Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Scenes from the Season

Jesse, holding up his can of pop to my brother at the Christmas party: "Now, this right here really means it's Christmas"

Leah, watching It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World for the first time: "They would've gotten there first if they'd just drove normally!"

Jesse - clearly his father's son - after walking in the house after the final travel of the final Christmas party: "VACATION!"

Delaney, filling her plate with the cut-up veggies I'd set out when we got home today: "I'm not eating another piece of candy or anything with sugar for a week. Maybe 3 months. Maybe till my birthday."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

If I Made a List: Christmas Music

[I am the one for whom the media makes end-of-year or Best-of-year lists, ok? Just in case you were wondering. I love them. They fill up my wish lists and library cards with new books to read and music to find and recipes to try and ideas to test. So this year I'm going to try and contribute instead of just consuming.]

Top 5 Christmas Albums

     - I can't bring myself to rank them, so "no particular order".
     - I don't like all the songs on all the albums, but there is no way I could do "top 5 Christmas songs", so just consider this imperfect. Favorite Songs have an *.
     - I could go on with disclaimers all day long; you know that, right? : )

#5. Amy Grant: A Christmas Album
One of the first cassette tapes I owned myself. Best played while cooking or decorating. Top songs: A Christmas Hymn*, Hark! The Herald Angels, A Mighty Fortress, Praise the King.

#4. Barlow Girl: Home for Christmas
Close to my favorite. Crisp, clear harmonies that ring out through the speakers. Best way to start the Christmas music season, or to wake up the kids early in the morning. Top songs: Go Tell it on the Mountain, Carol of the Bells, O Come O Come Emmanuel, and Hallelujah (Light Has Come)*.

#3. Transiberian Orchestra: The Lost Christmas Eve
By October we are all itching to play it. We hold off until after Eric's birthday and this is one of the few Christmas albums he can take the whole season. We pick and choose among all their Christmas albums, but this is the one we discovered first. Top songs: Wizards in Winter, Anno Domine, Wish Liszt, Christmas Canon Rock*.

#2. Harry Connick, Jr.: When my Heart Finds Christmas
Ahhhh, Harry. Smooth. Best played while working on computer or doing schoolwork or having a party or driving around looking at Christmas lights. Top songs: I Pray on Christmas*, Parade of the Wooden Soldiers, The Little Drummer Boy.

#1. Anne Murray: What a Wonderful Christmas
Purely nostalgia. I can hear it playing on the record player while we decorated the tree growing up. Who can do The Coventry Carol like Anne? Or It Came Upon a Midnight Clear? Beautiful voice. Other top songs: Silver Bells, O Come All ye Faithful.

Honorable Mentions:
Any of Michael W. Smith's Christmas albums
The Chieftains: Bells of Dublin (LOVE. Could've been on top list. I Saw Three Ships, The Rebel Jesus)
Randy Travis: An Old Time Christmas (*God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen)
Vince Gill: Let There Be Peace on Earth*
Martina McBride: White Christmas (Best version of O Holy Night*)
Sara Groves: O Holy  Night (Cradle in Bethlehem*, Toy Packaging)
Toby Mac: Christmas in Diverse City (new, but quickly becoming a favorite; love Mary's Boy Child)
Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb

I leave you with our favorite original Christmas song performance of this year. This young Christian was inspired by this song and bringing what we have been given and laying it all out for Jesus. He played all the instruments in this arrangement and produced the video with help from his sister. He has totally inspired us here.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Because an engineer is really just a glorified mechanic

Eric (driving us all home from an event): ...and he was telling me what he does, and I was struck later by how many in our group are professionals in their careers.

Me: Yeah, you're right. I never noticed.

Levi: Yeah, except for our family.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

No "what if"s, No "if only"s

"Wherever you are, be all there." 

- Jim Elliot