tuesday tunes - she & him.

usually tuesdays are full of artists, bands, & songs that i love. but, this week i'm just not so sure...

she & him are coming to play the ryman tomorrow night, and some friends of mine are going. they invited me to join them, and, not knowing too much about them, i decided i should buy their albums 1st. after a few listens of both volume 1 and volume 2...i just can't convince myself that i enjoy it. (clue #1: i'm using the word "convince"). so... i don't think i'm a fan.
i love the idea of them. i mean, who doesn't love zooey deschanel? but, the music is definitely not my favorite.

what do you think?? i'd love to hear your thoughts.


close call. & other random things.

so...you may remember this post about my pre-teen love of MMC.

fast forward 2 years.
now i've been on an africa trip with ernie, and consider him a close friend. so it wasn't weird that since he was in town this week for a show, a few of us went to grab sushi with him and the guys on this tour. one of them being tony.
yah, the same tony from that post.
after dinner, we parted ways so the guys could get to the venue early.
and what did i say as we were leaving?
"see ya real soon"
yup. just like on the mickey mouse club.
and i've never said that before.
i immediately try to recover by blurting out tons of words like "ya, see you guys soon, alright, see ya in an hour or so, ok, yah, bye..."
i'm just gonna hope he didn't notice.
but annie and i are still laughing about it.

so, speaking of ernie & tony...
after an amazing show, they came into the office the next morning to film a little casual acoustic performance.
{side note #1: if you were to abbreviate "casual" - how would you spell it? caaaj? it was a highly entertaining topic of discussion.}
we conveniently placed the guys in front of sweet mocha club merch.
{side note #2: do you know the difference between "merch" and "swag"? tony taught us. apparently swag stands for "stuff we all get" - aka free. and merch you buy. you learn something new every day, people.}

video of their performance to come soon... and yes, i am singing bgv's in the background.


tuesday tunes - bethany dillon.

i remember first seeing bethany dillon back when i lived in athens... and she was 15! she played songs from her brand new first (self-titled) album, like "beautiful" and "for my love" and i was utterly amazed at the wisdom and maturity she had in her songwriting.
fast forward 6 years: she now she has 4 albums, is a wife and a mother -- oh yah, and she's still only 21.

i've continued to be impressed with her lyrics and fall in love with her melodies over the years. i finally purchased her latest album, stop & listen (it came out last fall) and have had it on heavy rotation this last week. beth speaks in this video about it, and how it's the most confessional record she's made. she says “Most of the songs are about the not-so-simple ideas of stopping, listening and waiting,” -- perfect for where God has me right now.

here's one of my favorites, the title track, "stop & listen"...


"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
- Marianne Williamson {from A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles}


in need of an adjustment.

my africa team has been having a lot of conversations about why God seems bigger and closer and louder when we go overseas (or really anywhere that pulls you out of your norm). why does it feel easier to connect with Him and with each other in those circumstances?

i'm reading francis chan's forgotten god right now -- and he addresses this in chapter 5 of the book - noting our 2 biggest obstacles to connection with the Spirit as comfort & volume.

i'm calling it a "level adjustment" issue...
because the two levels that don't get adjusted in our normal everyday lives are those of comfort and volume. no wonder the Spirit is hard to feel and hard to hear- our levels are way off.

our normal comfort level is kept high by a determination to avoid desperate situations and seek as much safety as possible. so nearness to Him normally isn't a necessity. God calls the Spirit our "Comforter" and "Helper" - but, why would we need to experience the Comforter if our lives are already comfortable?

our normal volume level is kept high by a constant need for noise and a quest for more accomplishments. we've lost the art of focusing. the idea of simply "BEing" and finding a quiet place is almost impossible. God tells us to be still and know Him - why is it so hard to unplug and shut off communication from all others so we can be alone with Him?

i know that i need a level adjustment in my own life. and that it's not easy - it's a fight. a fight for less comfort...less safety. (which also equals less security & control!) and a fight for less noise...less distraction.

i just picture these big knobs that get turned way down when we go to a place like Africa... when we let ourselves experience something supernatural. when we step out of our comfort zone & our noise zone. and the cool thing is that once we've experienced the lower level - we become more sensitive to turning it back up. we've redefined our own norm.
we've experienced the nearness and the stillness, the levels God intended, and long for nothing more than to get back to it.


trader joe's top 10 - part III.

this is a series of me educating you on the best things to buy at the best grocery store ever. check out the first 2 installments here and here.

