Saturday, April 01, 2017

Steven Curtis Chapman | 2013-2016

It's our final day of Steven Curtis Chapman music, and quite possibly my favorite. :)

As I mentioned in my original post, while Chapman's album Beauty Will Rise was very meaningful in our grief, Glorious Unfolding was extremely helpful in our healing. I should really just say go here and listen to the entire album, because every song is incredible. But I did manage to pick out my absolute favorites. ;)

Glorious Unfolding was released on September 30, 2013. I know I haven't shared the actual date on any other release, but I had to this time--it's the day our sweet Will was born! How fortuitous for that new chapter of our lives and our grief journey to be marked with this incredible collection of songs about God's faithfulness and the hope we have in Him.

First up from this album is the title track. I seriously can't hear this song without getting chills or crying. Or both. "God's plan from the start for this world and your heart has been to show His glory and His grace. Forever revealing the depth and the beauty of His unfailing love." So good.



Next is "Love Take Me Over."



And "Something Beautiful."
"God's gonna turn it into something different,
He's gonna turn it into something good.
He's gonna take all the broken pieces
And make something beautiful like only He could."



Next is "Only One and Only You." I can't even quite describe what this song touched in me after losing two babies without getting into another very long blog post. Maybe another day. ;)



Finally is "Together," which is one of the best songs to describe our marriage after losing Hannah and Charlie. "And if it wasn't for God's mercy and His grace, there's no way we would be standing in this place. But because He has been faithful every step along the way, Here we are together." Amen.



And of course, honorable mentions to the entire rest of the album, but especially to "Take Another Step" and "SEE You in a Little While."

Chapman's most recent album is Worship and Believe, and I'm not familiar enough with it yet to have a feel for all of the songs, but I can definitely recommend the single that's been playing on the radio! "More Than Conquerors." :)



Thanks for journeying with me this week! I had fun putting these posts together. Hopefully you were blessed or encouraged by some music along the way. :)

Friday, March 31, 2017

Steven Curtis Chapman | 2007-2011

Happy Friday! Here's Day 5!

Chapman released This Moment in 2007 and it included the very sweet "Cinderella." :)



Honorable mentions go to "Children of God" and "Yours."

Next up was 2009's Beauty Will Rise, which was his first album after the loss of his daughter Maria. So many songs on this album have come to mean so much to me, but I had to go with the title track for sure.



As well as "Spring is Coming."



Honorable mention goes to the very dear "February 20th." So beautiful.

Chapman released another "best of" type album, re-creation, which included some new songs, some old songs, and some remixes of old songs. One of the new songs on the album, "Do Everything," became a bit of an anthem for me as a young mom. Plus, the video is adorable. :)



And the honorable mention for this album is another of the new songs, "Long Way Home."

One day left in our trip! See you tomorrow!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Steven Curtis Chapman | 2001-2004

Happy Day 4!

Chapman's first album of the new millennium was 2001's Declaration. I had to go with two again here--the first is "God is God."



Second up is "See the Glory." Chapman co-wrote this with his son Caleb!



Honorable mentions go to "Live Out Loud" (which is a cute music video) and "Magnificent Obsession." :)

Chapman released All About Love in 2003, which was an album mostly full of songs he'd written for his wife Mary Beth. It was also the first album that included cover songs--"I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" and "I'll Take Care of You." My first pick from this album is "We Will Dance."



And the non-"love" song on the album, "Moment Made for Worshipping."



Honorable mention goes to the title track, "All About Love."

Last album for today is 2004's All Things New. I had to pick "Only Getting Started" because it features (sort of) local boy Jonny Lang (who became a Christian in 2000)!



Honorable mentions go to the title track, "All Things New" as well as "Much of You."

Some of my favorites coming the next two days! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Steven Curtis Chapman | 1996-1999

Day 3!

1996 brought Chapman's Signs of Life. I had a really hard time narrowing down which videos to share, so I picked two. First is "Lord of the Dance."


And second is "Let Us Pray." :)


Honorable mentions could be to the entire rest of the album, but I'll go with "Children of the Burning Heart" and the title track, "Signs of Life." 

Next up was Greatest Hits, which was obviously mostly previously recorded songs, but there were a couple new ones, and "Not Home Yet" has always been a favorite of mine! Plus, it's another actual music video which is cool. ;)


Last for today is 1999's Speechless. This came out the year I graduated from high school and its songs are definitely part of my "late high school/early college" soundtrack. Again, I had to pick two to share. First is "Fingerprints of God," which Chapman wrote for his daughter Emily who was an early teen at the time. Such a sweet message to a girl in that awkward middle school phase of life!


Second is "Be Still and Know." 


And honorable mentions to "Dive" (which KTIS still plays as though it came out just last week!) and the title track, "Speechless."

