Thursday, November 29, 2007

New (to me) Music

I love music. I've got lots of friends who feel the same way. Probably not a coincidence. A few months back I received an itunes gift card and recently got around to spending it. Here's what I picked up- in chronological order:

Daughtry - Daughtry
Yes- I know he was on American Idol (but didn't win- does that make it better?). Yes- I know his ballad "Home" has been overplayed in all the wrong places (Idol used it as their theme song last year). Even with those hurdles, I chose to grab this album. Why? I felt the need for something a little rockier, there's a quality to his voice that I enjoy, AND I found myself singing the hook to "It's Not Over" even after it ended.

Overall, I'm pleased. The project has some variance in tone and tempo- which I didn't expect. If you've tapped on your steering wheel to any of his songs on the radio, you'll probably enjoy this. If you want to mock me for this one, go ahead. (You don't need my permission anyway.)

Which brings us to...Mute Math - Mute Math
I know quite a few folks who have been raving about this band for the last 6 months. Some have seen them live and it raised their opinion of the band. Which doesn't always happen, right? So I caved. Better late than never.

The first release off of this project ("Typical") is probably the most infectious of the bunch (and has an awesome VIDEO). To me, the rest of the songs aren't quite as catchy, but they are growing on me. Layers and effects are everywhere. Mute Math pulls of a nouveau 80's thing with a sense of freshness. After several listens through, I might describe this band as an updated version of the Police (see "Chaos" & "Noticed"). And I dig that.

Ray LaMontagne - Til The Sun Turns Black

I've almost bought this album about 5 times and finally did. (Thanks for the recommendation Patch.) If you have a place in your ipod for passionate, acoustic music- go grab this one right now. You can come back to this post later.

I became a big Ray LaMontagne fan minutes after the download finished. I play this project when I want to relax or when I'm working. Just good to have it on- like the voice of an old friend. Give Ray a listen HERE. And his music seems to get fuller, richer and better with headphones on. My favorite track right now is "Empty" and contains some of the better lyrics I've heard lately:

"I looked my demons in the eyes, bore my chest, said 'Do your best. Destroy me.'
You see I've been to hell and back so many times, I must admit, you kinda bore me.
There's a lot of ways to kill a man. There's a lot of ways to die.
Yes, and some already dead they walk beside me."
Need another reason to consider this one? Ray's bio says he decided to become a singer @ 4am one morning after listening to a Steven Stills record through the night. You too, right?

So far, this list has been all over the place with style. Here's where it narrows a bit:

Sugarland - Enjoy the Ride
I've never been ashamed to admit that I like some country music. Guess lately I'm drawn to the southern ladies who (despite their looks) can really sing. Sugarland is technically a duo- but Jennifer Nettles does most of the vocal work. If you need a taste of the heartland and a bit of twang, give this one a listen. "Want To" is a standout to me.

Carrie Underwood - Carnival Ride
American Idol isn't the only thing she won, and there's a reason. Apparently, the folks who hand out Grammy, AMA & CMA awards all think she's more than just a pretty face. After enjoying what I heard from her on the radio last year, and a couple of listens to the first song off of this disc ("So Small")- I was willing to deplete the surplus in my itunes acct. If you haven't heard "So Small" yet, and you go to a Contemporary church that does "Featured Music"- you will. Trust me.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fred's Teaching

Many of you have been kind enough to encourage me as a teacher. As I was leaving Crossroads, several of you asked if my new CHURCH COMMUNITY would be offering teaching podcasts. Someday, yes. For now, no.

However, if you are interested in what I'm teaching these days, you can drop by CONNECTIONS' TEACHING BLOG each week for a textual recap. I know it isn't the same thing as hearing my voice, but you'll just have to make due. (We call this sarcasm in NC.)

Right now, I'm wrapping up a modified version of the "Counterintuitive" series I wrote for Xroads and will be launching our new Xmas series in 2 weeks. Feel free to take a peek.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Carolina Baptism

When many of my KY friends heard I was moving to the Raleigh area, they approached me with concern for my soul. With the intensity of an intervention, they implored me not to root for the Dukie's (read Dookie's if you are a UK fan) or the fellas who wear the powder blue uni's. I made no promises, but said that I'd try to keep my 'Cat loyalties alive. Well, this past weekend I attended my first Raleigh sporting event: The Carolina Hurricanes vs. The Florida Panthers NHL game.

Had a great time. I was invited to sit in a box that one of the guy's in our worship band had rented so the rest of the band and their families could spend some time together.

If you've never seen a game from a luxury box- I highly recommend it. Why?: the constant provision of food, drinks (and dessert), premium parking passes, and the multiple seating options just off the top of my head.

So, breathe easy my UK brethren. My integrity is intact. (At least until someone offers me free tix to the Dean Dome or a chance to hang with the Cameron Crazies.)

And Russ- thanks again for letting me crash the party!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tricks of the Parenting Trade...

