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JFH Staff Blog | December 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010

Out with the old, in with a New Year

I like the New Year holiday. I think it does has something to do with the fact that I happen to like shiny new things, but I also love the idea of a clean slate. A new year... a new month... a new date. January always feels fresh even though, essentially, it's really just a continuation of life as we know it.

But it's this time of year that we reflect on the year that's ending and a new year ahead. Whether or not January 1st really is "just another day," the truth of the matter is that we often recall periods of life by their month, year, or season. For 2010, I can look back on it being a really huge year in my life. I said goodbye to my twenties, my wife and I welcomed our first child, JFH turned fourteen years old, and in December, the site got a much needed face lift. At the same time, the year has brought just as many fears, heartaches, and exercises in trusting God as any other year, if not more.

So a good part of me wants to put my "hand to the plow" and not look back at 2010. 2011 has way too many question marks and uncertainties for my comfort zone, but I know that all of the new adventures and trials are God's way of testing and asking for more trusting from me... more leaps of faith. I'm always learning what it means to rest in Him and give things over to Him because I feel like it's up to me to change things, complete things and see things through. I know it's wrong, but I know I need to be honest with myself and my brothers and sisters in this walk of faith if I'm ever to improve upon that.

So as we say goodbye to 2010, my New Year's "Resolution" is to trust Him more and be a better father, husband, and child of God.

Do any of you have any New Year's Resolutions?

Thanks for supporting JFH, guys. We appreciate you. Happy 2011! -- John DiBiase

Monday, December 27, 2010

We Recommend - Fair, 'Disappearing World'

As another year of music draws to a close this week, it seems appropriate to look back over 2010's catalog of releases to highlight some of the standout albums of the year. Producer extraordinaire Aaron Sprinkle finally released his band Fair's sophomore album, entitled Disappearing World on Tooth & Nail Records in February. Melodlic, thoughtful, and wonderfully catchy, it's a deep album that offers plenty to chew on while being one of the most accessible projects Sprinkle has lended his soft vocals to. Hopefully 2011 will have more projects as notable as this one. - John DiBiase

Fair
Disappearing World (2010)

Click here for our review of the album.

Our synopsis: "One of the best records to release in 2010, Fair's second effort is a triumphant, catchy indie rock record." (Recommended by JFH's John DiBiase)
Perfect For: Relationships, Hope
Song Highlights: "Disappearing World," "Walking In My Sleep," "Take Some Risks," "It's Doubtful," "Anymore"

So, what are your thoughts on and experiences with the album Disappearing World? Do you recommend it? If so, why?

Featured Fan - Clint Pagurko

Clint with Falling Up CD Collection

Favorite Band/Artist: Falling Up
Featured Fan: Clint Pagurko
Location: Port Huron, Michigan
When/Where Was The Above Photo Taken: Home
What About This Artist's Music Speaks To You: It's cryptic, poetic, and synthy, but it still has a clear message pointing to Christ.
Favorite Album by This Artist:  Exit Lights
Favorite Song by This Artist: I don't know... "Good Morning Planetarium?" "Broken Heart?" "Exit Calypsan (Into the Ice Cave)?" "Lights of Reedsport?" "Into the Gravity?" "Moonlit (Neon Predator)?" "Searchlights (Indoor Soccer)?" I can't decide
Number of Times Seen This Artist Live: None :(
Favorite Piece Of Merch/Item You Own From This Artist: CDS!! I can't find any apparel online


Submit your photo and reasons why YOU'RE a fan for a chance to be featured here!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Resolute New Year

Looking back on a year is one of my favorite things to do after Christmas. 2010 may be best remembered as the year of the iPad and Justin Bieber. It was a year of political battlegrounds encompassing healthcare and a historic midterm election. In the media, it was the year Larry King ended his CNN show after 25 years and it was when we found out Steve Carell was leaving ‘The Office.’ It was the year of Twitter and social media. It was the year of the Nashville flood.  And in Christian music, it was the year of Charmaine, tobyMac, and the weird announcement of the 2011 Dove’s being held in…Atlanta.

