31 December 2007

2007 In Song

You may remember my Six for '06 post from last year. If not, you should know that music is a great source of inspiration in my life. That being said, you may be interested to know that these were the songs in 2007 that touched points in my soul that very few things outside of my god, my fiancé or my nieces normally touch. [As always, follow the link to the MP3 and grab them quick, because the links expire in 7 days.]

Feist . I Feel It All
My favorite song of the year. It's perfect indie-pop! Download and put it on repeat!

Radiohead . All I Need
A standout track from my favorite album of the year, In Rainbows. A slow-building, haunting Radiohead materpiece with a rousing piano solo to cap it off -- it really doesn't get any better than this when it comes to Radiohead.

Iron & Wine . Boy With A Coin
Probably one of the most unique songs to emerge in 2007. It's got a sound that's hard to describe, but not hard on the ears. And its just so lyrically poetic and rich.

Band of Horses . No One's Gonna Love You
A more recent favorite band of mine turned out another solid album in 2007. This is one of the best tracks from that album, Cease To Begin. It's also my favorite "love" song of the year.

Gui Boratto . Beautiful Life
This is the electronic music equivilent of a traditional orchestral piece. Clocking in at more than 8min, the "orchestration" moves you in swells throughout its duration -- and just when you think you've reached the end...the wave sweeps back over you.

J. Tillman . Ribbons Of Glass
Lo-fi folk at its very best. This song speaks in so many different ways -- from its lyrics, to its production, to its instrumentation. Realistically beautiful.

Eluvium . Prelude For Time Feelers
This instrumental piece would serve well as the backdrop to a movie scene. And maybe that's why is resonates so strongly -- because we are all living inside of the story of our lives. A story that is valued by something outside of ourselves. A story that should be shared with others. A story that deserves a soundtrack.

Paul Potts . Nessun Dorma
This may seem like an odd choice, but just watch this video and you'll understand a little more clearly. There is beauty hidden deep within all of us just waiting to emerge. And when it does...

And just for fun...

P. Diddy (ft. Christina Aguilera) . Tell Me (Switch Remix)
Bouncy and bubbly! If I were a DJ, I'd drop this one right at the height of the night!

Justice . D.A.N.C.E.
Believe it or not, I couldn't stand this song when I first heard it. And then after a few listens, I couldn't stop listening. Gotta love that Jackson 5-esque hook in there! This jam still brings a smile to my face every time it randomly plays on my iTunes!

Klaxons . Golden Skans (SebastiAn version 1.2.0 Remix)
Almost forgot about this one, seeing that it came out in early January. It's my cell phone ringtone, so I figured it deserved a mention here! This track has dance written all over it!

25 December 2007

A Holy Day

Sufjan Stevens . Holy, Holy, Holy [follow link to MP3]

Were I to play a song for the unique and beloved son of God
on the occassion of His birth, this, without question, would be the one.

14 December 2007

Everyone likes a good story...

Photo by Cody Smart

So what's a 22 year-old, well-educated, eagle scout, former NCAA track and field athlete to do when he graduates and finds himself stuck in the mundane existence of "popular society" with no real optimism for the future? Probably a lot of different things cross your mind. Hitchhiking across America probably wasn't one of them. But that's exactly what Cody Smart did.

In July of 2006, I was sick of the northeast and needed to go. I quit my job and hitched west on I-84 with $430 in my bank account. I spent the next few months on the road, interacting with a peculiar lot of fascinating people (the likes of whom I never would have met with conventional travel). I spent endless rides with red-blooded truckers, lived with homeless people in California, traveled with a fugitive in Louisiana, and worked with fishermen in Alaska. Along the way, I got to hear wild tales and shrewd insights from the mouth of the vast cross section of America that still picks up hitchhikers.
Read the rest of his captivating story here, where he recounts his journey in prose and picture -- both of which are equally stunning!

What is it about a story like this
that just grabs (and holds) our attention?

29 November 2007

Silence or Suffrage?

Twenty percent of NYU students said they would relinquish their right to vote in the next presidential election in exchange for an iPod Touch.
[Washington Square News Survey]

I'm not sure if this says more about the state of the Union, the power of music or the power of consumerism.

What do you think?

24 November 2007

Just Listen

"The music is all around us.
All we have to do is listen."
[August Rush]

17 November 2007

Grace & Our Calling - Connecting the Dots

U2 . Grace [follow link to MP3]

She takes the blame
She covers the shame
Removes the stain
When she goes to work
You can hear the strings
Grace finds beauty
In everything

17 October 2007


Currently Reading:
Sailing Between the Stars: Musings on the Mysteries of Faith . By Steven James
I totally identify with this guys writing style -- a generous mix of story-telling, scripture and poetry. And the story told is uplifting, convicting and thought provoking (as it always is). Highly recommended.

