My Favorite CD’s Part 1

You know how it is. You get a CD and it turns out only half the songs are worth keeping. That’s how it usually is for me, no matter how good the band or singer is. I’ve been going through my music and compiled a list of albums that didn’t need to be cut down because at least 90% of it was just pure awesome.


Robbie Williams, Swing When You’re WInning

This is a jazzy set of the best of Robbie Williams’ songs. They’re fun to listen to because it feels like they could be sung in some classy old-time musical. You’ve certainly got a mood-lifter in this album. And if you can’t relate to the first song, then I’d consider you a liar.


Sister Hazel, Fortress

As far as bands go, Sister Hazel is one of my favorites. Hailing from Gainesville, Florida, they have consistently risen up in the charts over the years. In my opinion, they hit their peak with their third album, Fortress. This CD, like their others, is bluesy and folksy, but this one is the most contemporary in terms of rock. It’ll definitely give you a “champagne high” even without the champagne.


Elvis Presley: Elvis 75

My readers may not know this, but I’m an Elvis fan. If I had thick black hair (or more hair, for that matter) I’d either be in Nashville or Vegas making a living doing impersonations of him.


Caedmon’s Call, 40 Acres

It’s a Christian CD, but a fun one to listen to as you drive through the countryside with the windows down. Great traveling music, this one.


That Thing You Do! soundtrack

Remember the Oneders? Remember that little-known Tom Hanks film about that fifties band? The soundtrack is still rockin’ and it’s here to stay!


Blessid Union of Souls, Walking Off the Buzz

If The Fresh Prince of Bel Air was the one TV show that got me through high school, then this third Blessid Union of Souls CD got me through those years musically. I’m surprised my disc hasn’t worn out after probably at least a couple thousand repeat listens.


The Very Best of Rod Stewart

Judge me all you want, but yeah, this guy made the cut. Easily.


Mr. Holland’s Opus soundtrack

This was actually the very first CD I ever owned. I got it for Christmas 1996, along with my first CD player, after my sister convinced me that CD’s were way cooler than cassette tapes.


Tim McGraw, Set This Circus Down (and Greatest Hits)

I’m gonna go country on you here for a minute, and if I’m gonna do that, it might as well be because of Tim McGraw. This is my favorite album of his, besides his greatest hits CD from 2000.


Wicked, broadway musical soundtrack

If you haven’t seen the play, at least get the soundtrack. It’s wicked awesome!

Keep a lookout for Part 2 of this list and join my Facebook Author Page for more fun stuff in the meantime.

Music: She and Him

she_and_himYou remember the movie Elf, right? Or one of my favorites, 500 Days of Summer? That girl in those movies, Zooey Deschanel, is a singer as she shows a little in those movies. It’s her and another guy (M. Ward) in a band called She and Him. I wanted to share this band, as I’ll be doing more of, because it’s one of my favorite genres where the genre is alternative, the music is new, but it evokes the retro sound of pop 50’s music.

Very classical, very smooth, and very cool.

I love dancing around the house with our foster daughter – it’s a good pacifier for her when she’s throwing a tantrum. That’s how happy and upbeat this music is.

The duo has three albums out, plus a Christmas CD. Head on over to iTunes and grab some songs for your listening pleasure. Your day is about to get better!

Join my Facebook Author page for more cool stuff!

Favorite songs:

Don’t Look Back

Somebody Sweet To Talk To

Sweet Darlin’

Over and Over Again

I Could’ve Been Your Girl

I’ve Got Your Number Son

I Was Made For You

In The Sun

Sugar Town

Baby Music

If you have a baby or have raised one, you know the importance of music. And in this day and age, the importance of apps designed to lull your fussy babies to sleep.

We play a lot of Disney music for Baby A., but that can get kind of old after a while.

Neither Sarabeth nor I are into VeggieTales, and I like all the old hokey country children’s songs like “Big Rock Candy Mountain” and “You Are My Sunshine,” but Sarabeth doesn’t, so I can only play that sparingly.

Anyway, I want to start a discussion where you all share your favorite children’s songs and music. Please indicate whether they’re songs for playtime or for bedtime. Also, some good Bible songs would be good, too.

Here’s a few of my favorites so far.

For Playtime

Raffi_-_Baby_Beluga_cover_artRaffi – Far as I can tell, this guy wrote “Baby Beluga” (come on, who doesn’t like that song?). He’s got a couple of CDs up on iTunes and I’ve picked a few songs to go on Baby A.’s playlist.

