Great Video

An old college friend sent me the link to this video…I cannot watch it without tears filling my eyes. I love Stephen Curtis Chapman’s passion and heart for the orphans of this world, both here in the US and around the globe.

Before we made the decision to adopt earlier this year, videos like this haunted me. Knowledge of the incredibly huge amounts of children who live every day with no mom or dad or family just broke my heart. It still breaks my heart, and now when I am reminded of so many children whose greatest wish for Christmas is a family, I am spurred to pray that God will provide more and more of them with homes. And that he will be their strength and their comfort while they wait.

Note: I am slowly, slowly learning the ins and outs of adding video to a blog post. My much more techno-savvy husband isn’t here right now to patiently show me how to make the video box below a wee bit smaller. But, at least I managed to add it all by myself, wahoo! Baby steps, people…

How Many Kings…

Early this Christmas season, on a quiet Sunday afternoon I sat down in our little front room to rest and listen to some music. I flipped through the genre called “Christmas” on our Ipod (have I mentioned I married a wonderfully organized man who is also super-savvy about all things technical?).  Jay of course had each and every one of our Christmas albums neatly listed – and of course, each album had its own cover picture which correlated to the jacket on the original CD.  Except for one.

Under the heading “Various Artists” was a random assortment of songs from, appropriately enough various artists…but no jacket cover, album title or names of songs were noted.  Intrigued, I hit play on the album to see what was up with that, and was immediately taken with the first song. Really really taken. As it played I called to Jay who was in the next room, “Where did this song come from? Which album is this? I LOVE this song…have you ever heard it before? Wow, this is an amazing song!!”  Turns out he hadn’t ever heard it either…nor did he have any clue how the music appeared on our Ipod.  How it got there remains a mystery, but I’d like to think of it as a delightful surprise Christmas present, no matter where it came from.

The song is “How Many Kings” by Down Here. I think this was actually released a couple of years ago, but I have never heard it before.  The words were striking, and I loved the music and artistry. The content closely mirrored some of what our pastor had talked about in church just a couple of hours before. How beautiful and startling: this concept of the God of the universe humbling himself to the point where he becomes one of the weakest and frailest who dwell on this earth…completely dependent on ordinary, sinful humans for his very subsistence.  Though I know of no other songs by this Canadian band, I love this release enough to look into some of their other offerings.

I am no artist myself so my words do little justice to this beautiful song…which I why I am going to stop blathering and let you listen to it for yourself!  While I cannot find the exact recording that somehow magically appeared on my Ipod, I did find this video of a live performance. It’s live, so it’s not musically/technically perfect, but if you have a sec…take a listen!



Follow the star to a place unexpected
Would you believe after all we’ve projected
A child in a manger

Lowly and small, the weakest of all
Unlikeliness hero, wrapped in his mothers shawl
Just a child
Is this who we’ve waited for?

Cause how many kings, stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many Gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?

Bringing our gifts for the newborn savior
All that we have whether costly or meek
Because we believe
Gold for his honor and frankincense for his pleasure
And myrrh for the cross he’ll suffer
Do you believe, is this who we’ve waited for?
It’s who we’ve waited for

How many kings, stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many Gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?
Only one did that for me

All for me
All for you
All for me
All for you

How Many Kings Lyrics- DOWNHERE Song words

Single Song Words by Artist / Band : DOWNHERE
Lyrics Title : How Many Kings
Taken from Album : –
Single Released : 2007

Aging Rockers Who Rock

Over the last year or two, I’ve bought numerous albums from bands that I had ignored (at least all their new stuff) for a decade or so. And in many cases I have been very pleasantly surprised. Downright thrilled by a few of them. Here’s a quick selection of aging rockers who rock.

Iron Maiden: Wow! Just wow. Brave New World (2000) showed a return to form with some great tracks, Dance of Death (2003) was okay, and then A Matter of Life and Death (2006) blew me away. I’d easily put that last one in a top 5 list of best Maiden albums ever.

Dream Theater: They never really slowed down, but I didn’t know it, because I wasn’t buying their albums. They pretty much all rock, with Systematic Chaos (2007) being no exception.

Rush: Some of the best stuff ever on their latest. When Snakes and Arrows (2007) opened with “Pariah dogs and wandering madmen/Barking at strangers and speaking in tongues” to a heavy hitting sound, I was floored. I need to go back and pick up Vapor Trails (2002).

King’s X: Ogre Tones (2005) is glorious, full bore King’s X, with the diverse sound of the early albums that includes both Doug and Ty on lead vocals, but with much of the more hard-driving sound that was developed on Dogman.

Savatage: Probably need a separate entry on them, as their music is all over the map. But it used to rock, and it still does.

Megadeth: I only have a few tracks from The System Has Failed (2004), and I have not heard United Abominations (2007), but what little I have heard makes me glad Dave Mustaine recovered from his radial neuropathy.

Here’s a couple bands that didn’t make the list even though I have their newer stuff and still listen to them.

Dio: Killing the Dragon (2002) and Master of the Moon (2004) are okay, but don’t compare to Dream Evil (1987) and some of his other earlier work (not to mention Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules from his Black Sabbath days).