But as we look back on such a big year, what can we really say about it? What did we, as Christians, as ambassadors of Christ, do to impact this world? Did we change someone’s life? Bring someone to know the love of Jesus? It’s a question we all should reflect on. Not just at the end of the year, no, but rather in our daily walk with God: What am I doing to save this dying world?

So as we enter 2011, as we make our resolutions that we’ll never keep and promise ourselves a “fresh start,” try something new. Make 2011 the year that you make an impact on someone’s life. It could be as simple as paying for the person’s meal behind you in the drive-thru at McDonald’s. It could be as easy talking to that person everyone seems to ignore and making them feel loved. Whatever it is, resolve yourself to make 2011 a year where the love of God impacts the distant people in this world; help the lost become found.

-- Logan Leasure

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Top Indie Albums of 2010

If you're an avid reader of Jesusfreakhideout.com and all it has to offer, then you know we have two different classifications for the artists we cover: major label artists and independent artists.  For a little over a year, I've been the main "writing guy" for the indie section (aka, the State of Independents - a nice little name I came up with....okay it was actually John who came up with it, but I liked it).  Ahem.

Earlier in the month, we posted our top ten albums and songs for 2010.  This year, I thought I'd get with some of the other staffers who listen to a lot of independent music and post our lists of the top indie albums we got to hear this year.  Some had big lists, some only picked a few.

Now, it's obviously not possible to have heard every stinkin' indie album put out, so if you don't see an album in any of our lists, it's not necessarily because we didn't like it.  It may just be because we didn't get a chance to check it out - though there is the possibility that we have heard it and none of us liked it ;).  With that being said, I'll kindly ask those who read this: please do not post comments getting angry at us, berating us or threatening our mothers because we didn't list an album or artist.  On the other hand, I do encourage anyone to post their own lists if you so desire.  I'd love to hear what you guys have been listening to this year.  When you do post your comment, keep a few things in mind:

1) the artist has to be an independent artist.  This includes any artist that does not have major/national distribution of their album, regardless of whether they're signed to a label or not (for instance, labels like Come&Live!, Eden Records, Much Luvv Records, etc., despite being legitimate record labels, are considered indie labels due to the fact that they don't have nationwide distribution).  In other words, if you wouldn't find the album in retail chains like Best Buy, Lifeway, WalMart, etc., they are indie. (NOTE: artists like Showbread and Playdough made this list because, despite having been previously signed to major labels, they released albums independently this year)
2) the album has to have been released in 2010 (or late December 2009) to qualify for the list.
3) I know a lot of readers aren't exclusively Christian music listeners, myself included, please keep the lists to Christian artists.  Thanks:)

I know this is getting ridiculously long, and you're just wanting to read the lists.  So I apologize.  Without further ado, here are a few of Jesusfreakhideout's top indie albums of 2010!

Scott Fryberger:
Abel - Lesser Men
-A very strong, and surprising, indie rock record.  Going the independent route didn't seem to hurt them one bit.

Bella Vita - Flight Patterns EP
-Not a perfect album, but good for fans of folk/indie music.  Keep an eye on these guys.

Blood and Water - In Character
-Blood and Water's sophomore album is a fun mixture of pop punk and ska.  With a little more refining, they could easily fit in with the bigger names of the genre.

Bradley Hathaway - A Thousand Angry Panthers
-Deeper and darker (and shorter) than previous Hathaway releases, this may be some of his best work yet.  Very heartfelt and emotional.

dropsci.GIANTS - littleONES
-Four fairly underground emcees come together to create a pretty decent debut EP.  A good offering for fans of Tunnel Rats style hip hop.

The Ember Days - Finger Painting EP
-A gorgeous instrumental landscape, with honest and profound worshipful lyrics mixed in perfectly.

I Am Alpha and Omega - The Roar and the Whisper
-It was a long wait, but this album's arrival was refreshing.  IAAAO gets better with each release.

Listener - Wooden Heart
-Beautiful, passionate, intense - there's almost nothing I don't like about this album (not too fond of the fact that it ended).