{by the way... have you seen their website lately? it's redone with some helpful new features - like recipes!}

10. "slims" sandwich bread // i've tried whole wheat & multigrain and they're both great. only 100 calories per serving & an excellent source of fiber -- they are the perfect size for a sandwich!

9. "charmingly chewy" chocolate chip cookies // we all know that i love me some cookies. so i'm usually very picky when it comes to cookies-in-a-box - especially because i'll always prefer chewy over crunchy. but these are new and awesome. reminds me of soft batch from my childhood.

8. avocado salsa verde // probably one of my most favorite new finds -- it's green salsa with chunks of avocado in it - it's amazing! {sold near the hummus} warning: it does have a little "kick" to it, so prepare yourself for some spice!

7. "soft & juicy" dried mango // i've never been a huge fan of dried fruit -- but this stuff is super yummy. just watch out b/c it's very sticky & can get stuck in your teeth!

6. "reduced guilt" frozen entrees // there's baked ziti and also a veggies + couscous one -- and at about 320 calories each, either one will make an easy, healthy, delicious lunch when you don't have a ton of time to pack up something in the morning!

5. roasted chicken patties // they're fully cooked - you just heat & serve! i'll toss it in a pan for a couple minutes on each side, throw it on top of some brown rice & veggies, and voila! a balanced meal.

4. "simply lite" sugar free dark chocolate bar // {sold by the check-out lines} it's 50% cacao and tastes amazing. one bar has 12 "sections" -- and each section only has about 30 calories! i'll just have 1 after a meal and it fixes my chocolate sweet tooth! :)

3. pretzel slims // one of my snacking staples -- crunchy. salty. satisfying.

2. monterey jack cheese // it's no secret that i love cheese. but not just any cheese. i want the one cheese i buy to be good in my eggs, on my sandwich, & just sliced on a cracker. i think i've found my winner with this one. (it's a TJ's original)

1. yogurt stars // little crispy star-shaped cookies drenched in sweet, tangy yogurt - colored & flavored from real blueberries & raspberries! i put a bowl out of these when i had some girlfriends over the other night, and they were a huge hit.

so there you have it -- 10 more reasons why TJ's is the best grocery store around.
do you have any favorites that i'm missing?


tuesday tunes - mumford & sons.

mumford & sons.
their album sigh no more is my musical obsession right now. {i have tickets to see them in november and i. can't. wait.}
i'll just let their music speak for itself...

"the cave"

"little lion man"


you say to-may-toe, i say to-mah-toe.

it's the most exciting weekend in my neighborhood -- the tomato art fest -- bringing in over 20,000 people to enjoy all things tomato. unfortunately, it's also one of the most excruciatingly hot weekends as well. outside festival and 100+ degree temps equal a very sweaty time. but, still a good time! and i love that i can just walk outside my door and enjoy it :)


friday flicks - ellen on SYTYCD.

so i mentioned yesterday i was anticipating SYTYCD last night.
well, i think the highlight was watching ellen degeneres do a hip hop number with all-star twitch... enjoy.


guilty pleasure foods.

i love this article about "guilty pleasure" foods. though i do try to eat pretty healthy - and actually enjoy salads, steamed vegetables, whole grains, etc - there are still those guilty pleasure foods that taunt me (and my self-control).

my top 5 would be:

5. cookie dough - especially chocolate chip. {this can also include licking the bowl for muffin & cake batters as well.}
4. macaroni & cheese - the kind in a box. that you add milk & butter & that cheese powder.
3. dark m&m's - i had the bright idea of keeping a jar of them in my office. mistake #1.
2. chick-fil-a - all of it. especially dipped/smothered/covered with their buffalo sauce.
1. cheese dip & guacamole - i'd be perfectly content to preface every meal with these items.

and speaking of guilty pleasures... i am so excited for the SYTYCD finale tonight! i'm cheering for lauren!

what are your guilty pleasures?


catalog living.

do you know about catalogliving.net? it's just genius. {thanks to christine for showing it to me!} every day they take a scene from a catalog (ie: west elm, pottery barn, ethan allen) and write some corresponding dialogue -- "A look into the exciting lives of the people who live in your catalogs." i've never realized how crazy these catalogs actually are!!

some favorites....
"Elaine, have you thanked me yet for putting a twig on your
books so they don’t blow away? Hm?"

"Gary, that airplane picture is not “a complex puzzle” and successfully putting it together does not entitle you to two beers and a glass of breadsticks."

