26 February 2006

The List

A few weeks back, I e-mailed a bunch of friends and asked them for their input on a music playlist I wanted to assemble for our family to worship together. The gist of my request was this. Tell me:
- songs that have consistently caused you to bow before the Lord in worship.
- songs that highlight HIM, His omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, holiness, etc.

It was very rewarding to have so many responses. Many that I canvased immediately wrote me back with at least one song that has pricked their heart. It is a joy to know that there are people who are not so busy or self-consumed that they can't be touched by God -touched in such a way that, for a brief time, all other things fade. I am proud to know these true worshippers.

And so, without further ado, I give you, THE LIST.

-Not in any particular order because that would require too much brain power-

Song Title- Artist, Album (comments)

I Sing the Mighty Power of God
We Bow Down
Meekness and Majesty
A Mighty Fortress
I Stand in Awe
Our God Reigns
Almighty, All Glorious Lord
... (can't remember the title, but this is a line from it)
Shout to the Lord
Lord, I Lift Your Name on High
Worthy is the Lamb
Come, Let Us Worship and Bow Down
Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above
Take My Life and Let It Be
I Live to Worship You
Here I Am To Worship
We Fall Down

I See the Lord

Never Alone -
Barlow Girl, Barlow Girl
Immortal, Invisible- Fernando Ortega, Fernando Ortega (Scott Wesley Brown also does a great rendition)
I Exalt Thee- Eden's Bridge, Celtic Worship (an ethereal, Celtic rendition. Great CD!)
Spirit of the Living God - Eden's Bridge, Celtic Worship

O Worship the King - Passion Worship Band, Hymns Ancient and Modern
O God Our Help in Ages Past -Phil Keaggy, Our Hymns (paired with Prelude: Bach's Bouree)
Facedown -Matt Redman, Blessed Be Your Name
How Great is Our God -Chris Tomlin, Arriving (you really ought to just buy the entire CD!)
Holy is the Lord -Chris Tomlin, Arriving

I Will Not Forget You –Enter the Worship Circle, The First Circle (If you like world music and percussion, this band is for you.)
You Are So Good To Me –Enter the Worship Circle, The First Circle
Today –Enter the Worship Circle, The First Circle
In Christ Alone- Newsboys, Adoration: The Worship Album (also recommended, the version by Margaret Becker, Maire Brennan and Joanne Hogg)
Lion - Rebecca St. James; Songs Inspired By the Chronicles of Narnia

Holy, Holy, Holy -Michael Card, Unveiled Hope (This is a totally different song than the hymn. The lyrics come right out of Revelation.)
Holy God, We Praise Thy Name- Michael Card, Starkindler
Consuming Fire- Third Day,Third Day (Southern rock. I love Mac's gravelly voice!)
Holy- Twila Paris, He Is Exalted (Twila Paris always gets me worshiping.)
He Is Exalted- Twila Paris, He Is Exalted

Healed- Nichole Nordeman, Woven and Spun (N.N. is an awesome wordsmith! Get anything she's ever done and you won't regret it.)
Never Loved You More - Nichole Nordeman, Woven and Spun
Holy- Nichole Nordeman, Live At the Door (I like this version best for its intimate worship feel)
You Are Holy- Nichole Nordeman, City on a Hill: Sing Alleluia
Holy Is Your Name- Bebo Norman and Cliff Young, City on a Hill: Sing Alleluia
Our Great God- Mac Powell and Fernando Ortega, City on a Hill: Sing Alleluia (***** song!)
God of Wonders- Mac Powell, City on a Hill: Songs of Worship and Praise

Lord of the Dance- Steven Curtis Chapman, Signs of Life
Praise to the Lord (Appalachian Praise) -Julie Miller, Orphans and Angels
Wonderful, Merciful Savior- Selah, Press On
Before the Throne of God- Selah, Hiding Place
God and God Alone- Steve Green, 8 Great Hits

All Hail the Power of Jesus Name -4Him, Hymns and Voices (Album from the early 90's. Loaded with updated versions of old hymns.)
All Creatures of Our God and King- Steve Green, Hymns and Voices
Holy, Holy, Holy- Wayne Watson, Hymns and Voices
How Great Thou Art -Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, Hymns and Voices

You're Worthy of My Praise- David Ruis, Vineyard Voices
There Is None Like You- Lenny LeBlanc, Above All Worship
You Are Lord- Darlene Zschech
Jesus, What a Beautiful Name -Darlene Zschech

The Ocean- The Choir,
Tremble- Nichole Nordeman, This Mystery
Make a Joyful Noise/ I Will Not Be Silent -David Crowder, Passion: The Road to One Day
The Noise We Make- Passion Worship Band, Passion:The Road to One Day

