Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!
It's 11:01, according to the clock on my computer. We're doing New Year's Eve with our kids and some of their friends. We've got food. We've got Family Game Night games on the wii. Everyone is pretty happy here, and I'm glad.

I hope you're having a good time right now without being to stupid about it. Stupid drives much of the behavior that happens on New Years Eve, and I seriously hope for better with you.

I want to say, right now, for the record, that I am very thankful. I'm thankful for today. I'm thankful for my friends and family. I'm thankful for all the blessings I have and most assuredly don't deserve.

I hope that you will treasure every moment that you have in this new year. There's no way to know how many moments any of us have left. So treasure them. Make the most of them. Make them count. And remember:

God loves you.

Peace to you.

© LW Publishing 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Time Is Here

I am trying to have a good week before Christmas. Like, on purpose.

Does anyone else have bad weeks before Christmas?

I have this history of not having a good week before Christmas. Frankly, it’s a little weird, but it happens. In fact, it has so routinely been a not good week, and I seriously mean “not good,” that I have come to somewhat dread this time period. But I have tried to set things up this year, on purpose, in a way that will reduce the odds of having such a not good week. I want to break the cycle, so to speak.

Don’t ask for details. I won’t be forthcoming. The reasons are too many. The details too personal. But I have tried to head things off at the pass by arranging things and stepping back from things to keep the pressure off and stay at peace.

If you have a tough time with the holidays, please know that you aren’t alone. A lot of us struggle because the idealistic nature of the celebrations don’t really match up with so much of the reality that we have to deal with each day. I don’t know how to solve all your problems. Only God, in Christ, can help you with that. But I do know that most of us are simply trying to do too much and it’s making us crazy.

I can only suggest that you trim some things off the edges. Think about what’s really important. Try to make better choices about what you do with your time and money.  Don’t fill up every moment on the calender. Leave some breathing room in there. Yeah, I know. It’s hard to do that. But if the way you are doing things now is making you miserable, then you need to change they way you’re doing things.

Don’t lose sight of what the holidays are. They are meant to be holy days. Days we set apart to focus on spiritual things. Sometimes we set them apart on our calenders, but not in our hearts. And that’s where things start going bad.

Peace to you.

© LW Publishing 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Almighty Christmas Dollars

Homer: I love you Marge.

Marge: I know that. You tell me that all the time.

Homer: Oh? Good. ‘Cause I do love you Marge. And I don’t deserve you as much as a guy with a fat wallet and a credit card that won’t set off that horrible beeping.


Here’s the thing. Christmas costs too much. Not a little too much. A lot too much. Massively too much. It just does. All the way around. I know our economy depends on it. I get that. Whoda thunk that the birth of God into the world as a human would become the linchpin of western financial stability?

But it costs too much. It’s insane really. It's some form of cultural insanity. And the pressure on people who simply don’t have the money is immense. They have kids too. They have friends with all of the cultural expectations about gift giving. People say "It's the thought that counts." But they are lying. No one cares about thoughts.

I don’t know what to do about it. We try to cut back, but it's not as easy as you'd think. It really is bigger than all of us. It has very little to do with the real deal of Christmas, and I’m not saying it’s all bad.

It just costs too much.

That’s all I’m saying.

© LW Publishing 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

LW Christmas Updated Update

It has been fun hearing different people talk about the songs they like on the Christmas recording. Women and young children seem to particularly like Away In A Manger. The teens and twenty somethings like O Come Emmanuel. And a lot of the 40 and 50 somethings seem to really like It Came Upon A Midnight Clear. It’s interesting to see what strikes different people.

I’ve listened to the recording now about 7.5 million times. I had to play each song over and over and over and over and over again while recording, mixing and mastering with the other guys. And I’ve had in on in the car. As of today, I think I like listening to Coventry Carol the most. It might be a different one tomorrow. But Coventry Carol turned out like a little chamber orchestra piece, in a way. It’s simple, but I think it’s cool how it turned out.

