Thursday, October 2, 2014

October Happenings


















Not one of my all time favorites (the header or the background), but that's mostly that I don't love Fall colors as much as Spring ones. I do adore the quote and the pictures, though.
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So, October basically consists of MISSISSIPPI.

- We're leaving and we have one day in MS before the wedding so I'm getting my dress altered and hair colored.

- Then COOKIE'S GETTING MARRIED. WHOOO HOOO!

- Then church and lunch with friends.

- Then a free dinner and dinner with friends.

- Then a trip to Granny's and to see El and Minda.

- Then doctor/dentist appointments and dinner with Peyton's sister and her family.

- Then two meetings.

- Then dinner with my parents

- Then Peyton flies back

- The kids and I are just going to have fun seeing more friends and hanging out with family and then my ten year reunion is the next weekend and then we'll fly back on Tuesday.

WHEW!

Here were my September goals:

1. Spend time together with Peyton in prayer/reading the Bible/discussing our Bible studies. We did a little better with this this month, actually! It's still something I want to improve, though.

2. Finish the book I'm reading and start a new one. I finished the Henri Nouwen book I was reading and started Speak.

3. Plan for trip to Mississippi. I'v mostly done this, as can be seen above. I need to pack now!

4. Start Annie's math curriculum. We started it and so far I'm LOVING it. I plan to do a post on the homeschool blog about it because I think it's really fabulous and perfect for us right now.

5. (Mostly) change over the kids' closet. I knocked this totally out. Too bad I'm going to have to go dig out some stuff to take to MS because it's going to be in the NINETIES. Hahaha.

6. Find and purchase the kids' Fall wardrobe, as much as possible fair trade. I put the final touches on their wardrobe and I'm really excited about it. I need to do a post on that, too, at some point.

7.  Every time I pass a black man on the street I'm going to look him in the eye and say "hello". I made this goal in light of Ferguson and my deep feelings on it. I wanted to be intentional in my interactions even when they were awkward and do my best to say "I'm not afraid of you" when I come upon people I formerly would have found intimidating because of their dress and speech and, let's be honest, color.

8. Attend a write-in with Gotham Writers at least once. It wasn't easy, but I did it. And it was so great!

October goals:

1. Take part in the 31 Days Challenge

2. Pack and get ready for trip to MS (preferably not the night before). 

3. Come up with a toast for the rehearsal dinner. 

4. Be reasonable in my expectations for myself in Mississippi. Get enough sleep. Eat well. Give myself space to process emotions in the time not filled with other people.

So, super light on the goals, but understandable I think because it's going to be a crazy month.

Here's to October, a month that will usher in the cold and also usher in the establishing of a new family. May it be a month where family and friends, faith and community, love and relationships; are in even sharper focus and we privilege those things above the chaos and the to-dos and the ache of not being enough for anyone, let alone everyone. 


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

31 Days to Write True: Introduction



I went back and forth for the last few weeks trying to decide if I wanted to do a 31 Days series this month, even though I loved doing the challenge last year. I had a couple of ideas, but they all involved a good bit of prep and the thought was pretty daunting. We're traveling back to Mississippi (we moved to Brooklyn about eight months ago for a big adventure) and the kids and I will be there the bulk of the month. I knew it just wasn't the time to commit to writing posts that would each take forty five minutes to an hour each day. I knew if I did the challenge, I wanted a broad topic where I could make it into what I needed it to be on a given day.

What I also know is that for whatever reason (and my guess is that there are several) September has been a hard month up here. I've had a lot on my mind and I've been struggling. I knew one thing that would help me was to just be able to write each day- to put my thoughts and feelings out here and use this space as a processing place as I've done so many times before.

So, I'm not totally sure what these posts will look like. I don't have 31 Days of ideas in a list to move around and edit like I did last year. That would kind of defeat the point, I think. I'll basically be popping in each day and sharing what's on my heart. Some days it may be what's going on in our lives, some days it may be pictures and words about the kids that been an excuse for a post sitting in edits for weeks, some days it may be a song that's speaking to me. Some days I may even use one of the prompts from here.

Some of them will probably be pretty short. And that's okay. I'm hoping to write well and write consistently. And I'm hoping to write true.

[I'm going to put links to all the forthcoming posts here, so they'll all be together in one place.]

