Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘music’

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve compiled five favorites. Since I love to eat and love music, it’s no surprise what I’ve picked this week.

(1) Wilder Woods

I have been a NEEDTOBREATHE fan for years, often taking my kids (and sometimes Don) to their live concerts. I was very happy when I found out NTB lead singer Bear Rinehart has recorded a couple of songs as the solo artist Wilder Woods. I first heard the new music a few weeks ago on Spotify but the videos are on YouTube as well. Bear’s voice has always been distinctive so there was no way a fan couldn’t figure this out before the big reveal today. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ rating, for sure.

(2) Maddie Poppe’s new album Wildflowers

More music from Iowa’s sweetheart is a good thing. Winning last year’s American Idol propelled Maddie into the national spotlight but she seems to have stayed true to her musical roots. A little pop, a little country, a lot of catchy lyrics and toe tapping tunes. I enjoy each song, but especially the title track.

(3) Ham & Cheese Rollups

Made these last weekend for a brunch with girlfriends. Turned out great and will definitely be making them again. The sauce poured over the top would taste good on a flip flop.

(4) Street Tacos

I’m too old to care if my food choices have the latest cool ingredients. Hey – I loved Brussels sprouts before they were cool. But I do enjoy eating tasty food and I’ve really enjoyed eating street tacos. Now I can buy street taco size tortillas (both corn & flour) at my favorite grocery store. They are smaller, easier to hold and not as sloppy. And you can put just about anything inside: shrimp, fish, beef, pork, chicken. So good.

(5) Psalm 91

I have a few friends struggling with tough health issues and though I pray for each one, sometimes I struggle with what words to pray. But this psalm cuts to the heart.

God is our refuge, our place of safety. He is our rescuer, His angels are ordered to protect those who trust in Him. Read the whole thing and believe it!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Trail through woodsMy top 10 list of things to do this time of year:

10) Clean out my closet. I’m so tired of sweaters. Though I could wear boots year-round, I am looking forward to wearing sandals, or at least no socks! Now is a great time to sort through those clothes and shoes you didn’t wear over the long winter and donate to Salvation Army. Or make a little extra money by using Stuff Etc. Beware though – your consignment items need to be in very, very good condition to be accepted.

9) Trying a new restaurant. I enjoy going to new places any time of year, but there is something about spring that gives me extra bravery to try a different cuisine. I’m still waiting to try good Thai or Indian food. I do have someone who’s willing to go with me, so I just need to set the date.

8) Clean my windows. I actually enjoy cleaning my house windows, inside and out, when the weather is nice, and I can open everything up. Feels like a fresh start.

7) Move the furniture around. Another fresh start. Just don’t do it right before going to bed because you may end up stubbing your toes on the couch in the middle of the night. “Who moved that there?” I have some new furniture than only fits a certain way in my living room, so I’m going to have be extra creative this year.

6) Re-connecting with friends. The winter was treacherous. Lots of ice and snow kept most of us inside unless we absolutely had to go out. But now that that yucky stuff is gone, time to make some coffee dates with friends I haven’t seen since late fall. I may not be drinking caffeine, but most coffee shops offer herbal alternatives. And scones.

 

5) Fresh music playlist. I’ve listened to the same playlist all winter so time to change it up. Spotify makes it very easy to find whatever I want to listen to and create a playlist that I can access any time. Made a Lenten worship one the other day and loving it.EFY_2015_1

4) Running. I do not run in the winter. I’m old enough that recovery from a fall on ice or snow would be long and arduous, but come spring time, I’m ready to hit the trails again. I upload my C25K app (again) and start fresh with Day 1. Doesn’t take too long to get back into the swing of it. “You don’t need to go fast, you just need to go.”

3) Baseball is back. Cubs fan. That is all.

2) Long walks outside. I walk every day. If the weather is lousy, I walk during my lunch hour within my block-long office building or I hit the downtown sky walk system. If I include a parking deck or two, I can get three miles in over the hour. But once spring weather comes in, I love walking outside. The new playlist in my earbuds, my comfy boots or shoes, an occasionally muddy spot, blue skies, gentle (or blustery) breezes…recharges my battery and lifts my moody. Every time.