Queensryche: I like many of their more recent albums, but I just don’t think they stand up to Operation: Mindcrime (1988) and Empire (1990).

I’ve probably missed some good ones. What other established metal bands survived the grunge movement and have put out a great album recently?

Mississippi Miracle

This is just good fun.

Iron Maiden

Last night we had some friends over for dinner and at some point the conversation managed to wind its way around such that my reference to the Battle of Passchendaele made sense. And the question came up as to how I knew about this grim killing field from World War I, and of course the answer was Iron Maiden

At which point I found myself explaining something that is probably utterly mystifying to anyone who did not grow up listening to heavy metal but is enjoyed greatly by those of us who did: much of Iron Maiden’s repertoire is based on references to literature, history, film, television, and mythology. And it is often done quite respectfully. Even, one might say, tastefully.

To make the point here, I’ll highlight a few of the songs that I’ve enjoyed and then ask my faithful readers who might have listened to a little Maiden growing up to chime in with further references. Of course, that assumes I have any faithful readers left. So here goes.

The Trooper – Tennyson’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade” and the Battle of Balaclava (part of the Crimean War)

Where Eagles Dare – book and movie of the same name

Flight of Icarus – Greek myth

To Tame a Land – “Dune” by Frank Herbert. Here’s a great detail from Wikipedia.

However, when Steve Harris requested permission from the author to name the song “Dune” and to use a spoken quotation as the track’s intro, his request was met with a stern reply from Frank Herbert’s agent: “No. Because Frank Herbert doesn’t like rock bands, particularly heavy rock bands, and especially rock bands like Iron Maiden”. This statement was backed up with a legal threat, and eventually the song was renamed “To Tame a Land” and released in 1983.

Children of the Damned – film of the same name

The Prisoner & Back in the Village (2 songs, 1 topic) – British television show “The Prisoner”

Run to the Hills – Europeans coming to the Americas

Aces High – British RAF versus the German Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain

Rime of the Ancient Mariner – though 13 minutes in length, it is still an abridged version of the poem

Abigail’s first nursery rhyme

The song is performed by Abigail, but it was written by Abigail and her friend Molly Queal yesterday.

I Had a Little Monkey

Hymns for a Kid’s Heart

Note: This post should have been done at the beginning of Lent, so forgive my tardiness. I will try and repeat this write-up again next year in order to give readers more notice.

But…if you are looking for a wonderful tool to use this season as you help your children and family prepare to celebrate Palm Sunday, Good Friday and the events leading up to and including Easter, specifically relating to the hymns which our churches often use for the celebration of the Passion of Christ, I highly recommend this:

It is one of a series of four books, all of which we own and love, which Joni Eareckson Tada and Bobbie Wolgemuth have collaborated on and which are designed to help introduce children to the richness of these hymns. The book presents twelve Passion hymns, and includes some of the history behind each song, wonderful accounts about the authors, and a devotional which aids children in gaining an understanding about each hymn, as well as written music for piano/guitar. A wonderful CD is included and features beautifully orchestrated versions of all the hymns featured, with children’s voices accompanying the two women’s. It is extremely pleasant listening, and we often play selections from these cd’s during the week to help our children prepare for Sunday worship using whatever hymns we might be singing that day.

What’s playing in Jay’s iPod?

Okay, you know the drill. No Google, just your innate knowledge of obscure lyrics. First person to name the band wins, um, nothing?

Please tell me now what life is
Please tell me now what love is
Well tell me now what war is
Again tell me what life is

For the greater good of God

He gave his life for us he fell upon the cross
To die for all of those who never mourn his loss
It wasn’t meant for us to feel the pain again
Tell me why, tell me why

Book Meme

I didn’t notice that my brother had tagged me. Here goes…

1. One book that changed your life:

Through New Eyes by James Jordan (free version)

I read it in college and, quite frankly, didn’t agree with very much of it. Yet my enjoyment of the Bible started growing exponentially afterwards, and I’ve never looked back.

2. One book that you’ve read more than once:

Magician by Raymond Feist (along with the rest of the Riftwar series)

I’ve always enjoyed this series and have read through it every 7 or 8 years.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island:

Fifty Wooden Boats ???

I’m reading this question to mean “one of the books” rather than “the one book”. Too much pressure otherwise.

4. One book that made you laugh:

Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government by P.J. O’Rourke

5. One book that made you cry:

The Endless Knot by Stephen Lawhead

My eyes leaked at the end of this one.

6. One book that you wish had been written:

A Young Man’s Illustrated Primer

I suppose only Neal Stephenson fans will really get that.

7. One book that you wish had never been written:

Dragons of a Fallen Sun

I could do without the whole Dragonlance thing. If anyone out there doesn’t like the Fantasy genre, I blame it on the likes of Dragonlance.

8. One book you’re currently reading:

Future Grace by John Piper

My brother gave this to me years ago… I’m finally enjoying it.

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read:

The Resurrection of the Son of God by N. T. Wright

I had started it, we had another baby, and I once again lost my ability to concentrate well enough to read big theological books.

10. Now tag five people:

No thanks… hope no one minds.