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What I'm Into: September



September has been a weird month in some ways. I'm going to blog about that more later, but I just haven't felt like myself- certainly not like myself since we've been here. We've enjoyed some fun stuff this month, but I can't say it's been one of my favorites. I think part of that is that I haven't been doing the things that I enjoy and that fill me with energy- reading good words and listening to good tunes and that sort of thing. But it's a cycle, because the desire hasn't really been there.  

On the Nightstand:
 
Reflections for Ragamuffins: Daily Devotions by Brennan Manning 

This is a perfect example. These words speak to me literally every time I pick the book up, often in profound ways. But this month it was neglected. 


Immersion Bible Study: Mathew- J. Ellsworth Kallas
I finished this one and it was really great. Full of so many good thoughts on being true peace makers and serving and truly loving those with disabilities and not fearing death. It was deep, but incredibly easy (and quick!) to read. 

I actually haven't gotten very far into this one at all, but I think it's going to be a great one. 

On Their Nightstand: 

We're almost at the end of our first set of Five In a Row books (which I've had for years and have been consistent with for seasons, but would take lots of breaks). The two most recent ones were really delightful:

Storm in the Night- Mary Stolz
The pictures in this book were amazing. I loved the art and the way the storm was portrayed visually. The story itself was really interesting and clever, but so simple. It's about a little boy and his grandfather and the conversation they have during a storm (which includes a story from the grandfather's childhood). The dialogue leads the grandfather to share some poignant truths like "how fear does strange things to people" and how his grandson's fears are "perfectly natural". What I love most is that these big ideas aren't presented in an overbearing way that would seem awkward to a young reader. It's just a natural part of the story. Which is full of good writing and beautiful imagery, incidentally. 

Again, the illustrations in this one were gorgeous. I just love a children's book with beautiful pictures. This is a story about a little boy who finds some "moonjellies" (tiny sea creatures) and how his grandmother takes him on a short voyage to return them to the sea. These are the bookends of the story. There is a lot of action in the middle that takes place at the family's restaurant. It seems like the restaurant is sort of a Coney Island type venue, except we don't see any rides. At least that's what it brought to mind for me and the kids. It's located in New England, though, and the restaurant is clearly a beach front establishment with onion rings and hot dogs, but also clam chowder and lobster rolls. It was the kind of book where, between the amazing illustrations and beautiful writing, you felt like you were right there is the story. 

Giant Steps for Little People- Kenneth N. Taylor
We love these sweet devotional books that I had as a child. We were reading this page and I got to question three ("If you get married when you grow up, will you always love your husband or wife?") and Annie sighed and said "Yes, even if it isn't Graves".

On the Shelf:
I'm actually not adding one thing. We're going to be in Mississippi for the better part of the month and I'm looking at a full calendar and a tender heart. I'll actually feel like it'l be quite an achievement for me if I finish Speak because I know we'll be so busy and tired.

At the Theater (or from the couch):
 One of my 2014 Hopeful Ambitions (goals) is to watch ten documentaries. Peyton and I watched more movies than usual this month (four) and and of the four all but one of them was a docu.

Brooklyn Boheme



I've had this on my list to watch since before we moved because more than being about Brooklyn, it's about our specific neighborhood in Brooklyn. Which I think is a really fascinating place with a rich history. Well, right after we moved they took it off streaming and then I realized we couldn't even get a disc from Netflix. So we ended up paying to stream it from Amazon. It was really fascinating and insightful. It's basically about the black and Hispanic artistic community (mostly performing arts- musicians, actors, and spoken word artists) that evolved in Fort Greene during the last decade of the previous century. The film compares the 80s and 90s in Fort Greene to the Harlem Ressesiance in terms of a huge emergence of art in the African American community. I felt like Spike Lee was pretty incoherent, rambly, and aggressive I mean, I can't blame him for his gentrification rants but he just wasn't even as clear and articulate as I wished he had been. I loved hearing the perspectives of Chris Rock and Rosie Perez and most of all I loved the way Nelson George (who wrote and narrated the film) tied it all together. I was unfamiliar with him, but he has a beautiful way with words. I bought his memoir to read later.

Terms and Conditions May Apply
This wasn't my typical style documentary but Peyton started watching it and was fascinated. Esespeciallyiven the amount of time we spent online (we just do that a lot more than watch TV and such), it was interesting. The general topic of the documentary is how corporations and the government are able to use the personal information that we sign away without thought when we agree to the terms and conditions of a website. It was slightly disturbing and really interesting.

