Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Spectacular Music, Advent Candles, Free Things and a Linkup Trifecta

First time joining in on Hallie's Five Favorites today!

1.


Beauty can change the world, right?  The Love Good Music campaign is awesome and is using beautiful music to do just that.  There is nothing new about patronage.  In fact, lay people who sponsored artists were primarily responsible for many of the greatest works of art and architecture not only in Church history but in world history.  But now with modern technology, normal non-wealthy people can work collectively to sponsor great art.  For as little as nine dollars a month, you can be a part of the Love Good Music community and support music that lifts up the true, good, and beautiful.  And this isn't churchy, mediocre music either.  This is music that can rival anything you hear on the secular station as far as production quality and writing.  These artists are really, really good.  AND as a gift for your patronage, you get an album sent to you every month from one of their artists!  I've been introduced to new artists from a whole bunch of genres and all of them are talented and give me such hope that we CAN redeem this culture.

The last three free albums!  They even sent an extra one from a new artist with mine last week.

You know, it's easy to bemoan modern entertainment and the depravity that is much of current popular music but now you can actually DO something about it besides turn off your radio or submit to it under the guise of being "relevant."  And I think we as the Church should.  It's our responsibility to do so. Click on over to check it out and I really encourage you to think about becoming a sponsor.

2.
The reason I got involved with the Love Good Music campaign was because one of their artists is Marian Grace.  If you haven't yet heard Colleen Nixon sing, you must.

My friend Becky introduced me to them several years ago when she encouraged me to go to a local women's conference where they happened to be playing.  After hearing them sing during Mass and throughout the conference, I had to buy their albums.  They were the first CDs I had bought in years and I am so glad I did.  They are some of my favorites.  My boys now know many of the ancient hymns that have been brought to life and beautifully produced by Marian Grace through listening to the CDs.


I've heard plenty of great singers in my day but Colleen's voice is set apart.  It is so pure, so in pitch, so crisp and she seems to do it effortlessly.  It sometimes takes my breath away.  There is something about it that is so beautiful that it brings tears to my eyes when I listen with my full attention.  Perhaps it is that you know she is worshipping in the songs and that her heart is being poured out to God as she sings.  You can hear the difference.  You can find some of their singing on Youtube if you want a preview.

3.
Aaaaand...the newest CD I just got in the mail is Marian Grace's new Advent and Christmas album In the Bleak Midwinter!  I was so psyched when I suggested on the Love Good Music Facebook page months ago that they try for an Advent album and they said it was already in the works!  It was just released and, of course, it is beautiful.  The first four songs are Advent themed which makes me so so happy because of our strictness with not listening to Christmas music until Christmastime.  Their rendition of O Come, O Come Emmanuel is phenomenal and so powerful that the tears were flowing.  Again.


4.
I didn't win Haley's giveaway for the Make Your Own Advent Candle Kit so I splurged at Toadily Handmade Beeswax Candles and got a huge pack of beeswax sheets to make into our candles.  It should actually last us through two to three years and I am excited to begin the little tradition of rolling our own candles before Advent begins.  I used beeswax for the first time last year and you really do notice a difference.  They smell clean and burn longer.  Supposedly they are much healthier for everyone but especially for people with allergies or sensitive immune systems.  They're also more liturgically appropriate since liturgical candles are supposed to be at least fifty percent beeswax so score!

The Advent kit

The sheets arrived yesterday within two days of ordering (they upgraded my shipping free!) and they are huge.  Definitely my money's worth for pure beeswax!  Head on over and check them out!

5.
You know what's pretty great about the internet?  How many people are willing to share their work and ideas for free.  I mean, really, we probably take it for granted now that people will spend hours or days on a project and then hours typing it up and editing photos and text so that they can share it with people they don't even know, many of them never to even be thanked.  Pinterest especially has come to make us expect it, I think.  How many ideas and things we implement in our little homes and lives are the result of an internet search and some real person taking real time to share that with us and often times for FREE?  Next time you glean some inspiration from someone be it a recipe, a pattern, a photo, a tutorial, take a minute to drop them a comment and say thank you.  They'll appreciate it!

