Thursday, May 22, 2008

How to Pray

This post and this post have been a blessing to me today, reminding me of how to pray specifically for the Chapmans, and for others in our lives who are facing this sort of loss.

Pray for Steven Curtis Chapman and His Family

I am heartbroken at the morning news for the family of Steven Curtis Chapman. If you haven't heard the story, go here to read the AP report, or here to read it on Steven Curtis Chapman's website.

You may also wish to share your condolences with the Chapman family at this special website. Be sure to watch the sweet videos with little Maria.

Steven Curtis Chapman's music has been a major part of the soundtrack of my adult life. In college, his music encouraged me to grow in Christ. His music played a significant role in the romance of my husband and I (I mean, who in the 90's/early 00's didn't have "I Will Be Here" sung at their wedding?). And in recent years, the Chapman family's commitment to adoption, sharing their experiences, and founding Shaohannah's Hope, has influenced us in our decision to adopt. Brian and I feel as though we know them. They're our brothers and sisters in the faith. Our hearts are breaking for them right now.

I find it interesting, that in his long career, Steven has shared many songs that contain the truths of the hope that we can find in the Lord. How precious that God has given Steven and his family songs, now hidden in his heart, that are filled with the words of God, and that can serve as anchors to their faith. Take a moment to review the lyrics of With Hope, Carry You to Jesus, Hiding Place, More to this Life, Hold on to Jesus, and many more. And, though I'm sure it's not what he had in mind when he wrote the song, consider this line from Cinderella:

So I danced with Cinderella / While she is here in my arms / 'Cause I know something the prince never knew / Oh, I danced with Cinderella / I don't want to miss even one song / 'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight / And she'll be gone

The best thing we can do for this precious family right now is to get down on our knees before the God of all comfort and lift them up to Him in prayer. Pray for peace that surpasses understanding, for caring friends and family to rise up and minister to them, for protection from the attacks of the evil one, for healing and protection for their sweet son, and that the Chapman family will find a way to praise God through this terrible storm. And even as we grieve, we also celebrate, that precious Maria is safe and whole and loved in the arms of Jesus.

And regarding the question, friends, that has come up about what happens to those already dead and buried, we don't want you in the dark any longer. First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word. Since Jesus died and broke loose from the grave, God will most certainly bring back to life those who died in Jesus.
I Thessalonians 4:13-14 The Message

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Let's Get Ready to Rumble - American Idol Finals

Here we go, interpeeps. The finals of American Idol have come down to Battle of the Davids.

Umm...OK...the intro? And my title, for that matter? Pure Cheese. Break out the tortilla chips, and let's have some queso.

Quit the jabbering already, and lets do some singing!

-----Round One-----

"DC Comics" David Cook - I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (Clive Davis' choice) Wow...what a difference a good theatre makes! The acoustics strike me as being much nicer...much rounder. I think that will help with the pitch issues we heard last week. This was an awesome choice for Cook. And a prize-worthy performance. LOVED it.

Paula, dear? Please stop with those song segue compliments...they're cheesier than the boxing references!

"The Shaggy DA" David Archuleta - Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me (Clive Davis' choice) DA is clearly the better vocalist in these finals. But I believe that DC is the better performer, and the more entertaining of the two. I could listen to DA sing all day, but I'd rather watch DC.

-----Round Two-----

DC - Dream Big (Songwriter's Choice) Hmmm...I didn't like this as much. He's singing his heart out, with passion, but it sounded like he was screaming. And that's not good, on the heels of DA's velvet vocals.

DA - In This Moment (Songwriter's Choice) The first few words were a little thin and unsupported. But he took off at the chorus. I don't get the anchor jacket. Vocals still great, but he can do even better.

-----Round Three-----

DC - The World I Know (David's Choice) DC has given us a nice variety tonight. I loved this gentle rocker version. I love the way he "gets" the music. He doesn't just look earnest, he looks like the song is real for him. That said, I think Simon may be right when he said that DC should have chosen one of his former "hits" for this show. It's clear that this song is meaningful to DC, so it was a nice choice for him, if not the best choice for the finals.

DA - Imagine (David's Choice) WOW. WWOWWWW! I remember that this was uh-may-zing the first time he did it. But this? This was the best vocal performance of the season, in my opinion.

And the Winner is...David!

Um, yeah. This was a weird finals night. I went into it rooting for David Cook. I think he has been consistently strong, choosing fresh songs (or choosing moldy oldies and making them fresh), and adding a sensitive rocker twist to them. I think he has a poet's soul, and that he analyzes the text of the song, then highlights it musically and vocally. He has a rocker's voice, so it's coarse and rough, but he's careful with how he applies it to the music, and I appreciate that. I really like his performances, because I believe he communicates the songs he chooses.

