Saturday, May 31, 2014

June Happenings

Another background and header I love. Summer is my favorite! Look at my children in Summer clothes. So happy!

May was great-- amazing, really. We're making connections- real connections- here and that's been a wonderful feeling. And we also enjoyed two different friend visits from some of our favorites from home. Of course that was wonderful. 

June seems like officially Summer and I'm just devouring the very idea of it. Summer here is different than Summer in the South, obviously. In addition to fresh watermelon and ice cream trucks like at home, Summer here means windows open in the evenings and festivals and carnivals and street parties most every weekend. 

Summer here also seems to mean a different mood in the streets. I've heard this can be negative- lots of loud house parties raging into the wee hours of the morning, especially in less affluent neighborhoods; more gun violence provoked by the boredom that ensues when school isn't in session; and just more people out and about stirring up trouble simply because it's warm enough to do so. But for the most part, so far, I love it. A new fascination of mine is culture- urban culture, specific racial and ethnic cultures, church culture here- all different kinds of culture. And I think in the Summer, we are better able to observe that. A few years ago, I would have been a little surprised if you told me that I'd be living in a very urban, very diverse neighborhood and I would have laughed in your face if you told me that a part of me would smile when Summer came and the rap music (which I mostly have a strong disdain for) gets turned up and the cars bump bump a little more. As I bee bop down the street with my tiny people, it gives me a little thrill because it seems so indicative of our new place and I love that there's a soundtrack to our lives even if it's a different soundtrack than the one I would have chosen. We don't have a lot of big plans for June, but here is what is on the agenda:

- Calvary-Saint George's is having "creative arts camp", which is basically what VBS was at home. EVERYONE who has talked to me about it has been so excited and proud of what it has become and I can't wait for the kiddos to experience it. 

- As I said, there are lots of different festivals and outdoor things. I can think of two that happen literally every Saturday in the Summer. Can't wait to take advantage of those.

- I'm going to try to do a writers' workshop thing once this month and see how that goes. 

- I'm hoping we can get together with a few friends up here at least once or twice this month.

- It's our six year anniversary (which inspired the Bonhoeffer quote in the header) and I'm sure we'll celebrate with some lovely take-out =)

And that's it. Should be fun! 

I didn't do terribly well on my goals past month. Partly, I think it was an unusual month because we had house guests twice. It was such a fun month, but not a normal one. I want to always choose intentional community over "accomplishing things" and I feel like that happened. So no (or not much) guilt! Here they are:

1. Take pictures with my "real" camera at least once a week. I did okay here and there, but I still need to work on this.

2. Sing a psalm regularly (I hesitate to say daily, but we'll try) with Peyton. We didn't do great at all. See my number one for this month below.

3. Prepare and plan for friend visits. Done and done. Both visits have been amazing in totally different ways.

Ashley and Carrie's visit was great because I got to escape my reality for a bit. Which, honestly, was sort of needed. Without any childcare options besides Peyton and without any close girlfriends yet, it was good for me to have that time. Really good. It was also so INCREDIBLE to get to experience some of the things (plays, museums, nicer restaurants) in the city that I never get to take advantage of and enjoy.

With Ellis and Minda, though, we got to share our reality with them the whole weekend. We've mostly stuff we'd do anyway, but we got to experience it with some of our dearest friends. It's been really powerful, actually. And I've been reminded of how much Ellis (and truly now Minda, too) "get" me. We had so many great conversations. Another extra perk is that they are the kind of (for now) childless couple that when they are around a family they go MILES out of their way to make life easier on the momma and papa. And that's just so nice. They've been so helpful with the kids and I honestly got a break again that I didn't really see coming. Lastly, they are so laid back and (also because of our long history) are so easy to host. I tend to be the type to get nervous about that sort of thing when I really have NO reason to and it's something I'm trying really hard to work on (more on that later, too).

4. Cook three times a week, minimum. I'm doing okay, but I need to do better. The obvious answer is to actually make a meal plan.

