Twice as Good

Last year this weekend, we woke up one morning and took our two kiddos home to their family. We miss M & T every day but are in contact with their mom so often that we know they are doing so well and so is she. The steps she has taken to be a great mother to them in the past year never fail to impress me. She is amazing.

It was a hard time for us when we had to say goodbye to them even though we were happy to help a family come back together. I could not help but think of all our friends & family who have supported us through the last couple of years since we started doing foster care. I had to play this song a few times this week and think of each of you. Thank you!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2K_QXxJ8yU]

when I am down and need to cry till morning
I know just where I am going
when I’m in need of sweet commiseration
to speak out loud

raise a glass to friendship and to knowing
you don’t have to go alone
we’ll raise our hearts to share each others burdens
on this road

with every burden I have carried
with every joy it’s understood
life with you is half as hard
and twice as good

with my good news your dancing on the table
babies born to celebration
the joy of life oh what a sweet communion
shared with you

I know we’re growing older
can you imagine what that will bring
it’s all a mystery to me now
but this one thing

will be half as hard, and twice as good

Random Thoughts on Getting Out of the House & Music

If you are a subscriber to this blog, you probably noticed an old post about a trip to Chicago and one about coupons pop up. I fixed a couple of photos and WordPress updated them as new posts. I have no idea why and I don’t know anything about the Internet so, “Sorry.”

I do, however, wish we had gone on a trip to Chicago because it is a city I miss and love. (I do not miss or love couponing. Good riddance.)

The Chicago post did remind me of a time where we had a little bit more freedom in our life to pick up and go. We love our boys but we are not getting out much these days. On Saturday, after a full family day of running errands, D and I did get to go see our talented friends sing at a coffee house. D took a nap in the afternoon in preparation since their set was not until 11 pm. Brad and Meredith (and crew) did a great job and I loved hearing the songs they selected. They closed with one of my all-time favorites, Purple Rain. It is in my top ten songs of all time. I downloaded the Martin Sexton version the next morning and we’ve been listening to it ever since.  After hearing it for the fifth time or so, D2 said, “What does this even mean?”

Each night, when I put the boys to bed they ask me to sing a song and, usually, they request Ring of Fire (a.k.a. “the fire song”). I love Johnny Cash but you can only sing Ring of Fire so many times. They boys are the only two people who ever request to hear me sing so I’ve been trying out some other songs on them from time to time. I’m pretty sure they would rather I just sing Ring of Fire though because when I choose something by She & Him or from the O, Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack they just sort of stare at me.

Lastly, this upcoming weekend we are going to hear what is my favorite artists of the moment, The Civil Wars. I am eagerly anticipating this concert. If you have not heard of them, enjoy.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODOOo-R6kg8]

Love Songs

We are celebrating four years of marriage this week and I’m feeling a bit sentimental. We put a decent amount of thought into the songs we picked out for our wedding and it was nice to hear one of them today on Pandora. When we attend weddings, I am always interested to hear what the couple has picked out.

Three songs played during the sideshow that preceded our ceremony:

“Let it Be Me” (Rosie Thomas)
“Til Kingdom Come” (Coldplay)
“I Will Stay With You” (John Legend)

Our dear friends, Meredith & Brad, sang “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” during the ceremony (the only point where I got a bit teary-eyed). We ended the ceremony with “For Once in My Life” by Stevie Wonder for the recessional.

The song that was playing as we arrived at the reception was “Let’s Get Married” by Jagged Edge featuring Run DMC. It took a little convincing for D to go along with this but I specifically wanted the song because of the line, “…now they call you the preacher’s wife.” Also, our wedding was pretty much exactly like that video.

If you are so inclinded to leave a comment, I’d love to know what songs you chose for your wedding.