So this one follows a group of teenagers in a small town in Mississippi as they prepare for their first racially integrated prom in 2008(!!!). I have lived in Mississippi for all my life until the last seven months and this still blows my mind. It was really interesting to see the students' perspectives and their ideas about the previous segregated proms they'd been having for years. 

Perks of Being a Wallflower
So, I'm a sucker for a coming of age story. And boy was this a beautiful one. The story opens with Charlie entering into high school with no friends, as his best friend recently committed suicide. Two seniors befriend him and the rest of the movie details his new friendships, his past pains, his first love, and a host of other painfully beautiful moments. I adored it, but it took me several days to even process my feelings. Also, Emma Watson is gorg and I plan to get her haircut from this movie. Pretty dramatic, but now's the time, ya know? 

On the Small Screen:
We tried a few new shows and enjoyed some old ones. 


The Boondocks
This is an adult animated sitcom" (so not my thing, so Peyton's) about a black family in a mostly white suburban neighborhood and the different family members respective ideas and interactions with each other and the community. So, this is a tough one. It's really strong satire and it's thought provoking on a lot of levels. But it's controversial, mainly in the way it portrays race. There are some episodes I thought were funny and also enlightening and some that were more difficult to get through. 

Bob's Burgers
This was another grown up cartoon suggested by guess who? Peyton. It was mildly hysterical but super raunchy and it wasn't worth the crudeness without some interesting message, a la The Boondocks.  

Law and Order: SVU
So they're pulling this (and the original) from streaming and I'm so devastated. Which makes me feel sort of gross saying that. It's just such an interesting show to me and much more so now that we're familiar with the city. 

Peyton put the Hippo in time out on top of his armoire because someone was misbehaving. 

The West Wing
I didn't spend too much time with it and now my fear is that it'll get yanked, too.

In My Ears:

My September playlist...

which has a special emphasis on this guy:

in particular The Rising because I just can't go through a September 11th without hearing Bruce sing about it. It touches me in a very deep place.

Around the House:
So, the other night I was up late looking for a sex book I had bought for Annie because she had asked exactly how mommas and papas who love each other make a baby and I had defered to a better time when her brother wasn't running laps around the room YELLING about crocodiles and dinosaurs. Anyway, I broke the Ikea bookcase looking for it. There are still a few functional shelves, but a good many of our books now live in the kitchen cabinet. (Thankfully, we ended up with way more kitchen storage than I had anticipated when I packed our house in MS.)

In the Kitchen:
Minnie's corn on the cob hack involves wrapping it with damp paper towels and microwaving. Of course, paper towels equals are frowned upon EnviroSweetie's house. So we used those flushable diaper liners we had left over from when we cloth diapered (which, for anyone who thinks that might defeat the purpose for EnviroSweetie, it was the only way he got me to do it- still so much better than disposables in landfills for decades). 
Um, it's Fall and I've made my dad's chili recipe twice in the last two weeks. Yum! So obsessed. 

In My Closet:

I'd never wear a long sleeve t-shirt and flats to church in Mississippi. But I can't do buses and trains (and much walking) in heels and dressy dresses. And I do LOVE this skirt. 


Another Fallish Sunday (too late for sundresses) another t-shirt to church. This time it's one from a pajama set I got at my lingerie shower. (Yes, I had the kind of lingerie shower where people gave me t-shirt and boxer sets.) but it matches the skirt to well not to. Whatever. I thought the outfit was very functional and still cute. 

In Their Closets:


I got her this dress off eBay. It's a 5 (not even a 5T) and it's SO short. Not inappropriate but bizarre for a smocked dress. I love it so much, though, and nobody here even knows they're supposed to be long. I ended up loving it, though, because it looks so retro and like a Eloise Wilkin character or something. Also, when your momma tries to get a picture of you in your smocked dress with better lighting and a street shrub and she inadvertently places you right next to the graffiti. That's a city girl prob for sure.


Annie wearing legit vintage. Any guesses who this chambray cow dress belonged to? Bitty SD! Super special because Minnie did the smocking and her momma (who was not just my grandmother but one of my best friends while she was alive) put it together. Annie was SO proud to wear it.


Brooklyn tough. I can't decide why I think this outfit looks so grown. I think it's partly the overall look is just funkier than what I usually put her in with the stripes and then the denim shoes that are sort of quirky. But I also think it's how the leggings fit. They aren't as tight as her typical ones and just have a different look to me. Enough analyzing, right? I had a goal to buy most of their clothes fair trade this Fall and this is one example. 