5. Settle on and order a toddler carrier for Graves. We got the toddler Tula carrier and the thing has already been worth it's weight in gold. It was SO much easier to do buses and trains last Sunday by myself and Peyton has actually worn it a good bit with Annie in it. We've gotten to where we take it and a single stroller a lot. We don't use the double near as much, which again is really nice for the subway and buses because it's sort of bulky and heavy.

6. Change over mine and the kids' closets for Summer. I did all the kids' and left out a few things for chilly days (we still have a few). I've just this week pulled out my shorts- I've still been doing a lot of jeans and flats with lightweight long sleeve tops. Anyway, I'm putting that on this month's list.

Onto my fresh goals for June. I'm being pretty ambitious with more than usual, but they are all pretty simple, organic things that I think I can naturally incorporate into our days:

1. Have some sort of prayer/Bible study time with Peyton. This keeps coming up and I keep failing. I think part of it is the nature of his schedule. The days he works he works for thirteen hours- and is gone for about fifteen. It's hard to do much besides visit a bit and watch the news those nights. And on the days he's off we try to pack in a lot. Those aren't good excuses, though, and we need to figure out something that will work, even if it's something simple. My friends and I were talking and we discussed this a little. It's something I really feel like we'd benefit from.

2. Start reading a book together with Peyton. I have on my big goals list to read five books together this year. We going to start On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Heidelburg Disputation, 1518. I'm pretty excited about that.

3. Eat fresh produce daily. Because I can. It's actually (I know this is a huge shocker) so cheap and I need to make changes in my diet in small ways.

4. Pick back up memory work with Ann Peyton. I've actually started this a little. After we took our long break from homeschooling for the move, I slowly eased back into school. We were back to doing everything but memory work for some reason. We're picking back up with the catechism and Scripture.

5. Start to potty train Graves. Actually, we started this like a year ago. But it was the kind of thing where he could stay dry, but only if I remembered to take him to the potty every couple of hours. No big deal, really, but not what I'd call truly potty trained. Anyway, I gave up and said I'd try again this Summer. So here we are. I have a lot of excuses for that one, too, and honestly it IS way harder here. You can't just pull over in a field or at a service station when you're on the subway. But, it needs to be done at some point and we're going to give it an earnest shot and see if now is that point!

6. Have people over. I was NOT good at this at home. For some reason, in a weird way, I'm more comfortable entertaining here in our tiny apartment where we have to eat on the kids toddler table from Ikea than I was at home. Maybe part of it is the lack of pretense- I just feel like the bar is lower than in the South. Nobody knows what a great entertainer/hostess my momma is, for example. And also, I think I'm just getting comfortable in my skin. It's also nice that I can clean- REALLY clean- the whole place in like an hour and a half.

7. Make music a part of our home more. I used to play music ALL THE TIME in the car and now that we don't have that opportunity, I want to have it on more during the day. I got an amazing by the group Rain for Roots and it's the most beautiful songs that are basically the Gospel. I've been singing them to the kids at night and turning other stuff on in the mornings when we clean up their room. And I've been playing music for me when I do dishes and fix supper and such.

7. Do my closet change-over. Again, shouldn't take too long as I don't have near as much stuff here. I just need to pick a day and do it!

Here's to June, a month of sunshine and watermelon and loud streets and fresh hope. May it be a month in which we love our community more, push open the windows and fling open the doors often, and rejoice always in each good new day He has made! 

The Tiny Twig
(Linking up with Hayley at The Tiny Twig!)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

What I'm Into: May

I feel inconsistent and it irks me to not write these, but I have a feeling this is going to end up being a whole lotta nothing new. I kinda hate months like that and I felt like I had gotten into a good swing of accomplishing goals and such after moving here. This month was not that, though, and it seems that's reflected here, too. 

On the Nightstand:
Honestly, I did a piss poor job in the reading department this month. It's been a different sort of month- we've had/are having friends in town and we've been doing more connecting with people here. I'm not beating myself up or anything, and that's all IMPORTANT, but I'd like to do better next month. 

Reflections for Ragamuffins: Daily Devotions by Brennan Manning 

I love it every time I read it. It may be my devo for life. 