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Steven Curtis Chapman | 1990-1994

Welcome to Day 2!

Chapman's fourth album was For the Sake of the Call and I had to go with the title track for this pick. It's such a great song! And our youth choir sang it a million years ago, so it's even more special. :)



I have to share a second video. "No Better Place" was a classic "encore" song in a lot of his concerts and I can still picture him running through the crowd on one of the last choruses. :)



Honorable mentions go to "Busy Man" and "You Know Better."

Next up was The Great Adventure! I obviously picked the title track because it was his very first music video. Please just take in the mid-90s goodness! And also count the costume changes. ;)



Honorable mentions go to "Go There With You" and "That's Paradise."

Last for today is Heaven in the Real World. I have to share the title track because I think it's a really cool video.



I also have to share "Remember Your Chains" since, as I shared in Sunday's post, it's the song I can pinpoint as my "come to Jesus" moment. ;)



Honorable mentions go to "King of the Jungle" and "Treasure of You."

Come back tomorrow as we finish out the 90s!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Steven Curtis Chapman | 1987-1989

Welcome to our week of a Steven Curtis Chapman walk down memory lane. :)
I'm going to post a few albums each day and share a song (or two) from each album. It was hard to pick one (or two) for most albums, so I'll have links to a few more. ;)

First up is his debut, First Hand. I picked the song "Weak Days" from this album because it was his first radio single.



Honorable mentions on this album go to "Run Away" and "My Redeemer is Faithful and True."

Next up is Chapman's sophomore album, Real Life Conversations. Please enjoy "My Turn Now" from this album. And really, really enjoy the mullet in that cover photo. :)



Honorable mentions on this album go to "His Strength is Perfect" and "His Eyes."

Chapman's third album was More to This Life and I picked the title track to share with you.



Honorable mentions on this album go to "Love You With My Life" and the iconic wedding song "I Will Be Here." :)

Come back tomorrow for the early 90s, where Chapman lost the mullet and shot his first music video!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Book Review | Between Heaven and the Real World

Last July, a post on Instagram caught my attention. Contemporary Christian recording artist Steven Curtis Chapman was announcing a book coming out in March. I actually remember lying in bed when I saw it on my phone and I immediately went to Amazon and preordered it. I'm not big on buying actual books (Hello, library! Or Kindle!) and I certainly don't usually preorder anything. But this was different. No one else's music and ministry has impacted my faith and my life quite like Chapman's. I knew this was going to be a book I'd want to own.


So when this baby arrived in my mailbox on March 8th, I quickly finished the other book I was reading (I have a really hard being in the middle of more than one book at the same time...) so I could Dive in. (Emphasis and pun intended...). ;)

I seriously read this book so fast that I almost want to go read it again right now! But I lent it to my mom, so I guess I'll have to wait. :) I honestly have only amazing things to say about the book and I can't recommend it enough, so instead of walking you through the book and his life (you should really just read it yourself) I'll give a quick glimpse of how I've been impacted by his story.

I really have my mom to thank for the introduction to Chapman's music. His first album, First Hand, came out when I was seven years old and we owned it, as well as his next two, on vinyl. (I'd love to know where those ended up!) When I hear some of that early stuff, I am transported to a childhood in our house in North Minneapolis. (This was an era of a lot of vinyl--Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Twila Paris. I have amazing memories of Christian music in our house!)

My first Steven Curtis Chapman concert (of many) was in 1992 with his Great Adventure tour. My pre-teen self was in her glory! I was officially hooked on this singer-songwriter who could also put on a pretty cool live show. (In fact, he did a Live Adventure recording and video later that year and I remember watching it--on VHS, obvs--many, many times). :)

In 1994, Chapman released Heaven in the Real World. Of course there was an accompanying tour, and of course we went to the concert when it came to Minneapolis. I vividly remember sitting in the balcony of the Northrup Auditorium and bawling my eyes out when Chapman sang "Remember Your Chains." I grew up in a Christian home and accepted Christ as a young child, but if I had to pinpoint a time when my faith became my own and I really started to understand what Jesus was doing in my life, it was sitting in that dark auditorium wondering why on earth I was crying!

The albums kept coming every year or two, and each one held so much goodness. Through high school and college, although my taste in Christian music had changed over the years and some artists and come and gone, I still made sure to buy the latest Steven Curtis Chapman album when it came out. I remember getting All About Love when Dan and I been married for less than a year and loving all of these songs Chapman had written for his wife Mary Beth.

On May 21, 2008, Chapman's 5-year-old daughter Maria Sue (one of three daughters they had adopted from China) was accidentally hit by her big brother Will Franklin after she ran into the path of his SUV in their driveway. She died later at the hospital. I remember being so heartbroken seeing this on the news that night. The chapters in the book that tell of this event and the weeks and months of grief that followed are so beautiful and powerful. Chapman's next recording, Beauty Will Rise is full of songs that recount the grief, and hope amidst the grief, of losing their precious Maria.