Manchild & Jaq - You Don't Know Jaq EP
A short EP showcasing the newfound chemistry of DS5/Mars ILL emcee Manchild and Scribbling Idiots producer Jaq.  Nice little intro to the duo.

Playdough and For Beats' Sake - Writer Dye
-The Dallas, TX, emcee is always at the top of his game, as proven by this generous free offering.  His mic skills and For Beats' Sake's beats will keep you coming back for more.

Preson Phillips - Weep...He Loves The Mourner's Tears
-Skilled with the acoustic guitar and holding nothing back lyrically, this is a worship album to keep on repeat.

Showbread - Who Can Know It?
-Completely different than anything we've ever heard from the raw rock geniuses, but oh so fulfilling and amazing.  Is there anything Dies and company can't do?

Sons of God - The Genesis Prologue EP
-Only three songs, but so so good.  Their very first full length next year is one of my most anticipated.

Your Heart - Autumn
-Some of his best material to date.  Ten songs that capture the overall feel of autumn, and make you want to listen to the album all over again as soon as you're finished.

Sam Schaumberg:
Blood and Water - In Character
By adding an excellent variety of influences to the pop punk sound, Blood and Water presents an impressive album with both fun and thoughtful messages.

Listener - Wooden Heart
When you first listen to Wooden Heart, you catch yourself falling into a period of deep thought. Expect to feel like life is suddenly moving in slow motion.

Playdough – Bible Bus Mixtape
With great flow and tight lyrics, Bible Bus Mixtape further establishes Playdough’s hip-hop talent.

Playdough – Writer Dye
Of his two independent offerings this year, Playdough’s Writer Dye is a great collection with excellent beats and an interesting concept.

Quiet Science - [With/Without]
[With/Without] is a stellar album with a unique sound and a slight techno influence. Multiple listens only improves its quality.

The Wedding – Distance EP
The Wedding has already clearly established their sound, and this year’s independent release further recognizes their ability to create quality rock music.

Willet - Teeth of a Lion, Fangs of a Lioness
Willet has been consistently putting out quality worship music with a soft rock edge for a while now, and this year’s release is one of their finest.

Garrett DeRossett:
Bradley Hathaway - A Thousand Angry Panthers
On Bradley Hathaway’s newest offering, the bar has been raised on every level. Only comprised of four songs but containing the heart of many more, A Thousand Angry Panthers will have you singing, crying, and shouting along with the words before the closing notes are through.

Christie DuPree - EP
Attempting to make it in the independent music world is tough enough without having to follow in the footsteps of your family, especially if your family happens to be in a band called Eisley. In all honesty, though, Christie DuPree’s lovingly handmade EP is a piece of pure gold; simple, airy, and charming, if you can track down this recording at a live show, you won’t be disappointed.

Damien Jurado - Saint Bartlett
Damien Jurado’s newest has been a sleeper favorite for many fans of the indie folk scene, as well as for myself. Picking up Saint Bartlett was a smart move, to say the least; the textures and melodies contained within its twelve tracks are some of the most beautiful I've heard in a while.

The Farewell Drifters - Yellow Tag Mondays
In a world where the bluegrass genre is being left to the old men in overalls, it's refreshing to see the “young folks” picking up their mandolins and banjos and strumming their hearts out with fervor. Yellow Tag Mondays will make you smile the entire way through with an appeal that only a group of extremely excited twenty-somethings with fun instruments can bring.

Fort Christmas - Fort Christmas
As a multi-instrumentalist from my hometown with a hand in projects ranging from Sleeping At Last to MuteMath to an official Switchfoot remix, Jeremy Larson is one of my very favorite artists. His newest side venture, Fort Christmas, documents the story of his recent engagement and will fill your headphones with the catchiest pop sounds this side of the Beach Boys.

Olympians - You Were My Inspiration
It takes quite a bit to compel me to invest in an album by an artist I’ve only seen live, but after attending each of Olympians’ daily performances at Cornerstone, I knew this was a wise purchase. Full of post-rock goodness and a flair for the dramatic, You Were My Inspiration will suit fans of nearly any genre.

