Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Remembering ~ See You On The Other Side

 Grandpa

 

Today is the 5th anniversary of my grandpa’s passing, so to celebrate his memory, I thought I would share a lyric that I wrote for him as well as some special memories. My grandpa, Tony Rodriguez, was such an amazing person, he loved God and his family with all his heart. I very much miss him and have lately been remembering some of the great times my family and I shared with him.

My parents, my sister, and I lived with my grandpa and grandma (my dad’s parents) for about 16 years of my life. So because of that, my sister and I were very close to both my grandparents. I feel like we were so privileged to see their everyday lives. And while they weren’t perfect; they truly lived their lives to love and serve God, each other, and their family. I learned so much from both of them. I didn’t realize it back then as a kid, that someday the everyday mundane things would be what sticks out in my mind the most. Especially now that my grandpa has been in heaven for the past 5 years. My grandma, Lupe, is still alive, but at 90 years old she’s of course not the same as she used to be. She can’t remember much and can’t hold conversations anymore. It’s almost like I miss her as if she’s gone already too. And, yes, even though this is a blog dedicated to my grandpa, I can’t talk about him without sharing about her as well. :)

Like I said, the small things stick out in my mind the most. Things  like: waking up to the smell of their coffee in the morning.  The comforting sound of them making breakfast at 5 or 6 am. The sound of my grandpa playing the saxophone (his favorite song to play was “When The Saints Go Marching In”), often in the early morning hours … trying to drown out the noise with a pillow over my head and sleep to no avail lol (I miss that). Going grocery shopping with them and getting donuts at Shipley’s afterwards. Running to both of them when we were upset and crying, they would hold us and make us laugh. My grandpa holding my hand and walking me home from school. He had the best laugh and gave the warmest hugs. He would tap dance to make us laugh … it’s the simple things.

Other Special Memories ~

~ My grandpa was a rare man in the way that he would help my grandma cook, clean, sew, and garden. I loved that about him. I hope and pray to marry a man just like that. To have a marriage that’s a partnership. They were a real team. He  liked things very nice and neat. His clothes perfectly ironed and folded. His hair had to be perfectly in place – he would spray it till it didn’t move lol. My sister, my cousins, and I always laugh about the fact that he would even iron his money lol. I kid you not! I’m pretty sure he encouraged my sister to do the same. To my knowledge she never has but I know she’s thought about it. ;)

~ Both my grandpa and grandma were awesome cooks! They would make enchiladas, beans,  spanish rice, and homemade tortillas for family get togethers. My grandpa made great homemade chicken nuggets with white country gravy.

~ Like I mentioned above, my grandpa was very particular about his hair. He always carried a comb in his pocket. One Sunday, maybe 7 or 8 years ago, after church were eating lunch at their house. We were done eating but all sitting around the table talking. My grandma was in the middle of telling my dad something, when my grandpa went over to her, got his comb out, and started combing her hair lol. The funniest part of this is that she didn’t even seem to notice, she just kept on talking. My sister and I were just cracking up about that one! He was not only concerned with his own hair but hers as well. I guess he thought it needed some grooming. ;)

~ I remember at my cousin’s wedding, my grandparents were sitting in back of me and my family. And after my cousin walked down the aisle and the minister said for her to take her fianc├ęs hand, through the corner of my eye I saw my grandparents right at that moment scoot closer together and take each others hand. Something about that simple action, which seemed so natural, stole my heart. And I thought that was a memory I would recall forever. I had always meant to tell my cousin about this but for some reason kept forgetting. When I finally told her about year ago it made her tear up a little. You just can’t help but be touched by the idea that love really can last – they were a good example of this, and it gives me so much hope.

~ Towards the end of his life, he started telling us so many stories about what it was like for him growing up, about his dad, traveling around and playing music in his band, and meeting and marrying my grandma. I remember being enamored by all his stories. I loved hearing them. I wish I could remember all of them but I’m thankful that he took the time out to share that with us.

These are just a few of the special stories of my grandpa and grandma. I didn’t even plan on saying this much but there’s so much to tell. There’s so much to be treasured. I’m blessed that I have a enough good memories of both of them to last me a lifetime. I was blessed to have both of them in my life. I learned so much from them and I’m very proud to be their granddaughter. 

 

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(Photo of my grandpa’s guitar which he gave me when I started playing at 15)

06-30-2010 08;25;52PM

(My grandpa playing the saxophone in church)

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(My grandparents at my aunts house)

(*Note - The photo at the top of the blog is a sketch that a street artist drew of my grandpa when he was young.)

Below is the lyric I wrote the day after he passed away. It was read by my dad at his funeral.

See You On The Other Side (Grandpa’s Song)

Grandpa, how do you say goodbye to someone who would dance to make you laugh and hold you when you cry? Grandpa, I already miss you so much. I will always remember your beautiful smile and your warm hugs. Grandpa, I just don’t know how to let you go. When you were here time went too fast, now it’s too slow.

(Chorus)

Someday we’ll be together, when the saints go marching in, we’ll see each other again. In a place where there will be no more death and no more pain. Together forever as we walk the golden lane. Though now far apart love can never be severed, oh this goodbye isn’t made to last forever.

Grandpa, I remember when the smell of coffee and the sound of your saxophone is how my days would begin. Grandpa, no matter how many years pass I’ll never forget the sound of your sweet laugh. Holding my hand as you walked me home from school. Just one of the many memories I’ll always hold of you. A heritage passed on to me, through lessons and special stories.