David Archuleta, on the other hand, has amazing depth to his voice. His vocals are pure and refined, and he sings earnestly, but I don't always believe he's communicating the meaning of the song. It appears to me that he focuses on the general feeling of the song, then tries to look happy or sad or inspirational. I think this is something that he will improve with time, and that there will be certain songs that he "gets" and pours himself into, like he did with Imagine. But his youthfulness makes his songs seem a little shallow to me sometimes.

All that said, I would be delighted for either of these young men to win this season. I'm glad it came down to these two...this is the ending I hoped for, even though it's not all I hoped it would be. As far as I'm concerned, DAVID is the next American Idol!

OK, Interpeeps, that's all I've got. I won't be weighing in tomorrow night. This is my season finale. Don't forget to stop by BooMama's to read what all the cool people are saying about the American Idol finals!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hang in there!

Hey folks, I have done something wacky with my blogger template. I am working on restoring it, while adding a new background and header. In the meantime, it's still me. I'm still here. Please pardon my dust!

American Idol - Top 3

Taking a page from Cindy, I'm going to attempt to keep my comments short & sweet. Let's see...3 words, a quote (possibly paraphrased), and a summation. It won't be as funny as Cindy, but hopefully it will at least be My pick for each round will be in red.

David Archuleta - And So It Goes (Paula's choice) - Sweet. Simple. Squinty. "In it to win it." Nice choice. Not stunning, but, well, sweet.

Syesha Mercado - If I Ain't Got You (Randy's choice) - Sparkly. Smiley. So-not-Alicia. "Peaking late in the competition." I know she loved the choice, but I agree with Simon, I wish she'd had the opportunity to sing something less identifiable with a star.

David Cook - The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (Simon's choice) - Sultry. Stunning. Stellar. "My second favorite person who sings it." I loved this one. LOVED it. LOVED IT!!! Perfect choice, Simon. Was that his mama standing in the audience? It was. Oh. How. Sweet.

David Archuleta - With You (David's choice) - Weird. Weak. Wobbly (dancing). "A chihuahua trying to be a tiger." The girls loved it. I didn't.

Syesha Mercado - Fever (Syesha's choice) - Eyebrows. Theatrical. Old-fashioned. (Had to give up the alliteration.) "I think you're going to regret that tomorrow." Fun, for a musical review or cabaret show. Not Top 40 radio material.

David Cook - I Dare You to Move (David's choice) - Pitchy. Under-energized. Semi-cool. "I wanted more." Not his best, but the best of this round.

David Archuleta - Longer (Producer's choice) - Pretty. Predictable. Put-together (wardrobe). "You could sing the phone book." And "It was so gooey." Gorgeous, gooey vocals.

Syesha Mercado - Hit Me Up (Producer's choice) - Sassy. Sequiny. Slippery (pitches). "It's a song about penguins." Last week was better...maybe she peaked too late.

David Cook - I Don't Want to Miss a Thing (Producer's choice) - Stringy. Silky. Superb. "This is where the beginning, the middle, and the end is." And "See ya in the finals." 'Nuff said.

David Cook wins the night. Simon Says. I do to. You go, boy!

Now, for the love of all things funny, please go see BooMama's review!

NEW! Fudgy Oreo Ice Cream Cake Recipe

Just posted on my recipe blog. Here's a preview:

A Door is Ajar...A Jar is...

We used to have a car that said "A door is ajar" whenever someone took too long getting into the car. It was...annoying. Know what else is annoying? The ICK inside my apothecary jars. Remember these? Well, now they look like this:

Jar #1 isn't too bad, but the plant is growing too tall.
Jar #2 is still fine.
But Jar #3...

Well, it reminds me of this:

Yes. Ick. ::::shudder::::

So. Looking at the ick in jar #3 leaves me totally uninspired. I need some great, cheap, INSPIRED ideas for what to put inside my apothecary jars (after I clean them out). I like natural-ish looking things, but I'm open to other ideas. That moss in the bottom of the jars is probably still useable, except for the moss in jar #3. Here's what I've done thus far. Near Easter, I filled my apothecary jars like this, and when I first got them, I filled them like this.

Here's where you can help. I need your suggestions, photos, links, etc. As Kari and Kijsa would say, "What's an Apothecary Jar to Do?"

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

American Idol - The Final Four

That would be Top 4. I must say, I'm about ready to wrap this thing up. Crown the Davids and let's be done, ok? Rock & Roll Hall of Fame should give us a little more variety. Let's get started, shall we?