Ryan Barbee:
Dustin Ruth – Learn How to Love Someone
Probably one of the more overlooked artists but Dustin Ruth is masterful minstrel of melody.  While not everyone’s taste, the album is truly a treat for simple yet sweet love songs.

The Ember Days - Finger Painting EP
Hands down one of the most methodical offering of music put out for all to hear. From the well thought out instrumentation to the almost liquid flow of vocals, this is the album to get!

Showbread – Who Can Know It?
Controversial and convicting! With a lower tone and softer sound the fellas in Showbread have not dulled the message of the love of Christ; they’ve embraced the Gospel’s double-edged sharpness. Some might get offended...but that’s okay – so were the Pharisees.


Now it's your turn!  Tell us what independent albums you loved in 2010!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Featured Fan - James Kolstedt

Kevin Young of Disciple and James

Favorite Band/Artist: Disciple
Featured Fan: James Kolstedt
Location: Seattle, WA
When/Where Was The Above Photo Taken: Oconomowoc, WI
What About This Artist's Music Speaks To You: Disciple's music encourages me and let's me see God's grace in the dark times and let's me praise Him during the good times.
Favorite Album by This Artist:  Back Again
Favorite Song by This Artist: "Fear"
Favorite Live Show Experience: Creation East 2008. It was pouring down rain and they closed with "Things Left Unsaid". It was quite emotional. Afterwards, when I met the band at their merch table, they told me I was their most hardcore fan. I went to bow, but was dehydrated and tired from rocking out, and fell over and slammed my head on their merch table. I ensured they remembered me at every show after that. Ha ha!
Number of Times Seen This Artist Live: 10 to 12 times (estimated)
Favorite Piece Of Merch/Item You Own From This Artist: Back Again t-shirt
Website: http://www.facebook/intelligentrectangle

Submit your photo and reasons why YOU'RE a fan for a chance to be featured here!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Gift Of Peace

Christmas sometimes passes like a red, green, and gold blur of lights, wrapping paper, and familiar carols. Bombarded by relatives, gifts, events, and special programs, there are times this blessed season hits as hard and fast as a Texas tornado. It commences whether we are prepared or not. And instead of joy, peace, and glory to God, it produces physical, emotional, and financial overload.

Often we submit to the overwhelming societal and commercial pressures because we truly want to make the most of the season. But in the midst of the hustle and bustle, what we actually need most-spiritually, emotionally, physically, and relationally-is to be quiet and observant. We gain the greatest benefit from being silent and tranquil-cherishing the opportunity to reflect on Christ's birth and what our Savior really means to us. It is amazing the blessings and sense of peace we miss when we don't take the time to be still and see how God is moving.

Think about the people who first missed Jesus' birth. The religious leaders of Israel didn't realize that the Father had sent the Savior, even though He announced through the prophet Isaiah, "The Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel" (Isa. 7:14). They envisioned the Messiah to be a mighty warrior who would free the nation, not that He would be born in a barn or that God's salvation would be accomplished on a cross.

Yet recall the people who did witness Jesus' birth. Luke tells us, "There were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:8-11).

It was in the stillness of that quiet night in Bethlehem that the announcement came. And because their ears and their hearts were open, the shepherds were blessed in an awesome way. The same is true for us.
I've often said, peace with God is the fruit of oneness with Him. Stopping in the midst of our hectic schedules and looking for ways the Savior is working is not only immensely important-it is downright indispensible. Through our time in His awesome presence, He settles our souls, fills our hearts with peace, strengthens us for the struggles ahead, and teaches us His ways-could anything be more satisfying, important, or powerful than that?

This Christmas, enjoy moments of silence and meditate upon God's gift of salvation, character, and Word. Learn to look for Him in the stillness of the day and to anticipate His glory in the most unexpected places. In doing so, you will strengthen the foundation of your growing relationship with Him-and that's the very best Christmas present you and I could ever receive.

