Friday, November 27, 2009

November Music & Book List

Being the music and book freak that I am, I thought I would start a blog highlighting a list of what I'm listening to and reading each month. So here is my list for the month of November...


Hello Hurricane by Switchfoot -

I listened to this whole cd in one sitting and fell in love. If you've read my review below of Switchfoot's 7th studio album "Hello Hurricane", then I suppose it's no secret that I am a bit head over heels with this beautiful collection of songs. I pre-ordered this cd and received it in the mail 4 days before its November 10th release date, and it didn't take long for it to cement itself into my cd collection and into my heart. "Hello Hurricane" was my musical highlight of November and possibly the year.

Beautiful History by Plumb -
Plumb, aka Tiffany Arbuckle Lee, has been one of my very favorite artists since I heard "Sobering" back 1998. Now, in 2009, she has released her official hits collection entitled "Beautiful History". Updated fan favorites and two new songs makes this a must have for any Plumb fan. Since I bought this cd I haven't stopped listening to "Here With Me (2010)" and new song "Beautiful History". Beautiful history indeed! This collection is the perfect way to rediscover the music of such a creative and wonderfully unique artist.

25th Birthday Mix Cd -

I celebrated my 25th birthday a few weeks ago on November 5th. I didn't set out to make "a birthday mix" per se, I was actually just making a mix cd to listen to in the car for a little birthday trip I was taking the next day, but it soon became a bit more than that. The songs I ended up choosing started to create a mix that seemed to sum up my birthday and my year. Some of the songs I included are:

Shadowfeet by Brooke Fraser
Motion by Plumb
Let's Dance by Hawk Nelson
Daylight by Remedy Drive
Amazing Because It Is by The Almost
Unbreakable by Fireflight
November by Tristan Prettyman
Less Like Scars by Sara Groves
Grace by Phil Whickham
Tme by Chantal Kreviazuk
Boston by Augustana
The Way I Am by Ingrid Michaelson
Blessed by Brett Dennen
Deciphering Me by Brooke Fraser
In Your Hands by Krystal Meyers
Pray For Me by Plumb
River God by Nichole Nordeman
Twenty Four by Switchfoot


The Organic God by Margaret Feinberg -

I found this book in the discount section of the Christian bookstore I frequent. My sister bought it but it's been in my hands for the last month or so. This book to me is such a gem. Margaret shares very honestly and articulately about the experiences that have made Jesus real in her life. The ways He has shown himself to be real, faithful, and true in her everyday life, and how we can experience that same power. I have truly learned so much from this book.

Pure by Rebecca St. James -

Christian artist/author Rebecca St. James has always been known for her bold and outspoken stance on purity. I grew up listening to Rebecca and being inspired by her message. Still to this day, I look up to her as a good example of what a Godly woman should strive to be in this day and age. Over the years I have learned a lot from the wisdom she has shared. I recently purchased her book "Pure - A 90 Day Devotional for the Mind, Body, and Spirit." I love how in this book Rebecca takes her message of sexual purity and expands it to encompass all areas our lives that need purification. It's a very easy read with each devotion being only a page or two long. Rebecca shares her personal stories as well as scripture and talks about how we can apply it to our lives. I'm only on day 43 right now, but I already feel like I'm learning so much more about what it means to live a pure life before God.

Relevant Magazine with Jon Foreman on the cover (Nov/Dec 09) -

I love Relevant magazine and used to subscribe, but since my subscription ran out I haven't been able to get it renewed again. Recently at Hastings I found the Nov/Dec. issue with Jon Foreman (Switchfoot) on the cover. I was really excited and somewhat surprised that they had it seeing as how I can never find it anywhere. If you're a Switchfoot or Jon Foreman fan you will love this issue. The interview they did with Jon is so good. He talks in depth about their new cd "Hello Hurricane", and what has been going on in their lives these past couple years. Definitely an issue that is not to be missed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


It's 7am. Everyone in my house is asleep right now, everyone that is but me. It's a very pretty November morning. The sun is shining through my blinds and I can hear birds chirping. At this moment it is making my heart feel happy and inspired. There's something about a sunrise that feels hopeful and inspiring. I need that. I need more sunrises. It reminds me of a line in one of my favorite songs by Augustana called "Boston", the line says -"I think I need a sunrise, I'm tired of the sunset." That's how I've been feeling for a while now. I need a sunrise, the sunset is just not as beautiful as it used to be. I need the new. And whenever I forget that, watching the sun rise seems to always remind me. It reminds me of what is worth living for. Hope. Hope for what is brand new. Hope for what is not yet but will be. I think 7am is a perfect time to write. I like being the only one awake in the morning, it's a good time to be alone with my thoughts, talk to God, write, read. I need to do that more often. I've always been quite a night owl but truth be told, I'm a night owl that actually longs to be an early bird. I would love to get up early in the morning and pray. Or go to a cute cafe and just read and write. I've always thought that sounded really nice. Grab my mp3 player, journal, and a good book and just hang out at a cafe all morning just sounds good. Or maybe I'm romanticizing it a bit... I can do that sometimes.

