New Years Eve, Babe

After the release of her last album Flags with feel-good titles like “Something in the Water and “Coachella,” Brooke Fraser went into a creative incubator and didn’t come out until she was fully cooked in 2014.

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Brutal Romantic is chock full of mountains and valleys made out of leather and    glass. This is why I LOVE it. I’ve heard so many albums that are diving for rich, thick, woodsy scents or plush, grassy sounds that are sadly as synthetic as a silk “flower” from Hobby Lobby. Man-made production isn’t really something I’m looking for, but here it works. Masterfully.

Fraser pits her soothing vocals against digital textures to create mood, tension, and conflict. In novel writing we can learn something from her music. The beauty of what we want our story to portray by the end needs to be set against goals, motivation, and conflict to arrive at a resolution. BUT…back to the album…

The sounds Fraser has aimed for—and hit—have accentuated her poetic songwriting. “Psychosocial” is a pithy take on social media and the way our generation connects with one another. I always appreciate Fraser’s writing because it is soul-searching and provocative in the way it makes you think about life. Many times listening to this album I have been encouraged and challenged by the lyrics.

New Years Eve“, however, is the track that is most relevant for today. It’s calming and reflective. The lyric shows a desire for quiet (not always a bad thing), and to ring in the New Year alone. While I am an advocate for family and community, I also know that sometimes we need to take a step back, reevaluate, and clear our minds of replaying the past and worries of our future. Tonight, I will be with my family. Then I will take time to pause. To be alone for a moment—at least—and reload my arsenal. To take up courage again.

Cheers to a peaceful 2015!

Tune Tuesday – Planting Trees

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Today’s Tune Tuesday is by one of my favorite artists, Andrew Peterson.  The first time I’d heard his music, he was touring with Steven Curtis Chapman.  During this time, I was just adjusting to life as a stay-at-home mom.  So much in my life changed after becoming a mother, and people who say that it’s all a field of daises, and yada, yada – well they are probably lying.  Now, don’t get me wrong…being a mother is one of the purest joys, but it is also a time of losing yourself.  You are losing your dreams to see the dreams of your little ones be fulfilled.  You are losing your time.  Your hope for sleep dwindles quickly.  You lose what you thought was the most important goals in life to the day-in and day-out sacrifice of parenting.  Your desires take a back seat to the needs and desires of the hearts you now hold in your hands.  It essentially means, if you were selfish before, you will (hopefully) become a quick study in selflessness.

I believe that this is such a design of the Lord.  It’s yet another way to submit our hearts and lives to Him.  To say “God, I don’t feel like ‘myself’ anymore, but who do you say that I am?”  I know that I learned more about the Father’s heart for me during this struggle of letting myself (my own desires) go.  I know I’m learning that the love of God is truly unconditional.  If, in my humanity, I can love my children with a fervent unconditional love, then why do I doubt God’s ability to do so?

All that to say, when I heard this song’s meaning, and then the lyrics, my eyes filled with tears.  I’m a part of the Lord “Planting Trees” of righteousness.  I want my children to be sturdily planted in the Lord.  This song is such a blessing to my heart.  It is a reminder that God sees my sacrifice, and he rewards it.  So, whether you are a parent, or not, or a pastor, leader, friend, family member…let’s remember to plant trees.  Encourage others to become who God says they are.

Toys & Sunshine

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So, I wanted to geek-out for a moment here.  Yes, this is picture of toys, but I LOVE it!  It’s such a good insight to my life right now as a stay-at-home mom.  My many duties include poop patrol, feeding, playing, entertaining, nursing, reading, time-outs, bath-time, dish-washer,  and laundry-tackler among many, many other time consuming and altogether frustrating musts.  It’s in the day to day go, go, go that most moms like myself miss out on small joys.  I know personally I get caught up in a game of “where did that smell come from,” more than actually enjoying the little people (or dogs) who made the smell in the first place.  Don’t get me wrong, being frustrated is SO normal and expected, but my soul (and I’m sure your’s) needs moments of beauty.

The day I took this, I had been dealing with tears, stinky armpits (nope, not mine…Ahem…), and defiance.  I had FINALLY gotten the boys down for their afternoon nap, and I took a moment to chill.   This is what I saw.  A reminder that two little guys like to play with me.  That won’t last.  So, I’m going to enjoy it, while it does.  Cheers!