Monday, February 27, 2012

Music Monday... I'm back!

Yea… so, about last week… Well, life got a little out of hand. My apologies for my absence.

I was thinking earlier about what this week’s topics should be, and decided to talk about my kids and music – one child in particular. As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, music of some fashion is usually playing in the house somewhere. The continual submersion of the kids in music has definitely had its effects. The kids (all 6 of them) love music…. I mean really!! I love the fact that I can heavily influence their taste in music. I know, enjoy it while I can. It won’t be long before they get to the stage of hating whatever it is that I like…

So, yes, the kids all love music and singing. It is pretty cool to hear one of them say “hey, dad, isn’t that Coldplay?” Or “that’s U2, I really like them!” or “hey can you play the ‘dead man lying on the carpet’ song (Jars of Clay)?” And in the car, I get “Dad, can you turn it up?” It is really great! We have some that sing really well – and some who can’t hold a tune for their life - that’s ok – “make a joyful noise,” right?!? We also have 5 of the 6 in piano lessons. Two of them show some promise. The others, well…….

One of the kids I want to spend a little more time on is Chandler. Chandler is one of the sweetest, most affectionate kids you would meet. He is almost 11 and mostly quiet, mostly. He generally goes with the flow, creating very little waves in the family pool. But the two things he does get excited about are the Chipmunks and music!! Chandler loves to sing and play the air guitar. He can rock out the air guitar – the singing part, not so much. However, he puts his whole heart into it and you cannot help but to join in.

Chandler has Down’s syndrome. The poor guy has had chronic ear infections most of his life and is on his third set of ear tubes. The ear infections have affected his hearing, which has affected his speech. Over the past couple years; he has made drastic improvements in his speech. Which is so great for him and us – he so often gets frustrated trying to tell us something we can’t understand. Context clues are priceless! These major setbacks are minor to him. He goes on with life as if all is as it should be. We could all learn from his sense of contentment.

Chandler seems particularly fond of worship music (and Jason Marz!!). How much he understands on a spiritual level, I am not quite sure about, but he does seem to have some spiritual connection. He loves to worship!! He stands there, consumed by the music and presence of God totally uninhibited. On many occasions, you could see him at church swaying or tapping his foot – to no particular beat, raising his hands with his face heavenward just singing his soul out. I don’t know what he sees or what he is saying, but I do believe he is worshiping the Creator and indeed making a joyful noise. Maybe he sees and hears something we can’t because our minds are too clouded by the corruption of this world. Maybe God is speaking to him in a language only he understands. One thing I am certain of is that Chandler is genuine in his love for singing to god and for not being concerned how he looks or sounds – another lesson we could learn from this innocent soul.

as always, music is truly a gift from God for our enjoyment and for his glory. Its amazing how God uses so many things to teach us. Chandler is one of those kids who could teach us much about forgiveness, contentment, gentleness, and love without condition. What do you learn from your children or other kids? Do you learn a better appreciation for music or worship? Do you influence their choice of music in a more positive way?

Until next week (promise I’ll be here)…


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Valentine's day is every day, or every day is valentine's day...

Almost a week later I'm talking about Valentine's day. Yep. That's me. I'm pretty much late to everything and completely unprepared. So all of my friends on facebook were showing their pictures of flowers and gifts, and telling all about what their wonderful husbands did for them, but not once did I see a couple post abou the huge arguement they had as they walked out the door, or the conflict that lingered as they ate their food. We will be that couple who discloses the reality. Maybe your life is perfect. Mine isn't. But that is quite alright with me - most of the time - because someone has to be real and help everyone else feel better :-)

On Valentine's Day Aaron bought me my fav breakfast from Starbucks and had candy and beautiful flowers waiting on the dining room table. But the day started with a conflict from the previous day looming and didn't feel quite as romantic as it should... which, as a brainwashed by hallmark wife, made me even more angry. My hubby left for work and I off to a party with the kids. All in all, the day was starting off promising. We had plans for that night to go painting at a local venue and maybe grab something to eat. No big deal. Well, this is how the series of events went from the time we reconnected at home mid afternoon:

I never called the paint place to check availability, thinking no one else would go painting. I was wrong. Class booked. I'm angry because hubby didn't plan anything although he wanted to go painting. Checked back a couple of hours later... there was a cancelation. 7pm painting - scheduled. Called our local favorite restaurant Magnolia House, one reservation left, happens to be after our painting class. Reserved. Everyone's happy. God is good. 6:55pm leaving the house I can't find my wallet, husband lifts up console to help me search, piles of stuff falls of console, I'm annoyed. No wallet. Big mess. Arguement insues. We leave in seperate cars. Meet up at 7:20 because really, we love eachother like crazy and can't stand to be away from each other for too long. Really we are that sappy. Too late for painting. We sit and talk, and talk, and communicate (which is completely different from talking). It's good. 9:30pm rolls around and our reservation with it. We sit and look at menu... apparently they are having a vday special which is twice as much as we are willing to spend and nothing that we like from their regular menu. We leave. It's 10pm - we try favorite sushi place. Closed. I'm discouraged. Just want to go home. Aaron won't let it go. Failure is not an option. 10:30pm - Taco Mac.

