Thursday, March 29, 2012

Obviously no Music Monday Post

Aaron has been attacked by the pollen on and off and feeling pretty yucky, so I gave him a break this week from his usual music post. I do want to talk about music though. One song in particular that has effected my life for almost 7 years, since the birth of my first biological son, and will probably effect our family for many more. It's "The Gospel Song". Maybe we started singing this to the kids because it was short... maybe it was just the first song that came to Aunt Amanda's mind one day... but what I do know is it is loved, it is truth, and it is gospel:

"Holy God in love became
perfect man to bear my blame.
On the cross He took my sin
by His death I live again."

Out of the many songs that had been sang to Matthias as a baby, this one was the most requested. Once Lorelai came along, then Jac, this just became "THE" song we sing. We sing it for bedtime, we sing it to calm crying babies and hurting boo boos, we sing it for fun. All six of the children now sing this song and I love it. I love that every time they think they are just singing a simple song the gospel is being rehearsed in their minds and resounding in their hearts.

Although this song has been sung for all of the children, I don't think any of them cherish it quite like Lorelai. As you can see in the picture, she would cuddle up, thumb in mouth and nasty corner in hand (and yes, she actually called it her nasty corner after hearing my dad call it that and referred to it endearingly that way. She would also offer for you to sniff her nasty corner as a sign of affection... but that's a different story.) Even Chandler, when we sang this song in church Sunday, looked around for Lorelai saying "it's Loli's song". When she was sick with a 104* fever last year all she wanted to do was listen to this song on repeat over and over for hours.

This is her song because of all of these reasons, this is our kids' song because it's in their hearts and minds, this is our song because it's truth. I pray this song, and the gospel truth it holds, is passed down from generation to generation in our family. Music is a gift from God and how wonderful for it to be used as a constant reminder of truth.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Music Monday - The Playlist

Do you have your music split up in playlists? Webster defines playlist as: “a list of recordings to be played by a radio station; also: a similar list used for organizing a personal digital music collection.” (Hey, don’t think a definition is unnecessary – there are likely some out there who aren’t informed) Today, I’m talking about the latter definition.

Playlists can be sorted in a ton of ways. You could do it the boring way and just divide them up by genre, like rock, jazz, 70’s, alternative , or my favorite “classic rock.” “Not that I have a problem with that.,,” – just saying. Creativity doesn’t come easily to some or perhaps they just don’t care. Here is where I’m conflicted. I don’t necessarily like things to be ordinary or predicable. However, some of my playlists are in desperate need of editing! And why, you ask, don’t you edit them? Time. Time is the enemy. –and expensive too. Can’t seem to find any on clearance… Time that is. I digress.

Currently, I have 16 playlists. Some may think 16 is a lot. I’m not really sure, but I figure it’s America; and if I want 98 playlists then I will . Here are some of my titles at random: Christmas, Christian tunes, 72310, UK favs, Carson’s list (my son), new, folk and easy. Oh, and my favorite: night time…. – we won’t discuss that one for the sensitive eyes and ears close by (use your imagination).

There are some that are on my iPhone at all times, ready for any occasion: Worship, Christian tunes, New, UK favs and 72310. 72310 is my anniversary date (to the most amazing woman in the world!!). These songs were our playlist for our reception. So they are special songs for us and quickly remind me of that wonderful day! the “new” list is recently downloaded artists and albums that I am getting to know and deciding if they make it to the “AC’s Favs” list. The obvious “UK favs” are some of my favorite UK bands: U2, Coldplay, Mumford and Sons, Snow Patrol, Adele and others.
The list that is in the most desperate need of editing is the “AC’s favs” list. It started out several years ago as a list of my favorite songs, or my favorite songs from a particular artist. So, not only do I not like things to be ordinary and predictable, I don’t like for things to take a long time. In my laziness, instead of taking a few minutes to add a couple songs from an album, I would just add the whole stinkin’ thing!! I haven’t added anything to this list in quite a while, but I currently have 689 songs, 4.66GBs and 1.9 days worth…. Factor in the narrow diversity with the quantity then you could easily see that it is just slightly excessive. Just a bit. Now if I worked the list the way I intended to then 689 songs wouldn’t seem that daunting –maybe it’s just me….