1) Easter. I don’t decorate in pastels, and bunnies, and eggs. Well, truthfully, I don’t decorate in much of anything, but for me Easter isn’t about all of that. Easter is THE holiday in my life. I take this time of year to reflect on the magnitude of this great thing – Christ Jesus gave His life on a brutal cross to take my sin so I could have eternity with Him in heaven. Easter isn’t just about the cross – it’s also about the tomb. He died for us, yet He rose again, victorious over sin and darkness. That is why Easter is so important…why it’s number one on my list.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:10

He Is Risen

Happy Spring! Happy Easter!

Read Full Post »

Ever have a song stuck in your head? Or just a few phrases of a song? This one is in my head every Monday morning. The song is from 1966, sung by The Mamas and the Papas, and is so catchy that you can’t help but sing along…for a while. It’s a sad song, if you really pay attention to the lyrics, but it’s just so addictive.

Just try not to sing as you read these lyrics:

Monday, Monday, so good to me
Monday mornin´, it was all I hoped it would be
Oh Monday mornin´, Monday mornin´ couldn’t guarantee
That Monday evenin´ you would still be here with me
Monday, Monday, can´t trust that day
Monday, Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way
Oh Monday mornin´ you gave me no warnin´ of what was to be
Oh Monday, Monday, how could you leave and not take me
Every other day, every other day
Every other day of the week is fine, yeah
But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes
And-you can find me cryin´ all of the time

 

Did you find yourself crying this Monday morning? That Daylight Saving Time thing may have done a number on you. Maybe your weekend didn’t live up to your expectations. Maybe you’re facing a long week of hard work, or no work.

No matter what your Monday is looking like, there is hope. God loves you. He thinks you’re delightful. And you matter to Him.

Monday is just one day – don’t let it eat your lunch. Tell yourself the truth – you are fearfully and wonderfully madeyou are created in the image of God – God is always your fortress, your refuge, your strong tower, who will never abandon you. Tell Monday to chill –  you and God have got this.

Gods_Got_It

P.S. Mondays aren’t nearly as difficult since I read my friend Jennifer Dukes Lee’s book “It’s All Under Control.” Some wonderful insights for control freaks, or if you think you have to be in control to be successful. You can purchase it at any of your favorite book places. One of my Top 10 books ever!

Read Full Post »

My 30-Day Gratitude chart has some very interesting topics on which to focus. Today says “What hour of the day are you grateful for?” This seems like a silly question to me, as I’m grateful for every hour of the day. Aren’t you? Why would I not be grateful for another hour to live, to breathe, to love, to eat, to sleep…whatever? Maybe they mean – “what hour of the day are you MOST grateful for?”

Easy – lunch hour.

And not just because it’s another opportunity to stuff my face.

Monday through Friday I work in an office where I sit for the majority of my 8 hour day. But on my lunch hour – almost every day – I walk. If it’s warm, I walk. If it’s cold, I walk. Even if it’s rainy, I walk. As you can tell, I’m somewhat obsessed with walking.

TrailWalking does many things for me, physically, emotionally, mentally and even spiritually. One website says a daily walk of 20-25 minutes could add 7 years to your life. Sounds great to me. The author, Dr. Mercola, claims a two-mile walk a day can cut your risk of heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis. Other benefits include improved sleep, joint health, and circulation.

I love my lunch hour walk because it clears my head. I usually pop in my ear buds, turn on a walking playlist of music, and sing along as I walk through the neighborhood. Yes, I’ve received looks from other pedestrians, but I’m not concerned. I don’t sing THAT loud. By the time I’ve completed a 2 to 2.5 mile circuit around downtown, I feel refreshed and mentally ready to tackle the afternoon.

Even if the weather is cloudy, or chilly, or gloomy, I can walk because Cedar Rapids has a great skywalk system. If I start at our public library and walk to the end, including all the little side trips, I’ve gotten over two miles of walking…and stayed warm and dry. There are several restaurants along the route so if I feel inclined, I can stop for pizza, or a burger, or soup and salad. I can enter and exit the skywalk at over a dozen different locations, so I can do a little inside and little outside walking, depending on the weather and my mood.