Disney Pixar CD SOundtrack createstDisney/Pixar’s Greatest Hits – The great thing about this CD is that it’s just plain awesome for everyone. Plus, most of it is Randy Newman music, and you can’t go wrong, there!

julie-fowlis-1Julie Fowlis – I don’t speak Scottish, and most likely Baby A. isn’t going to either, but she’s certainly going to have an appreciation for foreign music. Julie Fowlis isn’t a children’s singer, but she sang all those enchanting songs in Brave, and it turns out, the rest of her CD’s are just gorgeous and very soothing. A great play/sleep transition.

For Bedtime

sound sleeperSound Sleeper app – This app has been a lifesaver for us and I believe has gained us a few extra minutes of sleep. You can set the sound to play “Rain” or “Ocean waves” or a few other soothing settings. And yes, including “Womb.”

A_Beautiful_Mind_cdA Beautiful Mind soundtrack – If you can only handle so much Baby Einstein, the great composer Howard Shore is the way to go.

finding neverlandFinding Neverland soundtrack – The only soundtrack that’s better than A Beautiful Mind

shireShire music – Because I want to prepare her for the greatest epic adventure of her life. And really, our little girl is still in the Shire of her own life.

Playlists and Truman


I love creating playlists on my iTunes. In fact, you can say I’m a little obsessed.

Last summer I got it into my head to create a playlist of every (worthy) song and score from all the Disney movies I enjoy from Snow White to Wreck It Ralph.

I also put together a playlist of all the songs referenced or sung in my favorite show, The Office. I even have one called “Old School Christian” which features a lot of Audio Adrenaline, Newsboys, Supertones…

One of my most recent playlists is called “Songs From Every John Hughes Movie.” Yes, I’m talking Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Farris Bueller’s Day Off, all those classic gems that encourage teenage rebellion and fighting The Man.

And now, I’m working on one which contains songs from every state, you know, in case we ever take another cross-country road trip. (“Alabama Pines” for Alabama; “Stephanie Says” for Alaska; “Blue Shadows (on the trail)” for Arizona, etc.) It’s a fun break from writing and editing.

But we keep playlists in our life, don’t we? We categorize things, compartmentalize, and corral certain events into certain areas of our heart. Some things we share with others, and some we keep secret. Some things we bring to God, and others we hoard.

A lot of times we’re embarrassed to talk to God about certain things because we feel like we’ve been so successful at hiding them from Him – keeping them locked away in our playlist of “Secret Things.”

Remember The Truman Show? You can keep your Paranormal Activity and Saw movies, because The Truman Show freaked me out enough. It convinced me that was Truman, and that everyone was plotting to keep the cameras a secret from me. And everything in my life, everything I did, was being recorded on camera for the world to see. 

Except when I did bad things.

Oh, because ironically, when I made conscious decisions to sin, the cameras would just happen to be broken – there would be a malfunction in the system, and so my sins were still kept secret from the world. And from God.

Convenient, huh?

But if I happened to feel particularly giving one day and I gave a taco to a homeless man (you have lots of chances to do that in California), the whole world was tuned in and God was giving me the big thumb’s up with a sparkle in that pearly-white smile.

Funny how we can deceive ourselves so much, isn’t it?

Even now, several years later, I have to catch myself and think, Wait a min. Nothing is kept from God – not even my innermost thoughts or intentions. 

With God, the cameras never turn off. And He knows every single song in my files of playlists.

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:13

Gladdest Noel

I’ve been posting the best unheard of Christmas songs. But this one deserves to have a post all its own. If for some reason, you’re unable to listen to this lyrical song by Evelyn Brush featured on the Christmas CD “Ring the Bells” I have taken it upon myself to write the lyrics out for you below the video.

In a lowly, lonely corner of a dark and dismal earth

What man once lost was found again – hope was given birth.

Calamitous our condition under judgment from the fall

‘Til the gladdest brightest Miracle came down to save us all.

He heard us crying in the night, dying in our sins

So in unblemished love, God slipped into our common skin.

And the Word became flesh and the greatest became least

And swaddling clothes were wrapped around Heaven’s highest Priest.

In teeny, tiny fingers, and teeny, tiny toes

Baby soft and sweet to kiss lay Sharon’s tender Rose.

Desire of all nations, spreading His rich perfume

As morning sheds her glory across the shimmering dew.

Oh, holy night! God of virgin born, prophecy fulfilled! Fathomless… alone.

But the serpent of Eden hissed heinously and groaned!

For the Savior had returned to claim back His rightful own.

The snake, he slid and slithered in reviling rant and rave

For men’s life was not his purpose… he was hellbent on their grave.

So, besniveling from the manger in green-eyed insanity, he crawled off to hew a rugged Cross

From just the perfect tree in search surpassing sinister, yet sovereignly allowed.

He also plucked the perfect thorns  for Rose of Sharon’s brow.

And in these things he had his way but only ’til the stain

Of Jesus’ blood had washed away our sins ’til none remained.

