Showing posts with label music and media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label music and media. Show all posts

Easy Christmas Shopping

Hold onto your hats folks. This is a good deal.

I wrote about how Mrs. Groves, my 10th grade English and History teacher became my sister-in-law here. And in that telling I wrote about how I wondered what her singing voice would sound like. I wondered what kind of music she would write.

Well, fifteen years and ten albums later, I can tell you what Mrs. Groves' music sounds like. It is awesome and the writing often has me looking for the lyrics thinking, "did she really just sing a song about that? I can't believe she just put words to that..."

Sara and Troy are offering a really, super sweet deal this Christmastime. If you're looking for some great gifts for friends, family, teachers, or neighbors this is a great idea.

Right now all Sara Groves CD's are reallysupercheap. If you buy a couple. The breakdown goes like this:
1 CD for $15
2 CD's for $20
3 CD's for $25

So stock up!

Here is my plan.
I'm going to buy lots and lots of her Christmas CD: O Holy Night. This album is awesome. My favorite on this one is To be with You. And It Came Upon a Midnight Clear. And It's True. I actually could list the whole song list here. I really like this one. Couple this CD up with some homemade cookies, and you have one really thoughtful, lovely Christmas gift.

Then I'll get a bunch of Station Wagon CD's. Because this is the perfect gift for a new mama. And this CD with a little baby outfit would be a really classy shower gift. Favorite songs on this one: Beautiful Child and Especially when that baby is Mine. I'm actually off to Target in a minute and am going to dig this one out. I miss those songs right now!

Then I want a bunch of Fireflies and Songs on hand. This one is Rory's favorite. And I adore it too. Lots of songs are about marriage. I remember the first time I heard it I kept backing it up and thinking, "she really just said that. I am so glad she just named that." A really beautiful album, quieter, lots of piano. Beautiful. Favorite songs Love and From this One Place

I am about to list off every one of her albums. But I'll stop after this one. I really do need to get to Target. But this album is my favorite. Start to finish. Love it. I remember driving home from a writing workshop once and listening to Just Showed Up on repeat. Probably eleven times. Favorite songs on this one: Well, the whole thing. No kidding. But I will tell you my AbsoluteAllTimeFavoriteSaraGrovesSong is on this album: Kingdom Comes. Oh that's a good song. And strangely there is no youtube video for this one. (And there are some really odd handmade youtube music videos out there...)

I could list each one of her albums. I love each one, and they sort of each represent a season of my life...funny how music can do that.

Anyway, click on over to get your collection of great Sara CD's to give away this Christmas. And yes, I buy my CD's. I used to have a sweet hook up with my mother-in-law when she was fulfilling the CD orders...she'd give me all of the cd's with cracked jewel cases for free to give away. But now that she doesn't do the order fulfillment I proudly pay and support Troy and Sara! :) And seriously, for five bucks a CD, I'd be really lame not to.

How about you? What is your favorite album or Sara song?

Sara Groves: Invisible Empires!

Well, sometimes I just turn into her biggest fan. And here I go again. We had a listening party a month ago to hear this new album and just yesterday Rory came home from a brother's breakfast with our own copy. We've listened to the whole thing six times now. Because it's that good.

The album doesn't release until October sometime...but I wanted to get the word out about her CD Release Concert for those of you twin cities folk. Tickets are on sale now, and I guess I just really think you should go. Sara is a storyteller more than anything else, and a CD release concert is full of the stories behind the songs. And there are some really good stories within these songs.

So the details!
The Release Concert is at Church of the Open Door in Maple Grove on October 1st at 7:30.
Line up your babysitters now! :)

You can order your tickets by calling 877-840-0457 or else you can click here to order online.

If you're not in the Twin Cities, check out her concerts page for her future shows this fall and Christmas. They have shows in MD, NC, TN, FL, WA, WI, ND, CA

And I just found this interview with Sara talking about the new album. Enjoy!

free music!

You want to see the other half of this graphic? Well, you'll just have to click over to to see the end of each line printed here. (because I have no idea why it is chopped in half!)

Sara and Troy are giving away a recording of a concert they held in a women's prison last December. It is really powerful to hear her proclaim the gospel story so clearly in this setting. I got the goosebumps more than once.

Head on over to and enjoy a free download of some fantastic Christmas music. And then check to see if her Christmas concert is coming to a city near you. The concert page lists that they'll be hitting Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Springfield MO, Oklahoma City OK, a few places in Texas, Knoxville TN and Clearwater FL. It's a great show and listening to this recording got me so excited for the season to come!

andrew peterson

I have been a fan of this guy for a long time now, and just came across his latest video. Happy Friday, everybody. (ps...let the video buffer for a few moments before you start it...)

the nativity story

This season we have watched Rudolph, Elf, The Grinch, The Holiday, Charlie Brown, and we've got many more Christmas classics tivo'd. But my favorite movie for the season is The Nativity Story. If you haven't seen this before, be sure to rent it and find a quiet afternoon, a nice cup of something hot, wrap yourself in a comforter and snuggle up for peace, calm and beauty. The movie moves slowly, but is stunning in biblical storytelling and character development. The Shepherds get me to tears every time. And then our Savior is born. It is beautiful.