The Lord is Gracious and Compassionate- Vineyard, Live: From London
All Creation- Vineyard, Hungry (Great album!)
There's No One Like Our God -Vineyard, Hungry
Your Name Is Holy -Vineyard, Hungry
You Are a Holy God -Vineyard, Hungry

You Are Holy (Prince of Peace)- Michael W. Smith, Worship Again (The multitude of singers make this a thrilling song to sing along with- a picture of heaven!)
Agnus Dei- Michael W. Smith, Go West Young Man (The boy's choir in the background just makes you feel like you're in a Gothic cathedral)
Crown Him with Many Crowns - Michael W. Smith, I'll Lead You Home (Rock- gospel version)
God Is God- Steven Curtis Chapman, Declaration
Come Thou Fount- Sara Groves, The Other Side of Something
God Be Merciful to Me- Jars of Clay, Redemption Songs
Martha Bassett, Mortal Flesh (Appalachian twist on traditional hymns)
any song by Delerious?
anything by LifeHouse

Of course, The List is not exhaustive. It never will be. It never can be. Aren't you glad we have eternity?
Use the comments area to recommend some more worship songs and I'll check 'em out!

18 February 2006

Things Passed Down

- Part I-

A week ago, she left this earth. My Gram. Claire Ruth Lannes Wauer. I think about her a lot these days. And I miss her. This week as I've reflected on her life and the legacy she's left behind, I've seen her in my children.

I see her in Rebekah Claire. Besides sharing her name, Rebekah also loves a good mystery. She has a keen eye and a quick ear.
I remember when I was in high school Gram sent me a boxful of mystery novels she'd finished. Gram was always reading a mystery. Always watching detective shows on television. And with Grandma, you could NEVER get away with ANYTHING! That woman was on you like a hawk! As if she'd read every sneaky plot known to man.
Rebekah's also become interested in knitting, crocheting and cross-stitching as of late.
Grandma knit each of us grandkids an afghan when we graduated from high school (something to cozy up the dorm room), and I have several cross-stitched pieces she's made. There's a Hummel pattern she did for us as a wedding gift. She cross-stitched my children's names, and even did some Christmas stockings for them. Tonight, as our family met to remember Gram, one of the things Rebekah chose to bring home with her was a pair of her great-grandmother's knitting needles.

I see her in Ellie, my little cook.
Grandma actually collected cookbooks- several of which she passed down to me over the years. Make-A-Mix Cookery, The Fondue and Buffet Cookbook, a few small editions from local civic clubs and a smattering of hand-written recipes on notebook paper. Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Plum Kuchen. Chocolate Pudding.
Ellie is intrigued by all things baking and cooking. Hers are the first feet to patter into the kitchen when she hears the clank of mixing bowls. "Whatcha cookin', Mom? Can I help?" Ellie likes to pore over cookbooks and dream about the dishes she could make. While her skill is obviously not to the level most cookbooks require, she fancies herself a chef and likes to dream of the day that she gets to be the cook at Rebekah's bed and breakfast. (They've apparently got it all worked out.)
I must confess I'm not the best mom to cook with. My eyes focus on the billowing flour, the sneezing on the dough, the eggshell dropping in the batter, the little fingers getting burnt on hot pans. But I'll try to do better, Gram. I'll strive to be worthy of your cookbook collection and your giant stoneware mixing bowl. Maybe Ellie and I can learn how to make your chocolate pudding from scratch.

I see Grandma in my Anna-boo. Gram was plain and simple with her words. A straight talker. You knew you were loved, not by the gushy words she poured over you, but by what she did. She cooked for you. She made you things. She spent time with you.
Anna is much the same: a "do-er." To my motherly chagrin, Anna is not a real cuddler. Rather than snuggle, she's busy, busy, busy doing things. She likes to help sweep the floor. She brings me errant socks when she sees I'm gathering laundry. I always have to give her a damp paper towel so she can follow behind me and scrub the cabinets in my shadow. Anna just seems to have an innate sense that love is demonstrated more in action than in word alone. (Very James, Chapter 2, isn't she?) The motto for Grandma and Anna would be "A little less talk and a lot more action!"
Anna is still young yet. I look forward to seeing more of Grandma's qualities in her as she grows and matures.

Yeah, I miss Gram. But I smile when I recognize her in her great-grandaughters.

-Part II-

This evening, Dad was telling us about his last visit with Grandma before she passed away. The first thing she said to him when he walked in her room was, "What are you doing here?" Not that she wasn't glad to see her son, she just didn't think she was worth the fuss of hopping a flight from Washington DC to Omaha, Nebraska. Even on her death bed.

