I didn't grow up following the Advent calendar, but for the last 5 or so years, it's become such a meaningful and helpful process for me in truly being able to celebrate Christmas, without feeling like it just came and went. We get the chance to wait...to long...to sit with the expectation of Christmas morning. This song, "O Come O Come Emanuel" is my favorite song to sing during this season, so I'm sharing it with you all with three candles lit, representing the (almost) third week of Advent.
I love how this song is filled with longing. With it, we remember the Israelite's longing for the the coming Messiah, but we also sing with a longing for Christ to return. To come back, rid the earth of evil and darkness, and restore everything back to the way it was intended.
The third verse is my prayer for us all this Christmas:
"O come, Desire of nations, bind
All people in one heart and mind
Bid envy, strife, and quarrels cease
Fill all the world with heaven's peace"
Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season!
A couple of weeks ago, some of our closest friends suffered the unexpected loss of their first baby, Nora Jo, shortly after birth. We're completely heartbroken. The saddest of circumstances to the sweetest of people.
They asked if I could sing a few songs at Nora's memorial and this was one of them.
Sometimes life is unfair and sad and too painful for words. The brokenness in our world is overwhelming. It's in times like these that I am most clearly aware that, truly, our only hope is in the promises of God. Without Him, there is no certainty...no meaning...nothing to hold onto. I'm thankful that we can hope in a God who promises to make right every wrong...to wipe away every tear as He restores and redeems ALL THINGS. I'm thankful that this is not the end of our story.
This #naptimesession is dedicated to Michael, Aubren, and sweet Nora Jo.
This is a song about gathering...about communion...about heaven.
You know the feeling. It's when you're sitting at a table with good friends or family and the conversation is easy and rolls through the night. When laughter and connectedness fills your soul and you just don't want to leave. Sharing food and drink with each other...enjoying the goodness God...full of thankfulness.
There's something magical about it. Something holy.
The Bible talks about a great feast in heaven...a banquet at the table of God when Christ has returned and made all things right again. No sorrow or sadness or evil...just celebrating.
I think on earth we get little glimpses of heaven. Little tastes and experiences of the real thing. We come just close enough to want more, and then that thing escapes us.
As the holiday season draws near and you gather around tables with your favorite people, delicious food and drink, may you take in the goodness of God and experience a little bit of heaven in your home.
Back in California, my daughter, Violet, went to an amazing school that did things like have school wide sing-a-longs, joining together with their "McAuliffe songs" that they've been singing for years and years. Tom Petty's "Walls" was one of those songs. This one quickly became one of Violet's favorites; singing it to herself often and requesting it every time we take out the guitar.
When I told her that Tom Petty, the artist who wrote "Walls", had passed away, she was really sad...like he was someone that she knew. And I totally get it. When a song becomes part of your life soundtrack, it becomes more than just a song. It becomes part of you.
What an amazing legacy of writing and performing timeless songs that have carried on through 5 decades of changing music culture. Songs that capture the hearts and ears of 7 year olds, 20 years after their release.
Well, after years of thinking and praying, our family is finally making the move out of the Bay Area. With housing prices going off the charts ridiculous, it's a necessary venture, but honestly, I wish we could just stay. There are so many people and places I love here. An amazing church family. An incredible, creative, and fun school for the kids. SUNSHINE AND PERFECT WEATHER ALL OF THE TIME.
But... sometimes God calls us out of our comfort zones, and here we go! As our move date gets closer and closer, and there are still a million details to figure out, I keep feeling the need to recenter myself in God's goodness...trusting Him to guide our path.
This hymn has been my prayer these days. That God's vision and purpose for us would always go before us. Lord, be our vision.
It's feeling a lot like summer over here and a whole day spent outside is a good day to me. 🙌🏼🌴☀️ I kept singing this song in my head and so decided it would be this week's #naptimesessions!
This is an old favorite of mine by the amazing Patty Griffin. She's such a good song writer and definitely one of my influences. Hope you enjoy!
As Mother's Day rolls in, here's one for all the mommas out there!
I've hesitated sharing this song for awhile because it's a bit brutally honest, but I'm counting on all the parents to understand what I'm saying. (Or anyone that takes care of young children for that matter.)
I wrote this song about a year and a half ago, when my kids were 10 mon., 3, and 5 and mothering was......really really hard. And really really beautiful. It was equally the most amazing, joy filled experience of my life, and also the freaking hardest thing I'd ever done.
You really can't be prepared for it. 9 months of your body not being your body...the physical trauma of labor...all the hormones...thrown into not sleeping for months...and then throw in the tantrums of toddlers and shenanigans of preschoolers and WHOA. Just whoa.
And I know, I know...there are much harder things... horrific things that people go through everyday around the world, so this song is certainly a lighter expression of a hard time. But I know I'm not alone when I say that being a mother has been the most refining process I've known...and I'm deeply grateful for it.
So, here you go! The dichotomy of motherhood in a song! Happy Mother's Day!
I love when I get stuck on an album. When I keep coming back because something about it just keeps resonating and won't leave me. Lately, I've been lingering with John Mark McMillan's Live At The Knight album. It's all of his songs that I love combined with the freshness of the live setting and some stories behind the songs.
His creative song writing is SO refreshing in a genre of SAME SAME SAME. This song, "Death In His Grave", has stuck with me for years and it's been legit to revisit it on this live album. I love how he tells the story you've heard and sung thousands of times, but in a totally fresh way.
Hope you enjoy the cover and definitely go check out the live version on Live At The Knight!
Anyone who really knows me, knows that I have a deep, undying love for basically everything ever written by C.S. Lewis. He has a way of so masterfully and creatively saying things I've felt or thought, but could never (or never even thought to) put into words. If it's been a while since I've read one of his books, I miss his voice, like I miss an actual person in my real life. Is that weird? :)
Anyways, this song was inspired by something Lewis says in his book "The Problem Of Pain" (my favorite).
"Are not all lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling (but faint and uncertain even in the best) of that something which you were born desiring, and which, beneath the flux of other desires and in all the momentary silences between the louder passions, night and day, year by year, from childhood to old age, you are looking for, watching for, listening for?"
Every now and then, I hear a song that causes me to stop what I'm doing, sit down, and really listen to it. Over and over and over. This has been one of those songs for me. This is the kind of thoughtful, hope filled songs we need more of in the world. The creative wording...the truthfulness...the beauty in life, love, and sadness...this is the kind of song I aspire to write.
Every year, I feel like Easter comes and goes - a flurry of egg hunts and service prep and making all the food - and somewhere around Sunday evening, I'm left feeling like I missed something. Like I just never quite got there. That place of really remembering...really engaging my heart in celebration and thankfulness and worship. Can I get a do over? Can we just go back...without all the hustle and fluff?
This year, a song has been playing over and over in my head. Like, my subconscious wanted to prep me, help me get there. I decided to share it with you all, so here you go. May our hearts and minds slow down enough this year to truly grasp the weight and the wonder of what we celebrate. Thank you Jesus.