Monthly Archives: November 2010

We have this treasure…

After an amazing Thanksgiving, crazy midnight madness shopping in Hagerstown Tompaul Stephanie and I are using our respective laptops welcoming the Sabbath with some retro tunes.  By retro I mean circa 1995.  With our latest Jars of Clay album we received the vinyl self titled album.

In 1995 at a Fellowship of Christian Atheletes retreat I heard Jars of Clay for the first time and it blew my mind.  I owned maybe 2 Christian albums and rarely listened to them.  Mostly because the quality was not as good as my regular music.  The lyrics were sappy and the music was a farce.  It was like eating the cheap store brand vanilla ice cream instead of Bryer’s Vanilla Bean.  You know what it is supposed to resemble, and you keeping eating hoping you will be satisfied, but you know you never will.

Jars of Clay was a group I listened to because they were good, not because they were Christian.  As time JoC has changed.  I remember in college everyone owned their first album, but as their music grew I continued to enjoy them.  I will say though that many of the subsequent albums did not grab me like their debut, that is until Who We are Instead.  When I first heard Who We are Instead it revolutionized my listening.

In honor of Jars of Clay I present my favorite songs in no particular order:

  • World Apart (Joc)
  • Drummer Boy (Drummer Boy)
  • Closer (Closer EP)
  • Revolution (11th Hour)
  • Dig (Furthermore: from the studio)
  • Redemption (Furthermore: from the studio)
  • Rose Colored Stained Glass Windows (Front Yard Luge)
  • Work (Good Monsters)
  • Dead Man (Good Monsters)
  • Grace (If I Left the Zoo)
  • Liquid (JoC)
  • Oh My God (Good Monsters)
  • The ENTIRE Who We are Instead Album but especially Jealousy

I would have to say my top JoC albums are

  1. Who We are Instead                                                                                            
  2. Jars of Clay                                                                                                                           
  3. Good Monsters                                                     

I think what always gets me is how they seem to have worshipful music in the vein of the Psalms.  It can be praise it can be despondant.  They were the first group, in my mind, to create music that described the Christian walk as it was.  Sometimes it is fabulous and sometimes it sucks.  Sometimes you look at the world and think how can God be there when the whole world is just so jacked up.  But he is, and the Christian doesn’t have to be fake, the Christian just has to be real.

Friday Night Aquarium: Children and Camera Whores

Last Friday night Tompaul and I headed to the National Aquarium, Baltimore with our friend Christy.  They have these discounts on Friday nights, and you can order your tickets online.  It had been YEARS since I had been to Baltimore Aquarium.  I know the Georgia Aquarium has outpaced it but I was kinda excited.  Plus I got to try out my new camera (purchased for our upcoming trip).  I am still getting used to it so here are some highlights.

Above is the water fall to the terrarium/Austrailia area.  So there we are walking to the aquarium…and I hear a father berating his daughter.  “WHY CAN’T YOU BE QUIET?  YOU ARE STILL MAKING NOISE!!!”  I wanted to turn around and say.  “GARR.  Why are you making noise of life?”

Above is one of the bubble machines.  Tompaul is on the other side.  Can you see him?  Me neither.

There was this HUGE room with shallow (5 feet) water.  It was like an atrium, because you could see it from each floor.  Mostly there were rays, which were ginormous.  Some huge fish.  They could swim under the floor etc.  The best part was …

This turtle!  Yes it only has 3 flippers.  She was found in NJ in shock and had a gangrenous flipper which had to be amputated!  So the aquarium took her.  The picture above does not do her justice to her size.  I thought I had seen large turtles, but I guess not alive.  When she swam out I caught my breath cause she was so majestic.  Tompaul fell in love.  We call her Hottle turtle because of the Wheelers’ three legged cat Hottle…but that is another story for another day.

What aquarium would be complete w/o a clown fish?  Looks a whole lot like Nigel, our clown fish puppet.

See the horses sleeping?

So this is my favorite part…this is a cowfish.  In an aquarium with multiple flame fish.  I really wanted a picture of the flame fish, but this fish was in front.

So I move to a different angle, but my camera didn’t do what I wanted.