And the wrath of God was violent, and the terror cruel and raw

Not at all the thing we want to see while looking in the straw

At an Infant pure and innocent.

But we must reconcile with this Truth:

The price to set men free was held within this child,

The Lion of Judah, who died for us our death.

Whose throne can be our very hearts whose breath can be our breath

Whose Life can be our life for all eternity.

If we will but accept the gift He sent for you and me

Jesus is His name



Messiah, Deliverer, Emmanuel, Holy One of Israel!

The Prince of Peace!

Almighty Counselor!

Our sinless high Priest!

God of all gods!

Light of all light!

Joy in our sorrow, rest in our nights.

Blessed Redeemer.

Bright Morningstar!

Wonder of wonders,

What a wonder you are!

Comforter, Helper, faithful friend,

Promise keeper of Bethlehem.

King of all kings!

Lord of all lords!

Ancient of days!


Immortal, invisible, merciful One.

Forgiver of every vile thing we have done!

Righteous, victorious, our all in all.

And yet… His eye sees when a wee sparrow falls

And when are weak,

He is Strong.

And when we are wandering, His arms are long.

And when pain runs deep

His love’s deeper still.

If we will but ask Him, He’ll save us, He will.

Beautiful Savior!

Bethlehem’s bloom

Hope for the tiniest forms within the wombs!

Loving, kind rescuer of helpless man,

No one can steal us out of Your hands!



Gladdest Noel

Jesus is born

All is well!

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The Best Christmas Songs You’ve Never Heard Part III


We’ve all heard “Winter Wonderland” and “Little Drummer Boy” thousands of times this Christmas alone. If you need some fresh new songs to play in the car that still capture the Christmas spirit, take a look at the list. They’re all available on iTunes.

Click here for PART I and Part II.

“The Bells of Christmas” by Loreena McKennit – Remember the movie where Tim Allen becomes Santa Claus? This song that plays while he sees the North Pole for the first time will definitely send Christmas shivers up your spine.

“How Many Kings” by Downhere – I really like this Christian group; their EP album is one of my favorites in the Christian genre. This Christmas song they put out a few years ago, is admittedly missing that “Christmas sound,” but the lyrics are certainly fitting for the season and very thought-provoking.

“Breath of Heaven (Mary’s song)” by Point of Grace – It’s not Christmas until I hear this little ditty I grew up with. I remember my mom playing it whenever we had a Christmas party at our house or while we just sat around drinking egg-nog and frosting our Christmas cookies.

“When a Child is Born” by Wilson Phillips – It’s got that old-school feeling, but still makes a little magic inside.

“A Strange Way to Save the World” by 4Him – Eat your heart out, Mark Lowry.

“One Quiet Moment” by GLAD – These guys, like First Call, are just awesome! Original Christmas songs, and powerful vocals that will rock your world.

“We Need a Little Christmas” by Glee – I don’t watch Glee, but select songs from their Christmas CDs are worth giving a listen to. This is one of them.

“Jesus Joy of the Highest Heaven (A Children’s Carol)” by Keith and Kristyn Getty- Sarabeth and I went to their Christmas concert last year, and I can’t recommend their whole CD enough. I wrote about it here.

“This is Christmas” by Plus One – Sarabeth plays this CD a lot during Christmas. It makes me think of our early years together, so naturally, I get very giddy inside.

“Glorious” by Melissa Etheridge- I heard this song on a Christmas episode of Parenthood. 

“In Like a Lion (Always Winter)” by Relient K – And what’s Christmas without a little Narnia 





The Best Christmas Songs You’ve Never Heard Part II


We’ve all heard “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Away in a Manger” a billion times. But have you heard these? Click here for Part I of this list, and check out the reader’s contributions in the comments as well.

“Tender Tennessee Christmas” by Amy Grant – This song might not be that uncommon as I’ve been seeing it on other Christmas albums, but I just discovered it this year, so maybe it could be new to you, too.

“Starlight” by First Call – This group is just rocking it with the uncommon Christmas songs. This one tugs at the heart, for sure.

“Christmas Without You” by OneRepublic – I think Ryan Tedder, the lead singer of OneRepublic is one of the best singers I’ve heard in most of my life. Would love it if these guys did an entire Christmas album. Heck, they can just release a new album every month, and I’d keep listening.

“Christmas Dreams” by Francesca Battistelli – This song says it all – no one’s ever too old to dream about Christmas. Heck, sometimes in the summer I’ll turn on a Christmas song just to feel warm and glad.

“We Need a Little Christmas” by AgesandAges – I’m pretty sure this is also a traditional song, but it’s a great rendition, and I’d love to hear it more than “Here Comes Santa Claus.”

Share with us your favorite Christmas songs that we might not have ever heard before in the comments below!  




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