Right now I'm especially grateful for people who share their knitting patterns free.  I'm working on this gorgeous Holy Cowl from Hilary at Purls of Wisdom.  It is a simple and quick knit (my favorite!) but it really is stunning, I think.  I'm using a merino/alpaca wool blend called Toboggan in an oatmealish color that I treated myself to last year with thoughts of making myself a sweater before I realized that making a sweater for myself out of something like this would involve a second mortgage.  So a beautiful cowl it will be.  I probably would have shrunk the sweater anyway.  I'm envisioning perhaps a few more of these being wrapped up as gifts this Christmas.  She has some lovely patterns over there as well that I'm going to need to check out.


I just picked up my copy of Orthodoxy to dive into after a decade long hiatus.  I loved it back then when I was all intellectual so it'll be interesting to see whether my highlighting will look different now in this place in my little life.  I'm thinking that what I appreciate about it may look slightly different now than it did ten years ago?  Maybe?  On a slightly related note, do you think there will ever be a chance for Chesterton's canonization?  That would be pretty cool, I think.  Speaking of generously free resources, do you know that the Kindle edition of Orthodoxy is free at Amazon?  And the paperback is only like four bucks?  Another point for the internet.

I'd really like to also get something good to sink my literary teeth into this Advent.  Something hardcore from a saint or Chesterton or Lewis... Any suggestions for me?


And now with the link-up trifecta for the win:
Get on over to Hallie's for Five Favorites,
Ginny's for Yarn Along (you have GOT to see that precious newborn baby boy of hers!!),
and Jessica's for WWRW!





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28 comments:

  1. Re No. 5 - funny about the mortgage for nice yarn :) And do you think I could talk Russ into "Gilbert" if we have a boy?? It might help his cause if we can get some popularity going in the baby name department! Do you think Chesterton is too much for a first name????

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    1. Yes to Gilbert! I think that would be so cute! And, don't hate me, but I think Bert could possibly maybe even work as a unique and somewhat quirky nickname. Otherwise, you'd have to make sure he goes by his full name or come up with a different one! Not sure about Chesterton...with your last name it might be a little high brow sounding...

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  2. I'm so excited about Marian Grace's new album, I saw that announced yesterday - I just wish it was a few weeks in the future (we don't play Christmas/Advent music yet!)

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    1. I know! I previewed it the other day just so I could give an honest review here before encouraging people to get it but it'll be put away until Advent when I'll only let myself listen to the first few! I was a little bummed because I was hoping they'd do an entire Advent album but I guess that's probably not as marketable, huh? The Christmas part is wonderful, though!

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  3. Oh, I love the start of your cowl! I agree, people who share patterns for free are wonderful people. :-) Isn't is a shame that all the awesome yarn is so gosh darn expensive? I mean, how many of us can really justify a five hundred dollar sweater?

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    1. I know, right? I now see why hand knits are sooo expensive!

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  4. Love the color of your yarn. It's very soothing. I don't knit yet, but my 8 year old really wants to learn so I'm thinking of gifting her lessons for the both of us for her birthday so that we can learn together.

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    1. Oh, that sounds like it would be such a wonderful thing to do together! It really isn't hard...I find it much easier than crocheting!

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  5. Oh I LOVE LOVE LOVE Chesterton. Yes. Jump into "Orthodoxy" with both feet.

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  6. I have been recommended Guardini's The Lord and Reed of God by Houselander...impressed by your ambition!

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  7. Can't wait to see how your candles turn out!

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  8. That Advent kit looks awesome and Orthodoxy is on my reading list as well :)

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  9. Your cowl is lovely. great color choice. :)

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  10. I'm checking out the music link, I just ordered my candles, and I'm sorely tempted to start yet another knitting project, though I have this one in the works: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/gap-tastic-cowl. Now, I get a free copy of Orthodoxy on my Kindle! So glad I checked out your post today!

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    1. Yay! I've seen that cowl and I love it, too! It looks so cozy!