Lately I have really been feeling God doing a work in my heart. Changing me, making me new like the sunrise. Molding me and sculpting me more into the woman he wants me to be. I'm becoming more myself I think. I've always felt that we are the closest to who we truly are when we are our closest to God. I've been trying to pray more faithfully than I had been and it's amazing because I really feel it changing me. I have been challenged in a lot of ways lately to grow in so many different areas of my life. To let God have his perfect and pleasing will in me. I feel like more and more I'm seeing people just settle for whatever comes along in life, settle for so much less than God has for them. It hurts my heart to see people I care about letting go of the hope they had in God's plan for them. I understand it because it is hard to wait for what God has for you. But yet I don't understand it because He's the God of the Universe. He has so much for's too much and too good for you to miss out on because you were tired of waiting. But I feel so inspired and challenged to wait and to never settle for anything but God's perfect and pleasing will for my life. It's all I want. I don't mean this in a self righteous way at all but lately all I can think is, even if everyone around me compromises, I will be the one who doesn't. Even if everyone around me settles for less than God's best, I will never settle. By the grace of God I will keep my head above water and wait for his perfect pleasing will in my life. He is my sunrise. He is my hope for brand new. He is the source of what is not yet, but what will be. Praise you Jesus!

Review of “Hello Hurricane” by Switchfoot

"I feel like with this record, the motto was, what are the songs you want to die singing?" That is what Switchfoot frontman, Jon Foreman said about the songs on their 7th studio album Hello Hurricane. My first thought about Hello Hurricane was that these truly are songs you would die singing. They're songs that are so meaningful and true that they are destined to walk through life with you. You can really tell that this is the guy's blood, sweat, and tears. Every song is a testament to how much they poured their heart and soul into this record. To me, Hello Hurricane begs to be listened to in order, from the first track, "Needle And Haystack Life", to the last track, "Red Eyes".
It's one of those rare albums where skipping any tracks would not give you the full experience. And in my opinion, it is an experience. Every single song has a very specific purpose and place. You can tell that they were very intentional about the placement of the songs because it really is the most cohesive record they've ever made. When you listen to the whole cd in order you feel like you've been taken on a journey. That's the best way I can describe Hello Hurricane, as a journey.

When you hear the cd opener "Needle And Haystack Life" you get the sense that this journey is just beginning, as you hear Jon sing the energetic rock chorus -"In this needle and haystack life I've found miracle's there in your eyes. It's no accident we're here tonight. We are once in a lifetime". I can imagine this song as the perfect way to open a live show. I loved the line "It's no accident we're here tonight", seeing as how that's how I always feel at their shows. Next track and lead single, "Mess Of Me" is a gritty rock song where Foreman and company loudly declare - "I've made a mess of me. I wanna spend the rest of my life alive." I love the bridge when you hear Jon wailing over the guitar "There ain't no drug, no drug to make me well". It really drives home the point that there is nothing this world can sell us that can cure our pain. "Free" is an emotional cry for freedom that's only found in Christ - "Free, come set me free. Down on my knees, I still believe you can save me from me. Come set me free. Inside this shell there's a prison cell".
"The Sound (John M. Perkins' Blues)" opens with crunchy guitars and an almost eerie sounding build to a pounding rock chorus. Title track "Hello Hurricane" has sort of an indie/rock feel to me. It's a song about hope in the face of pain - "Hello Hurricane you can't silence my love." "Bullet Soul" is a rock anthem for the "dreamers" - "You can't stand by forever. You're a kid with a bullet soul. Are you ready to go?" I love how Jon screams that line at the end. But I have to say out of all the songs on this cd the two that most have my heart are "Always" and "Sing It Out". "Always" is a beautiful piano based ballad that probably has the simplest yet most profound chorus, as Jon repeats the line - "I am always yours". The song builds to a powerful bridge - "Hallelujah! I'm caving in. Hallelujah! I'm in love again. Hallelujah! I'm a wretched man. Hallelujah! Every breath is a second chance." The worshipful ballad "Sing It Out" gave me goose bumps and just about made me cry upon first listen. The song starts off with an eerie sound as the verse speaks of losing the song of your soul. It then moves into Jon's beautiful vocal loudly and powerfully singing a prayer of sorts - "Sing it out. Sing it out. Take what is left of me, make it a melody. Sing it out. Sing out loud. I can't find the words to sing you'd be my remedy. My song. I'll sing with what's left of me." It just totally broke me. That song is my life's prayer.
The cd closes with "Red Eyes" which asks the question - "With red eyes what are you looking for?". I love how at the very end of this song you hear it going back to lines from the first track "Needle And Haystack life" - "I've found miracle's there in your eyes. It's no accident we're here tonight. We are once in a lifetime". It really ties the whole record together and makes for an unforgettable ending.

It's really hard to put into words just how much these songs mean to me. I really feel like this album redefines who Switchfoot is as a band. It feels like a whole new level and a whole new season for them. In my opinion Hello Hurricane is their best effort to date. It is in every sense of the word what my sister would call "a life cd", in that these songs were made to stay with you throughout your life.
Pick “Hello Hurricane” up here