I remember when Rory and I lived in Montana, we went the nursing home I was working at on Christmas Day. It was a different Christmas Day than we were used to since we were not in Minnesota. But that day we found a unique community when we gathered all of the residents who had not been picked up by any family for the day. I brought Christmas cookies and we reminisced and then watched The Nativity Story together. And somehow it felt exactly how Christmas should be celebrated...with lonely old friends together in sweet community, dwelling on the birth of our baby God, come to save the world.

get your tickets!

The concert on Thursday night was really great...nicely thought through, with lots of media used during each song. If you are in Minnesota, I really, REALLY encourage you to get tickets for the show in Alexandria on the 17th or the show in the twin cities on the 18th. You will not regret it.

The concert began with a reading by Sara, wondering what it was like for Jesus to leave paradise to come to earth for the sins of man. And wondering how excited the angels must have been for that moment, when God was born in baby form, God with us. The whole concert kept this depth of the Christmas story...told anew in many ways, but always the same true story.

God's big picture

The first day of 10th grade, I walked into my 1st hour English class. There I found that a mistake had been made on my schedule and that the AP English class I had registered for was right next door to the class my schedule had me in. The teacher in this classroom was Mrs. Groves. Wanting her to know this misunderstanding, I walked up to her, explained that I was actually supposed to be in the AP class next door but because the office wouldn’t do any schedule changes until the following week, I would just be in her class for a week.

She began class by telling us of how she was currently living at her in-laws because there were bats in their house. She told us this news by acting out what bats look like when they waddle around your bedroom floor. She was freaked out by these things, and laughed hard as she explained how she and her husband tried to fight these things for a while, but finally just had to call a batman. The lesson for that first day was comparing an Elie Wiesel poem to a song by Sting, with the words written side by side on the overhead.

I was spellbound. This woman could tell a story. She loved words. She loved searching for meaning in life. She was smart, articulate and hysterical. The bell rang for first hour to be over, and she announced that we needed to be back in the room by the time the second hour bell rang. I checked my schedule. This was a block class…English and history for two periods with Mrs. Groves.

By the time the next Monday rolled around, when I could finally straighten out the whole scheduling mistake, I had decided to stay in Mrs. Groves class and drop out of AP English and AP American studies. All because of Mrs. Groves.

She told stories using her entire body, acting out scenes and using sound effects. I’ve always been a storyteller, but that year, it was like I was in English class with an emphasis on oral communication. And not just through class speeches, but by watching this teacher captivate her entire class bringing books and authors and American history to life.

That spring, my mom was diagnosed with a rare cancer, and I often would stay after school just to talk with Mrs. Groves about how I was feeling and we’d pray for my mom and for the doctors. And we’d get into long conversations about the church and how I saw God at work. We came from very different church backgrounds, but our conversation was equally passionate and excited about what God is doing through the whole body here on earth. She talked about how she was about to begin recording a few songs for a CD, and I was so excited to hear what her music would sound like.

I thought about all of this at her concert on Thursday night…how amazing our friendship is, starting the first day of 10th grade as a teacher and a student. After college Troy (Sara’s husband) asked me to join their ministry as the assistant, road manager, and babysitter. During that year I met Troy’s brother, Rory, and fell in love fast. Rory and I were married a year and a half later, making my 10th grade English and History teacher my sister-in-law.

Don’t you just wonder what God must be thinking when he watches us walk through life, knowing all, everything that happens from the beginning to the end of time? I just wonder how big God was smiling, watching me on the first day of 10th grade, explaining to Mrs. Groves that there had been some sort of mistake.

tips and tricks with rory groves.

I had high hopes of writing a traditional 'things I'm thankful for' post. But truly, it all boils down to my husband, cat and family, good health, my God who keeps teaching me, my imagination, a love for creating, my stunning drive to work each day, a job that keeps me engaged and interested, friends who know me well, food in my fridge, a roof over my head, a church I love...

Actually, now that I started writing that list it's pretty hard to boil down. But I'll leave it at that and may have to add more later.

What I wanted to share with you today is a bit of computer help from my husband. Rory's life has centered around computers. He wrote his first code when he was like 8, making his own games and stuff. His mom once gave me a chalkboard with a wooden bear on the front and I thought it was an interesting gift to pass on until she showed me the back of the chalkboard. Rory had written code on the back for a game he was working on, and the handwriting was clearly that of a younger kid. She had saved it because it was so very Rory.

Marrying a man who is not afraid of computers was a really good move on my part. I once had trouble finding a 12 page paper I was working on for seminary. I was sure it was gone forever and told him so in a mess of sobs and tears, announcing, "I am going to go and lay in the fetal position on our bed while you find my paper." And sure enough, he found the paper, and I was so grateful that I had married a computer genius.

So there have been little tips and tricks that Rory has mentioned lately that when he tells me I say, "does everyone know that?!!" And after discussing with my sister, maybe some other people know these tricks, but Annika and I didn't, so I think it's worth passing along.

I hope these Tips and Tricks become like a series of posts and that together we all become a bit more computer savvy.