I really like the idea and organization of playlists. My laziness plague seems to get the best of me at times (a lot of times). How do you sort your playlists? Do you have a favorite and Are any in need of editing, or am I the only one with that problem? Do tell…

I would say that if music is a gift from God, playlists would be also! I mean, playlists are for our ease and enjoyment – and God is most satisfied with us when we are most satisfied in Him. I, for one, am satisfied when enjoying His gifts.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Music Monday? if we did the week backwards from saturday ...

Do you have any “first” memories? Like: your first car, house, job, kiss…? What about your first CD? My first CD was “More Miserable Than You’ll Ever Be” by the Seventy Sevens (aka the 77’s). Got it autographed too!! Now, as usual I tend to be a bit behind the times – I’m cheap and mildly afraid of new technology… I got the disk sometime early 1994. Phew, that was 18 years ago! Went to a concert with some buds, got rained on, bought a CD, got it signed, blah, blah, blah….

This post isn’t about that first CD (although a good one), but about the band – the 77’s. For the mere few of you who have ever heard of them, your mind is probably flooded with “remember when memories.” For the vast majority of you who are asking “who in the world are you talking about?,” it’s time to get with the program! This is one of the great bands who revolutionized the “Christian” music scene. They helped to expand our narrow selection of music and paved the way for a new style of Christian music – Christian alternative/rock.

The 77’s style of music is fresh and captivating – even after all these years. They are truly one of my favorite bands. Not just for nostalgia , but they truly are talented and unique. The music is timeless. One of my favorite albums is “Pray Naked” released in 1992. It’s old, but has the sound of a recently released album. It’s hard to believe it has been 20 years… Their first album “All Fall Down” came out in 1984 (It’s older than my wife). Their style would be rock ‘n roll with a taste of blues to keep it interesting.

So I bring them up today because I had the privilege of taking three of my boys to see them this past Saturday. They are doing a re-release tour of their “Sticks and Stones” album – another fine piece of work (you should track them down to see if they are playing near you)! Two of the band members are on the tour: front man Mike Roe and guitarist David Leonhardt. The show was really great. Very laid back and entertaining. Mike and David had some spurts of friendly banter mixed with some band history and stories behind the music. I would highly recommend seeing the show where you can see and hear firsthand the talent and artistry of the music. After all these years, they still play with heart, passion, skill and love for music. – and because, like all musicians, they need your support!

So, my boys…. I expected more excitement and enjoyment from them. But they are at the age where they are overly fearful that everyone in the room is watching their every move - Except chandler!
He was having a great time! He is the professional air-guitarist. He had the best time jamming with the band. After the show, one of the boys said he wanted to join the 77’s. “It would be so awesome, dad!” I am quite sure I enjoyed the show more than they did, but they’ll come around. And we have a new memory to share with each other.

Here’s the skinny: you should be listening to the 77’s. Any given album has a tasteful mix of melodious soft vocals and guitars, and also some loud edgy rock with some blues tossed in – something for every mood. You will not only be investing into your music collection, but investing into the Christian music industry. There is a hidden world of great music that you will never hear on Christian radio.

Take a step of faith, invest, and share!! It makes everyone happy! This is just one band that has allowed me the ability to listen to their music and pull out memories from 20 years ago when I was in college AND memories from last week with my boys. What’s your favorite CD to listen to when you want to bring back great memories?


Socio-economics and the body Christ

Such a big title for a simple stay-at-home mom. But as I find myself learning more about what it looks like to build real, genuine community;  race, social standing, and monetary status seems to play quite a silent but significant role. How many times have you thought about inviting someone over to your home, but were plagued with anxiety that what you have pales in comparison to what they have? Or maybe the thought that you hesitate getting together with someone because you think you probably won't have much in common with them? If we were all honest, most of us have these thoughts. I know I do. So where does the Gospel come into play? For so long I thought these were just normal feelings, which make them okay feelings. The truth is, they are NORMAL feelings, but sin is NORMAL too. Point is - normal does not equal okay.