Isn't that like Grandma? Right to the very end.

But the other thing she said to Dad that really touched me was, "I have so many books I still want to read."

Grandma still had plans. She still had things she wanted to do. For some reason I found that statement very hopeful and comforting. I found a kinship with my Grandma that we BOTH have "paper lanterns". I look up at mine from the daily chores of motherhood and wonder if and when I'll ever get to them. Some, I've had to release forever. Others I still like to keep around for the elusive "spare moment."
Grandma looked at her paper lanterns from her hospice bed. She wasn't going to have another spare moment. She was releasing her paper lanterns forever.

Tonight I wonder, what was the last paper lantern she took down?

You can read more tributes to Claire Ruth Wauer on my sister's blogs:
Sarah's Blog
Abby's Blog

16 February 2006

Think, think, think...

Jonathan, you did great! The answers to my little art quiz I created a few posts ago are as follows:

1) What's the title of this sculpture? The Thinker

2) Who was the artist? Auguste Rodin

3) What year was this work created? Late 1880's.

4) What medium was used to create this sculpture? Molded in clay first, then cast in bronze probably using the lost-wax method.

An interesting note for you art nerds out there...

The Thinker was commissioned to be a part of a much larger sculptural piece referencing Dante's epic poem, The Divine Comedy. Rodin's vision was to create a doorway, which he titled, The Gates of Hell (in direct homage and contrast to the Renaissance doors sculpted by Lorenzo Ghiberti called, The Gates of Paradise), with The Thinker as the centerpiece. The work was never completed.

Rodin himself wrote about his intention:

The Thinker has a story. In the days long gone by I conceived the idea of the Gates of Hell. Before the door, seated on the rock, Dante thinking of the plan of the poem behind him... all the characters from the Divine Comedy. This project was not realized. Thin ascetic Dante in his straight robe separated from all the rest would have been without meaning. Guided by my first inspiration I conceived another thinker, a naked man, seated on a rock, his fist against his teeth, he dreams. The fertile thought slowly elaborates itself within his brain. He is no longer a dreamer, he is a creator.

(Thanks to one of my favorite artsy websites, Artcylopedia.)

Rebekah, Ellie, Anna and I ventured down to Washington DC last week and saw The Thinker for ourselves. Locally, he resides in the National Gallery of Art (one of the many places he is on display), and has quite a large family of other Rodin works to keep him company. An entire hall full of them!

Even more locally, he now resides in our home. May he inspire us to think deep thoughts and to create good art!

13 February 2006

Birthday Becky

B- Best guitar teacher ever, Bosom friend, Birthday Girl
E- Ever true, Eager for the Spirit, Encourager
C- Cool taste in music, Cafe Brazil dates, Creative Collaborator
K- Keeps Christ first, Kind to all, Knows about all kinds of cool graphic and computer technologies
Y- You are missed, You are loved, You are awesome!

10 February 2006

An Art Test

Last week I found and bought someone's cast off table top model of a world famous sculpture. $5 at Goodwill. Not bad, eh?

For school this week I "planted" this certain work of art in the path of my two learners. Lovingly dubbed, The Mystery Sculpture, we set out to do a little Internet research to see what we could find out about him. *

Here's a chance to test your own art knowledge:

1) What's the title of this sculpture?
2) Who was the artist?
3) What year was this work created?
4) What medium was used to create this sculpture?
Don't cheat! I'll post the answers in a future blog entry, along with what we've learned about him.

* It's not so important to me that my kids memorize mere facts- say, for instance, the population of New York City, which is going to change. I'd much rather that they learn how to find out the population of New York City. What it is now, what it was in 1846, what it's projected to be 60 years from now. And maybe even what the average New Yorker likes for breakfast. You can find it all, if you know where to look. So we're learning to look together.*

08 February 2006

Ice Sculptures

One Saturday each month, the downtown vendors in Frederick stay open late and host some sort of themed event. This month it was ice sculptures! Steve took the girls to see them, and despite the rain they had a ball.

Horse Head

Ellie found a cameleon

A Mystery Shape

05 February 2006

I Was Crying Over Rocks!

The girls and I have been listening to a playlist I compiled of various worship songs. We're studying the concept of Honor this semester, and what it means to honor God and honor others. I put together this playlist (with a lot of help from friends) as a way for us to honor God together as a family during our everyday routine. Sometimes we've just jammed out as we wash the dishes or drive around town, and sometimes we sit down together to listen, discuss, analyze and dream about the lyrics and music.