Copyright 2010 In Touch Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org

Monday, December 13, 2010

12 Days Of Christmas Tour Day 11 and 12

Well, as they say in the "biz", all good things come to an end. Thus, The 12 Days Of Christmas Tour concluded earlier tonight in Fall Creek, WI. Jonathan from Eleventyseven and I renamed the tour about a week ago to the 12 Days Of "Snow" Tour, and last night and tonight, we were justified on our decision. We performed in Green Bay, WI at a great venue called Cup O' Joy Coffee House. As we arrived, there was an overcast feel to the weather, but little did we know what was ahead for the rest of the evening. As the concert began and went on, Green Bay was hit with an incredible blizzard, with wind gusts up to 35 miles per hour, and drifting snow that would make Alaska proud. A huge thank you, however, to the small but energetic crowd that came out, knowing full well that the snow was on it's way. The show was fun, but the experience of loading the vans in the blizzard, and watching Eleventyseven (true South Carolia boys) shovel a drive way so we could park our vans, was the best part of the night.

After recovering from the blizard overnight, we awoke to 13 inches of snow, and both bands teamed with a snow blower to get our vans/trailers out of the drifts, so that we could head to Fall Creek, where during the same blizzard, a near 20 year record of snow fall was set with 21 inches. Top it all off with more fast wind, and a wind chill in the negatives, we basically knew that we were officially on our way to becoming human penguins. But, once again, the snow wasn't enough to stop not only us, but a great group of kids from coming and rocking with us for the final night of tour. Thanks to all the brave souls who helped make our Wisconsin experiences some to remember forever!

As I close out, I want to say some thank yous. First off, all thanks and praise goes to God for protecting us every single step of the way. The conditions were pretty much crazy for all 12 days, but He made a way through all the snow and wind, and I am so thankful for His mercy on this and all tours! Secondly, thanks to Eleventyseven for joining us on this festive little run. I can tell you honestly that those southern boys are three of the most genuine and awesome guys you'll ever meet, and I'm proud to call them my brothers. They are also three of the most insane and unpredictable people walking the face of the earth, but that just made this tour all the more fun! I want to thank all of you who not only come to our shows and give it your all jumping, clapping, and singing along, but read my ramblings here at JesusFreakHideOut. It's a privelage to share my heart with you every time we go out and about, and I hope that you can always take something away from one of these. And finally, thanks to JesusFreakHideOut for allowing me to share my thoughts on while on the road, and for giving you all the chance to pick up our version of O Holy Night via a free download from the site. What an awesome feeling to work with amazing people for God!

With that, I'll leave you for now. I'll be waking up in six hours to join my fellow band mates on a brisk 13 hour drive back to home sweet home: Ohio. We'll be winding down 2010 with just a pair of shows, one of which will be New Year's Eve in Mansfield, OH with our fellow Ohioan John Reuben. Keep your eyes peeled for some big stuff in 2011! God bless you all, and from all of us in TgT, have a safe, blessed, and very Merry Christmas!

love always,

Miah & TgT

We Recommend - Ayiesha Woods, 'Christmas Like This'

Christmastime is here! If you're like me, you've been spinning those Christmas tunes that you grew up with and even some more modern offerings that you've added into the rotation in recent years. Well, one worth considering is an album that flew pretty low under the radar last year. Not only did it not release to all music stores, but you could only buy it digitally... or on CD from musichristian.com. Sadly, this is a record that deserves full distribution.

In addition to her incredible vocals, Ayiesha Woods has channeled some R&B, motown and just plain ole soul into her Christmas project, Christmas Like This. It's a pretty solid collection of holiday covers, and her renditions of "Rudolph..." and "Merry Christmas Baby" are especially fun. - John DiBiase

Ayiesha Woods
Christmas Like This (2009)

Click here for more info on the album.

Our synopsis: "Soulful, infectious, catchy, and warm are just a few words that come to mind when listening to Ayiesha Woods' first Christmas outing. Light that fire, put this on and cozy up with a cup of cocoa!" (Recommended by JFH's John DiBiase)
Perfect For: Christmas spirit and holiday cheer
Song Highlights: "Merry Christmas Baby," "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"

So, what are your thoughts on and experiences with the album Christmas Like This? Do you recommend it? If so, why?