Immersion Bible Study: Psalms- J. Clinton McCann
If I don't finish it this month, I am going to be upset with myself. I don't have much more to go and I've been "working through" this study for like six(?) months, I think. Which is absurd. It should take six weeks. 

Real Sex- Lauren Winner
So, I read a bit more and I like it a lot. My goal is to finish it next month, and I'll report more then. 

Mockingbird Magazine
This is something I'm not going to rush. It's not the kind of thing that needs to be read in a certain amount of time. While I'd like to plow through books more at the speed I used to (or something even close to that), this is something I feel good about savoring and picking up here and there an essay once a week or so. 

On Their Nightstand: 
Annie's been learning about ocean life and it's amazing how much she picks up. We learned that papa penguins are the ones that keep their eggs warm while the mommas look for food. The other day she had Graves sitting on a "nest" she made and she was pretending to look for food! We mixed in some fiction with the informational books.

On the Shelf:
Finding My Way Home: Pathways to Life and the Spirit- Henri Nouwen 
Still need to start this one recommended by Peyton. Actually, he and now another friend have recommended him recently! 

At the Theater (or from the couch):
Zero movies this month. I have a plan for at least one docu I want to watch in June. 

On the Small Screen:
Same old, same old, The West Wing, SVU, and How I Met Your Mother- all on Netflix.

I  meant to share last month, but I forgot. We watch a lot of PBS Kids in our house and honestly, not much else. The kids got obsessed with Barney for a bit (WHO let them see that in the first place? Side-eye at you, Peyton). I'm so thankful that's been tempered a bit. Their current favorites are:

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood- It's not Mr. Rogers, but what is? I think it's a good spin-off for what it is. Cute and sweet and innocent and all that. And with good lessons. I'll take it.

Sesame Street- I know some people think there's a hidden liberal bias these days. I don't think so, unless your liberal bias is taking care of the planet and depicting boys playing with baby dolls. In which case, I say BRING ON THE LIBERAL BIAS.

Clifford's Puppy Days- Again, they're just cute stories often with a good lesson. I love how sweet and babyish they are and this sort of stuff still interests my kids.

and our recent FAVORITES:
Dinosaur Train-
For some reason some moms hate this one? I know, we all have our shows we dislike (hello, Barney!). Anyway, I love this one myself. It's clever and silly and filled up with facts. Annie's absorbed a lot about dinosaurs and it actually holds Graves's attention, which is not the case with a ton of stuff.

Super Why!- This and the next one are my favorites because I feel like they're really learning a TON. Super Why teaches very basic reading skills by using classic stories to do it.

Busytown Mysteries- So, I love Richard Scary and Graves does, too. The cool think about this show is that Huckle and his friends are solving mysteries. While it's not educational in the way Super Why is, I think it really promotes critical thinking and it's fun to see Annie try to solve the mysteries along with the characters.

The kids are allowed about an hour a day in the mornings right after breakfast. I almost always use that time to catch a little more sleep. I really should start watching, though, so I can discuss with Annie (and Graves, but I know she'd appreciate it more).

In My Ears:
My May playlist is amazing!

And I'm still enjoying this. Graves is, too. He told me the other day "I dance to this awesome music". My three year old is so cool. 

Around the House:
I finally got took pictures and posted them.

Part of on the apartment tour is here:

and part two is here:

In the Kitchen:
No new recipes. Lots of the same- BBQ chicken, Italian chicken, chicken spaghetti. As much as I despise handling raw poultry (and I'm spoiled- I get it only in it's least disgusting forms), we love to eat chicken! I did make some homemade guacamole the other night. 
Say you prepare fresh pineapples, homemade guacamole, and frozen cheese sticks for the late night, adults only dinner? You'd call it a win, yes? Because I sure would.

Can't beat that. The little place right across the street has produce for so much cheaper than in Mississippi.

In My Closet:

I can't tell you how nice it feels to be without jackets. Finally! This week it's actually really warm! 

So happy for no coats and boots. I could sing!

If you have the exact same body shape as a twelve year old boy, you maybe shouldn't dress like a twelve year old boy. So comfy, though. No shame in my game. Chucks, baseball tee, and ripped jeans. Feels like Spring. 