Another fair trade Fall outfit (well, the top the pants are from last Winter). I think the top is adorable but Peyton said it's so different than my usual. 

Admit it. You'd love a pair of these. 

I've gotten a little more funky with his style- mixing patterns and going for clothes that aren't as traditional. I think he rocks it =)

Graves wore his Chucks with a smocked bubble to church. And not in an ironic hipster/Southern baby way, in a mom is still ill prepared for the Yankee Fall way. But it did look surprisingly cute to me.

I may just let him wear his sneakers to church all Fall. I think they look so darlin' in a rough little boy way.

Peyton's mom sent him these pjs awhile back and I was so excited when I unpacked his Fall stuff and found them. He's OBSESSED with "Crocodila" from the Wild Kratts. They each get to pick a show in the morning and I finally had to say we're only watching the "Mom of a Croc" episode every other day. Oh, and he likes to go in the closet to "lay eggs". Not having any talks with him anytime soon. I love how soft and thin these are. They're like those vintage t-shirts. Who knows if they'll hold up to his rowdiness, but I love to snuggle him in them. 

And I couldn't not include this outfit. 
In My Mailbox:
Annie finished the first level of her English curriculum so I ordered the next two. I also ordered a new critical thinking book for Graves. I always love getting those new resources in the mail. 

In My Cart:
This is the bulk of the fair trade stuff I ordered. It was a little pricey (obviously), but I felt so good about it. And I was so pleased I was able to find things I loved. I'm actually REALLY excited about these reversible trousers with detachable suspenders for play. Gravey Train is going to be such a hipster.

Around the City:

Clown Parade in Union Square Park


This was fun and different. Lots of whacky outfits and fun music. It was a little more offbeat than I expected, but such a cool experience.

Parks and Playgrounds:

We rediscovered this great playground in a neighborhood a couple of miles from us. We had found it when we were visiting this time last year and I told Peyton I knew Graves would love the animals. A year later and he still did! 



Peyton and the kids found this great playground in Central Park. Lots of tunnels and passageways and secret hiding places. And of course water! 



We also finally checked out this really neat area of Prospect Park. It's a playground, but there is no metal and no jungle gyms. It's all natural. So cool and different! 


Educational Opportunities: 



We visited an urban farm on the rooftop of a building in Queens. The kids learned about bees and composting, visited a hen house, and tasted raw veggies they picked themselves! 



And I finally did a writing workshop at Gotham. It was really chill. It's called a "write in"- you go for a couple of hours and there are two sessions. You get a prompt and write for fifteen minutes and then there's a chance to read your work if you want to. People offer positive feedback and the work is treated as fiction (even if it seems memoir-ish). There's a break between sessions with light snacks and wine and time to mingle. It was super fun. And it's $20. So awesome. 

Dance Classes: 

We signed Annie up at Brooklyn Ballet. She took "creative dance" at a different school this Summer and loved it. This is more formal and a bit more serious (but still really fun) and I think she's enjoying learning more about actual ballet techniques. 


And Graves and Peyton are taking a class at Cumbe, which is an African and Diaspora Dance center. I think it's so cool to watch. I love the strong, powerful movements and the songs they sing are so uplifting and empowering ("I love myself. I will excel. I stand with pride. I grow each day.")

Around the Nabe:


I just love our beautiful, quirky neighborhood so much. 



On My Heart:
- As I mentioned, September has just been hard. It's going to take a blog post in itself to even try to process it, but I've been in a weird state. 
- One thing that is positive- I mentioned last month that we'd been discussing a lot about the future (if/when we'll have more children, schooling for the two we do have, career possibilities for Peyton, the prospect of moving out of the suburbs and into the city once we get back in Mississippi, and a few other things). I feel like we've gotten some direction in those areas. 
- Peyton's come up with a new adventure. More on that later, too, but I think it's going to be great (and also really tough). 

In My Prayers:
- I'm still  praying about our time in Mississippi. That we won't over extend ourselves, but also that it'll be a full time of seeing so many people we love. 
- I'm praying for the children in Mississippi. I know it's going to be a LOT going on and they will be totally out of their routine. Thankfully, they'll be surrounded by people who love them and are anxious to give them lots of Grace, but I'm praying that they are able to adjust easily for those few weeks. 
- I'm praying for a friend who has a HUGE upcoming transition and just that it will be as smooth as it can be. I'm also praying that the Lord will show me ways I can support her while not being in the same town :-/
- I'm praying for discernment on how we use our time here. We've come to a conclusion as far as about how long we want to stay and now I feel a real burden to make use of that time as much as we can. 
 