 

Featured Fan - Jordan

Jordan and "and one of the greatest albums ever!"

Favorite Band/Artist: Newsboys
Featured Fan: Jordan
Location: Virginia
When/Where Was The Above Photo Taken: Early May, 2009, when their amazing album In The Hands Of God released!
What About This Artist's Music Speaks To You: Since I was a kid, I've been amazed by the originality of their music and lyrics, but most of all, I've always loved their heart for preaching the Gospel.  They're very genuine and really do what they do for the glory of God.  There are countless great musicians in Christian music, but I truly believe that the Newsboys have ALWAYS been the best.  When it comes to lyrics and live shows, they've always done things that so many other musicians are afraid to do.  I mean, c'mon...has anyone else tried to sing a song about cereal, or perform an entire tour inside an inflatable air dome? ;-)  There's really no other band like them!
Favorite Album by This Artist:  GO
Favorite Song by This Artist: I've tried to pick; really, I have...but so far, I've been unsuccessful.  I really, truly love all their songs!
Favorite Live Show Experience: The GO tour in Norfolk, VA on March 2nd, 2007...the night I got saved!
Number of Times Seen This Artist Live: 4
Favorite Piece Of Merch/Item You Own From This Artist: Down Under The Big Top (VHS)...you might say it's the best worst movie ever made, but it's incredibly fun and amusing for the diehard Newsboys fans!
Website: http://graceunmeasured.com

Submit your photo and reasons why YOU'RE a fan for a chance to be featured here!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

12 Days Of Christmas Tour Days 5-9

Good morning! My apologies for the layoff. The combination of long drives mixed with snowy conditions, and a lack of wifi has prevented me from getting a good blog or two in, but we have it today! The past few days have been much like the first few: amazing! It's been such a blessing to see everyone coming out to the shows despite the crazy weather, and it's been great to see everyone having a grand time. Posted are some pics of the great crowds who have been rocking with us.

Over the past few days, both bands have become big fans of vitamin c drinks. There's been some colds running rampant among both bands, so we've been breaking out the Emergencee and Airborne supplies. I've come to find out that a touring musician's best friend always ends up being vitamin c. Never leave home without it!

Finally, as some of you know, we've been playing our rendition of O Holy Night on this tour, a song that is available as a free download here at jesusfreakhideout. It truly is my favorite Christmas song, but not just because I love the melody, and it's a classic, but because of how much of a worship song it is. It's the ultimate song of celebration, as praise and worship should be. Every night that we play this song, it's truly a time of worship for me, as well a reminder of really the only reason that Christmas is here in the first place. What a miracle! It's sad to think that the story of Christmas has been boxed into being celebrated but really once a year, and it's even more sad that it has been whittled down to something of a bedtime story, or even a cliche in today's commercial world, or even not mentioned hardly at all in favor of "traditional" Christmas happenings and ideas. The birth of our Savior, the Son of God, is not a tradition, it's a miracle, and one of the greatest gifts this world has ever been given, and through that initial gift, we have all been given an opportunity to claim Him as our Savior, and thus can be given the ultimate gift: an eternal and real relationship with Jesus Christ. As every year goes by, I think more and more about what a glorious time it must have been for those who got to see Jesus for the first time in that manger. My heart is filled with joy to know that God loves us so much, that he thought to give our world this gift for all to share! How awesome is that? To God be the glory this and all times of the year! :)

I'll sign off for now, so enjoy the pics and the video of some of our escapades over the past few days. See you again soon!

love always,

Miah & TgT

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

If I could change one thing about you, I wouldn't.

If there is one point my dad tried to hammer into me when I was younger, it's that you can't change anybody.

People can change their own behaviors, and God can change their hearts, but you are responsible for you. It's the great struggle. The inevitable inner-turmoil we all stare down at some point: You can't change anyone.

So it goes without saying that you can't change your wife. But it should be said anyway: You can't change your wife.