In Their Closets:
I busted out Springy Sunday clothes for them, too. Made my heart happy!

She so grown; he so goofy. Also: I LOVE a romper and we have quite a handful this year. If I can't put her in bubbles, this is the next best thing! 

Again, romper love! 

One of these days, I'll have to stop putting her in this kind of thing. Thankful that today is not that day. Related: in her prayers she told the Lord "Thank you for food, water, and my SMOCKED dresses".

Graves has plenty of sweet stuff, too, but here's a new find I've surprisingly loved. 
I found these little striped t-shirts with the pocket on them at Target. They are SO soft and sort of look a little vintage. He's worn them a ton with jeans and I think he'll wear them with shorts a good bit this Summer. I bought three different colors. It seems classic, but casual. 

In My Mailbox:
We were three months in and I was still struggling to manage public transit with the kids. We discussed and decided to get a carrier for Graves. I never thought that for my birthday, the year before I turned thirty, I'd be asking for a carrier for my three year old. But I never thought I'd be having this adventure with a wild three year old boy, either. (He told us on a ferry that "Next time, I wear my bathing suit and I jump out and go for a swim". Just so you have a point of reference as to why we needed to drop a signifigant chunk of change on this thing.)

It's been amazing and both kids can actually fit in it. We may just put up the double stroller :)_

In My Cart:
I treated myself to a haircut. One of our friends from church here is in school to cut hair and so I was able to get it done up here without breaking the bank! 

On My Heart:
We've been wrestling lately with how long we're supposed to be here for. It's been four months out of the year we're committed to. At this point, I think we'll try to extend our lease through next Spring. Beyond that, I'm really not sure. It's a post unto itself and one I'm sort of terrified to write, for several reasons.

In My Prayers:
- I've been trying to pray more consistently for Peyton and for the children. It's interesting to think about their specific needs. Annie's had a hard month and I've been praying for her particularly just that I will know how to help her work through hard things and ultimately give them to the Lord.
- I'm praying for relationships- the new ones we're forming here and the ones at home that we're trying to sustain long distance.

On the Calendar: 
- After two friend visits in May and one coming in July, June looks pretty low key. We do have creative arts camp at Calvary-Saint George's one week and I know that will be fun, albeit exhausting. 

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

What I'm Into  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Weekly Happenings Post #269 (May 19-25)-- Resting Between Friends

Last week was pretty laid back. We had company the weekend before and we're having more visitors this week, so it was nice to have a week in between to relax. Ashley and Carrie and I stayed up so late several nights, and I never did do the smart thing and go to bed early a few nights so I took quite a few naps. Ha!

Ashley and Carrie left on Monday. The kids played in their room and I got up a little before nine and got ready and then Ashley and Carrie got up and got ready. I ran to the bank to get cash in case they needed it for the car service and we talked a little and then walked them down to wait for the car to take them to the airport.

I straightened some and played with the kids and then we picked up their toys and had lunch. Graves took a nap and I ate lunch and got on the computer for a minute and then took a good nap myself. They got up and we played and then I cooked them supper and cleaned up the kitchen. I read to them for a long time and put them to bed. I watched TV and blogged until Peyton got home. We talked and I finished my post and went to bed.

Peyton was off Tuesday and we got a slow start and then headed to Ikea to try to find things to hold the curtain rod. They didn't have them but we had lunch and then headed home after looking at "apartments" (the fake ones they set up in the store). Graves fell asleep in the stroller and we transferred him and Peyton got ready to go meet Jacob, the pastor at Calvary-Saint George's, to talk and have coffee. Annie and I visited, and I had a snack and got on the computer and then took a short nap. I got up when Graves did and fixed them a snack which turned into supper. I wrote out my kitchen quote and Peyton got home. I started laundry and picked up a bit and got on the computer. I changed over the wash and finished cleaning up and then got the clean wash and put up some of it and went to bed. Oh, I woke up Peyton because I had taken the recycling to the basement and there was a kid down there. He was like twelve, but it weirded me out, so we locked our kids in and went down. There wasn't really anything to say and Peyton said he figured he had just gotten in a fight with his parents.