On the Calendar: 

We're headed home to Mississippi for a nice, long trip! 

As always, I'm linking up with Leigh. Go check out some other What I'm Into posts!


What I'm Into

Monday, September 29, 2014

Tunes for the Month: September


So, I almost didn't make this playlist. It got really late in the month and I'm pretty overwhelmed with what I need to get done in the next week before we head to Mississippi for the better part of a month. Also, I've just been overwhelmed by my thoughts in general.

I don't know why this wasn't an indication I needed to curate a playlist stat. Music speaks to me so profoundly and heals me in such a real way. It blows my mind that I was overwhelmed enough to forget this, or worse yet to think it was worth the sacrifice because "too busy".

I haven't listened to much music at all this month up until the last few days and while I don't think that's the cause of the problem (I'm not sure exactly what is), I know it's not helping. So, enough with that.

Here's the new playlist! I think it's a good mix- some Bruce songs I play every September, all the songs I used in the slideshow of family pictures, and things that I included on other lists but didn't get my fill (civil war and eighties music).

[Also, interestingly, several of these appear on other playlists I've made. Interestingly, the Springsteen songs at the beginning were included on my very first playlist back in September 2012.]

1. The Rising- Bruce Springsteen



Left the house this morning
Bells ringing filled the air
Wearin' the cross of my calling
On wheels of fire I come rollin' down here
Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight
Li,li, li,li,li,li, li,li,li
There's spirits above and behind me
Faces gone black, eyes burnin' bright
May their precious blood bind me
Lord, as I stand before your fiery light
Li,li, li,li,li,li, li,li,li
I see you mary in the garden
In the garden of a thousand sighs
There's holy pictures of our children
Dancin' in a sky filled with light
May I feel your arms around me
May I feel your blood mix with mine
A dream of life comes to me
Like a catfish dancin' on the end of my line
Sky of blackness and sorrow ( a dream of life)
Sky of love, sky of tears (a dream of life)
Sky of glory and sadness ( a dream of life)
Sky of mercy, sky of fear ( a dream of life)
Sky of memory and shadow ( a dream of life)
Your burnin' wind fills my arms tonight
Sky of longing and emptiness (a dream of life)
Sky of fullness, sky of blessed life

This song is like those huge speckled jaw breakers I'd get when I was little. It has so many layers and for the past decade, I've been uncovering them in the lyrics and in my life. But this year, I understand it in yet another way. A way I never could have if I didn't daily walk these streets and feel an almost tangible pride of a place surround me. I'm not arrogant enough to claim this city, but I'm not too proud to say It's changed me in a huge way. New York, you inspire me.

2. My City of Ruins- Bruce Springsteen


There is a blood red circle
On the cold dark ground
And the rain is falling down
The church door's thrown open
I can hear the organ's song
But the congregation's gone
My city of ruins
My city of ruins
Now the sweet bells of mercy
Drift through the evening trees
Young men on the corner
Like scattered leaves,
The boarded up windows,
The empty streets
While my brother's down on his knees
My city of ruins
My city of ruins
Come on, rise up! Come on, rise up!
Come on, rise up! Come on, rise up!
Come on, rise up! Come on, rise up!
Now with these hands,
With these hands,
With these hands,
I pray Lord
With these hands,
With these hands,
I pray for the strength, Lord
With these hands,
With these hands,
I pray for the faith, Lord
We pray for your love, Lord
We pray for the lost, Lord
We pray for this world, Lord
We pray for the strength, Lord
We pray for the strength, Lord


I think this will be on my September list for as long as I do these- this one and "The Rising". They speak to me on a personal level and are some of my favorite songs, but they also remind me in a very deep since of such a terrible day back when I was in tenth grade. 

3. Lonesome Day- Bruce Springsteen


Hell's brewing, dark sun's on the rise
This storm will blow through, by and by
House is on fire, vipers in the grass
Little revenge and this too shall pass
This too shall pass, darling, yeah I'm gonna pray
Right now, all I got's this lonesome day
Lonesome day

This is just a good song for, well, lonesome days. This is a whole other post, but I've been having some this month. 