And of course you always hear this, but once you're married, you understand why God found it good and right to make sure you heard it so often growing up. It's hard. And it doesn't matter how great of a wife you have (Or whether or not you're still in your "honeymoon stage" of the marriage), at some point you sit back, evaluate, and decide there's about a million "Well if she would just..."

It's the ultimate guise because it almost seems noble. At its supposed root, you feel like you're just trying to help them live a better life (And all the benefits you yourself would reap from this change are just happy accidents.).

Of course, the real root is selfishness. It's this unconscious "if she would change, I'd be happy." And it's all wrong. It's this idea that things have to be right to be good. And it's wrong.

I look back on Kelli's and my short three months of marriage so far (And years of being together), and the times I cherish the most are the ones we were growing by leaps and bounds through adversity. Throughout our relationship, it's been hard, and it's been slow goings, but on our wedding day when I could honestly say I wasn't the least bit nervous, but actually peaceful, it was totally worth it.

Because we'd tried to change each other. And we found it doesn't work.

This is what I've found, instead: For every one annoying, I-honestly-can't-believe-she-does-this that I can find, there's about one hundred How-is-it-God-blessed-me-with-such-a-perfect-mate?s to be found, and I am a fool to focus on the plank in my best friend's eye. So instead, I praise her for all of her incredible attributes (Be they actions, or identity. It's important to praise her simply for who God made her!)

And y'know what? Eventually, the things she does that annoy me, either stop bothering me or she simply stops doing them.

It's like the opening to my favorite radio show, Adventures in Odyssey: "Oh hi there! I was just working on one of my inventions here! ...This is Odyssey! Hey! Let's see if this thing works!" (Clattering and chaos) "Woah woah, hold it! Okay... so, it needs a little more work! But that's the exciting part, because you never know what you'll discover along the way."

The things you learn when you surrender yourself and die to the flesh make it seem silly to even get annoyed by annoyances in the first place.

I'm thankful for the things about Kelli that drive me crazy. It's an invitation to fall deeper in love with her, and to love her because she's simply...her. It's an invitation to die to self. I can't say I'm even close to getting good at it, but I rejoice in the knowledge that there is joy in adversity, and wisdom in struggle.

If I could change one thing about Kelli, I wouldn't! Can you imagine the mess I'd make if I could? Praise Yahweh!

(Taken from my blog Taylorville)

Monday, December 06, 2010

12 Days Of Christmas Tour Day 4

O-H! I-O! Yes, it's good to be back in the winter wonder land known as Ohio for a few days! I come to you tonight from Macedonia, Ohio, just south of Cleveland. What a day. First of all, the Browns were once again victorious again. Secondly, the show tonight was a complete blast, as you see in the picture above. Today is also extra awesome because we're staying at the home of a three time Super Bowl champion in former NFL player Je' Rod Cherry, an awesome man of God with an equally awesome family. It's pretty cool for the obvious reason that he's played in three Super Bowls, but also, I have his rookie card. Yes, I am that nerd, and I let him know it haha. It's awesome to see him doing God's work since his time in the NFL has ended, speaking to many teens and young adults and serving as a strong example, as well as donating the first Super Bowl ring he ever won in an auction for charity to help fight hunger. What a blessing to meet him!

On a personal note, this has been one of my favorite tours that I've ever been a part of. I got to say that everyone who's been coming to the shows have been crazier and crazier each night, as has Eleventyseven. I don't think you'll ever find a nuttier group of guys, but man are they fun. I've said this before, and I'll say it again, but their new music is so good. Whenever it becomes available, you'll need to get it. Their music is just fun, and you can't help but smile whenever you hear Matt Langston's voice singing about cyborg robot squirrels.