Just a couple years later this album would prove to be extremely poignant and healing as we grieved our own losses. To see that someone could go through that kind of loss and still be able to point to the Lord was huge for me in my pain and grief. I held to the truth in the title song from that album:

Out of these ashes beauty will rise
And we will dance among the ruins
We will see it with our own eyes
Out of these ashes beauty will rise
For we know joy is coming in the morning

Just as Beauty Will Rise had spoken so deeply in our grief, Chapman's Glorious Unfolding spoke just as deeply in our healing. Every single song on that album rings so true to what we experienced and felt from God in the years that followed losing Hannah and Charlie. From the title track:

And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
You've just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding

So grateful for a God who holds it all--the grief and pain, the healing and joy. And so grateful that He uses others and their stories and gifts to point us to the truth of who He is.

After finishing Chapman's book, I requested his wife Mary Beth's book from the library. It came a few days later and I devoured it in about a day and a half. I loved reading the same story from a mother's point of view. It was beautiful and hard and it brought so much of my grief to the surface again. So I have to give Mary Beth a shout-out for her beautiful book Choosing to See. Again, so much hope in the middle of the pain.


So there you have it. Go order yourself a copy of Between Heaven and the Real World and enjoy!

And stay tuned to the blog this week. Reading this book made me look back at so much of Chapman's old music (thank you, YouTube!) and it was SUCH a fun trip down memory lane. So each day I'm going to go through a few albums at a time, highlighting a song or two from each. It'll be fun. I promise. ;)
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Winter Top 5

Well, November (and December) (and a good portion of January) got away from me. Welcome back to my tiny corner of the internet. ;)

And happy winter! Except that we're in the middle of some very NON-winter temps, rendering the snow either dirty and gross or completely nonexistent. But it's only January, and this is Minnesota, so we likely have lots more cold and snow in our future.

Anyway, here's what I'm loving right now.

1) Books
I'm not big on New Year's Resolutions, but I did decide to be intentional about not spending too much time on social media. Instead, I've been reading a LOT. A couple noteworthy picks:

Shauna Niequist's Present Over Perfect was beautiful and real and refreshing. I love Shauna's writing style--at the end of the book I felt like I'd just spent an afternoon listening to her pour her heart out. I had a chance to see her at the Belong Tour in October and she's the same on stage as I imagine she is in her kitchen, preparing a meal to share with friends. Highly recommend all of her books!

Steve Wiens' Beginnings was a far-overdue read for me. It was released a year ago and for some reason, the year got away from me and other books were read instead. I really enjoyed this book and it felt appropriate to read it in January--a beginning. Steve combines Biblical and personal stories throughout the book, which chronicles the seven days of creation. It works so beautifully and is completely captivating. Grab this book and while you're on Amazon, go ahead and pre-order Steve's book Whole, due out this August. :)

2) Larabar bites
I'm a big fan of Larabars. They're so simple and delicious. The coconut chocolate chip are a staple in our cupboard. But sometimes I don't want a whole Larabar. Enter Larabar BITES! The perfect tiny treat! I've only tried the cherry chocolate chip, but they also come in chocolate macaroon, double chocolate brownie, and mint chocolate truffle. Check 'em out.

3) The Office
This is not a new show for us, but it might be even better the second time around. We watched this sporadically when it was on TV 10ish years ago, and when we were perusing Netflix a couple months ago looking for a new show to watch together, this one caught our attention. We love the sitcom length, as we can't always commit to an hour-long show once all the kids are finally in bed and we're nearly falling asleep standing up. ;) So many laugh-out-loud moments. If, for some reason, you've never watched this, please do!

4) Zupas

This is a newish place in Maple Grove, although there are locations in about six different states. It's all soup, salads, and sandwiches, and everything we've tried is awesome. Dan is a fan of the Cuban Grilled Pork Sandwich, and I can't get enough of the Garden Chicken Chop Salad. Everything is super fresh, and every entree comes with a chocolate-covered strawberry! The only downside to all of this awesomeness is that it's always pretty busy. But it's worth it. (Also, they're closed on Sundays)

5) Movies
I love movies this time of year! It's award season and the movie selection is amazing. I have so many on my list, but I've loved the couple I've seen so far:

Leah and I saw Moana after Christmas and just loved it. The music is absolutely incredible and Moana is a perfect (non-princess) female lead. :) Leah is still singing "How Far I'll Go" (with mostly the right words) nearly every day. This will definitely be one we own when it comes out!

Dan and I had a rare day date last week and saw La La Land. SO good. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are charming and perfect. Outstanding music, beautiful story. Go see it!

All done. :) Hang in there, friends! Spring will be here before you know it. ;)