Thursday, December 15, 2016

Green Eyes ARE Really Cool Looking...

This past week, my son and I were riding along listening to some radio personality comment on the top trends and artists of 2016.  I was pretty much clueless to who/what he was talking about.  This didn't surprise me--I lost all sense of pop culture trends about a year into our second child's young life.  There were way too many other distractions going on around us to keep up with people and trends on the fringes of our reality.  I did think it was interesting when my son commented, "I have no idea what he is talking about.  I stopped being able to keep up with all that stuff somewhere around 2014."

He is thirteen.

He comment struck me as funny somehow, and it got me to thinking about the overwhelming barrage of information that people are hit with now.  Social media and 24/7 access have become the very sad normal.  And while I have made very conscious decisions to limit my exposure--my brain simply can not handle and process all that info productively--I am aware that there are people and books and ideas that are out there that are good and edifying and worth my time.  I just haven't discovered them yet.

One such author is Max Davis, who has been blowing and going and publishing for over 20 years now.  That sounds about right for people to have missed showing up on my radar.  In case you are not familiar with him, here is a quick overview--

Max Davis is the author of over 20 published books and has been featured in USA Today and Publishers Weekly and has appeared on The Today Show and The 700 Club. He holds degrees in Journalism and Biblical Studies and is a much sought-after speaker for churches and organizations worldwide. He and his wife, Alanna, live on 50 beautiful acres in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana.

I have been reading his latest book, When Jesus was a Green-Eyed Brunette.  The title intrigued me, but I was more interested in the subtitle--'Loving People Like God Does'.  THIS is a topic that transcends time and space and pop culture trends.  What does this look like for a middle aged frazzled mom?  What does it look like for a society that keeps its head down but has thumbs constantly in motion?  What about for the 75 year old who is navigating living alone for the first time in ever?

This book has Max Davis telling stories--short, easily digestible chapters of insights and stories and people and places that he has known or learned about in his life and travels.  He throws in all manner of old school (and new school) references and people I have admired over the years, which serve as a reminder of how my own experiences and info gathering adventures are part of a story that is bigger than me or my own family.  There are big ideas and calls to action that seem to resonate even more when all around me I am aware of how loving people like God does require actually loving people, and not just liking their status or pretty filtered pictures.

The official book info--

When Jesus Was a Green-Eyed Brunette weaves heartwarming and miraculous stories of Jesus showing up in ordinary people, revealing that He knows us and is fully present in our everyday circumstances, especially in our difficulties. Those hurting and weary from worn-out religion are longing for a fresh touch from the living Jesus. Best-selling author Max Davis challenges us to do more than simply receive God’s grace—we need to allow grace to soften, change, and shape us. As you read this book you will laugh, cry, and come face-to-face with the living Jesus, much like Davis did, when he found Him living in a green-eyed brunette. As Davis puts it, “Jesus is very much alive today and still does incredible things—sometimes supernatural things—through us!”

There is more info about Mr. Davis and his new book here.

I also have a copy of When Jesus was a Green-Eyed Brunette to giveaway right here.  For a chance to win, leave a comment by Monday, December 19, telling about what your favorite green colored item is, or the funniest TV/movie brunette you like/remember.  How is that for random?

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Another Merry Christmas--music

I LOVE listening to Christmas music.  Some of my earliest holiday memories involve singing and dancing in the living room while listening to a vinyl 'All Star Country Christmas' record playing in the background.  One of my favorite songs from the record was 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus', which was amusing but a little disturbing to my preK imagination.

I was a sucker for singing chipmunks wanting a hula hoop, and hearing about Grandma's tragic encounter with that reindeer.  The Charlie Brown song still sets off a reaction of dancing side to side like the little curly headed twins that were part of the Christmas pageant (I was and remain a girl with hopelessly naturally curly hair.)

When I started driving, a new music component was added to the mix--cassette tapes.  I usually liked to listen to the radio when driving (with the windows down and the T-top open), but every now and then a trip to the mall right after babysitting would line up just right, and I would purchase a tape.  And then proceed to play that tape over and over and over in my little red Civic.

I don't remember the FIRST tape I bought--I was a huge fan of mix tapes, and had plenty of them.  However, I do remember buying the Beach Boys Christmas tape and Amy Grant's 'Tennessee Christmas' tape at the same time (it must have been a GOOD babysitting gig beforehand), and quickly fell in love with Amy Grant's tape in particular.  The tape is long gone, and I don't remember the specific songs, other than the title song, but I do remember playing it over and over, and getting all kinds of feels from it.  Seriously, who would even think of choosing the parades and New Year's Eve tans of California over another tender Tennessee Christmas, where to love circles around me, like the gifts around the tree...?

That was over 30 years ago.  (You have GOT to be kidding me!)  I still love listening to Christmas music.  While my kids listen exclusively to digital music on whatever little rectangle devices are in vogue, I still prefer hard copies, and have graduated from tapes to CDs.  I have seen holiday music trends come and go, and tend to gravitate to old school (Rat Pack, Tony Bennett/duets, Dolly and Kenny).  Needless to say, I was very excited to realize that Amy Grant has released another Christmas album, this one also called 'Tennessee Christmas'.

The first track immediately took me back THERE--the back roads and lakes and friends I grew up with.  A good place.  The song itself is slightly different, but not in a bad or distracting way for folks who loved the original.  And sadly, it brings to the forefront images of the massive destruction of eastern Tennessee by wildfires that are currently still raging..

The next 12 tracks are an eclectic combination of songs with different feels and sounds and genres.  I get the feeling that Amy Grant and the makers of this album just sat around and said, "OK, what are some of our favorite songs that we sing at Christmas time?  'O Come, All Ye Faithful'?--Check.  'White Christmas'?--Sure.  And don't forget "Baby, It's Cold Outside'."

My favorite songs are some of the ones that Amy Grant wrote herself, and that were new to me.  'Melancholy Christmas' kind of has a depressing feel about it (with lyrics about posting on social media and wondering if you will get any 'likes'), but was very real and raw.  Christmas may be commercially promoted as all happiness and bows, but that is not the reality for so many that struggle with all the feelings that Christmas can bring up.

And "Another Merry Christmas'?  Oh, my goodness.  Simply beautiful.

Mary's in a nursing home
She puts her favorite records on
Reminds her of the years long gone
Another Merry Christmas

Billy's home from overseas
The pride of his whole family
Still fights a war that no one sees
Another Merry Christmas

It's happy and sad
The good and the bad
Someone's up, someone's barely hanging on
It's everything all at once
If we're honest enough
Everybody wants to be loved

Every year on Christmas Eve
Jill hangs four stockings
Now just three
Wonders if there'll ever be
Another Merry Christmas

Our painted old nativity
Is fragile like the lives we lead
Silently reminding me
God is with us

Another Merry Christmas 

I think this CD is a keeper.  

I THINK most of the audio tracks are available on YouTube.  This is a link to the second song, 'To Be Together'

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.