HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Here is hoping all of you enjoyed a peaceful day of Thanksgiving with loved ones. We spent the day at Jay’s folks’ and had a wonderful time. Given the context of a holiday spent with young children, I felt it was quite relaxed. Kudos are in order for Grammy Ruth on a most delectably succulent turkey: indeed, one of the best we’ve ever eaten!

The Thanksgiving StoryA month ago I purchased this book which I read to the children to give them an introduction to the Thanksgiving holiday. I think it is a fine addition to our library, and recommend it highly. I was delighted to learn it had received the honor of being named a Caldecott Honor book.

It follows one Pilgrim family’s journey from England to America and documents the hardships the Pilgrims endured to make a home in this new land where they could worship God as they felt they ought. It is told simply enough for beginning readers to enjoy on their own, yet also does a great job of not oversimplifying the story. Our 3 and 5 year old loved the book and its beautiful illustrations. Alice Dalgliesh has presented us with a wonderful account of the first Thanksgiving, helping children to gain an awareness of where this special holiday originated, and why we take time on this day each year to thank God for His blessings to us. And truly, there is much for which we are thankful.

What’s playing in Jay’s car?

Okay, folks, the only rule is: no Google! Now, who can name the band I’m listening to these days in my car? Here’s a few lyrical snippets from one of their albums…

“It can’t be all coincidence
Too many things are evident
You tell me you’re an unbeliever
Spiritualist? Well me I’m neither
But wouldn’t you like to know
The truth?”

“There’s a time to live and a time to die
When it’s time to meet the maker
There’s a time to live but isn’t it strange
That as soon as you’re born you’re dying”

“Only the good die young
All the evil seem to live forever”

There you have it. The band is…?

Baby Einstein

This past Christmas, Nicolas’ Aunt Jennifer and Uncle Mark gave him a Baby Einstein video entitled “Baby Beethoven”. For those of you not familiar with the Baby Einstein line of products, they range from books to video to cds to toys which are aimed at introducing babies and children to music, art, language, science and nature in playful, enriching ways. I’ve been aware of these products for some time now but never actually purchased any to use at home. How delighted I am that Jennifer thought to give this to Baby Nicolas. He, as well as his two older sibs absolutely love it and so does their Mommy! (Thank you Jennifer!)

I have always felt that exposing children to music from birth on, and helping them to learn to enjoy it is so important and here is yet another way we can do that. But the kids don’t necessarily realize they are being serenaded by some of Beethoven’s finest works; they just enjoy the pretty colors and shapes and little animals they see dancing and moving to the music.

Though I don’t advocate having kids sit in front of the tv for too long, this is one video we enjoy watching together, and it is also pleasant to listen to if I am cooking dinner in the next room, because it is rather soothing (unlike some children’s videos and music!).

Anyway, I will watch for some of the other Baby Einstein products in my travels and look forward to trying them out.

Veggie Tales

Do you think BigIdea would have a problem with a knock-off called “Veggie Tales from the Crypt” that starred Bob the Rind and Larry the Husk?

Wright’s “Jesus the New Way”

Is this video series as good as it looks? I’m scheduled to teach a 9 week SS series on Ruth starting in August, but I’ve only done my initial planning and would gladly drop it…

Phil Keaggy

I got back about an hour ago from a Phil Keaggy concert. I’d forgotten what it was like to watch some perform in such a way that my gut level response was to burn my guitars because, hey, what’s the point? He was playing down at Park Cities Pres as part of the church’s Arts ministry. Free concert with free childcare. About half the set was Keaggy on stage by himself, the other half had a chamber orchestra accompanying him. Absolutely amazing stuff. I’ll have to admit that I’ve not really ever been a huge fan of Keaggy’s records. But I don’t hold it against myself. The guy cannot be represented on a CD… he’s a performer, and he comes alive in front of an audience.

Christmas music

For an eclectic addition to your Christmas music collection, might I suggest Christmas Eve & Other Stories by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra? Here’s the 30 second Amazon preview of the better known song on the album. For those who don’t know the band, it is composed of a band named Savatage, plus a lot of other folks. Savatage has probably been kicking around for 15 years releasing one unusual concept album after another. They have this odd blend of thrash, rock opera, and I don’t know what.

I bought a Savatage album back in 1988 when I was in high school named In the Hall of the Mountain King. Since college, I hadn’t really listened to anything by the band until a couple years ago when I picked up Dead Winter Dead on a whim at a Half Price Bookstore. It tells the story of the fall of Sarajevo primarily from the point of view of a gargoyle on the cathedral in the center of town. Interestingly, the picture of the band in the liner notes has them standing way up high on scaffolding next to the gargoyle as the church is repaired after the wars. Here’s a review of the album.

Ocean’s Eleven

I suppose I shouldn’t have mentioned Ocean’s Eleven without providing at least a thumbs up/down. I thought the movie was great and lived up to its hype as a slick popcorn-eating entertainment package. No deep thoughts here, just a fun time as the plot unfolds. It was also surprisingly non-vulgar given the trends these days. Mild language, mild sex, mild violence, etc. I had wanted to see the movie after noticing that it was getting universally good reviews, from CNN to NPR.

I’ll also have to admit that I almost fell out of my chair laughing during the preview for Orange County. I guess I have a weakness for well done, immature movies.

And now I just need to help arrange for a baby-sitter on December 19…

Public Enemy

I recently put my new CD burner to use and slapped together a CD with tunes that, well, I probably shouldn’t admit I like and that I certainly won’t ever own the full albums from which they were lifted. Anyway, I had to drive over to the hospital last night where a friend was having an emergency appendectomy, and I had the CD playing… man, Public Enemy could jam. Fight the Power is like nothing else. The music, the agenda, the lyrics, the attitude, it all gels into this incredible groove of anger and pride. Now, I’m not saying that everyone out there should like the lyrics/agenda/attitude/music, but it is incredible to behold.