Once we got to Taco Mac I figured it was better than nothing. After being there for 30 mins I realized our night couldn't have turned out better. We talked, and laughed. Had our favorite beers and favorite meals and reminised about dating and our times at Taco Mac. Something about those old memories triggers new emotion. 12:30am - No arguements. Just happy, and blessed. Love him more everyday, because he's here every day. Not because of what he gives me, or how romantic he can be, but because when so many in our society shirk their responsibility, he takes it all on and is in the thick of it

There is something to be said for simple. There is something to be said for a lack of expectation. So for all of you who didn't have a perfect holiday, please know you aren't alone. And your marriage, hopefully, is stronger for it. And for those who did have a perfect holiday, I truly am glad. But when the occasion comes when you don't - take comfort that you're not alone.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Music Monday - Valentine's edition

Last week I mentioned music drawing my wife and I together. So I thought in honor of Valentine’s Day I would talk about how our love for music helped to kindle our love for each other. First, a brief history: Victoria and I both come from broken marriages. We went to the same church and were in the same care group while previously married. Yea, that’s still weird to think about… But God is forever in control of all things and works to redeem what has been broken. I watched Victoria walk through her divorce a couple years before mine, I contacted her to ask her some questions and yadi yadi yada… here we are two years later!!

One of our first conversations was about the music we liked, and many, many conversations to follow. Our musical tastes are mirror images of each other. Great bands like U2, Coldplay, Snow Patrol, David Grey, Jack Johnson, Death Cab for Cutie, train, Dave Matthews and Jason Marz to name a few on the secular front. And as far as the Christian scene goes we talked about David Crowder, Jars of Clay, Newsboys, DC talk, Amy Grant (just kidding, now pay attention!). We shared with each other how music has always been the constant friend, shared memories triggered by certain groups or songs – more on that in a moment.

We were and are a musical match made in heaven. Not only did we have so much in common, but we also exposed each other to new/different artists we never knew about. I had the joy of introducing Victoria to some greats like Over The Rhine, The Choir, The Violet Burning and the Proclaimers. Through her I learned about Matt Wertz, Damien Rice, Seryn, Ben Harper and I gained a better appreciation for worship music.

Our first official date was going to see Over The Rhine at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur. OTR is one of our favorite bands and memory triggers. Another trigger band for us is The Choir. I have been a fan of theirs since the early 90’s – never had the opportunity to see them live. My wife, quick to observe and plan, bought us tickets to hang out with the band at a cook out at one of their homes in Nashville as a wedding present. I love that woman!! The day after our wedding we drove from Murphy, NC to Nashville (about 4 hours) to spend the afternoon with Derri, Steve, Dan, and Mark. It was really awesome!! Victoria has made a name for herself as giving the greatest gifts – this will always be in the running for first place.

I had the task of creating a playlist for our reception. Not as easy as you may think, my friends. I got it down to 72 songs totaling 5 hours of playtime. We only needed about 2 hours… It was really difficult for me to narrow it down because by that time we had so many songs that meant something to us as a couple. And I couldn’t sell the idea of a 5 hour reception….

For us Music is an escape from the mundane chores and trials of everyday life. The songs that really click, or have an impact on our lives, have a way of speaking to us and, often, for us. I am usually at a loss for words, so I often quote lyrics to speak for me – on a good day I’ll even sing them! But usually only to Victoria and my kids. Come on, a guy has to have some reservations….

Let me challenge you to remember those love songs and listen to them with your special Valentine! remember music is truly a gift from God for our enjoyment and for his glory.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Music Monday