Some of our friends from Pennsylvania were in town for the week and the kids and I had Marley and her little boy Jack over to play on Wednesday. So much fun! I got up and fed the kids breakfast and let them watch a bit of their shows and then I got my bath and washed dishes. I folded up the bed and cleaned up the den and was in the middle of picking up toys when they arrived. We had the best time playing while the kids (mostly Graves and Jack) went wild. Annie and Graves loved having a friend over.

I fed the kids lunch and picked up toys and then I had to give Graves (and by default, Annie) a bath because he put Ranch in his hair. I put him down for a nap and he took awhile to go to sleep- I realized the Ranch was still in his hair and washed it in the sink and I had to change a diaper. Anyway, he finally did and took a great nap. I ate my lunch and tried to get on the computer. It wasn't connecting so I laid down by the window in the guest room and ended up taking ANOTHER nap. When I got up, I felt GREAT. I did school with Annie and had a snack and then we started some laundry and headed to the park. We played for a bit and came home and put the laundry in the dryer and then I started cooking chicken and sweet potatoes supper. We got the laundry and I realized one of the loads from the day before was still damp so we took it down to dry. The kids ate and then we got the laundry and I read to them for a long time. I put them to bed and got on the computer until Peyton got home. We talked and ate supper and then I blogged some and went to bed.

Thursday was fun. Peyton was off and a friend from church who is training to be a hair stylist cut my hair. I got up and got ready and went to Manhattan for that. It was fun visiting and SO nice to get a cut without paying a ton of money. I got home and had lunch and then we got ready and headed back to the city to the Museum of Natural History.

Back with her besties- she LOVES the Native American stuff

We found some treasures in the Discovery Room. 

On off days, most of the time, my job is just to get myself places. What a dad. What a guy! 

We had a great time and by the time we got home everyone was exhausted. Peyton helped me get the kids fed and in bed. I had a headache so I took some medicine and laid down. Peyton went to Ikea and I texted Minda and called my dad and then worked on my playlist for May. Peyton got home and we talked and ate supper and then I wrote a post.

Peyton and I got up and got ready on Friday for our last regular day helping in the South Bronx.
Why so serious, small girl? She looks very New York to me. And she's like a mini SD. Glad we have the boys to balance us. 

We had a great morning there and after we left we walked around a bit and had some AMAZING Mexican for lunch.
Amazing, authentic lunch at a Mexican place in the South Bronx today. Friday has been yet another big adventure. We loved on babies for our last regular time (there's a "graduation" in two weeks) and walked around a bit in the South Bronx and even right past the public housing, which would have terrified me just a few months ago. We also had our first accident in months and months. But that's what happens when you're five and you can't just pee in somebody's field redneck style or swing into a service station. Trains don't work that way. You'll excuse me if I'm still trying to muster the motivation to truly potty train my three year old.

We took the train back to Manhattan and were going to do stuff there, but Annie had an accident. She was literally next to the potty and I was trying to help her get her leggings down and she teeteed everywhere. We rinsed off her leggings and put them back on sans panties and it was raining. We decided to skip what we had planned, but when we got to BK the rain had cleared up for a bit.
Of course I'm biased. And I may even have drank the hipster Kool Aid a bit. But, yeah. 

This beautiful Guyanese girl that worked at Walgreens said to Annie "You have a unibrow. I used to have a unibrow!". Hahaha. Love this city. Love these people. 

We stopped at a playground and got a shake and enjoyed it while the kids played. We came home and they ate most of their supper in the co-op courtyard. Peyton bathed them and I cleaned up the apartment and then we got them to bed. I wrote a post and did dishes and went to bed early myself.

