Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Bat or butterfly: which will you see?

Speak.  My beauty lies inside of me.



LUKE 2:7

There was no room for them in the inn.



 Notice the Beauty



Now seems like a great time to step out of ourselves and our busy lives for a moment here and there to notice the people around us and to express, not just consider expressing, that we see their beauty.

Shatter Me

ABC News interview with Lindsey Stirling: backstory on “Shatter Me” and a little on her struggle with depression and eating disorder.



The prison doors shut tight,

The only key: the Light.




LUKE 1:26-30

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

Christ the babe was born for you.


Recently I had cause to ponder the self-appellation “prisoner of Jesus Christ” (Philemon 1:1).  I’ve struggled with this concept before.  Perhaps it is because none of us wants to be a prisoner of anything.  We want to be in complete control of our lives.  Of course, this doesn’t stop us from making ourselves prisoners of addictions, social expectation, political dogmas, materialism, fear, and any number of other things.  Perhaps it is because my understanding of Christ is that He makes us free, and I have a hard time calling myself freeman and prisoner in the same breath and by the same source.  Today I found this post on the Mormon Tabernacle Choir blog and it sparked a new thought.

We refer to the time people spend in prison as time spent “paying their debt to society.”  Therefore, a prisoner is one who is paying a debt for a broken law to some entity which has authority to see that the law is upheld.  There is also a sense that the prisoner is making recompense to a party that has suffered because of his or her choices.  Both of these applications fit our relationship to Jesus Christ.

I have had several loved ones spend time in jail.  Some have used that time well; others have not.  Those who have done well first had to accept responsibility for what they had done, humble themselves and accept that they were there because of their choices, and stop trying to find a way to circumvent the consequences of their actions.  Once they let go of their anger, defensiveness, excuse-making, self-pity, resentment they were able to learn and to make the experience one that benefitted themselves and others.  Those who would not let go of these things never moved beyond them.

This is a lesson for all of us because we are all prisoners.  The question is are we at the point where we are willing to experience the odd mix of pain, peace, and joy that comes when we truly begin paying our debt to Christ (a debt, incidentally, that can never really be repaid) or are we “on the outside,” unaware or unwilling to admit that we are still subjecting ourselves to jailers that have no power to open the prison doors for us.


Commencing a venture, no matter how small,

is to hover a moment between fly and fall.

Last year I fell.  Who knows what this year will bring?  At this moment, however, the view is grand.  I’m not limiting myself to Christmas this year, though that will play a significant part I imagine.  I’m leaving myself, and you, free to explore the fanciful, the thought-provoking, and, most importantly, things that bring a little light into the dark months of December.  Let’s celebrate!  Shall we begin?





Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise.


I found a post at Grammerly on the longest English words.   This one caught my attention because it was quirdly (quirky in a wordly way) and it has to do with music, medieval church music to be precise.  I have a thing for Gregorian Chant.

Euouae is six letters long, but all of the letters are vowels. It holds two Guinness World Records. It’s the longest English word composed exclusively of vowels, and it has the most consecutive vowels of any word.”  (Grammarly)

(Euouae at Wikipedia)

Silent Night

One of my favorite carols.  This version is visually beautiful, and the reverence with which it is performed was uniquely touching.  I felt, possibly more than ever before, how sacred that first night was, how truly blessed was that moment of respite before a lifetime of relentless work and turmoil.  Christ’s was a life spent on others, lived en route to an acknowledged death, unavoidable as all our deaths are, but unavoidably brutal as well. I wonder how often Mary looked back on the tenderly merciful memory of peace and joy, simplicity and safety, as she watched her son live the demanding life and die the ignominious death of His destiny.

Watch Domingo’s eyes as he sings.  Listen for the astonishing closing “Holy Night.”  What I heard was “Hallelujah” in a tone that showed angelic reverence for Christ and what He willingly undertook for us.

Yesterday morning, I woke up with “O Holy Night” playing in my head.  Later in the afternoon, a friend posted a link to this video on his Facebook.  I had to share it.


Music: David Tolk; Art: Jon McNaughton

The man that put this montage together, Seth Adams Smith, is also a blogger.  You may recognize his name from “Marriage isn’t For You,” or you may have discovered him, as I did, through his efforts to support those dealing with suicide and depression.  At this time of year, it can be extremely difficult to not feel the joy that everyone else seems to be sharing, especially for those who struggle with mood disorders and mental health issues.  I decided to post a couple of links that I hope will be of benefit either to those who are suffering themselves or who may know someone who is.

Suicide and Depression

To the Depressed and Suicidal: I Know How It Feels


The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir

The holly bears a blossom
As white as lily flower
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To be our sweet Saviour

The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To do poor sinners good

The holly bears a prickle
As sharp as any thorn;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
On Christmas Day in the morn.