Those of you who know us well, know that our family eats out a bit. Quite a bit might be more accurate.

Lately, Colston (7 mos.) seems to have outgrown his infant carrier. Not only is he technically too long for it, but he won't sit in it for the length of any meal.

So, last night we entered a new phase in Colston's life- the use of restaurant high chairs. What made this potentially awkward was that we had no food to feed him at the time, and that he throws every toy you hand him on the floor after exactly 5.3 seconds.

But Colston's time in the high chair last night went off without a hitch, thanks to a simple dining implement.

The soup spoon. He mouthed that thing for a good 20 minutes and the rest of the family supped in relative peace.

Rookie parents might not have gone for the soup spoon. But 3+ years on the parenting gig has taught us a thing or two.

Like soup spoons will pacify 7 month olds. And steak knives don't work nearly as well.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Complete The Phrase...

This weekend I'm teaching on the topic "Someday Is Now" and would love to get a little input from you.

How would you finish the phrase:

"Someday I'm gonna _________________ ."

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bed, Breakfast & Dinosaurs (aka Anniversary Celebration)

On Thursday am, the grandparents (& my favorite in-laws) showed up to man Fort Turner as Jen and I headed north for a 32 hour reprieve. We did a lot in a short time, but never felt rushed. Here's the blow-by-blow.

We started with a trip to the GAP Outlet in Hebron, KY. This is one of our favorite places to shop since it is a true outlet. In about an hour and a half we spent $84 and came home with: 4 sweaters, 2 pairs of pants, 4 t-shirts, 2 shirts, 6 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of shoes and 1 pair of lounge pants. Can't beat it.

From there we headed to our accommodations at Willis Graves Bed and Breakfast in Burlington, KY (about 10 mins away). Although I like B&B's, it always feels like we're taking a chance by staying at one. The pics on the web never tell the whole story. This time, we chose wisely. The Willis Graves was everything we could hope for: intimate, private, romantic, comfortable, charming, etc.

We stayed in the William Rouse Suite, which is in a log cabin that has been relocated to the property. The rustic charm combined with the new bathroom (steam shower & jacuzzi tub with waterfall spigot) was perfect. That's right, the water to fill the tub actually comes from the ceiling.

After checking in, we headed to Mi Salon & Spa for a couple's massage. This was my first massage by someone other than Jen. Very relaxing. We'll definitely do this again.

Later we grabbed dinner at the Grandview Tavern & Grille about 15 mins away. This independent restaurant is family owned and operated. The best part of the dinner was eating sans little ones at a slow and leisurely pace and being able to focus on each other. The baked brie and juicy, marinated flank steak weren't bad either. The next morning we snuck into breakfast at the B & B at the last possible moment. After some fresh fruit (I'd forgotten how much I like blackberries!) Jen had french toast stuffed with creme brulee and I had an omelet.

After checking out, we drove another 10 mins to the Creation Museum. When I first heard about the museum I was skeptical, but after a couple of positive reviews from folks whose opinions I value, I thought it might be worth seeing. It definitely was. The entire museum is well done, embraces science (and dinosaurs) and does a great job painting a picture of the history of Creation from a biblical perspective. The planetarium show (which explains our current understandings of outer space) and some compelling evidence for a young earth were personal highlights. Our visit lasted about 3 hours and we didn't drag our feet. We found ourselves glad that we didn't have our kids (3 yrs & 7mos) with us. It would have been over their heads.

After a meal in the museum cafe (tasty & cheap!) we headed for home. Once in Lexington, we stopped off to visit Jason and Kristy Eaton and their newest addition: GreenLee Noel. GreenLee arrived a week ago, but we hadn't seen her since our family has been passing a cold around. Baby girl was beautiful, and mom and dad looked tired but happy.

A half an hour later, we were home again. Although the time away was relaxing, it felt good to hug the kids again.

10 years down. 40 more to go.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

3,650 Days of Wedded Bliss

Tomorrow Jen and I will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. How does a decade fly by so quickly?

After ten years of life together:
- She knows me better than I know myself.
- She is even more beautiful. Is that possible?
- We've had some adventures.
- We are parents to two of the sweetest kids I know. (Jen's genes get credit.)
- I have even less hair, and maybe a bit more self-awareness and patience.
- I love her more than myself. Just wish my actions showed it more often.

Hitting this milestone makes me grateful not only for Jen, but for all of you who have supported us with your love and friendship.

We're scooting out of town to a B&B in Burlington, KY to celebrate. I'll give you a (family appropriate) report after we get back.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Fall is here and ACHOO (ugh)...

My whole family has been fighting sore throats, sniffles and sneezes this week. Seems like the fall illnesses are starting to make the rounds.

Anyone in your tribe been sick recently?

If so, what did you deal with? How long did it last?

Do you have any go to cures or things that make you feel better?

Any preventative measures you take to dodge the bugs?