Sometimes I leave my music in the office and pray as I walk. Sometimes I just think about the tasks I have left on my to-do list or what I’m going to blog about. My lunch hour walk is a sacred time for me, when I quiet my spirit and worship through music or prayer; when I give my body a good workout; or when I just think. I don’t believe it’s an accident that God promises to walk in close fellowship with us through life. He wants to accompany me as I journey along each day…not run from task to duty to job…but walk, conversing together as I put one foot in front of the other.

“No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
    and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
    and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

Read Full Post »

“Please, sweet baby. Just go to sleep.” The poor mama was almost in tears. So many late nights trying to get her young son to sleep. She knew that once he settled down, he would be fine, but he was stubborn and just would not fall to sleep without her presence. Their apartment was too small to allow him to “cry it out” which was the suggestion almost everyone gave the new parents.

“He’ll stop soon enough. Let him cry.” Well, he must not have listened to their advice because he could cry, and cry, and cry, without wearing down at all. Conscious of their thin walls, and trying to be good neighbors, they could not allow the noise to go on very long. So far, her only solution was taking him out of his crib and resting with him on the spare double bed in the baby’s room.

“Please, sweetie. Just sleep.” Her pleas met deaf ears. His eyes stayed bright and alert. The baby giggled and cooed as his mama snuggled with him on top of the handmade quilt.

“Lord, help me. I don’t know what to do.” She had prayed every day (and night) for a solution. She knew God cared about every facet of her life, even the amount of sleep she got, so she knew He would give her guidance in this area too.

Finally, when she thought the only solution was sleeping in that double bed every night, she had a sudden thought.

“Sing.” Sing?

“Lord, I’m not a very good singer. I don’t know very many lullabies.”

But that still, small voice kept whispering, “sing.”

Wracking her brain, she tried to think of pop tunes, or lullabies or even hymns to sing to her brown-eyed baby boy, but she came up empty. Except for one little tune with simple lyrics.

“He won’t care what I sound like. He’s just a baby. He won’t even remember.”

So she started to sing…

“O Lord, You’re beautiful.

Your face is all I seek.

For when Your eyes are on this child,

Your grace abounds to me.

I wanna take Your Word and shine it all around,

But first help me just to live it, Lord.

And when I’m doing well, help me to never seek a crown,

For my reward is giving glory to You.”

Over and over, she sang the lyrics to this simple chorus, until it was no longer just a lullaby to her baby, but a song of worship from her heart. She didn’t just sing the song, she prayed the song. That little baby didn’t miraculously fall asleep the minute his mama started singing, but he watched her and he listened to her and his little spirit eventually grew quiet. Each night, she sang to her little guy until one night, she didn’t have to. He fell asleep on his own, without her off-key voice and simple songs. Sleep, blessed sleep.

David_Mom_asleepLooking back on those nights, I don’t remember my scratchy eyes (and voice). I don’t remember the sense of helplessness or even hopelessness. I don’t remember feeling like a stupid new parent. I remember the peace that came over my little boy, the intimate times of worship in that small bedroom, the quiet presence of the Holy Spirit as I sang that simple, but powerful, song to my firstborn. I didn’t realize it then but God answered my prayers. Not just the one asking for David to fall asleep, but the one embedded in the song. Because God’s eyes weren’t just on me, His eyes were on my child. And what He planted in my little boy – a love of music, a desire to worship and a boldness to give glory to God wherever he goes – started in that little apartment in the middle of the dark nights when he refused to sleep until his mom sang the lyrics to that Keith Green chorus, over and over.

I’m grateful for that little song. I cry every time my beautiful daughter-in-law sings those words while her husband, my little stubborn brown-eyed firstborn son, accompanies her on guitar or piano. It’s still the cry of my heart. Not so my baby will fall asleep, but so my soul awakens to the grace and glory of God.

Read Full Post »

One of my favorite singer/songwriters is lesser-known, but brilliant in my humble estimation. He has a pleasant voice and very engaging personality. I’ve seen him once in concert (as part of my favorite band’s tour last year) and I’m looking forward to seeing him as the headliner in about 10 days in Des Moines. But his brilliance isn’t his voice (sorry) or his personality or his choice of friends – I love that he writes songs that every man (or woman) can relate to. He writes songs like a regular guy – love songs, songs with catchy tunes & lyrics, songs to his family members, songs in celebration, songs about life, and songs about choices. His name is Ben Rector and his newest album is called “Brand New.” The album includes what I believe is one of his best songs about choices, relationships, and life.