4. Waitin' on a Sunny Day- Bruce Springsteen


Without you, I'm workin' with the rain fallin' down
I'm half a party in a one dog town
I need you to chase these blues away
Without you, I'm a drummer girl that can't keep a beat
An ice cream truck on a deserted street
I hope that you're coming to stay
I'm waitin', waitin' on a sunny day
Gonna chase the clouds away
Waitin' on a sunny day
Hard times, baby well they come to us all
Sure as the tickin' of the clock on the wall
Sure as the turnin' of the night into day
Your smile girl, brings the mornin' light to my eyes
Lifts away the blues when I rise
I hope that you're coming to stay

I watched Bruce talk about his process with writing this on a Behind the Music I Netflixed awhile back. It was really interesting to see what he said and it seemed very stream of consciousness and not as deliberate as some of the other things he's written. I love the imagery and the contrast of hard times and happy feelings brought by the one you love.

5. Mary's Place- Bruce Springsteen


Familiar faces around me
Laughter fills the air
Your loving grace surrounds me
Everybody's here
Furniture's out on the front porch
Music's up loud
I dream of you in my arms
I lose myself in the crowd
Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain
Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain, let it rain
Meet me at mary's place, we're gonna have a party
Meet me at mary's place, we're gonna have a party
Tell me how do you live broken-hearted
Meet me at mary's place
I got a picture of you in my locket
I keep it close to my heart
It's a light shining in my breast
Leading me through the dark
Seven days, seven candles
In my window lighting your way
Your favorite record's on the turntable
I drop the needle and pray (turn it up)
Band's countin' out midnight (turn it up)
Floor's rumblin' loud (turn it up)
Singer's callin' up daylight (turn it up)
And waitin' for that shout from the crowd

I'm pretty sure this was on my list last September and I may be restating the same things here, but again I love the imagery of the house party that's going on here. The furniture on the front porch (in the rain), the favorite record on the turntable, and the singer callin' up daylight. Of course, the best is the laughter, the familiar faces, and being surrounded by loving grace. It sounds perfect and in many ways I want my home to mirror this- putting furniture on the porch if it feels right, having a constant flow of music through the air, and again most of all feeling, in an almost tangible way, the loving grace that surrounds us.

6. You're Missing- Bruce Springsteen


Shirts in the closet, shoes in the hall
Mama's in the kitchen, baby and all
Everything is everything
Everything is everything
But you're missing
Coffee cups on the counter, jackets on the chair
Papers on the doorstep, but you're not there
Everything is everything
Everything is everything
But you're missing
Pictures on the nightstand, tv's on in the den
Your house is waiting, your house is waiting
For you to walk in, for you to walk in
But you're missing, when I shut out the lights
You're missing, when I close my eyes
You're missing, when I see the sun rise
You're missing

This one is heartbreaking. Just missing someone so deeply and everything throughout your day reminds you of him. Hard.

7. Daughter- Loudon Wainwright III


Every time she blinks
she strikes somebody blind.

Everything she thinks

blows her tiny mind.

That's my daughter in the water,

who'd have ever thought her?

Who'd have ever thought?


Here's where the slideshow numbers come in. And I just realized that a lot of these appeared in a playlist a couple of years back on their birthdays. Whatever. They are such special songs. In this one I love the line "Everything she thinks blows her tiny mind". It just reminds me of Annie and what big thoughts seem to come from such a little girl. 

8. Ho Hey- The Lumineers


(Ho!) So show me family
(Hey!) All the blood that I will bleed
(Ho!) I don't know where I belong
(Hey!) I don't know where I went wrong
(Ho!) But I can write a song
(Hey!)
1, 2, 3
I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart
I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweet
(Ho!)
(Hey!)
(Ho!)
(Hey!)
(Ho!) I don't think you're right for him
(Hey!) Think of what it might have been if you
(Ho!) Took a bus to China Town
(Hey!) I'd be standing on Canal
(Ho!) And Bowery
(Hey!)
(Ho!) And she'd be standing next to me
(Hey!)

This reminds me of El and Minda's wedding a few years ago. But it also reminds me of New York and love and family. I think I'll always love it.