The kids slept a little late on Saturday. So nice! I fixed them breakfast and then we watched cartoons. I scooped the cat liter, folded up the couch, and called Minnie. The kids talked to her a little and then I ate breakfast and took a bath. We started cleaning up the kids' room and Annie had a big meltdown. At first, I got frustrated with her and then I just held her in my lap and talked to her. After they, they cleaned up better than they have in ages. The kids had lunch and I did dishes and then put Graves down. He never fell asleep- I read a little and ate my lunch and started a couple of posts. Annie played with him a bit and then I got them up. We Facetimed with my parents and I fixed them supper. I got them ready for bed and we read a good bit. I put them down and watched The West Wing and then Peyton got home. I blogged some and we talked and went to bed.

Sunday was a good, tiring, day.
When you wake up and there's a super hairy half naked man, a black cat, and an upside down baby in your sofa bed. Stranger things have happened, I guess.

He doesn't join us every night- or even most nights these days- but I'm not turning down any requests. 

I got up and got a quick shower and then got ready and got the kids fed and ready and we headed to church. It was family Sunday so we all worshiped together, then there was a kids' message, and then the children were dismissed. I helped with childcare after they left the service. It went well and we headed home.
Bus transfers were SO much less stressful sans stroller. Also, he might be the only three year old you know in a carrier, but I bet he's the only three year old in Brooklyn in a carrier AND white Willits oxfords.

I fed the kids lunch and got Graves down for a nap. I uploaded some pictures and did  a few things and then took a nap. I got up and got ready and woke up Graves and we left for church at Calvary-Saint George's.
Another exhibit in how the Toddler Tula makes urban life doable. Ain't no way I could carry Graves and a stroller up those. Actually, this is the station that convinced me to get it. 

Annie discovered she can pick him up and now she does it constantly (even though he's almost her size).

Since he couldn't get to the subway pole to lick it, he (literally) licked my face. And told me he was my puppy. Guess it's better than the pole. Last time he licked the pole, Peyton told him he'd get diarrhea. Then he talked about diarrhea for days.

The kids weren't the best they've ever been, but it was okay. Peyton met us there after the service and road the train home with us and we ate at Smash Burger.

We got home and put the kids to bed and I did laundry and we talked. I blogged some and we chatted and went to bed.

Whew. Ellis and Minda will be here Thursday and I'm SO, SO excited!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Tunes for the Month: May

May's playlist is a good mix, I think. We got some new Indelible Grace cds after hearing their songs at church one evening. I LOVE them and put a handful from the CDs on the list. I also combed through Peyton's library and browsed his top ranked. 

1. In a Big Country- Big Country 
I'm not expecting to grow flowers in the desert
But I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime
In a big country dreams stay with you
Like a lover's voice fires the mountainside
Stay alive.

I heard this song in Ikea awhile back and I knew I had to add it to my next playlist. It used to be one of my favorite songs, but I haven't listened in awhile. "I'm not expecting to grow flowers in the desert" = I'm not the dumbass kind of optimist, but I'd like to be some kinda one. And dreams stay with you....yeah, if you let them. Good stuff. 

2. O Love that Will Not Let Me Go- Indelible Grace 
O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

This is one of those new ones I was talking about. I think these next three will always and forever remind me of Calvary-Saint George's, which is a place where I've found so much truth and love and light. [I promise, PROMISE, there is a post about our church experience coming. But it's something I want to write honest, but also write sensitive, and it's a very important post. So it's gonna take some time.] Anyway, back to the song. I love the imagery of tracing the rainbow through the rain. So beautiful and one of those songs I know I'll cling to during painful moments. 

3. Jesus I Come (Out of My Bondage)- Indelible Grace 
Out of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come.
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of earth’s sorrows into Thy balm,
Out of life’s storms and into Thy calm,
Out of distress into jubilant psalm,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come.
Into the joy and light of Thy home,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever Thy glorious face to behold,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Another gorgeous tune we discovered at Calvary-Saint G's. So much of this song actually captures the feelings I have there. "Out of earth's sorrows into thy balm"..."Out of life's storms and into Thy calm"..."Out of distress into jubilant psalm"..."out of fear and dread of the tomb...into the joy and the light of Thy home". I feel like I have a better hold on my anxiety (be that a paralyzing fear of death or an intense frustration with the chaotic storms of life), but the worship at Calvary Church and more than that, the sermons, speak so deeply to these struggles within me and seem to free me in a way I've never experienced before. 