David Cook - Hungry like a Wolf – I liked the “doo doo doo” part. I just love the way he makes eye contact with the audience. I hear a little bit of pitchiness tonight, and I had trouble making out the words. Plus, what is going on with the back of that boy’s head? I thought this was less vibrant than some of the other songs. I agree with Randy. I’m a little creeped out at Paula’s comments.

Syesha MercadoProud Mary – Hmmm….taking on another icon? This could be bad news. She looks amazing. OK…those pitch problems just persist, don’t they? She’s a great performer, but the vocals are still very important! Does anyone else see a little bit of Halle Berry in Syesha? Especially when she gets emotional.

Jason Castro - I Shot the Sheriff - Ha! "Go figure" cracked me up! I'm not a Bob Marley fan, but this is Jason's vibe. He seemed to be enjoying it more than he has in weeks. I really didn't hate it as much as the judges did. I liked that he had fun with it.

David Archuleta - Stand By Me - I wish David's stylists would help him get a slightly more mature look. I'd like to see him in a tailored untucked button down shirt, not these skater clothes...still youthful, but with a little more substance. Let's get Clinton Kelly on the scene. Anywho. LOVED the vocals tonight. I liked this song for him. Ha Ha! "Their faces scare me" also cracked me up!

David Cook - Baba O'Riley - Man, how lame am I? I have never heard of this song, but I thought this was cooler than the first song. The pitchiness is still there, but not as pronounced. Is it just me, or does he look stressed and exhausted tonight? Still, he is consistently cool and a great performer.

Yeehaw for the Rascals! Love me some Rascal Flatts!

Syesha Mercado - A Change is Gonna Come - Nice job, Syesha. Seemed to have a little issue on the last line, but very, very nice. Pretty dress (but it needs a little hanky there in the neckline). That is a seriously groovy Syesha poster in the audience. I disagree with Randy. I actually liked this better than the first song. I think Paula was right on the money (and surprisingly lucid tonight). Glad to hear Simon agrees!

Jason Castro - Mr. Tambourine Man - Oh no. So sorry Jason. I had high hopes than you could outshine Ms. Syesha and stick around another week...for the sake of the Aggies. But you just can't blank out on words in the top 4. There's just no room for that. But I still like you. I would love to see you in your real element. Do you wanna come lead worship in our church one Sunday this summer? Seriously. Have your people call my people.

David Archuleta - Love Me Tender - Oh, how sad is it that David doesn't know "Love Me Tender"? did the stylists read my post before I even posted it? Much better look. Poor baby, he looks a little pained. He needs to let David Cook teach him how to make eyes at the audience. But those vocals? Absolutely glorious. Chills. Well done, young David.

I was prepared to love David Cook tonight, but I really liked David Archuleta and Syesha Mercado the best tonight.

Jason, keep the faith. Keep singing. It's been fun watching you.

If you can't get enough of American Idol, you'll want to stop by BooMama's for a refreshing take on tonight's show.

Jason Castro - Live from College Station?

OK, honestly? When Jason Castro sang Hallelujah? I totally wanted him to win, then and there. Since that week, I don't think he's been as strong, but there's still something very likeable about him. I don't see him winning this whole she-bang, but I'd love to see him make it through this week. Why? Because the top 3 get to have a "home town concert", and Jason's will be in College Station. On the A&M campus. How cool is that? My sweet friend Julie (who introduced me and Brian, so I owe her!) sent me this email that is being distributed to Aggieland:

All – I wanted to make you aware that we will have American Idol here on our campus next Thursday, provided that Texas A&M student and Rockwall native Jason Castro makes the top 3 finalists during the Tuesday and Wednesday’s shows. This will be an incredible opportunity to showcase Texas A&M for a national TV audience of about 33 million viewers.

As the plan stands today, Jason and the American Idol crew will arrive at Easterwood Airport on Thursday, May 8, at 5 p.m.; then he will perform a 1-hour outdoor “concert” at 7 p.m. on the steps of the Academic Building. As part of the concert, we will have a mini Yell Practice to showcase some of what makes Texas A&M a special place. We have engaged many campus units today regarding this opportunity, and we will start some promotion of the event this afternoon via social network sites such as Facebook.

For all of this to happen here on our campus, of course, is that Jason will have to perform well and get his share of the 45 million votes that will be cast. We’re hoping Aggies will help boost his numbers. The event continues to evolve and plans are moving quickly. We’ll keep you updated if anything changes drastically, and let me know if you have any questions.

Jason Cook, APR
Vice President for Marketing & Communications
Division of Marketing & Communications
Texas A&M University
So...for the love of Texas...(and Aggieland)...and for my friend Julie, please give a little voting love to Jason tonight!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Happy May Day!

Antique Rose
Originally uploaded by thingspondered
Here's a flowery treat for you!