Brand_New

Instead of writing on and on about what he’s talking about, here are the lyrics and you can see for yourself…it isn’t rocket science or difficult theological concepts…it’s just an honest man’s assessment of what he’d do if he knew the world would end on Tuesday morning.

“Like The World Is Going To End”

If we found out that the world
was gonna end on Tuesday morning
What would everybody do
It’s funny how the thought of that
can make something real important
And a lot of things pretty worthless too

But I’d be dancin’ like a fool
I’d be laughin’, I’d be cryin’
Callin’ everbody I’d ever hurt and reconcilin’
I’d call everyone I loved
Say what I was scared to say till then
Now that I think about it
Maybe I should always live like the world is gonna end

I’d hit all my favorite resturants
They’d be open for business
Would not care what people thought, yeah

And I’d speak love to everbody
Who came close enough to listen
And if someone done be wrong
I’d call and tell em’ I forgot

And then I’d be dancin’ like a fool
I’d be laughin’, I’d be cryin’
Callin’ everbody I’d ever hurt and reconcilin’
I’d call everyone I loved
Say what I was scared to say till then
Now that I think about it
Maybe I should always live like the world is gonna end

We spend most our lives
And almost all our time
One what we don’t care about
What we could do without

Every tragedy
Is that we can’t see it
We can’t see until time is running out

‘Cause I’d be dancin’ like a fool
I’d eat ice cream every mornin’
I’d call up everyone I loved
And drive them out to California
And we’d say the things
that we’ve been scared to death to say till then
Now that I think about it
Maybe we should always live like the world is gonna end

Live like the world is gonna end
I find myself singing this song at periodic times throughout the day. It makes me think. Hopefully it makes me act and make better choices too. Hopefully it’ll do the same for you. Because it’s only Friday – you’ve got about four days to eat ice cream every morning.

If you want the album, you can go to his website, or iTunes, or Amazon…wherever you buy your music. If you want tickets to his Des Moines concert (which is on March 28th – a Monday night fortunately), go to ticketmaster.

Read Full Post »

music-notes

Tonight is the annual Grammy Awards. In case you live under a rock, it is the award show highlighting the “best” music of the past year. I put the word best in quotation marks because I believe “best” is always an opinion, and I rarely agree with the music awarded a Grammy. But I do love music. Today I’m going to add to my Lenten 40-day journey by listening to more music.

I have a lot of favorite artists. Through the years I’ve spent money on music ranging from Alabama to ZZ Top, from Kenny Rogers to Kenny G, from Beatles to Wings to just plain Paul McCartney. I listen to praise & worship, jazz, pop, alternative rock, country (ish) and movie show tunes.  I love Bethel worship and Jason Upton (especially his latest album “A Table Full of Strangers”), but I also love pop stuff, like Ben Rector (I’ll be singing along with his latest tunes when he’s in Des Moines in March). Most of you know I’ve basically been a concert stalker for NEEDTOBREATHE (I think I’ve been to 6 concerts in 5 different states in 3 years). But at those concerts, I’ve fallen for the music of a couple of their opening bands, like Colony House and Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors. We like Drew’s music so much that I’m working on a way to see him while he’s in Des Moines in April.

The old stuff, from my teens and 20s, still have a hold of me. I recently purchased James Taylor’s latest album, Before This World, because he’s James Taylor. I don’t need any other reason. And it’s good. Really good.

Music is such a powerful influence in our lives. It can move us emotionally from the highest highs to depressing lows. I do try to avoid those types of songs. I’m not really into being depressed. The music and lyrics stay with us for most of our lives…I have no problem remembering the hymns I learned in my home town Methodist church when I was a child. I can sing the words to all the ABBA songs being played during my Curves workout.

Take some time today to fill your heart with good music…music to lift your soul, spur you to feeling good about yourself and others, music that helps you remember happy times.David was a lowly shepherd boy, who penned songs while watching over his sheep. He sang and played a variety of instruments. Music and worship became his training ground before being crowned king of Israel and called a friend of God.

By the way,  I do have a very favorite group- who do you think?

Psalm 18[a]

For the director of music. Of David the servant of the Lord. He sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:

I love you, Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield[b] and the horn[c] of my salvation, my stronghold.

Read Full Post »