RG Tip #1: When typing in a web address, you don't need to type www or .com Simply by typing in the heart of the address, like, amazon and hitting CONTROL and ENTER, the www and .com will magically appear.

RG Tip #2: Every time you go to order something online, or go to join a group that makes you enter in ALL OF YOUR INFORMATION for the umpeeth time you have to enter your state, typically by using a drop down menu. Sometimes these can be hard to maneuver depending on what state you live in. But not with Rory's tip #2. Once you get to the drop down, don't mess with your mouse, just hit the first letter of the state you live in until it comes up. Example: If you live in Minnesota, you just hit the letter 'M' five times. If you live in Nebraska, you hit the 'N' one time.

How handy are those tips?!! THE WORLD SHOULD KNOW!!!

Sara Groves: Fireflies and Songs

We stayed with Sara and Troy when we were home for Papa's funeral. Man do I love family sleepovers. This might be the biggest perk of moving out of state. I miss my family so much, but coming home and getting to stay at one of their houses is the greatest. Eating cereal together in pajama's is just one of the lovely perks of family sleepovers...that sweet time when everyone is still yawning and rubbing eyes and talking through the day ahead.

All this to say, we soaked up our niece and nephew time, played hard and were very, very sad to have to leave. Sara and Troy live their life so fully, and have taught us so much about marriage and the gift of following God as a married couple. They are so honest and open and teach quite vulnerably through their personal experiences. This new album is fantastic...a less produced sounding album, a bit more like what you hear in concert. The songs are, as always, thoughtful and so fearless leaving me to wonder quite a few times on the first listen, "did she just say that?!! I hope she just said that!!!" The following pictures are from their website. They're doing a prerelease sale right now, and I would recommend getting in on it.

And I'm back!

Lost some momentum there for a while, but blog world, I'm back.

We drove to Kansas City for a quick trip on Saturday to see Sara and Troy in concert on Sunday. They were giving a concert for a church that was celebrating their 20th anniversary. The event was called Party in the Park and it was a true party. This church was so creative, so thoughtful and the celebration was so fun to get to peek in on.

We sat on the hillside for their outdoor Sunday morning service and we sang the song "God of this City." I have sang this song in Oregon, Minnesota, Nebraska and now in Kansas and it created the most concrete visual of the kingdom as I thought about each one of these churches proclaiming boldly: GREATER THINGS ARE YET TO COME, GREATER THINGS ARE STILL TO BE DONE IN THIS CITY. WE BELIEVE IN YOU, GOD.

The thing about the kingdom, to me, is that it's just not that huge. It's one church faithfully loving and caring for the community God has placed them in. It's one person straining to hear the plans God has for them, filled with purpose and hope. It's one people, loving God and thanking Jesus for the life he has given each one of us. Okay, so it is huge. But I love that it's small enough that God uses us little people to help with his good work.

He is Risen!

Now all the vault of heaven resounds
In praise of love that still abounds:
"Christ has triumphed! He is living!"
Sing, choirs of angels, loud and clear!
Repeat their song of glory here:
"Christ has triumped! Christ has trumped Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!"

Now All the Vault of Heaven Resounds, by Paul Strodach

Good Friday

What language shall I borrow, To thank thee, dearest friend,
For this thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
Oh, make me thine forever,
And should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never Out-live my love to thee.

Oh sacred head now wounded, by Bernard of Clarvaux

Sara and Troy's trip to Rwanda

Rory's brother Troy, and his wife Sara have begun an incredible partnership with one village in Rwanda. While on tour, they asked their audiences if they would be willing to sponsor a child through Food for the Hungry in the village of Gisanga. The vision is that Sara and Troy will return to this village annually bringing men and women from their American team of sponsors to build lasting relationships with this community in Africa.

Sara is just beginning to blog about their experiences, and it is worth adding to your favorites.
Be sure to keep tabs on this kingdom story as it continues to unfold.

Ben Folds. wow.

flowers 033 flowers 032

He’s rocked the suburbs and last week he was rockin’ Omaha. Ben Folds is UNBELIEVABLE on the piano, he is a PHENOMENAL story teller, and FANTASTIC in concert. They guy never stopped…for two hours. He never took an intermission and would pause for a half-a-second between his songs. Literally, he never came up from the piano (he plays bent over with no bench), didn’t drink any water, and didn’t talk between the last 10 or so songs. I was tired for him.

The funny moments of the night were when the entire audience would belt out lyrics in unison and Rory and would look at each other and say, “yeah, we don’t have that album…”

O Holy Night

Sara was my 10th grade English and History teacher at Rosemount High school, my first employer, and now is my sister-in-law (while working for her, I fell in love with her husband's brother, Rory.) The best part is that we've been friends for over a decade now. I LOVE her music and have always counted myself as her biggest fan. I remember when she was my teacher, she'd talk about how she sometimes sang at her church and I always wanted to hear what songs she'd write. Now I know: honest, soulful, true songs.
She was my favorite teacher in high school and is still my favorite teacher in life. I feel like every conversation we share I am left walking away thinking and pondering and talking to God about something new. Go and get this album. It is fantastic from start to finish.