On a final note for tonight, I would like to hear about some of your favorite things about Christmas. If you are on Facebook, head over to www.facebook.com/thegreattransparency, and let us know what some of your favorite things about Christmas. We'll all be sharing some of our memories and favs in some blogs to come, so let's make this one big sharing experience. Have a good night, and let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!

love always,

Miah & TgT

Featured Fan - Jonathan Francesco

Jonathan Francesco with his Mom and Downhere (Marc Martel, Glenn Lavender, Jason Germain, and Jeremy Thiessen)

Favorite Band/Artist: Downhere
Featured Fan: Jonathan Francesco
Location: Philadelphia, PA
When/Where Was The Above Photo Taken: Downhere concert at Renaissance Church in Summit, New Jersey on 9/18/10
What About This Artist's Music Speaks To You: The message, the passion, and the talent
Favorite Album by This Artist:  Ending is Beginning
Favorite Song by This Artist: I can't pick an absolute favorite. They are all great. If I HAD to pick, I'd pick "Something Heavenly" or "The More." (Or "What It's Like," or "My Last Amen," or "Dying To Know You." You get the point.)
Favorite Live Show Experience: Nothing beats the magic of the first time seeing them live
Number of Times Seen This Artist Live: Three so far, but I hope to make it more really soon
Favorite Piece Of Merch/Item You Own From This Artist: Ending Is Beginning CD with personally autographed album insert.
Website: Facebook

Submit your photo and reasons why YOU'RE a fan for a chance to be featured here!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

12 Days Of Christmas Tour Day 2 and 3

Hello, all! We're in Muncie, Indiana, home of Garfield creator Jim Davis, truly one of my favorite cartoon funnies of all time. I must say that America's favorite cat would not like hanging out with us, as the past two days we have been quite busy, with no time for Garfield's two favorite things: eating and sleeping. Well that, and playing those just plain mean pranks on poor Odie.

It feels like we've been all over this beautiful portion of the midwest, and depsite the fact that the snow and ice has been doing it's best to stop our little tour, we keep pressing on and keep rockin out! For instance, just as doors officially opened for our Day 2 show in Rock Falls, IL, a nice and steady snow fall began...and didn't end until 11am today. That didn't stop a loud and enthusiastic crowd in Rock Falls from having a blast and keeping warm.

The trend continued tonight in Indiana, with more snow and sleet. I've said this before, I'll say it again: winter time is one of the prettiest times to witness, and it's just another strong example of God's great creation, but man, winter hates pop bands. We are bound and determined to make it to every show. Even if we need to break out the massive sled and a team of 500 dogs, we will get to the show, all because we love you all. :)

We will be back in the good ol' buckeye state for a few days, and can't wait to show Eleventyseven some classic Ohio hospitality. So if you are a fellow Ohioan, please come and rock with us, you have a plethera of choices! Be safe, and beat the snow. We're in this together! Goodnight!

love always,

Miah & TgT

Saturday, December 04, 2010

12 Days Of Christmas Tour Day 1

Well hello, again! We are back on the road, and man...IT'S COLD!!! We're here in balmy Minneapolis, MN, the land of 10,000 lakes, and of course, the birthplace of the legendary coach Gordon Bombay! It's been a joy to quote one of our bands' collective favorite movies. Good times. We're also having a blast with our tour mates in Eleventyseven. They are wonderful young men, and I can't wait for their new record, which hopefully will be out sometime in 2011.

Being that this is the 12 Days Of Christmas Tour, we're playing our Christmas single "O Holy Night" at all live shows, and don't forget that you can get the song as a free download right here at JesusFreakHideOut! It is our Christmas gift to all of you fine folks, as we're so thankful for your support and prayers as we continue to travel hundreds and hundreds of miles a day to come and play silly shows for you. So please be sure to get it, and enjoy!

Before I sign off here and lay myself down to sleep on my trusty air matress, I just want to say that as we kick off this final tour of 2010, I want to encourage all of you to give this time of year some careful thought and reflection. For some, this time of year is truly the most joyful, and for some, it's a time of hustle and bustle. Then there's those, a vast majority, that don't really know why we celebrate CHRISTmas. As this tour goes on, I look to share with you some of my favorite memories of this time of year, and how it affects my heart, and my Christian walk, and how it should affect us all. But above all, it really is a joyful time! So be happy, be safe, and be merry! I'll catch up with you in snowy Rock Falls, IL tomorrow! Goodnight!

love always,

Miah & TgT

 


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