9. Beautiful Boy- John Lennon


Close your eyes
Have no fear
The monster's gone
He's on the run and your daddy's here
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Out on the ocean sailing away
I can hardly wait to see you come of age
But I guess, we'll both just have to be patient
'Cause it's a long way to go, a hard row to hoe
Yes, it's a long way to go but in the meantime
Before you cross the street
Take my hand
Life is what happens to you
While you're busy making other plans
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Before you go to sleep
Say a little prayer
Every day in every way
It's getting better and better
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy

Darling, darling, darling

Darling Sean


Of course I replace the very last line with "Darling Graves". This one makes me tear up a lot. It's such a poignant coming of age song and a wonderful reminder that "life is what happens when you're making other plans". 


10. Sigh No More- Mumford and Sons


Love that will not betray you
Dismay or enslave you
It will set you free
Be more like the man
You were made to be
There is a design
An alignment to cry
At my heart you see
The beauty of love
As it was made to be

I titled the slideshow "The beauty of love as it was made to be". I love that thought. I love all these lyrics, really. A love that will not betray, dismay, or enslave but that sets you free and allows you to be the person you were made to be. The design, the alignment to cry...it's all so beautiful and so not obvious, but at the same time very obvious. Which I think is almost always the case with good writing.

11. 10, 000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)- Matt Redmon

Bless the Lord O my soul
O my soul

Worship His holy name

Sing like never before

O my soul

I'll worship Your holy name

The sun comes up

It's a new day dawning

It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes
Bless the Lord O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

One of my favorite worship songs ever. I remember playing it on repeat a bunch during a hard period a good while back and writing it on our kitchen chalkboard at home. "Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes"- not always easy to do, but always the way I want to praise the Lord. 


12. Home- Phillip Phillips


Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you're not alone
Cause I'm going to make this place your home
Settle down, it'll all be clear
Don't pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found
Just know you're not alone
Cause I'm going to make this place your home


This I'll always associate with our move. I put it in the slideshow when the family pictures became just me and the kids for a month and then as we moved and got settled in our new home. It was perfect for those shots and it was perfect for that season. 

13. Forever Young- Rod Stewart


May the good Lord be with you
Down every road that you roam
And may sunshine and happiness
Surround you when you're far from home
And may you grow to be proud, dignified and true
And do unto others as you'd have done to you
Be courageous and be brave
And in my heart you'll always stay
Forever young, forever young
Forever young, forever young
May good fortune be with you
May your guiding light be strong
Build a stairway to Heaven
With a prince or a vagabond
And may you never love in vain
And in my heart you will remain
Forever young, forever young
Forever young, forever young
Forever young, forever young, yeah
And when you finally fly away
I'll be hoping that I served you well
For all the wisdom of a lifetime
No one can ever tell


This is one of my favorite "growing up" songs ever. Just such beautiful thoughts and hopes for a child as he or she grows up combined with the reality that "all the wisdom of a lifetime no one can ever tell". I love that it speaks about hoping to have served that boy or girl well. I think so often I forget about serving them and am too busy trying to modify behavior, break up fights, and just survive the days. It's so important to serve them well, I think. 


14. Dixie- Karen Elson, The Secret Sisters


Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton,
Old times there are not forgotten.
Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land!
In Dixie Land, where I was born in,
early on one frosty mornin'.
Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land!
I wish I was in Dixie, Hooray! Hooray!
In Dixie Land I'll take my stand,
to live and die in Dixie.
Away, away, away down south in Dixie!
Away, away, away down south in Dixie!

I went back and included the songs from Divided and United that didn't fit on July's playlist. I think I'll always, always love Dixie. The South has such a hard, deeply disturbing history in many ways. And in some ways so much is still broken there. But there is also beauty and so much to love about a place that means the world to me. 

15. The Mermaid Song- Jorma Kaukonen


It was Friday morn when we set sail,
And we were not so far from the land,
When our captain, he spied a mermaid so fair,
With a comb and a glass in her hand.
Oh, the ocean waves do roll,
And the stormy winds do blow.
We old sailors are skipping at the top,
While the landlubbers lie down below, below, below,
Oh, the landlubbers lie down below.

And up spoke the captain of our gallant ship,
And a fine old man was he.
"This fishy mermaid has warned me of our doom,
We shall sink to the bottom of the sea."
And the ocean waves do roll,
And the stormy winds do blow.
And we old salts are sittin' at the top,
The landlubbers lie down below, below, below,
Oh, the landlubbers lie down below.

And up speaks the mate of our gallant ship,
And a well-spoken man was he,
"Oh, I have a wife in Salem by the sea,
And tonight a widow she will be."


I mostly love the tune of this song, but it's a fun, interesting story, too.