The holly bears a bark
As bitter as any gall;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
For to redeem us all.

Traditional arrangement, performed by Choir of King’s College, Cambridge

Modern arrangement, performed by University of Utah Singers

I got a little relief this week exploring a new (to me) group, Vacationer.  Although I could imagine their name comes from the tripping mood of their music, you don’t have to be high to enjoy their laid back, funky, hip, cool, beachy, Indian/Caribbean/Brazilian (etc.)-influenced style.  The group is aptly named.  Listening to Vacationer with the scent of sea breeze and yin-yang melty wax wafting around me sent me on a mini-getaway.  It gave me the unique mixture of relaxation and invigoration that comes with a great vacation.

I’m still working on the “lay back, turn your mind off, and just let it wash over you” approach to living.  Truthfully, I don’t think I’d ever be satisfied with it full-time.  It’s just not me.  But I definitely need those moments.  And sometimes, I need those days. Or weeks.  Vacationer gives me this escape in the small doses my life allows.

Beyond that, however, listening to “The Wild Life” gave me pause to consider something deeper than surfboards, bikinis, jungles, and beer on the beach.  Anything thought-provoking earns points in my book.  This song got me wondering if “the wild life is human nature,” why do we not still live that way?  My answer ran along these lines: I think it is also in our nature to grow, to develop, to seek and find, to ascend.  Unfortunately, our modern lifestyle channels those desires into perverse streams of lust for power and material gain rather than streams of increasing consciousness.  There is something beyond existing as a collective of impulse-driven, bipedal mammals, something more fundamental than functioning as cogs in a econosociopolitical consumption machine.  Perhaps it is in the space between careless vacation and hyperfocused industry that peace, pleasure, and productivity exist together.  Discovering and maintaining a balance is up to each individual who desires it.  For me, I think Vacationer might play a part in that quest.  If not, they still make awesome listening!


The Wild Life, Vacationer


An Interview with Lead Singer of Vacationer,

Kenny Vasoli


A Little Joao Gilberto & Stan Getz

(You’ll get the inclusion if you listen to the interview)

I’m really not presenting a long discourse on copyright law. I was just amused that the “Right” issue I addressed in my first post arises so often in my life. What I am going to do here is share a blog post I was turned on to by Jan Morrill, comment a bit, and share some other links I found helpful as I studied the issue a little more deeply. (Is this way too much like grade school: “My report is on…” Oh, well. Onward.)

The original post recounts a personal experience of author/blogger Roni Loren concerning her own unintentional copyright infringement which, in her case, involved photo usage on her blog. I think it took courage and humility for her to lay this all out and accept responsibility for it, but the information I gathered about how to avoid the situation was the real prize in the piece. I gleaned a few links I thought I’d share in case you don’t have the time to comb through the nearly 400 comments yourself. Before we get to that, however, a little business–

Disclaimer: I’m no lawyer nor in any way an expert on copyright issues. This post is not to be construed in any way as legal advice. It simply presents some tools that may be useful in staying on the right side of copyright, particularly in the usage of photos on blogs.

Meghan Ward shares some pertinent information on her Writerland blog, including a nice guide to the Creative Commons logos and codes, and info on stock photography available for purchase.

Try out some of these sites for free photos. Just make sure you pay close attention to usage restrictions and attribution requirements. They aren’t all the same, and this is where a lot of the confusion about copyright comes from. Some of these sites have images for sale as well, so be aware of which are really free (and royalty-free does not mean free).

While I won’t get into a big discussion about copyright, the following links may be useful to increase general knowledge of the subject. This applies to all creative endeavor, not just photography, so it is important stuff to understand for writers, artists, and musicians as well.

Unfortunately, the discussion on Roni’s blog included some nastiness and unnecessary recriminations so she had to shut it down.  I didn’t get a chance to comment, and perhaps I wouldn’t have anyway, but I did comment on Jan’s blog and I thought I would share that here. “Incidentally, I don’t think it’s copyright that confuses, but the exceptions and different types of rights. We all get that you don’t claim another’s work, but I think there’s a difference between plagiarism and copyright infringement, and the usage area can get murky, especially on the internet. There is also a difference between understanding the principles involved and having the knowledge necessary to apply those principles.” My intent with this post was to present resources that may impart a little of that knowledge.

As I mentioned, I’m not an expert. Any further information, tips, and warnings would be most welcome, and it doesn’t have to be limited to photo usage. (Does anyone else think it’s hilarious that I’m so nervous about the issue now I’m afraid to attach any form of image to this post?)