Sunday, September 23, 2007

'Love keeps growing more love'

(By Erik)

Caedmon’s Call, easily my favorite Christian band, put out a new album recently, titled “Overdressed.” The album marks the return of Derek Webb to Caedmon’s. He left the group a few albums back to pursue a solo career. The album also marks the band’s return, more or less, to its coffeehouse roots.

I have to admit I’m a bit disappointed with the album, which sounds like it should have been titled “Overcrowded.” Over the years, the biggest complaint music critics have had with the band is that, because of Caedmon’s insistence on three alternating lead vocalists, its albums have no unified sound.

With Webb’s return, the band now has FOUR lead vocalists. In addition to Cliff and Danielle Young, “Overdressed” features many songs with vocals by Andrew Osenga, who was brought in to replace Webb after his departure. Though a gifted songwriter, Osenga lacks the vocal strength of Webb. It seems like you can hear Osenga’s voice on almost every track — backing or lead vocals. I would have preferred less of Osenga’s voice and more of Webb’s. As it is, Webb’s contributions to “Overdressed” seem more like guest appearances than the work of a guy who has rejoined the band.

Nonetheless, there are some real gems on this album. “Two Weeks in Africa” is easily my favorite song, harkening back to what I consider the band’s greatest work, the world music-influenced “Share the Well.”

But the song that means the most to me right now is “Love Grows Love” (which, like “Two Weeks in Africa,” was written by Osenga).

For the past 10 years Caedmon’s Call has produced songs that speak almost directly to where I am in my life. When I was single and unsure of my future I took great comfort in Webb’s “Table for Two,” a song off Caedmon’s “40 Acres” album. (“Because I’m so scared of being alone, that I forget what house I live in … And you know the plans you have for me, and you can’t plan the ends and not plan the means …”)

Webb got married just a few years before I met Jeanie, and he wrote some great songs about relationships and commitment.

Here are some of the lyrics from “Love Grows Love.” It’s pretty easy to see why these words mean a lot to me right now. (Just substitute “pink” for “blue” in the fourth line!)

When we got the news,
we had to call our families,
and start painting the room,
a nice, bright blue
our vows they started breathing
and they took on flesh and blood
and we held them in our arms
and tasted God was good

I fell in love with you,
and that love became something new
it added a name and it added a smile
it keeps getting bigger every further mile
there on your bended knee
we sowed the seeds of our history
they’re coming up stronger
than we ever could have longed
love keeps growing more love

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Because you demanded it ...

(By Erik)

For several weeks now some of our regular blog readers have been requesting — nay, demanding — that we post a picture of pregnant Jeanie so they can marvel at … the fact that she’s got a baby inside of her, I’m guessing.

Well, we have heard your demands ...

and …

At long last …

Here’s a photo of ...



Yep ...

Keep scrolling down ...

It's there ...

Promise ...

Yes, in case you’re wondering, I finally got the Simpsonizer to work on Jeanie’s photo. Then I made a few modifications to the end result to give her that “lived in” look (i.e. – a baby’s been living inside her).

Here’s a close-up of Jeanie’s Simpsonized alter-ego.

And here’s me again, for those of you who forgot what I looked like.

I even used Maggie’s ultrasound photo in the Simpsonizer. Here’s what it projected she will look like in a year or so …

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Maggie, not Maggy

(By Erik)

I was recently informed by my wife that I have already managed to misspell our daughter’s name, even before she’s born. The spelling in the previous post should have been “Maggie,” not “Maggy.”

Of course, either of those spellings merely is an abbreviation for the child’s actual name, Margaret Jean. So I raised the question with Jeanie, “Can you misspell an abbreviation? Is that really possible?”

Evidently, it is. Apologies to my sweet Maggie. (Hey, at least I know how to spell your last name. How many people can say that?)

She continues to be abundantly active — rolling and kicking while Jeanie’s doctor tried to find a fetal heartbeat a few days ago.

She’s so active, in fact, that we become paranoid when she doesn’t move. This morning she missed her usual 5 a.m. kicking and rolling time, and immediately we envisioned her in distress, tied up in her umbilical cord, a victim of her own antics. In the back of my mind I know she’s fine, but I was hoping for news of a kick or a roll before I dropped Jeanie off at work. Life doesn’t always give you those little guarantees, alas.

Oh well. Just four more months until she’s born. Then I can stop worrying.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Little Maggy: Movin’ to the music

(By Erik)

“She likes this music.”

That’s what Jeanie said a couple of nights ago while we were watching TV. A commercial for the upcoming season of Desperate Housewives came on, featuring a song with a strong bass beat by Jennifer Lopez. Evidently, little Maggy (a.k.a. Josephina) liked the song, and started moving all over the place.

So that put it in my mind to try a little experiment. I gout out the iPod and put a pair of headphones over Maggy’s approximate location (Jeanie helped). Then we tried a variety of musical styles to see if we could get a reaction.

Keep in mind here that we’re treating any sort of movement as a fondness for the music and a lack of movement as dislike or disregard for the music. A member of our Bible study group recently mentioned that the inverse could be true. (Lack of movement is listening to the music and movement is an attempt to get away from it.)

So, with that in mind:

“These are Days,” 10,000 Maniacs — no reaction

“Ring of Fire,” Johnny Cash — no reaction

“Pour Some Sugar on Me,” Def Leppard — slight reaction

“Okie from Muskogee,” Merle Haggard — no reaction

“Ka Huila Wai,” Israel Kamakawiwo’ole — no reaction

“Jessica,” Allman Brothers — some reaction

“Akehlulek’ Ubaba (With God Everything is Possible),” Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Charlie Peacock — slight reaction

Theme to “Star Wars” — no reaction

So far, we just can’t top J Lo.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Gooooooo Dawgs! Sic 'em! Woof, woof, woof!

(By Erik)

Ah yes, football season is upon us, and tonight at 5:45 my Georgia Bulldogs kick off the action against — guess who — the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Usually Georgia football is an afterthought for most folks here in Soonerland, so it’s been a bit weird this year to see my team mentioned on the local news.

It’s also been encouraging to find that a few folks out here Oklahoma bleed red and black, just like me. News 9 meteorologist Zach Daniel got his bachelor’s from UGA and remains a die-hard bulldog fan. He even pulled out a Dawgs ball cap after doing the weather a couple of days ago, much to OSU grad Kelly Ogle’s chagrin.

Today’s ball game could be a tough one for the Dawgs. The Cowboys are better than most of the chump teams we play for season openers — and we don’t always give our best performance right out of the gate. I’ve got plenty of OSU fans lined up for some trash talk, should we lose. But I’m confident the Dawgs will rise to the challenge.

One piece of advice for Cowboy fans: Don’t get too comfortable, even if you get up on us 21-0 in the first 10 minutes. The Bulldogs play four quarters of football, and they don’t even get interested until they’re down by at least two touchdowns.

Win or lose, the greatest thing about being a Georgia fan is having the best coach in the nation — Mark Richt. The fact that he’s a great football coach isn’t nearly as important as the fact that he’s a great person. He and his wife, Katharyn, are members of the Prince Avenue Baptist Church in Athens, Ga., the same church my roommate Erik Benson attended when he was studying at UGA. Though those of us in Churches of Christ don’t always see eye-to-eye with Baptists on everything, you’ve got to admire the way the Richts live out their faith.

In addition to their two biological children, the couple adopted two children from a Russian orphanage. This summer the entire Richt clan made a mission trip to Honduras. (I’m hoping that me, Jeanie and little Josephina will do the same someday!)

John Helsley wrote a great piece on Mark Richt for The Oklahoman. Check it out.

And, once again, GO DAWGS!