So I try again…but the cowfish was onto me.  He totally got in the way.

Again.

And again.

And again.  This picture reminds me of a picture I have of my medschool graduation….

didn’t get it just right…

Get out of the way Matthew!!!

Camera WHORE!

Turtle!

Turtle!

Um…ugly?

Well all in all it was fab.  Because it was discount night there were tons of kids but worse than that is they had the audacity to bring their rude and crabby parents.

Travel Bracelet

My mom bought me a gift for my trip, I thought it was going to be a practical thing cause that’s the kinda gal my mom is.  She surprised me and bought me a Pandora Bracelet.  She calls it my trip bracelet.   The beads on each end she calls waves, because I am going across the oceans.  The almost look like tires, so either way they are perfect for the thought of traveling.  Then you see the suitcase, self explanatory.  Finally you see the elephant with is representative of Tompaul and I going on the trip together (its one of our favorite animals).

On today’s list I have to work on some Christmas presents, make desert for Thanksgiving, and get ready for Steph’s visit.

Music and All God’s Creatures

Recently I have discovered two major muscial acts.  The first is Neulore. Their album Apples & Eve is one I could hit repeat on again and again.  I downloaded it on iTunes.  They describe themselves as folk, but it is unlike any folk I have heard, they are part Weepies part AutoVaughn.  They are from Nashville, check them out.

The second is Parry Gripp.  His song Baby Monkey (Going Backwards on a Pig) is free this week on iTunes. I unsuspectingly downloaded it and was hooked.  Apparently he writes songs for Hoops and YoYo…another awsome part of life.

Early Morning Light

Daylight savings time ending is bittersweet.  On one hand it is dark when I go home, which I don’t like.  On the other hand I wake up earlier and am more awake.  Meaning I get up at a reasonable time now (6:30) like I did in the summer and now I actually have time for my 30 minutes of my light therapy.

That is the terrible conundrum of being seasonally affected.  The light will help me feel more awake in the mornings, but if I can’t actually get my butt out of bed to use it nothing will ever improve.  The sunlight variation here makes me miss Nashville all the more.

This first six months of my fellowship is almost over.  I guess I wanted to take stock in what I have been up to am I achieving my goal?  Am I becoming myself?  I think I am getting “better” at least.

What have I accomplished?

-I am working on reading EVERY Lloyd Alexander book (getting close) and EVERY Agatha Christie.  I have some more dramatic literature, but I can’t bring myself to it yet.

– I am making my way through excellent tv that no one watches.  Red Dwarf, Avatar: the Last Airbender, Fry and Laurie, Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Doctor Who (okay people actually watch that).

– I am exercising regularly, even though my clothing doesn’t fit any better.

– I am cooking exciting things, becoming adventurous.

– Tompaul and I are becoming in sync again.

So what does this bring us to?  My trip.  Oh it is coming, and I just can’t wait!  Three months of traveling with Tompaul, exploring.  Learning, seeing doing!  How frickin’ awesome!

Oh sweet weekend!

These past two weeks have been crazy, I haven’t stopped moving from St. Louis to the rally to today.  Non stop I say!  Work has been filled with complex cases and I am loving it but I have been challenged again and again.  Enough talk of work.  Blogging has taken a back seat also because our internet is ridiculously slow.

This weekend came none too soon.  High lights of  the week include a lemon risotto, which was fabulous; a salted caramel hot chocolate, which I think is better than the pumkin spice latte; and I finished season one of Avatar on Netflix.

Right now I am drinking my Vanilla Cinnamon Black Tea from Trader Joe’s, cozy in my chair watching the Secret of Kells.  So far is it is visually amazing.  I wish I had seen it at the Belcourt on the big screen.The images are so compelling, layered like the famous book itself.  Pictures within pictures.  Insular style at its best.

I recently finished another Lloyd Alexander book.


The Wizard in the Tree.  I love Lloyd Alexander’s writing.  Its about adventure, exploration and discovery of family.  In his books family takes many forms with many types of people.  Lloyd Alexander is big on heroines and discovery of one’s gifts.  I also like his love of cultures, old culture.  Culture is what makes us who we are and defines a people.  Sometimes that can be lost the modern life.