© 2011, Denis Marsili. All rights reserved
 My amazing wife asked me the other day if I wanted to be a guest poster on her blog (like one who writes posts, not a printed image on paper that one might tape to a wall).  I am was very excited when she said that she wanted me to write about how music influences our family.  I’m sure I’ll have some background info on some different groups/artists, and I will very likely highlight some new music as well as some good oldies - I mean, how could I not? - but the emphasis will be on the significance of music in our lives, and how it influences our heart, soul and mind.  So, here we go…
Music has played an important part in my life since I was very little (and that was a long time ago).  I can remember listening to The Bill Gather Trio and Buck and Dottie Rambo on mom and dad’s 8-track player (yup, I’m that old).  And yes, my iTunes is playing now (listening to Iron and Wine).  Side note:  Think about how music has changed over the past couple decades (yea, when you can talk about something in the past “decades”, you are getting old….).  You go from radio to 8-tracks and vinyl to cassettes.  I remember getting my first Walkman – a portable tape/am/fm player - with big earphones; way before they were cool.  By then I was listening to Michael W. Smith and Wayne Watson, Stryper, The Imperials and sneaking around a copied tape of Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet” album.  Anyways…  Then dawns the “digital age”, CD’s flood the music scene with great sound and compactibility.  Some of you may still remember those.  Now we are in the age of mp3’s and iTunes and iPods and Pads with a gazillion gigs.  I can listen to anything from Aaron Shust to Young the Giant.  I think I have around 18 days of straight music.  If you think I am a bit obsessed, well, then you just may be right. Ok, side note is over…
So, I love music.  If it were up to me music would be playing all the time.  If it isn’t playing somewhere, then it’s certainly playing in my head.  Do I play any instruments, you may ask.  Well, only if my radio is considered an instrument.  I have several instruments, just can’t seem to find the time to learn to play any of them.  That’s ok.  That’s not where God has me right now… maybe sometime in the future.  So, for now, I lean heavily on the gifts and talents of others to get my musical fix. 
In talking about how music has influenced me and my family, I guess a good place to start would be where it all started.  As I mentioned listening to 8-tracks is as far back as I can remember.  My sister and I would sing our heart out and spin around and around on the blue carpet in our living room.  Music has the power to knit our lives together.  Those moments with my sister were the foundation for our relationship later on as teenagers when we would drive down the highway or anywhere blaring Midnight Oil, U2 or The Proclaimers and singing like we were rock stars!!  We weren’t always best friends, we fought like, well, like siblings often do, but there was always good music to unite us once again. 
My parents weren’t supporters of the contemporary music of the ‘80’s, but they would gladly accept Fox 97 – all oldies all the time.  I inherited some of my uncle’s old Beach Boys records and just about wore them out.  As I could scrounge up $5 to by a cassette at K-mart I would expand my Beach Boys collection and Mom and I would harmonize in the car all day long.  If Dad was in the right mood, we could lure him in with The Carpenters’ “We’ve Only Just Begun”.  We’d have the family quartet singing with the windows down and to the amusement of all who have passed by.  We even sang as a family in church a few times – phew, that’s a story for another day….
I look forward to sharing more about how music influences our family now. How the kids love to sing and listen to their favorites as loud as possible and how music played its part in drawing my wife and I together.  So much of life is laced with the effects of good music.  It is truly a gift from God for our enjoyment and for his glory. 

P.S. – its 12:11 and I am past my deadline.  Please have mercy as I work, have 6 kids and am plagued with a horrible case of procrastination…


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Happy New Year! Month? Day...

Happy New Year!!! Oh, wait a second... guess I'm a month behind. Honestly, on January first I saw all the bloggers I love start the New Year off "right". They had their resolutions for this year, updates on their resolutions for last year, list to help you with your resolutions, what not to do as a resolution... really, it all just made me overwhelmed. Knowing all the things I need to do and knowing very well how little time I have to do it, made me want to do nothing. Ever feel that way? So instead, I decided to take Januray to read all of my favorite blogs without feeling the pressure of posting on my own. And although I still feel a little overwhelmed - or maybe sleep deprived in more accurate - I'm back and ready to type.

I have some things I am really excited about sharing with everyone! I have a new tab on here labeled "Breakfast in Bed Products". If you've noticed it, then yay! If you haven't, then you should :-) For right now, the only product being sold is a grain free, sugar free, and all natural muffin mix. If you are a first time buyer, I would be glad to let you try it for $4 a bag (half price) if you contact me directly. I'm really excited about this product and have lots of people who are getting really excited about it as well! Just be patient with that page... it is coming together slowly. Secondly, my wonderful hubby will be posting once a week on music and how it effects our home and life. Aaron is pretty quiet, so to get him out of his shell to talk about his number one passion, music three passion, music, will be pretty awesome! (God and family have to come first, right?) His posts will start Monday February 6th!

Of course my spuratic posts will pop up on any given day... 'cause let's face it - I stink at maintaining a schedule. I know there are a bunch of you out there that read my blog but have not started following me yet.. do me a favor, click follow. It gives me the encouragement I need to keep writing.

So again, Happy New Year, or new month, or new day! Thankfully, either way, His mercies are ALWAYS new!