I know that the word Gospel is equated with "good news" but I realized recently that gospel practically means reconciliation. God sent Christ to reconcile us to Him. That's the Gospel, or good news. We can be reconciled! So what does it mean for us to apply the Gospel in building community, even when our socio-economics are different from those around us? I'm not going too deeply into this, because I'm sure there are many people more qualified to speak these truths. But I do want to share what the Lord is showing me. The definition for reconcile is to bring into agreement or harmony; to make compatible or consistent. This is what Christ's blood did for us, brought us into agreement and harmony with God, making us compatible and consistent with His character and truths. Now knowing what Christ's blood did should make it all the easier to know what to do when we think or feel like we are better or worse than anyone else. God sent Christ to reconcile ALL people to Himself, we have MUCH in common. As christians we are called to be "Christ-like". In an unbelieving world, where very little seems to be in agreement or harmony and where reconciliation seems old-fashioned, our Christ-likeness shines when the goal is to reconcile with ALL who are in our lives.

So the next time you think, as I do often, that there is just no point to spending time with someone who is different than you, or you are anxious about your home being good enough to invite someone in, please remember this: you have in common a Creator who sent His son to crush sins grip on you, to free you from bondage, and to accept you as sons and daughters! Everyone shares that in common.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Walking on Eggshells - When your baby won't stop crying

For the past, almost, twelve months everyone has been stuck in the pergatory of walking on eggshells. When Jac arrived last April our house went from a home to a prison of sorts. Maybe more for me than anyone else. We catered to his every cry for multiple reasons. I knew he was going to be my last and he is the first child I have been able to stay home with, so I wanted to enjoy and take in every second of it. With every wimper he made I was afraid that the echo through our small home would awake the other five children, so I would bring him to bed with me.

Jac also has not been the greatest sleeper, being erratic at best. He is just now starting to sleep through the night (other than a month from 3-4 months where we were in heaven). So I wince with every door close, giggle, arguement, exclaimation, etc of everyone else in the house because after not sleeping at night and not getting anything done, I'm just plain tired. Tired of hearing the noise and the screaming to be picked up. Tired of him hanging on my side. Please don't get me wrong... I LOVE my baby. But does the rest of our family really have to suffer for his sake?

So now, there are certain times of day that he is in his crib... asleep or screaming is really up to him. An hour in the morning, one in the afternoon, and 9 hours at night. Is it really too much to ask from an 11 month old? I'm not sure. Sometimes I feel like it's a little much to ask for from me (and everyone else) to listen to him cry when he decides to be stubborn. But just like everything else, God gives us the grace for this stage and "this too shall pass". We've tried everything from Babywise to following his lead with little progress. I'm assuming this is just the Lord's way of teaching us to fully rely on Him. Any and all suggestions are welcome, but be gentle. On little to no sleep my feelings are a bit fragile today :-) Encouragements always welcome!


Friday, March 9, 2012

Crazy busy - Crazy blessed!

I promised I would catch you up on our crazy life, so here I am. My husband was gracious enough to leave me with only one - very easy - child, so I can actually do some things I've been meaning to do. Since the first of the year we have been in a whirlwind of sorts. For starters We have a birthday almost every month of the year.

Since we have six kids we do birthday parties in threes. This year Chandler, Carson, and Jac get birthday parties. Two of these are pretty hard. Chandler has downs syndrome. He is one of the most precious, sweet, gentle, go-with-the-flow type kids you'll ever meet (although part of that I think he's picked up from Aaron's gentle spirit). With a personality like that mixed with limited verbal expression it's hard to plan a birthday party. Usually our kids will tell us a million and one things that they want, but Chandler just wants chicken (his obsession), daddy, and aunt Kir (Aaron's sister). When I ask what cake he wants, it's simply lightning mcqueen. You may wonder why I'm complaining... seems pretty simple and easy. Chandler spends most of his life doing what EVERYONE else wants. He plays what the other kids play, watches what the other kids watch, like what the other kids like, and say what the other kids say. My mission is to help him find his voice. And I think, even if for just one day a year, he should be able to get exactly what HE wants, and to find that out it takes time. Lots of time. Pictures of birthday cakes and birthday ideas and toys and a thousand yes or no questions - which are all completely worth it when his face lights up because he knows he has been heard. 11 days and counting.