Currently Listening To:
Radiohead . In Rainbows
The story surrounding this release matches the music itself. Out of thin air, the band posted a message on its website that said: "Well, the new album is finished, and it's coming out in 10 days." I mean, everyone knew they were working on a new album, but there wasn't even talk about a release date. On top of that, the band released this album in downloadable form and let its fans decide how much they wanted to pay for the download! I paid $5 for the ten 160-bit MP3's that make up the album -- the highlights of which are the haunting "All I Need" and "Videotape"; as well as the upbeat and, dare I say it, almost fun "Jigsaw Falling Into Place". A quality Radiohead album that focuses on music (as opposed to experimentation).

Current Life Quote:
"I am nothing -- how could I ever find the answers? I will put my hand over my mouth in silence. I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say."

-Steven James

13 October 2007


bring out the sweatshirts!

Vintage Photo by Rick Mouer

25 September 2007

break the silence

I haven't shared a song in quite some time.

It's been haunting me for a while.

But the truth is, I haven't stumbled onto anything amazing lately. And then this lo-fi, well lived-in masterpiece of a recording randomly played on my iTunes.

I instantly knew it was the song that would break the silence. As always, enjoy.

J. Tillman . Ribbons of Glass [follow link to MP3]

21 September 2007

יוֹם כִּפּוּר

A prayer on this Day of Atonement

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.
Matthew 6:9-13(KJV)

10 September 2007

Thru the eyes of a child...

Actual conversation between my mum and my 3-year old niece that took place earlier today:

Kiaya: I love you, Nanny.
Nanny: Why do you love me Kiaya?
Kiaya: Because that's how I am, I love everybody in the whole world.

As I'm writing this thru eyes blurred by tears,
I'm praying that I would see the people in this world more clearly.

More like a child.

More like Kiaya.

More like my Lord.

31 August 2007


humbled by His goodness today
humbled by His grace today
humbled by His blessings today

Photo by Harold Davis . Biggest

22 August 2007

Vital Organ

Although it has never been the heart of the Church,
it has nonetheless served as a vital organ for many years.

Photo by Dan Price

18 August 2007


I was asleep at 12AM when I officially became 32 years old earlier this morning.

I'm almost certain the same was true when I turned 22 ten years ago -- I was never one to stay up late. I've always been an early riser (as you can see by the fact that I'm writing this at 7:28AM on a Saturday morning).

But this morning, my thoughts are not focused on the ways in which I am the same as 10 years ago. Rather, I find myself contemplating the ways in which I have changed throughout the course of my life. The issues I think about now that honestly seemed so foreign a mere 10 years ago.

Today I'm conscious of the Lord's Spirit working deep within my very being and his call upon my life.

I wasn't then.

I'm now keenly aware of the deep love that Jesus has for me, which fills me and has honestly changed the way I think about this world and how I perceive others.

Jesus was a fond memory from my
childhood and youth group days then.

I'm actively house-hunting and planning my wedding these days.

These were the furtherest things from my mind then.

I have a mostly positive self-image and I'm eating healthy.

Back then I had a destructive view of my body
and was caught in the throngs of the disease of anorexia.

Today I find myself concerned about the amount of non-renewable energy I consume, the amount of waste I produce and other ways that I can generally conserve energy and resources.

"Green people" and their ways were an inconvenience
in my otherwise self-centered world then.

I realize more than ever now that I have so much to learn.

I once thought I knew everything there was to know.

I've found the woman of my dreams and, more importantly, the one whom God desires for me to share the rest of my life.

Back then I was lost without much hope
of ever finding such a woman.

So today I'm thankful for many things, two of which are maturity and the Lord's work in my life. It's my honest hope that I'm still blogging ten years from now and I look forward to bringing you up-to-date on the many ways in which I've grown and matured in the the years since writing this. Blessings to you this day!

Photo by troy.

16 August 2007

The Imperfection of Violence

"Through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can't murder murder.
Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can't establish truth.
Through violence you may murder a hater,but you can't murder hate.
Darkness cannot put out darkness. Only light can do that."

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Where Do We Go From Here?"
16 August 1967

Forty years later...and we still don't get it.

Forty years...

10 August 2007


To find that one in the crowd...
[P.S. She said "Yes"]

Photo by Kaiti Pates

30 July 2007

With Voices Raised

Qui cantat, bis orat
"He who sings, prays twice"

[St. Augustine]

22 July 2007

My Prayer

it does not mean to be in a place
where there is no noise, trouble
or hard work. it means to be in
the midst of those things and still
be calm in your heart.