My Savior and My God

My mom bought the kids a Veggie Tales Worship CD (which contains a horrific version of I Can Only Imagine). S did not like the songs at all but M LOVES it. In fact, her hands go right up in the air when she hears the first note. It also helps us keep her awake in the car when we are heading home for nap time or bedtime (she doesn’t transition from sleeping in the car to her bed well).

Anyway, I was trying to keep her awake today and found myself in tears listening to this song:

I am not skilled to understand
What God has willed, what God has planned
I only know at His right hand
Stands one who is my Savior

I take Him at His word and deed
Christ died to save me; this I read
And in my heart I find a need
Of Him to be my savior

That He would leave His place on high
And come for sinful man to die
You count it strange, so once did I
Before I knew my Savior

My Savior loves, My Savior lives
My Savior’s always there for me
My God: He was, my God; He is
My God is always gonna be

Yes, living, dying, let me bring
My strength, my solace from this spring;
That He who lives to be my King
Once died to be my Savior

That He would leave His place on high
And come for sinful man to die
You count it strange, so once did I
Before I knew my Savior

My Savior loves, My Savior lives
My Savior loves, My Savior lives

My Savior and My God by Aaron Shust

Facing a lot of unknowns for our future with these kiddos, it is a great reminder to know my God has a plan and He never changes.

7 Quick Takes Friday

A special New Year’s Edition featuring some resolutions and a couple best of 2009 lists.

1. Resolution #1: Become parents & be good at it. The holidays are over, State of Michigan. Please finish our paperwork & give us a call. We’re ready.

2. Resolution #2: Read through the Bible (as mentioned by D on Wednesday). Several of the girls in our high school youth group have committed to reading through the Bible this year with me. I’ve tried this before and have never been successful but the accountability of several teenage girls should help me out. I’ve promised to reward them if they complete it by January 15, 2011 (giving us all a little room for error). I’m already starting to think of ways to celebrate this accomplishment. I have always struggled with making consistent time for Bible reading and I was inspired by Pastor JR Vassar this week to make it intentional in 2010.

3. Resolution #3: Eat at home. This resolution is two fold: one, we eat better when we eat at home and, two, we eat cheaper when we eat at home. I’m thinking #1 is going to help us out with this. And, although it is months away, I am excited about the CSA share we purchased that will provide us with fresh & local fruits and veggies each Saturday in the summer and fall.

4. Resolution #4: Read five books. Five is not a lot but I’m planning to be busy. The five on my list right now (many of which I have started but haven’t finished): Adopted for Life, Parenting with Love & Logic, Parenting the Hurt Child, Same Kind of Different as Me (I already have the full audio on my iPod), and The Color of Water.

5. Resolution #5: Become reacquainted with my elliptical machine and the 30 Day Shred. A very cliché resolution but a good one. In order for this to happen though, D needs to accomplish one of his resolutions (Completing the basement project).

6. Five resolutions is enough. I know my limits. How about a list? My top five favorite episodes of This American Life in 2009 were:

  • Switched at Birth: Two women find out mid-life they were switched at birth and that one of their mothers knew it all along (originally aired in 2008, but I heard it in 2009).
  • More is Less & Someone Else’s Money: Technically two episodes but they go together. An awesome explanation of the American health care system that will make you think.
  • Rest Stop: Stories of people passing through.
  • Fear of Sleep: A favorite mostly because of Mike Birbiglia’s sleepwalking story.
  • #1 Party School: A new favorite (just aired a couple weeks ago). A look into the social life that was going on all around me when I was in college.

If you don’t already, make it a resolution to list to This American Life in 2010. You won’t be disappointed.

7. My CD player broke in my car earlier this year so I started listening to the radio again. Thus, my top three musical guilty pleasures of 2009:

  • Party in the USA (Miley Cyrus) – I put my hands up, their playin’ my song…
  • All of Taylor Swift’s songs – If only there had been a Taylor Swift in 1998/1999. I could have completely avoided my Alanis/Fiona phase by emotionally rocking out in a less angry manner. Sorry for all of you who lived through that.
  • Single Ladies (Beyoncé) – I may or may not have spent some of the time D was in class trying to teach myself this dance. And I definitely did not figure it out. I just don’t have the rhythm.