16. Hard Times- Chris Hillman

Let us pause in life's pleasures and count its many tears,
While we all sup sorrow with the poor;
There's a song that will linger forever in our ears;
Oh hard times come again no more.
Tis the song, the sigh of the weary,
Hard Times, hard times, come again no more
Many days you have lingered around my cabin door;
Oh hard times come again no more.
While we seek mirth and beauty and music light and gay,
There are frail forms fainting at the door;
Though their voices are silent, their pleading looks will say

Oh hard times come again no more.

I've always loved the Eastmountainsouth version of this song. It's old, old, old but so current. I've heard Bruce sing it as well and it's really stirring in every rendition I've ever heard. I think espesially this year, when I've interacted with the poor much more than ever before, it's even more meaningful. How often we "seek mirth and beauty and music light and gay" while "there are frail forms fainting at the door". 

17. Pretty Saro- Ashley Monroe, Aubrey Hay


Fare thee well to ol' mother, fare thee well to my father too
I'm going for to ramble this wide world all through
And when I get weary, I'll sit down and cry
And think of my Saro, pretty Saro, my bride



Mainly, just the tune again. I think it's a lovely song. 

18. Beautiful Dreamer- Cowboy Jack Clement

Beautiful dreamer,
Wake unto me
Starlight and dewdrops
Are awaiting thee
Sounds of the rude world
Heard in the day
Led by the moonlight
Have all passed away
Gone are the cares of
Life's busy throng
Beautiful dreamer
Awake unto me
Beautiful dreamer,
Awake unto me


This song is almost hard to listen to. It's not super sad, but it just feels sad to me. Not even sad, really- I guess melancholy is a better word. But I think it's beautiful and peaceful and really sweet in a way. I love that "Sounds of the rude world heard in the day, led by the moonlight have all passed away".

19. Hard Times- Eastmountainsouth


Let us pause in life's pleasures and count its many tears,
While we all sup sorrow with the poor;
There's a song that will linger forever in our ears;
Oh hard times come again no more.
Tis the song, the sigh of the weary,
Hard Times, hard times, come again no more
Many days you have lingered around my cabin door;
Oh hard times come again no more.
While we seek mirth and beauty and music light and gay,
There are frail forms fainting at the door;
Though their voices are silent, their pleading looks will say
Oh hard times come again no more.

Again, great song. I just love this version too so I added it. I would have added the Springsteen version too, if I could have found it on Spotify. I'll probably YouTube it some. 

20. High Enough- Damn Yankees


We don't need to talk about it anymore
Yesterday's just a memory, can we close the door?
I just made one mistake
Oh, I didn't know what to say when you called me baby
Don't say goodnight
Say you're gonna stay forever
Oh woah, all the way

So, I added two more Monster Ballads that couldn't fit on last month's playlist (or rather, I didn't want to make it excessively long). These aren't my very favorites, but I do enjoy them. 

21. Almost Paradise- Mike Wison, Ann Reno

I thought that dreams belonged to other men
'Cuz each time I got close
They'd fall apart again
I feared my heart would beat in secrecy
I faced the nights alone
Oh, how could I have known
That all my life I only needed you
Whoa-oa
ALMOST PARADISE
We're knocking on heaven's door
ALMOST PARADISE
How could we ask for more?
I swear that I can see forever in your eyes
Paradise


One last power ballad! Such a great one. 

22. Beautiful Scandalous Night- Smalltown Poets



Go on up to the mountain of mercy 
To the crimson perpetual tide 
Kneel down on the shore 
Be thirsty no more 
Go under and be purified
Follow Christ to the holy mountain 
Sinner sorry and wrecked by the fall 
Cleanse your heart and your soul 
In the fountain that flowed 
For you and for me and for all
At the wonderful, tragic, mysterious tree 
On that beautiful, scandalous night you and me 
Were atoned by His blood and forever washed white 
On that beautiful, scandalous night
On the hillside, you will be delivered 
At the foot of the cross justified 
And your spirit restored 
By the river that poured 
From our blessed Savior's side

We sang this the other night at church. Sometimes I forget how scandalous what happened on "the wonderful tragic, mysterious tree" really was. Even though I try to be cognizant, I think it's a given that modern believers are sort of sensitized to it and we have a very clean version of Jesus. I think every line of the song is pure poetry and it's one of my absolute favorites right now.

So, there's my first Fall playlist this year. I love it. I needed it. Maybe it contains something you need, too.