One day, the "assignment" was that each of us would pick out some of the words we heard in a given song and say what the words made us think about. We chose the medley, "Make a Joyful Noise/I Will Not Be Silent" sung by David Crowder on the Passion: Road to One Day album. I've enjoyed this song since the first time I heard it (it's got a funky, danceable beat), but this time the song spoke to me in a new way. The lines that struck me were "the flowers of the field are crying to be heard" and "every blade of grass will sing." As the girls and I were discussing the idea that when no one else will honor God the way he ought to be honored, Creation itself sings, calls and shouts it's praise to the Creator. I mentioned the verse that says the rocks will cry out.

... Which led me to think about the rocks in our backyard. I step over them, on them, and around them without any thought of their existence. The only time I concern myself with them is when the kids are throwing them or I trip over them. (I imagine I'll have a lot more to say about rocks this spring when we begin planting our garden!) But as I am ignoring their existence, they are about the business of honoring God.

Think of the vast array of rocks and gems in the world. Many are on display in the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum. (We took our grandparents there over Christmas.)
The variety represented in the Smithsonian is staggering, even the wide array of colors and shapes represented in just one species of rock. God created each and every one of those rocks with a different voice, a different tonal quality, a new color and hue, something unique about its strata than all the other rocks around it. EACH of those rocks is singing, calling and crying out it's praise to the Lord in it's own individual voice. The "voice" that was fashioned and formed by its Creator so that by that "voice" the Creator might derive pleasure and the glory due Him.

And I began to cry. In that moment I was astounded that God would see to it that every last microscopic corner of His creation was about the sole business of reflecting his glory back upon him. He looks at Creation and he sees himself. While the mirror is wobbly and cracked, the mirror does what a mirror is created to do. It shows God his own face. The rocks say, "God, you are good!" Creation was designed to cry out to Him.

And then I laughed because I realized was crying over ROCKS. Who's ever cried over ROCKS?!

But it's pretty cool that something as devoid of life as a rock can cause me to be so moved as to worship my Creator. I think that's exactly what God designed the rocks to do. And if I am too busy with my life to be inspired by the rocks, they'll go ahead and worship God in spite of me. He's got the issue of His glory covered- with or without my participation.

And the sun every morning cannot wait to shine
And the stars every evening are all standing by to light the sky
Give the rocks and the stones voices of their own
If we forget to sing praises to our King

- "My Offering", Woven & Spun, Nichole Nordeman

"All photos copyright 2006 by Andrew Alden, geology.about.com, reproduced under educational fair use."

01 February 2006

Beauty Sleeping

Last night I did a "retuck." (It's what us parents do 2-3 hours after we've tucked the kids into bed the first time. Now that we're on our way to our own beds, we check everyone to make sure all toes are in, all noses out.)

I've noticed how each of us in this family adopt our own style and position when we snooze. Here's how it went last night:

Anna looked like one of those Thai dancers making the lotus flower with her fingers while she gracefully held herself in a beautiful but rigorous stance. (I've heard they train for this from childhood.) The thumb she'd been sucking rested limply by her lips, ready to rise into action should her crib get bumped or a door squeak.

Ellie sprawled in her usual fashion, on her belly, hair flailing around her head. Her rag doll was pinned under one shoulder, gasping for breath. Blanket and sheets twisted around her middle, all four limbs were pointing to the far corners of the earth. She does this "move" in the waking hours and has patented it, "The Starfish."

Bean was tucked in a dainty S-curve with her hands folded under one cheek. Neat, simple, clean lines. Her covers were mere millimeters from where they'd begun the evening. Beauty and clarity.

Steve was straight as a board. Every limb parallel with his trunk. No nonsense. Orderly. Let's get on with the job of sleeping. He was on his back with his pillow over his face like the dot over an "i." He sleeps that way every night. (Honestly, I don't know how he can breathe with a pillow over his face.) Just like an engineer.

When I woke up this morning I made a mental note of the position I was in. (Isn't that observant of me?) It was the running position. Slightly twisted torso, one knee bent up, one leg stretched straight behind me. This has more to do with attempting to relieve my back pain than it does my future as a runner, but I looked sorta like an Olympic sprinter. With boxes of doughnuts strapped to my hips and belly.

In our unconcious states, each of us are expressing something of our personality. And if you know any of us personally, you're probably nodding your head and laughing, "She would sleep that way, wouldn't she?"

Isn't it amazing that the Creator's personal touch finds an outlet even when his artwork slumbers?

P.S. If you want to read more about those determined Thai dancers, go here:
Christian Dance Fellowship of Malaysia
Thailand.com (where I found the pic)
Anna, baby of the iron will, could very well become one of these dancers someday, by sheer grit.