4. Abide with Me- Mathew Perryman Jones
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers, fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, abide with me.
I need Thy presence, every passing hour.
What but Thy grace, can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless
Ills have no weight, tears lose their bitterness
Where is thy sting death? Where grace thy victory?
I triumph still, abide with me. 

This is probably my personal favorite of the new discoveries that night. I just love it best musically, but I also love the imagery. "Fast falls the eventide"-- evening is such a beautiful, favorite time of mine. But sometimes, during seasons of struggle, I've found it terrifying. This is such a poignant expression of the truth that even as the darkness deepens, there is no need to fear. I also love the lines "When other helpers, fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, abide with me." Because, ultimately, sometimes other helpers do fail, even if you have the best helpers (which, I kinda think I do). "Through cloud and sunshine, abide with me"-- yes, Lord, exactly that! 

5. Approach My Soul- Christ Community College Ministry 
Approach, my soul, the mercy seat,
Where Jesus answers prayer;
There humbly fall before His feet,
For none can perish there.
Be Thou my shield and hiding place,
That, sheltered near Thy side,
I may my fierce accuser face,
And tell him Thou hast died!

This was from the same box set we RAN HOME TO PURCHASE. However, it has a different feel. It's very twangy and almost country. To me, it's a little less substantive lyrically, but I adore the music and it's still a powerful message, of course. 

6. Are You Lonesome Tonight- Elvis Presley
Are you lonesome tonight? Do you miss me tonight?
Are you sorry we drifted apart?
Does your memory stray to a brighter sunny day?
When I kissed you and called you sweetheart?

This is the part in the game where I started just pilfering Peyton's library. I've always loved this Elvis song (though it's not one of my ABSOLUTE favorites of his), but man, it's depressing. Apparently, several on here are. 

7. Arise My Soul, Arise- First Pres.

Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears,
Before the throne my surety stands,
Before the throne my surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.
He ever lives above, for me to intercede;
His all redeeming love, His precious blood, to plead;
His blood atoned for all our race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace.
Five bleeding wounds He bears; received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers; they strongly plead for me:
"Forgive him, O forgive," they cry,
"Forgive him, O forgive," they cry,
"Nor let that ransomed sinner die!"

Certainly not this one, though! Again, I was just going through the "a's". I'm pretty sure this has already been on a playlist at some point, but I love it so much. We have an old CD of kids from the youth group at a Presbyterian church back home and Peyton and I are both obsessed with it. 

8. Arise, O God and Shine- Mathew Smith
Arise, O God, and shine in all Thy saving might,
And prosper each design to spread Thy glorious light;
Let healing streams of mercy flow that all the earth Thy truth may know.
To God, the only Wise, the one immortal King,
Let hallelujahs rise, from every living thing;
Let all that breath, on every coast, praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 

Last one from our new CD collection. I hadn't necessarily planned to include it (because I haven't listened to all the CDs in their entirety yet), but it came up when I was going through the a's, so here it is. It's a beautiful prayer that God would arise and spread his light to the whole world. 

9. Arms of a Woman- Amos Lee
I am at ease in the arms of a woman
Although now, most of my days I spend alone
A thousand miles, place I was born

When she wakes me, she takes me
Ya, when she wakes me, she takes me
Ya, when she wakes me, she takes me back home.

In my house this is known to be a sexy song. We'll just leave it at that. Obviously, I spend basically none of my days "alone", but I am a thousand miles from the place I was born. But home feels like Peyton's arms more than really anything else. Okay, sorry, didn't leave it at that after all ;) 

10. Around the World- Red Hot Chili Peppers
I know, I know for sure
That life is beautiful around the world
Well, I know, I know its you
You say, "Hello", and then I say, "I do"

This song is flat out crude with talk of Johnsons and other raunchy stuff. But, it totally takes me back to seventh grade. And it's catchy. So it made the list. Definitely skipping it when the kids are around. 