And, on that note, Happy New Year!

*Hosted at Conversion Diary

Goodnight and joy be with you all.

Wednesday night D was kind enough to give me the night off from middle school youth group so that I could go see The Swell Season with Meghan. Although I am not the least bit musical myself, I really do love good music and concerts. And back in the day when all my income was basically disposable, that is what I spent it on. I have since become too frugal and picky. I’m no longer willing to pay $100+ to sit in a huge stadium and see a band who is past their prime (Ahem, Coldplay. Yeah, I just said that).

Glen and Marketa gained a great deal of fame with their film, Once, which is where I first learned of them. I had just heard an incredibly awkward interview with them when Meghan asked if I wanted to go to the show with her. You see, Glen and Marketa were a couple for a while and now they are not but they still play, write and make music together, a lot of which is about love or love gone wrong. I have no clue how it works but I am glad that it does.

Glen is just incredibly like-able. Gracious and thankful to the audience and happy to be able to make a living playing music. His original group, The Frames, is the band for Marketa and him. I like that he didn’t leave his pals behind when fame struck. Marketa is very soft-spoken and simple (and, I mean that in a nice way). Her voice is perfect. Seriously, perfect.

I am so glad that I got to go (thanks, D!) and I hope that Meghan will put the experience into more eloquent words than I can (because she is really good at doing that).

They closed with this song, The Parting Glass, an old Irish drinking song (and, as explained to us, sometimes also sung at wakes).

Of all the money that ere I had, I spent it in good company.
And of all the harm that ere I’ve done, alas was done to none but me.
And all I’ve done for want of wit, to memory now I cannot recall.
So fill me to the parting glass. Goodnight and joy be with you all.

Did You Want Something to Read?

A few things we’ve seen on the Internet this week that we wanted to share with you:

That’s all!

Heavenbound!!!

This song was so good that as a 10 year old boy I decided to type out the lyrics on our computer and save them on one of those super old school 5 inch floppy disks.

Enjoy:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ClRxHBtI6Y&hl=en&fs=1]

The amazing thing is that this song actually made it on BET at one point.

Thanks to twentytwowords for the reminder.

Rosie Thomas Concert

When I was in college, my roommate, Heather, introduced me to Rosie Thomas. She has since become one of my favorite singers. A few years ago, D and I were able to see her in Ferndale and it was a great show. We have been really enjoying her latest album, A Very Rosie Christmas. Rosie’s version of O Come Emmanuel is amazing. When we heard that she was coming to Pontiac for a Christmas show we ordered tickets right away.

The show was in the upstairs theater of The Crofoot. It is a tiny venue and there were probably 75-100 people there (which is the only way to see a concert, in my opinion). Rosie opened the concert with a visit from Sheila Suputo. I found it hilarious! When her band came out they were all dressed in matching, Christmas pajamas. She was wearing a red & white striped turtleneck, green jumper, red tights, and tap shoes.

The show was great. The played most of the Christmas album and a few other songs from past albums. I am totally in awe of her voice. As someone with no singing talent at all, it is hard for me to understand such an effortless and beautiful sound. On top of her incredible talent, she is so thankful for her fans. She repeatedly thanked people for coming and expressed how much she loved connecting with people through music.

We hung around a bit after the concert and Rosie came out and was talking with people. In a truly nerdy fashion, I made D go ask her if she would take her picture with me. She graciously accepted and even talked to us for a few minutes and gave us both hugs. She also told D that he was a “good husband.”

Here is my pic with Rosie:

Free Album Download

Our good friend Kelly sent me an email about J.J. Heller and her new album that is now free to download. Kelly has great taste in music and I am looking forward to listening to the album as I work today. Check it out!