Monday, May 14, 2012

Music Monday - Over The Rhine Concert

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but is there something that holds a special place in your heart? Maybe your spouse, or a special vacation, or a valuable possession. Maybe certain music always takes you back or is always there as the new memories are forming. As you may know, I have a lot of favorite bands and my wife and I have some favorites together too. One of my all time favs is Over The Rhine.
The first time I heard of them was at a Christian music festival called Inner Seeds in the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds sometime during the summer of 1992 (I think – it was a long time ago…). It was their Patience tour, their second album. Their first album was Till We Have Faces, released a year or so after they first started performing in 1990 – a little OTR history lesson. To be introduced to the band live was revolutionizing for me. After the first notes and the captivating, liquid voice of Karen Bergquist, my perception of music drastically changed. This was unlike anything I have ever listened to. The bands ability to marry music and vocals into one unified and complimentary sound was, well, heavenly (and I don’t use that term lightly). As I look around the audience the looks and expressions were the same: wide eyed, mouth opened and awestruck! After their performance I immediately bought their first two albums (on cassette… yup!) – I only had so much money to spend, I was 17 and broke, but it was well worth the investment. Those two tapes will have shaped my perception of music from then on.

Since then I have had the pleasure of hearing them live three times – twice with a buddy and fellow musical connoisseur and twice with my amazing wife (the first with her was our first date!!). We saw them last week at Eddie’s Attic with some great friends! This show was just Karen and Linford casting their entrancing spell with guitars and piano. I should point out how well their voices blend - there is very little distinction between them - so well that when singing together they sound as one. This is the product of their unity - as husband and wife and band mates for over 20 years- and that their music comes from their very core. They have been given the gift of breathing life to their music. As if a part of them is given up in every song.

As I mentioned, around two years ago my first date with my wife was seeing OTR. I knew then that I would marry her. And I knew that music would play a vital role in our relationship. OTR is one of those bands for us that will never age, or ever get dull. It is a reminder of late nights on the couch with coffee and a fire in the fireplace. Of time spent with great friends, and singing along at every opportunity. The music that we share has a way of bringing us back together. If only briefly, we can forget about the busy, hard times that life brings and gaze at each other starry eyed or hold each other in a loving embrace singing cheek to cheek. God is kind to offer moments of respite to rejuvenate our souls and to remind us why we love each other.

While I was thinking about OTR and how to try to communicate who they are, the theme of unity kept coming up: their unity both musically and vocally – as in a marriage. Could God use the gift of music to exemplify the relationship of husband and wife or the relationship of God and man? That may be a stretch, but when music and voice are merged together as one, it is truly a marvelous sound to behold – truly divine! A gift from the Creator of music – for our enjoyment and His glory.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Re-use Mismatched socks

As I went through our mismatched sock bag this morning... who am I kidding, it has actually taken a whole week :-)... I realized there are just some socks that I have been staring at for two years hoping to find mates to. 132 socks with no mates, to be exact. So... after sorting through them and deciding which ones were worth still searching for (about 20), I pondered what to do with these socks. It seemed like such a waste to just throw them away, and why would anyone drop them off at Goodwill for someone to deal with? So I turned to Google to find some nifty ways to reuse them. Here is a list of things I found.

Sock coffee cozy handmade gift

There are so many ideas... just get out and cyber space and find them!

Friday, May 11, 2012

What I learned about being a mom... From my Dad!

For those who know me, you know two things... We have lots of kids and I have an amazing father who loves watching them for us! My dad has raised me and two siblings by himself since I was 18 months old. He managed to hold down a job to provide for us, put us in sports so we didn't miss out on anything, and be there for all of it. One of the things I think about often is how he showed up for every practice and every game of travel fast-pitch softball, basketball, and choir for 9 years.

It's normal for your dad to provide for the family or to be there for sporting events, but my dad was my mom too. He was there for all of the uncomfortable female milestones with no help. He helped me go shopping for clothes, and dresses for dances, he planned my sweet 16 and encouraged me when I felt I didn't measure up. He stayed awake all night with me when my high school sweetheart broke my heart.

He's been there through my first marriage and was there when it fell apart. And when no one else was there to keep my children when I had to go to work full time he was always available to take care of my babies. Even since Aaron and I have been married he has seen when we needed time away from the kids to grow our marriage, and has pushed us out the door to a movie. I've never met a person who didn't like him. He'd give you the shirt off of his back and ask nothing in return. That's my dad!

So in honor of mother's day I want to express what I learned about being a good mom from my dad.

1. Showing your children your relationship with God does more than telling them about one. - He read the bible to us and we went to church, but than that I remember seeing him daily reading God's word like others would read a magazine, newspaper, or new best seller. There was no "quiet time", that was just his regular reading material of choice.

2. The truth always comes to light. - He always told me this as a teenager and the older I get the more I see its truth.

3. Sacrificing for your children never returns void. - I have learned to sacrifice because of his example and would sacrifice for anything for him.

4. Always be there to cheer your children on... They will remember. Like I said above, I remember him being there for everything. Nothing feels better than knowing someone is cheering you on.

5. Praying with your kids will last a lifetime. - I remember anytime I was afraid, worried, sick, or hurt the first thing that would come from my dad's mouth was "in the name of Jesus" or some quick prayer. I have found that to flow from my mouth in those same situations and am thankful for that.

6. Your children's trust in God will mimic yours. - My dad always had so much trust that God would provide, even when he didn't make enough to make ends meet. I find it helpful to recount God's faithfulness through those days as well.

7. Spend time playing with your kids. - We played tennis, spades, chess, and bowled on a regular basis.

There are a lot of things from my childhood that made my life horrible. More than you could imagine. BUT when I look back, the best part of my childhood was having my dad as my mom. I wouldn't trade him for the world!