"Elaine was concerned that Gary was drinking too much soda, so she kept them by her feet at all times. To retaliate, Gary threatened to loosen the umbrella buoys."

I-(LI)KE-A :)

do you love IKEA as much as i do?
you can order the 2011 catalog to your front door or view it online.
and my christmas wish list starts... now.


tuesday tunes - arcade fire.

arcade fire. while all of my friends are seeing them live in nashville tonight, i'm blogging about them. (i'm telling myself it's almost as good!)

i've liked these guys for awhile (i LOVED their song "wake up" from the where the wild things are movie) and i had a lot of songs from neon bible, but didn't really love a complete album of theirs until this one -- the suburbs.
and i've been listening to it on repeat since it came out last week (and it was only $3.99 on amazon!!)

you can watch the "UNSTAGED" series of videos from their madison square garden show on youtube. here's the title track from the new album, "the suburbs"...


we need each other.

one of the themes God is revealing to me through my Gulu trip is one of dependency and community. i would say hands down that my biggest fear has always been being alone... in both the tangible and intangible senses of the word. feeling like no one understands, or no one has walked in your shoes, and even just that no one cares. or looking at the emptiness that surrounds you, the lack of others around, and the isolation of being completely by yourself.

if there's one thing that our team was, it was supportive and united. i continue to be amazed at how the Lord took 17 very different people and gave us one heart and one mind and one spirit. whether we were laughing or crying (and there was a lot of both!), we were doing it together. and it was such a beautiful picture of our need for one another. we literally depended on one another to provide strength and courage and support as we battled fears and doubts... and we marveled at how God revealed Himself to us through each other and through the community we were spending time with in Gulu.
because you see it so evident in the Africans, too. they live out the idea that it takes a village to raise a family. they are the walking example of loving their neighbor as themselves. and it's inspiring and challenging to seek to live with that same mentality and togetherness. and not only on a trip like this, but every day.
because i know i need a community to step into my life in nashville just as badly as i do when i'm in africa. because i need to be reminded... i'm not alone.
i need you.
and you need me.
we need each other.

this song - "we need each other" by sanctus real - says it perfectly for me.

I think I caught a glimpse of a life without friends
Bitter, empty, hollow, dark and lonely
We never meant to hurt each other so can't we trust again
And take it as a chance to keep on growing

Well, I don't know why it doesn't come easy
But I know that we could be happy
If we'd only learn to love

Oh, oh, we need each other so what's the fighting for
Oh, oh, we need each other, please don't close the door
Oh, oh, we need each other through all the highs and lows
Oh, oh, we need each other 'cause no one's meant to be alone

Life revolves around the need of having someone
Causing every complicated feeling
Oh and I don't want to lose you so there is nothing wrong with
Telling me what you need to keep our love strong

Oh, it's just a part of being a family
Taking the good with the bad and the ugly
If we could only learn to love

Oh, oh, we need each other so what's the fighting for
Oh, oh, we need each other, please don't close the door
Oh, oh, we need each other through all the highs and lows
Oh, oh, we need each other and I don't wanna be alone

Oh, oh we need each other, fathers and mothers
Oh, oh we need each other, all your sisters and brothers
Oh, oh we need each other, we need friends and lovers
Oh, oh we need each other

I need you, you need me
'Cause that's the way it's meant to be
I need you, we need each other
I don't want to be alone

I need you, you need me
'Cause that's the way it's gotta be
I need you, we need each other
I don't want to be alone


friday flicks - hide yo kids.

this has been one of the highlights of my week. it still amazes me how fast this stuff spreads on youtube!

so, first there was this news clip:

and then came the autotune rap parody:


tuesday tunes - sara groves.

after a week hiatus while i was out of the country, tuesday tunes are back! :)
this week, it's sara groves.

i rediscovered my love for sara recently. i made a quick weekend trip home to atlanta recently and while i was there i grabbed a few of my old cd's. on my drive back to nashville, i listened to her add to the beauty album, and was reminded how much i love her simple songwriting and soothing voice. sara has a bunch of albums, including her newest, fireflies and songs. with this latest album, sara says for the first time she got to write with pure emotion...to "enjoy God and the gift of songwriting"...painting personal pictures from sara's life as a wife, mother, daughter, and friend.
here's a song off the fireflies and songs album, "it's me":

{and i still love this video of hers i blogged about years ago - especially with Africa so fresh on my heart!!}