
MAJOR changes in 2016. Overall, this turned out to be mixed blessings.
My marriage officially ended in March 2016. This was good because I could start building my own life and start the healing process. Bad because a LOT of habits, both mental and physical, had to change.
I was “volun-told” that I could go to part-time (20 hours per week) with Stonebridge. This was good because I could start building my Coaching business. Bad because I had just been through a divorce and wasn’t expecting my income to be cut in half right then.
I started networking for my Coach Dale business. Good because I found I loved meeting new people and getting connected. Bad because I had no clue what was the “right” way to network, especially for a coach. In April, I was able to attend the first Professional Christian Coaching Institute (PCCI) conference in Rome, Georgia, with over a hundred other PCCI coaches and spouses. I joined the McKinney Chamber of Commerce and some other networking groups and did a few small speaking engagements.
In October, I attended (actually, volunteered for) the “Faith at Work” conference in Dallas. I heard a lot of stuff, but it struck me as mostly theological and theoretical. I was looking for something more practical, so I kept looking.
Spiritually, I knew God was right there supporting me. The whole year I just felt like I was being called to go deeper with God and Jesus, and I kept hearing messages of “just trust me.” 
As part of this trust journey, I committed to going on my first overseas short term mission trip. In July I went with a group from my church to Costa Rica for a week. I had no clue when I signed up that I would love it as much as I did, but obviously it’s important because I’ve been on that trip every year since!
It was easy to find songs this year that spoke about Trust and aspects of that.
DCF15 Longevity of Grace
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2015 was a year for me where many things felt like they were becoming clear, but nothing really was resolved yet. It was becoming clear to me that the Professional Christian Coaching that I had started training for back in 2011 was my future and I was looking to find a niche that would allow me, over time, to replace my I.T. income. I was able mid-year to get certifications in Everything DiSC and Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team, which would be tools to allow me to coach in a corporate environment. I started branding myself as Coach Dale. My I.T. workload continued to shift, still at Stonebridge but roles changed. During 2015 I was no longer involved at the Houston client, but I had picked up engagement management at a large Dallas client in 2014 and that became even more involved, but then reduced at the end of that year. The marriage got even more rocky, and came to a head on 9/11. The marriage ended in my mind that day, even though it would be March of 2016 before it was legally done.
DCF14 Broken? God Heals
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2014 was in many ways a holding pattern for me. It wasn’t quite as stress overloading as 2013, but it felt like nothing was getting resolved. The issues in my marriage were still going on, and I was totally out of control there. Work was settling down, I wasn’t traveling quite as much, but I could sense that there was a shift coming up. The major client I had been managing in Houston had gone through a shift and was taking over day-to-day management. The only solid rock was my dependence on Jesus and that continued to grow.
This year felt like God was allowing me to be Broken, and all of these songs were speaking to me about the healing power of Jesus.
DCF13 - Lament -to- Praise
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For 2013, it was a tough process to pick the songs. For the longest time, lots of songs were “speaking” to me. As many of you know, I’ve had a couple of very tough years. It had been rocky in my marriage to my now ex-wife, physically I had many problems, my primary work (IT work at Stonebridge) had lots of changes, I downsized houses (with all of the associated moving and stress). Many times it’s only been my faith in Jesus that has got me through the day. Interestingly enough, my faith has grown stronger during this time. Music has been a big part of that.

But even with all that, I had lots of songs — way too many — but no real theme. Until earlier in 2014 (recall that the 2013 playlist is published after 2013 is over). My pastor was preaching on suffering and dealing with everything that can bring you down – naturally, this spoke to me big time! The big takeaway for me in that message is that one has to go THROUGH the grieving process and when you make it through you will give the glory to God. He called the process LAMENTING (as in Lamentations) and said that Laments turn to Praise when you work through the whole process. I had already experienced this, so I knew what he was saying was true. As often happens, he supplied the vocabulary for something I knew but couldn’t describe.

He also supplied the theme for the CD for 2013. “Lament —> Praise”. The first portion of this CD has several songs that really deal with the struggle and the lamenting, the grieving, process. Then there is a transition to more upbeat, more praise songs.

DCF12 - Rise Up and Walk
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Dale’s notes: 2012 is the year that I started making playlists that were not only around a theme for the year, but that also reflected what was going on in my life during that year. The 2011 playlist “Shine” is a good playlist, but not that personal. Please understand that the 2011 playlist is released in 2012, the 2012 is released in 2013, and so on. During the year of 2012, I served on my first inside team for The Walk to Emmaus. This was something that I could see that I would be doing again in the future, as a matter of fact, I was already scheduled to serve on a team in 2013 as I was ‘producing’ this playlist. Plus I believe that the annual theme for my church (Frisco Bible Church) was around our Christian walk. So I settled on the Walk theme, and you’ll find that most of the songs have Walk either explicitly, or in the sense of moving forward in life.

DCF11 - Shine
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Dale’s notes: While I had done playlists, even Christian playlists, before 2011 — this was my first year of gathering the songs that impacted me during the year, picking out 50 to 100 of the best, and seeing if a “theme” emerged. The theme that emerged this year was around Shining and Light, so I called this list “Shine”.

Purpose of the entire DCF series (Why do I do this?):
  1. Share songs that have been impactful to me in the past year.
  2. Give you hope and inspiration through the collection.
  3. Tell a “story” in music through the CD.
  4. Maybe, introduce you to some songs you haven’t heard.
“Rules” of the DCF series:
  1. These are my series, so I get to set the rules
  2. These rules have evolved over time. I give myself permission to change the rules if they are no longer working.
  3. Songs must fit on a standard audio CD – 1 hour 20 minutes absolute max, possibly a few minutes less. This turns out to be 17 to 20 songs depending on individual song lengths.
  4. They have to be Christian songs that I heard in the production year, or at least variations on them (by another artist, or a longer or shorter or radio or live version)
  5. They must have had an impact on me that year.
  6. They must have good, meaningful, Christian lyrics. I’m not against good praise songs that don’t have deep lyrics, not at all — I just find that most of the songs that speak to me over time have deep lyrics.
  7. There are always two “anchor” songs in the mix. Typically (and recently) one of those songs will be the last one on the CD, the other is wherever it fits the best.
  8. There are ALWAYS more songs that fit the loose criteria above than will fit on within the limit.
  9. Generally, there will emerge a theme for the CD. This could be because the “must-have” songs have something in common, or a theme will emerge in the latter part of the year, or even in the first part of the next year.
  10. Songs that “fit” the theme will be given higher precedence for inclusion.
  11. Songs that have appeared on recent DCF albums will be given lower precedence (but not automatically excluded).
  12. If there are multiple songs by the same artist or group, some of them will be given lower precedence.
  13. There are generally one or two songs that are unusual in some way.
  14. There are generally one or two “oldie” songs – sometimes very old, sometimes a decade or so.
  15. This is not to encourage or condone music piracy. As a matter of fact, the “production” of the actual CD is strictly limited. You should NOT copy this any further. If you like these songs, please purchase them yourself.
  16. The previous rule in still in force, but since I am no longer making physical copies — all distribution is via electronic channels such as Spotify, YouTube, and Apple Music. All of these services allow you to get a free subscription — there will be occasional ads play to support the services.I can *ALWAYS* ignore any of these rules in the interest of what fits better — in MY opinion.