12 July 2007

For The Body

[Revelation 2:10-11]

Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says.

03 July 2007

Prayer Tree

Some of my closest friends in life will be walking directly into the Lord's heart over the next two weeks -- some journeying to Louisiana, others to China and yet another to Romania. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

May God be your guide.

26 June 2007

23 June 2007

17 June 2007

Still floating...

I'm back from Louisiana and just getting on a computer for the first time in over a week -- pretty much unheard of in this day and age! The journey was interesting -- many highs and lows.

I guess what strikes me most is the boxes I continually put God inside. For instance, I expected to be spiritually blown away by this trip. Instead, I was spiritually overwhelmed (and not in a good way). And this is not a negative reflection on the ministry that is taking place down South. Instead, its a reflection on my heart -- my expectations getting in the way of God's work in my life. The lesson I'm learning is that instead of looking for God in experiences, I need to seek out God.

This trip provided an experience with God, but I still feel disconnected from God.

I still need to reconnect with that Source.

And that's my prayer today.

08 June 2007


So this is what New Orleans looked like just about two years ago -- completly flooded after Hurricane Katrina swept through its city limits in August of 2005. There is still great need in the area.

I’m heading down there today to share love with those affected by Katrina. I’ll be down there a week with a team of adults and teens from my church. We will work through a sister church in Covington, Louisiana -- Trinity Church. Angie will make the journey with me; as will my brother, Kevin.

My church has been sending teams down to Covington on a monthly basis since the hurricane struck in 2005. The Lord has been (gently) tugging on my heart for some time and I’m excited about the opportunity to serve Him by serving His beloved whose lives have been physically, emotionally and spiritually devastated by Katrina. We serve a God of restoration. A God of redemption.

Our team happens to be in Covington during Trinity’s vacation bible school -- so we’ll be helping with that in the mornings. The tasks we’ll be performing in the afternoons is literally up in the air, but could include gutting houses, removing trees and/or rebuilding homes. I'm generally excited about meeting people, hearing their stories and praying with them. In other words, shining Light into their lives, only by the grace and power of our Risen Savior!

Your prayers for this journey are coveted. Pray that He would increase and that I would decrease. Pray that our team would be so filled with the love of God that it naturally emanates from us to His sheep in Covington and New Orleans.

May we first live for Him!

03 June 2007


It kinda goes without saying that I have redesigned my blog. I've been meaning to do this for a while now, but finally got around to it. I had a lot of fun with the redesign and I hope you guys enjoy the new look. Anyway, I thought it'd be cool to look back at my first post and remind myself what this was originally all about.

Posted on October 31, 2005:

Alright...b/c I got a lot to say (and more to learn), many stories and pictures to share, and know of a few people who might listen and actually be interested, I decided to enter the blogging game. I guess the general direction of this blog will be the things in life I find important (family, friends, living out my faith, the arts, music) and the things I think about (faith, religion, the arts, life itself, modern culture).

To the extent that there is any discussion, it MUST remain open and non-combative. This is not the forum to spew hate and intolerance. Open your mind, listen and learn! What you'll experience is a glimpse into the life of someone who holds a different viewpoint -- maybe it'll change you, maybe it'll solidify your own beliefs. Either way, you'll learn something. I've discovered that there is a beauty in life when you realize that maybe you don't have it all figured out like you once thought you did. The growth and freedom that comes from this realization will make you a more relevant citizen of this World.

Let the blogging begin...

01 June 2007

On Repeat

Still floating between heaven and earth on what I'll call a temporary mental hiatus. Anyway...it's the "first" day of summer, so enjoy...

"Money can't buy you back the love that you had then."

Feist . 1 2 3 4 [follow link to MP3]

24 May 2007

Between Heaven & Earth

Between Heaven & Earth

This is where I find myself these days. I'm thinking about life way too much. I've become so caught up in trying to figure out what God desires of my life, that I've totally forgotten about God in the process.

It's like I desire to live out the kingdom of heaven right here on Earth so desperately, but yet find myself at a standstill. I can't quite grasp heaven, but yet find that my feet are not touching the surface of this planet. Sorta like I'm living inside the Matrix, if you know what I mean.

It's tiring. It's draining.
It's not a state of living I associate with His Kingdom.

I need time to rest and pray.

I know the source of significance in my life, so I don't need to embark on a quest to find that.

I even know the passions that are driven by that Source.

What I need...

What I must do...

is reconnect with that Source.

