I am the DVR generation...I saw a stat the other day that over 20 percent of the viewership of The Office season premier this year was DVR. That would be me! Anyway, I am a huge fan of movies made in the 1940's-1960's. These years represent some of my favorite actors best years. So, during this past week that I have had some time off, I have DVR'd (yes, that is a word in my book) some of the classic holiday films that I love. The 1949 version of Little Women is one of my favorites with June Allyson as Jo. I have seen this film so many times, but I am always surprised at the different things I find even though it is so familiar...this happened a couple of days ago. There is a scene where the Professor has finished reading Jo's work and really hands her a pretty tough critique saying that she is writing predictable and unrealistic story-lines that he felt were very contrived. He then told her to promise that she would never write about anything ever again that she had not felt in her own heart. Wow...that just nailed me...I have sat down so many times as a songwriter and a worship leader and tried to "come up" with something that when it was all said and done was exactly that...and then there have been times that I have written songs and created services and it truly came out of such a personal place that everytime I hear that song or think about that service, I remember where I was and what was happening. I know I have heard this saying before, but I needed this reminder so much going into the new year. I encourage any of you that are writers or creatives that are constantly at the wheel of invention to keep this thought ever before you. We owe this to our audience and to ourselves to be true to our own heart in all we create and invent. Our God, the Father of all invention, has gifted us to do it, so let's do it from our hearts.
All the presents are opened and I am on my 3rd cup of coffee...it is Christmas morning and what a morning it has been. Sydney is following in her mother's footsteps in that she gets up for Christmas when she is ready..sleep is still more important! Sean proved that the best presents for him were the paper and Watson's chew toys. Todd and I realized half-way through the morning that we totally forgot about Sean's big present...in fact, we still don't know where we hid it in the house! Sydney loved her Dora make-up table from Santa and Todd and I broke our own rules for spending that we set for each other. Our first Christmas as a family of 4 was perfect in every way..something I will treasure always..the look on everyone's faces after waiting so long for these moments...Sydney not thanking for us the Dora table, but for everything else because she knows Santa brought her the big gift...and Sean just so happy to be allowed to tear up everything...good times.
We took the kids to see Alvin and the Chipmunks...it was cute...The music industry depiction was hilarious and very accurate! However, I did almost lose my popcorn when Dave (Jason Lee) took his Roland D-50 (which I had one for a season in the mid-90's) and throws it outside and then it rains! So, I'm sure I wasn't the only one that was cringing during that scene. I downloaded some songs for us to listen to at home the next 2 days and I chose the classic version of the Chipmunks "Christmas Song". It is a little weird that my daughter is singing along to the SAME song I sang to about 30 years ago...very cool , but weird.
This is our 1st year as a family of 4 celebrating Christmas and I want to begin some traditions that have significant meaning. I was researching on the internet (googling!) readings and prayers that have been passed down through time and I found one by Martin Luther that I wanted to share...
Ah, dearest Jesus, holy Child,
Make thee a bed, soft, undefiled,
Within my heart, that it may be
A quiet chamber kept for Thee.
My heart for very joy doth leap,
My lips no more can silence keep,
I too must sing, with joyful tongue,
That sweetest ancient song,
Glory to God in highest heaven,
Who unto man His Son hath given
While angels sing with pious mirth.
A glad new year to all the earth!
I finished my Christmas shopping tonight...YES! It's going to be a fabulous Christmas in the Cullen home. We will be here in Hilton Head and I am preparing quite the feast (thanks to the Honeybaked Ham store!) No, seriously, I'm only getting the ham from them - I am cooking everything else (ok, mom, don't faint!). It's our 1st Christmas as a family of 4 and I'm just pumped. Sean is so much older than Sydney was for her 1st Christmas so it is going to be so different. We have a few traditions - we always open new pajamas on Christmas Eve and this year, we are starting a new tradition with our resident baker, Sydney Cullen, preparing cupcakes for Jesus' birthday on Christmas. We will be attending a Christmas Eve service at our Bluffton campus (yes, I am attending the service - it is a Merry Christmas to me! I do miss the Renaissance Waverly...a little...) Todd always reads the Night Before Christmas before Sydney goes to bed...then, Todd and I are up for the next 2 hours putting together these big presents we thought were so cool when we bought them at Target! No, that is truly one of my favorite times. Todd and I reminisce about past Christmases (14 for us now!) and it is wonderful. So, bring it on...I'm ready to make merry and watch the wonder on my children's faces when they come out of their rooms and see their big surprises...it's a good time to be alive! (that's for you, W)
We find each other...we always do...I'm sitting around a table last night at Starbucks in the "vault room" (a converted bank that they now use the vault for a meeting room!) facillitating our first Hilton Head Campus creative team brainstorm session and I am just stunned at the creative potential that I see in our team. We have artists, photographers, actors, and a high school student, Joel, that is already a very accomplished video producer ( CLICK HERE to check out some of his work). I had the table covered in toys from play dough to a rubics cube (which Joel was thrilled about) to just get our minds going... it was so much fun! We came up with some great ideas, but more than that, there was so much energy and excitement. I left there flying high and so pumped about the future. Creatives breathe life into me whenever they are around. They bring a fresh perspective to whatever I'm doing and I left there last night energized at the possibilities for our church campus. Creativity equals energy in my life...
Sydney is 3 and a half now and her world is beginning to take on a whole different view. She now gets scared and has learned how to smile alot to get what she really wants! She did learn this year that Christmas is the day we celebrate Jesus' birth (at first, she thought it was Santa's birthday!) However, when it is all said and done, it is really all about the lights...her face lights up when she sees them..she is overwhelmed by them every time. Light does that to us....I can't help but want to get in the car every night and go look at Christmas lights that I have already seen before! We are drawn to light. I was thinking about this today...is my life a light to the world around me? Matthew 5:16 says for our good deeds to shine out for all to see so others will praise God when they see them...something to think about when you look at the lights.
Cinderella's Castle in Nov 2007
It has been so much fun establishing this new group of musicians on the Island. Their talent and ability is awesome, but the spirit in which they play together is what I am loving the most about our music. Here is a portion of our prelude that I arranged and charted of "Carol of the Bells" for flute, piano, cello, percussion, and our dandy ipod drum loops!