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  11. I just ordered the music cd from Marian Grace! Thanks for the recommendation! And thanks for sharing all your great ideas and things you do with you family. You have given me some great ideas and inspiration!

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    1. Oh, you'll love it! I'm so glad you did!

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  12. Mary, hi! My friend Nicole sent me your blog post review about my Marian Grace music and I was so touched by your words...thanks so much....it means the world to me that you can hear my prayer through my voice on the CD and that it draws you into deeper prayer-that's all I want with my music! Praise Him! Now only if you could make MY advent candles! P.S. becky is the best!
    -blessings , Colleen Nixon

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    1. Um, my heart just stopped for a moment and now I feel famous ;) Thank you so much for singing. You really help me to worship in a way that I never would be able to on my own and for that I am so grateful. And yes, we miss Becky lots up here!!

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  13. Just wanted to let you know I decided to try out the Love Good Music Campaign that you mentioned. I got my first CD today..Marian Grace In the Bleak Midwinter! Oh my gosh! It is so beautiful!! Thank you so much for recommending this to me!

    The other two CD's you mention at the top: What Wondrous Love and the Hymns and Chants....do you know where I could buy those. They sound beautiful as well!

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    1. Oh yay! I know you can order their CDs right off the lovegoodmusic.com site and that might be the best way. I just got one as a Christmas gift through there and it was very inexpensive. Amazon does have their downloads, though, and Ignatius Press carries them, too!

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  14. Oh, thank you! I didn't realize you could buy them right from their site. Which would you recommend buying first?

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    1. I honestly cannot pick a favorite out of the two! I guess I would go with the Ancient Hymns since it was their first and has more of the super old sacred hymns brought to new life? But really, either one you will be happy with!

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  16. Okay, I posted my first comment before I said everything I wanted to say - I seriously didn't come here just to promote our Love Good Music campaign. I read your blog all the time and have found such inspiration especially when you share about homeschooling, and miscarriages. I'm sorry I don't comment more often - I'm lazy like that. We are new (this year) to homeschooling and are enjoying it thoroughly so far, and we've had 6 miscarriages, and your posts on (and around) Remembrance day were beautiful.

    I LOVE Marian Grace's music. What you said about Colleen's voice couldn't be more true. It is one of the purest I've heard. She and Jimmy have helped me fall in love with the rich, beautiful sacred music of our faith. We got to hear Marian Grace at our Diocesan Romance Night almost 2 years ago and I was positively enchanted the entire night. As she was beginning the opening song of the show "Let all Mortal Flesh" we got a text that my husbands Godfather had died after a few month battle with cancer. I was in tears as she sang the lyrics "At His feet the six winged seraph Cherubim with sleepless eye, Veil their faces to the presence, as with ceaseless voice they cry, "Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Lord Most High" thinking about how hopefully Dan was experiencing that at that same moment. I still think of him every time I hear that song (which is often, 'cause I listen to my Marian Grace CDs all the time.)

    And by the by, I can't believe that Colleen commented on your blog. Pretty sure that makes you famous.

    We are currently doing a campaign for Love Good Music to get them 20 new patrons and to bring them back to our hometown. If your readers want to use the code "wichita" they can save $5 off their monthly subscription, and it helps towards our count of 20. Just wanted to throw that out there.

    Thanks so much for blogging - I try but find it's the first thing to go when "life" happens.

    God bless!

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    1. Oh Michelle, I am so very sorry for your losses. You are one strong woman. And thank you for the kind words!

      That is so beautiful about your experience with "Let All Mortal Flesh" and it brought tears to my eyes!! What a grace in such a hard moment. It is such a powerful song.

      That's great about the campaign! Hope I can get you some publicity here and that it works! I'm hoping to get our local radio station to participate and bring them back this way again!

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  17. Holy cowl, that is beautiful. (I'm terrible but I couldn't resist.) I haven't heard of Marian Grace before, so I believe I will check it out. Do you think I could start with their new CD since it's coming up on Advent? Or would it be better to start with a different one?

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    1. Definitely! I love that they have a few songs we all know but the others are less known or original works. You'll love it!

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