Then there is Jac's birthday... which I am sure he doesn't really care about BUT I always do first birthdays big. First birthdays and golden birthdays are pretty special. So apparently I have come up with an idea (Billy Goats Gruff) that is no where to be found, so I am decorating from scratch. See, Jac eats paper. I'm pretty sure he might like paper more than food... and no, he doesn't have PICA. So it just seemed natural to call him a billy goat... sometimes a Jacer goat. 26 days and counting.

My amazingly beautiful "little sister" is getting married and I get to do the decorations! I LOVE weddings, I LOVE decorating, so naturally I LOVE wedding decorating. I am so honored to get to be a part of her special day in such a big way... which also means, I'm pretty scared to screw it up in a HUGE way. She's a really easy bride so there isn't pressure from her. It's in my own head. This is her one and only wedding day. Photographed and remembered forever. When the wedding is over I'll post pictures and DIY's from the wedding, but until then it's a surprise until it's unveiled. 36 days and counting.

Apart from all the party planning there are the regular everyday challenges that come from being a part of a blended family. There are limitations I have on sharing this part of our lives on such a public platform, but sometimes it's just plain hard. Thankfully God has surrounded us with AMAZING friends, and Aaron and I have such a strong commitment to each other, that even through the trials and attacks we see God's love and peace in abundance.

We've also been blessed enough to be a part of a church plant. Just 8 months ago Aaron and I left a church that I had been a member of for 6 years and he had been a member of for 10 years. God had us both on the same page, but there weren't many things about our decision that was clear. We knew we were to go, we knew we were to use the giftings and desires that Christ has placed in us to serve our community and the body of Christ, but we had no clue where that was or what it looked like. We just stepped out in faith, and boy did God show off! We immediately got plugged into a small 5 year old church in canton that we loved. We began building relationships, learning from others there, and serving. It was great and we were ready to become members after about 4 months. The holidays came and time was rare, so we were just kind of waiting to become members around the first of this year. What seemed like waiting for our plan turned into waiting for God's plan. Mid December we were invited to a meeting about a local church plan less than 5 mins away from us. We knew some of the people and had rejected the idea before, but again God placed Aaron and I on the same page. We loved the church we were in and were so ready to become members, but neither of us could shake the feeling that we needed to commit to, at least, a few months in this church plant. So we spoke to the pastor at IK (Isaac's Keep - the canton church) and much to our surprise he encouraged us to try out something that was focused on our immediate community and gave us the freedom to still join them for anything they have going on.

So with the blessing of the friends we had made, we began in the church plant of Sojourn Woodstock on January 14th. Church plants are crazy busy. Everyone is getting to know each other and knitting into one anothers lives which takes a lot of time, but also encouraging one another to live with our local community and neighbors, which takes even more time. We are blessed to have some pretty awesome neighbors who share children of the same age in common with us. Then we spend a lot of time maintaining our friendships with dear friends from IK and the church that we originally left.

Basically... our calendar is at max capacity most months. Between mom dates and dad dates with our kids, dating each other, sunday mornings, community group, ladies get togethers, mens get togethers, family night, birthday parties, weddings, community building, home improvements, keeping in touch, and just our regular life of having six kids in a blended family, it's crazy. REALLY crazy. But I trust The One who holds it all in His hands as I'm asked to just be diligent and a good steward of what He's given. I'm thankful beyond words for the MANY amazing friendships He has blessed us with. I'm blessed to get to live this out with my best friend every day, and I'm overwhelmed that in God's mercy He has chosen me to give all this to.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Music Monday post... on Thursday

This is Victoria.... I do realize today is Thursday and NOT Monday. My dear husband wrote this post on Monday, but I dropped the ball in "approving" his work for publishing. (and yes, his work does have to be approved first, although he approves mine as well). It has been crazy busy at our house - which I promise I'll catch you up on soon. So, without further ado, your Music Monday post... on Thursday.