19 May 2007

On Repeat

"Why does she always lose what she loves?"

Alberta Cross - Lucy Rider (Acoustic) [follow link to MP3]

13 May 2007


"Her children [and grandchildren] rise up and call her blessed." [Proverbs 31:28]

This is my mum (not mom). She's truly a woman of noble character. We talk sometimes about all the experiences we've shared in life. She tends to get a little misty-eyed thinking that my brother and I are all grown up now and those days are far behind us. I always remind her that no one can ever take away our memories. Like this one --

I'll never forget lunch times during our summer breaks from elementary school. After breakfast, my brother and I would race outside to play with our Matchbox cars in the dirt cities we created, make forts in the overgrown bushes that lined our property, climb trees and ride our bikes. At some point around Noon, Mum would call us in for lunch (or did we instinctively know to return?) Kevin and I would set up trays in the living room and then we'd all eat together and watch about an hour of TV. And we loved this!! I can't even remember most of the shows we watched, but I certainly remember my company. Soon after, we'd head back outside to play, only to return around 5pm to sit up on the back of the couch to wait and watch for Dad to come home...but that's a story for next month!

Mum -- have a great day! I love you beyond words.

08 May 2007

Whatever is true

"Finally, [sister], whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." [Philippians 4:8-9]

My Prayer

04 May 2007


Currently Reading:
A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael . By Elisabeth Elliot
This isn't an easy read. It's very lengthy. Elliot confusingly weaves quotes from Amy Carmichael with her own prose to tell of Carmichael's life of total servanthood. We literally meet about a thousand people along the way, and I can't remember a single one of them when mentioned throughout the rest of the book. Carmichael herself is rather disagreeable and borders on unlikeable. But I keep going back to it. Much like the comforts given up by Carmichael in choosing a life dedicated solely to Christ and the orphans of India, this book isn't about making me feel good. It's a further attempt to push my own heart closer to the One who weaved it together. Carmichael trusted. Will I?

Currently Listening To:
Feist . Open Season
So there's this girl who sings in a number of different bands. One day she releases her own album, Let It Die. It meets critical success. Before she gets around to recording a follow-up, she releases Open Season, an album of remixes and collaborations featuring songs from Let It Die. I like it. A lot.

Current Life Quote:
Okay...so it's really not a quote. The author calls it a manifesto. I call it another must read.

26 April 2007


Million Dollar Smile!

Picture by D. Davis (Max's mom)
Bib by troy. (Max's pseudo-uncle)

19 April 2007

For An Angel

Photograph by Peter Saunders

Hey friend why do we always hide
It's no wonder that we're sinking down
Why should we stand in lonely shadows
with so much light around

I thought about it and I prayed about it out loud
And we can talk about it we can pray about it out loud

Ain't it time we need a change
we need to change a few things a few things
Think its time we need a change
we need to change a few things a few things

Mindy Smith . Out Loud [follow link to MP3]

12 April 2007

One World

"We do not need to justify our endeavors by tacking on a few Christian slogans at the end to somehow redeem them. Christ redeems what we do.... There is no Christian world, no secular world; these are just words. There is only one world -- the world God made."
[Frank Schaeffer]

Artwork by Linda Fries
Many Lands #9 [2003]
Earth pigment on paper

05 April 2007


He was wounded for the wrong we did;
he was crushed for the evil we did.

The punishment, which made us well, was given to him,
and we are healed because of his wounds.

01 April 2007


"I wish you knew today what would bring you peace."

"But now it is hidden from you."

19 March 2007

12 March 2007


My good friend Miller posted a flat-out, MUST READ the other day. I mean, his posts are always steeped in quality, but every now and then, he just places the arrow directly in the center of that tiny red bullseye. Partake of it here. And I use that particular phrase because just like the wine and bread we consume in rememberance, you must allow this post to metaphorically trace through your veins in order to fully comprehend and appreciate its depth.

And for some of you, this may challenge your thinking.

It may even make you a bit uncomfrontable.

But it may also plant seeds that could change the way you live.

And look around Toward Simplicity while you're there -- make sure you check out The 411 Project.

10 March 2007

03 March 2007

The Dawn of Spring?

Two straight days with temps in the 50s.

Is the dawn of Spring upon us?

My plan was to draw some sort of spiritual connection to the dawning of this new season, but instead, I'm going to ask you to take the next 5 minutes and sit in silence. Use that time to listen for the spiritual connection that God would have you make to your own life. And whether its a very simple or earth shattering response that you recieve, consider sharing that with us in the comments. Have a beautiful day!

Photos by Rick Mouer (my dad)