11. As Lovers Go- Dashboard Confessional
This is easy as lovers go so don't complicate it by hesitating.
This is wonderful as loving goes.
This is tailor-made, what's the sense in waiting?

I said, "I've got to be honest, I've been waiting for you all my life."
For so long I thought I was asylum bound, but just seeing you makes me think twice.
And being with you here makes me sane. I fear I'll go crazy if you leave my side.

"You've got wits, you've got looks, you've got passion,
but are you brave enough to leave with me tonight?"

I'd never heard this song before, I don't think(?), but I thought it was such a beautiful little love story snippet. And I like the tune. Also, I think love does require bravery. Both initially and in the day to day. 

12. As Tears Go By- Marianne Faithfull
It is the evening of the day, hey hey hey
I sit and watch the children play, hey hey hey
Doing things I used to do, they think are new
I sit and watch as tears go by

Another sad retro song. I just think it's pretty. But so freakin' depressing.

13. Brilliant Disguise- Bruce Springsteen
Now look at me baby
struggling to do everything right
And then it all falls apart
when out go the lights
I'm just a lonely pilgrim
I walk this world in wealth
I want to know if it's you I don't trust
'cause I damn sure don't trust myself

So when you look at me
you better look hard and look twice
Is that me baby
or just a brilliant disguise
Tonight our bed is cold
I'm lost in the darkness of our love
God have mercy on the man
Who doubts what he's sure of

I included the clip because while I love this song, it's a hard one. As he says, "it sounds like a song of betrayal". But in the clip he discusses how songs shift their meanings and "becomes a reaffirmation of love's mysteries, it's shadows, it's frailties; and the acceptance of those frailties, without which, there is no love". It's interesting because he also talks about identity and the idea of a public and private persona. Obviously, this is probably of bigger impact in the life of someone like Bruce Springsteen, but I also think it's something we all deal with, weather we know it or not.

14. Song of the South- Alabama
Song, song of the south
Sweet potato pie and I shut my mouth
Gone, gone by the wind
There ain't nobody looking back again
Cotton on the roadside, cotton in the ditch
We all picked the cotton but we never got rich
Daddy was a veteran, a southern democrat
They ought to get a rich man to vote like that
Well somebody told us Wall Street fell

But we were so poor that we couldn't tell

Cotton was short and the weeds were tall

But Mr. Roosevelt's a gonna save us all

I love Alabama. At this point in my life, it's not my favorite kind of music, but I do think there's a real talent there. They are as country as it gets. And I like that they are country country, not pop country. But it's still upbeat and catchy. And, if you listen closely, they mostly tell good (though not super involved) stories. This totally takes me back to riding around with my 9th grade boyfriend in his Jeep with the top down. 

15. Sittin' On Top of the World- Jack White
Went to the station, down in the yard
Gone get me a freight train, worked on your hard
But now she's gone, and I don't worry
Oh I'm sitting on top of the world

This is where I started browsing Peyton's top rated stuff. This one is good and folksy. Again, sorta sad, I guess. I'm not sure, I don't even really know what to think about it lyrically. But I love the twangy beat. 

16. German Federal Republic- American Brass Band

And here's the weird one. This is the German national anthem. Peyton says he thinks this is the prettiest national anthem of all of them. I think it's incredibly beautiful too, so I added it. 

17. Tango Theme- Astor Piazzola 

This is another instrumental piece. I added it, too, because it sounded beautiful-- like something from an old movie. 

18. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down- The Band 
Virgil Caine is the name and I served on the Danville train
'Til Stoneman's cavalry came and tore up the tracks again
In the winter of '65, we were hungry, just barely alive
By May the tenth, Richmond had fell
It's a time I remember, oh so well
The night they drove old Dixie down
And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And the people were singing
They went, "Na,na,na...''

Hmm, I just love the way this one sounds. And again, it's more good storytelling. Sometimes, in a song, beautiful imagery is enough. But other times it's nice to have characters, a plot, a setting. I think you can sort of get a picture of the events unfolding here as Dixie is driven down.

Next month, I think I'm going to do an experiment and make my playlist on Spotify, instead of iTunes. We'll see how that goes!