Monday, July 15, 2013

Worship Essentials

Recently I confessed my frustration with the lack of variety and style on Christian radio stations. I have always been careful to bite my tongue on the issue because the most important thing about Christian music and radio is that it's inspiring us to worship Christ throughout my day. I also don't want to offend anyone who enjoys the music as-is on the radio currently. Worship is worship, whether it fits my style or not and ultimately it's a matter of the heart. So I want to explain that I understand that.

With that being said, I feel like there is a HUGE world of wonderful Christian music that many don't know about because, honestly, Christian music doesn't get a lot of advertisement. So the intention of this post is to share some of my worship essentials for those who are like me and are looking for a little variety. If you don't want to take the time to look these up yourself, you can just go to my Spotify playlist and listen here: Worship. I update it every now and then when I come across a song or band that I really like. It's a wide range of stuff but it's like my own personal radio :)

My Essentials:

1. Jars of Clay
If you grew up in the 90's I don't need to even explain. They will always be classic to me.

2. Rich Mullins
I used to stick my nose up at Rich Mullins music because I didn't care so much for his style or voice, but as I've matured and studied how he lived his life I am drawn in by his incredible lyrics. Just do a little searching through his stuff and you're bound to find something. My favorite song is "Calling Out Your Name" and Chris Rice has a great cover of it. (On my worship playlist)

 3. Chelsea Moon and Uncle Daddy
4. The Lower Lights
These guys have some amazing covers of classic hymns. However, I feel like I need to state that they are Mormons and not every song is a hymn. So search wisely, but they have some really amazing stuff. 

5. Page CXVI

These guys are probably one of my favorites. They have quite a few albums out (and recently announced a big project that will release albums during the major holidays). And for you mama's out there, they have an AMAZING lullaby album. My favorite.

6. Bethel Music
One of my favorite songs.

7. Bethany Dillion
She does a cover of Rich Mullins' "You Did Not Have a Home" and it is incredible. This EP is one of my favorites.

8. Ellie Holcomb
Wife of Drew Holcomb (of Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors). Sadly this is her only solo album out right now but it is one of my all. time. favorites. I read somewhere that she is working on a second, thank goodness!

9. Hillsong United
10. The Welcome Wagon

If you're a fan of Sufjan Stevens, you'll be a fan of this couple. Some of it gets a little too weird for my taste, but they have a version of "There Is a Fountain Filled With Blood" that I LOVE.

My list could go forever (it kind of did, sorry) and there are so many great songs out there (most of them on my playlist) that I wish I could share. And if you think I'm missing something please share! I love exploring new music. I hope you can find something you enjoy and something that ultimately allows you to worship Christ throughout your day.

Cheers, Jord.
Sunday, July 7, 2013

Mini Vacation

I love the lake.
I can only do it for a few days at a time until I start to feel hungry for the real world (or at least the comforts of it) but getting away and spending time with my family is always refreshing. 
What I love most about the lake is that it requires very little. Simple food. Simple clothing. Simple entertainment. You sit around with people you love, laughing and telling stories (sometimes over and over again :), without needing to look at the clock. Everyone's without makeup, skin-drenched in sunscreen with dirty hair up and out of the way. Any attempt to be stylish and impressive is peeled away like a day-old sunburn. I strive for my life to be like that all the time. To focus more on the company and less on the image I display of myself (but more on that another time...). 

I have great memories of growing up around the lake and it was special for me to introduce Penny to that little piece of my life. The family welcomed her with open arms (even the 6:30am alarm clock she came with) and she came home full of more love and empty of any energy she brought with her. That's how the lake should be.
My family is the kind that refuses to let you have anything but a good time. They don't need much to be happy and that's what I love about them. Hobo's and silly yard games can only be fully enjoyed around them and I even willingly admit my genuine love for Journey, Boston, and Huey Lewis and the News...but only when they're around ;)

This is Penny's first experience of the lake!

 Her favorite part was the sand. She dug around silently for probably an hour. Never once tried putting it in her mouth, just loved transporting it from one bucket to another. I absolutely love watching her discover new things!
 Taking a nap on the deck.
10 weeks pregnant with little baby brother or sister!
 I was a little tense at the thought of sand being EVERYWHERE, but after seeing how much fun she was having I got over that quickly.
We are so thankful for a little mini vacation to the lake. It wasn't easy with a 9 month old, but we still had a blast and we're looking forward to the many more summers to come!
Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Greener Grass

Disclaimer: I am not a country girl. I’m hardly even a small-town girl. I grew up in a “smaller” town that was a wannabe city. My grandpa was a farmer. And my teenage-self stuck my nose up at the small town, country life because it was too old school. Oh, if only I would have understood how wonderful the country life could be at that age.

A part of my heart belongs here in the po dunk town of Central City. And even though I didn’t grow up here, I fell in love with a man who did. I fell in love with a family who did. The slower pace of life. The empty gravel roads. The casual wave from the truck passing you by, even if they don’t know you. The fluffy, bright green rows of corn that surround your car and make you dizzy if you watch for too long. The overly expensive, quiet grocery store that plays country music as you shop. The sun rising up over the river. The fact that you can ACTUALLY see the sun setting into the ground, without all the ugly celebrity homes in the way. I could go on, but you get the point.

The grass is literally greener in this part of the state. Well, at least there is much more of it and I have a hard time avoiding that mentality. Being in Omaha makes my heart ache for the small-town life. I long for a slow pace of life where you always see someone you know and where it only takes 5 minutes to get across town. I get breathless when we drive through the fields and I see pivots in the distance spraying mist over the corn, the sun turning it to gold. I want to jump out of my skin when the sun creates a haze over the distant trees. It’s all so familiar and I miss it so much. I think that’s the key; familiarity, comfort. I want to feel that comfort again. I grow weary of living in a faceless city where you can disappear if you want to.

But here is where I’m convicted. God doesn’t guarantee a comfortable life. In fact, it’s quite the opposite if you choose to follow Jesus. He says it’s going to be hard. And it has been. And maybe the fact that I live in that faceless town allows me to so richly indulge in the wonderful beauty of the country…and even long for it. Maybe it’s the dream that I like. God has called us to be somewhere we aren’t comfortable at this time in our life I’m trying to remind myself that following Him means letting go of my dreams and asking “what do you want?” Or rather, saying “I’ll do anything, Lord. I’ll go where you lead me.”

So for now, in this messy time of the unknown and unfamiliar, I will take a deep breath and sigh in content of the peace and quiet. Omaha makes the grass (or corn) greener, and it allows me to bask in the charms and comforts of the country. So thanks, Omaha.

A city, but closeted country girl.


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