Some people have asked if In the Bleak Midwinter is an original song. It’s not. Coventry Carol and In the Bleak Midwinter are both standard carols in England/Europe. A friend of mine is from Scotland and he said he grew up singing those songs as a child. The only original music on the recording is By The Fire, which is based on a poem by Longfellow, and the bridge to Away In A Manger. Everything else is a traditional piece from the Public Domain.

It was very hard to get done, but now that it’s done and I get to sit in the car and listen to it while I do other things, it’s kind of fun to listen to it. You sort of forget that it’s your own thing. It just becomes its own thing. The music of the spheres.

Anyhow. It’s been doing well for the church. It’s helping a lot. And our musicians are pretty proud of it, which makes me happy. Now they’re talking about recording a worship set of original songs for summer, and then another Christmas one for next year. It makes me a little tired to even think of doing it, but we’ll see.

I’ll mention again that you can get the download for a donation of 10 bucks or more at the church website. If you want a CD you’ll have to contact me. We appreciate, seriously, how kind and generous everyone has been with this. You are a wonderfully amazing people out there.

Yep. This is the Link.

Peace to you.

© LW Publishing 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Like Hotcakes

I thought I’d share the good news that the LivingWater Christmas Vol. 01 CD and download is on it’s second print run today. Yep. We’ve gone through the first print, so if you want one of those, you’ll have to get one from the second print run because they are identical. No special editions here. Or you can get the identical digital download on our church website with a donation of 10 or more smackaroos.

Also, I’m happy to say that no one has had the courage to tell me they hate the recording yet. Or perhaps they are just being kind. Either way, I’m happy not to know if you hate it.

But I think you’ll like it if you don’t already. There’s a lot of different kinds of things on there. No two songs are really alike. Different styles, different singers, different musicians. It’s a cornucopia of music, you could say, if you use the word “cornucupia.” It’s not as common as it used to be.

Anyway. IF you want in on the fun, here’s the link to the download. If you want it on CD, pick it up at the church or contact me through the comments here or on Facebook or on the church website and we can figure something out.

All proceeds go to the church to help us find a home. I'm pretty sure it qualifies as a good deed of some kind. So, thanks. And don't forget to like us on Facebook.


© LW Publishing 2011

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Where Are The Chestnuts?

People are asking questions about the new LW Christmas Vol. 1 recording. Here are some answers.

1. No, it is not me singing on all those songs. (And ha ha, by the way.) Those are women on some of those songs. My friends Katie and Janel sing the ones that sound like women are singing them. And the songs that are sung by a guy with a really great, very cool voice with a bit of an edge: that’s my young Padawan Jereme. He’s the bomb. But thanks for thinking I sing like a woman. And thanks for thinking I could possibly sing as well as Jereme. But I can’t.

2. We don’t have that “chestnuts” song on the recording, and many others that we might have liked to do, because we had to do original or public domain songs to avoid copyright infringement issues. We’re going to look into getting license to do some other things next year, but we thought the limitation actually helped us to produce a Christmas recording that was a little less trite than is usual these days.

3. Yes, that “first song” is one of mine. The song “By the Fire” is an original, based on an old poem by Longfellow. Another song writer did this with another Longfellow poem. It’s the song “I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day,” which we did not record, by the way. And the bridge on “Away In A Manger” is also original. Everything else on the recording is traditional Christmas stuff arranged by our team of musicians.

4. The cover artwork for the recording was done by a local artist named Jim Pappas. He doesn’t have a website yet, but he’s wanting to get one going. If he does, I’ll let you know about it on my blog.

5. Yes, there are a lot of different musicians on different songs. We got as many involved from the church as we could with the time we had. And the kids singing on Jingle Bells are from our church. I used a hand held field recorder to record them at church then dropped the track into the mix, along with recording some of the kids in the studio. We plan to get even more of our people on the next one next year (if we do one, which we might). It was a pretty big group of people overall laying down tracks and getting it finished. They all rock. Mightily.

6. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

Peace to you.

© LW Publishing 2011