(Repeat Chorus)

One bright summer day, you decided to take your last breath and fly away. I didn’t want to let you go. But during the peaceful blue and pink evening sky, I accepted it was time, time to say goodbye. But through my tears I realized it’s not goodbye, it’s just see you later … on the other side.

(Repeat Chorus 2x)

I love you grandpa but just one question before you go, what do you think of heaven and your new beautiful, white robe?

© Krystal Celeste

Monday, June 28, 2010

Road Trip to The Rock & Worship Road Show

Back in April my family and I went on a little road trip to Dallas to catch The Rock And Worship Road Show at The American Airlines Center. The Rock And Worship Road Show is a tour featuring MercyMe, David Crowder Band, Family Force 5, Remedy Drive, Francesca Battistelli, Fee, and Sidewalk Prophets. Yes, it was a very big concert - one stage, lots of bands, and thousands in attendance. A great night of music, $10.00 a ticket, and all proceeds go to an organization called "Imagine A Cure", which benefits juvenile diabetes. I thought I would share some photos from the concert and from our trip. It was so the mini vacation I needed, hearing great live music and just hanging in Dallas with my favorite people. Hope you enjoy a little peak into our trip! :)



The Show opened with The Sidewalk Prophets. A fairly new band that I'm not too familiar with but I thought they were pretty good. They started their set with "Man In The Mirror" by Michael Jackson. The performance of their first radio single, "The Words We Speak", really got the crowd going and everyone singing along. (Sorry the photo isn't the best quality.)



Remedy Drive is one of my favorite bands. This is the second time I've seen them in concert and they did not disappoint! Their music was made to be experienced live. Lead singer, David Zac, is all over the place while he sings, flips over the keyboard and other acrobatics are to be expected lol. Their music is so hopeful, and that message of hope truly comes out in their music.



The band Fee was next. I walked away more of a fan of these guys than I was before. They have a heart for worship, and had everyone jumping around and worshiping God to the song "We Shine (We Are The Redeemed". They also played the song, "Everything Falls", the lyrics are so hopeful and beautiful. "When everything falls apart, Your arms hold me together. When everything falls apart You’re the only hope for this heart. When everything falls apart and my strength is gone, I find You mighty and strong. You keep holding on, You keep holding on."



Francesca Battistelli sounds even better live than on cd. Her voice is flawless, and her set was a highlight for me. I really loved watching her play both guitar and piano on her songs. My favorite moment was when she sang the song ,"Beautiful, Beautiful". This song touched my heart so much. The lyrics are amazing! "Like sunlight burning at midnight, making my life something so beautiful, beautiful. Mercy reaching to save me, all need. You are so beautiful, beautiful." It was such a peaceful, worshipful moment. This song has become a favorite of mine.



Ah Family Force 5 ... what is there to say about these guys? lol On stage they've got to be something akin to two shots of espresso and a can of Red Bull. ;) I don't think the crowd knew quite how to respond to them at first, seeing as how the majority of the music that night was pretty mellow compared to FF5. After the first song, which was the crazy "Country Gentleman", Soul Glow told the crowd that they like to "put parties on for Jesus", and quote "So if this is not your thing, go get popcorn" lol. But soon everyone was on their feet singing and dancing along. It was seriously a blast!



David Crowder Band, these guys are so awesome! They really are one of the best worship bands around. They have such a balance at their shows of keeping the focus on worshiping God while also letting the fun side of their music and personalities come through. One of my favorite parts was when they had a quote, "hoe down", of sorts and played a country infused version of the songs, "I Saw The Light" and "I'll Fly Away", that got everyone clapping and having fun. The worshipful "Oh, How He Loves Us" was a highlight. Everyone was raising their hands in praise to God. It was amazing hearing the whole stadium sing this song. So beautiful and peaceful.



Last but certainly not least, MercyMe came out onstage to crazy applause, confetti flying everywhere, singing a version of The Beatles' "Revolution". A pretty cool entrance I must say. I have to be honest, I used to not be much of a MercyMe fan, but after seeing them in concert a couple times I've had a change of heart. These guys are really great. Their music is worshipful and meaningful. And you can really tell that they are good hearted, genuine people. I was glad they sang "God With Us", which is my personal favorite. They also played a couple songs off their new record, "The Generous Mr. Lovewell". Crowd favorite, "I Can Only Imagine", had everyone on their feet and singing the beautiful words. During this song, they had a screen in back of them playing photos fans had sent in of lost loved ones. Definitely an emotional moment. Towards the end of the night, Bart addressed the crowd with some very inspiring things, here's what he had to say; "If everything goes in one ear and out the other, i want you to remember one thing. Some of you feel unlovable, that if someone really knew your real heart that it would be too much. Jesus is so crazy in love with you. People who have never darkened the door of a church, he loves you the way you are. For the people who are in church all the time, your halo will never been shiny enough to earn His grace. So i guess we're all in the same boat. We all need Jesus. It's not about a list of rules you have to follow, He's inviting you into an intimate relationship with Him." Then they led the whole crowd out in the hymns "I Love You Lord" and "Amazing Grace". It was amazing to hear everyone sing these songs acapella. Mind you this is the American Airlines Center filled to capacity ... that many people singing at one time sounded like the most beautiful choir I've ever heard. They left the stage to everyone singing "How Great Thou Art". It was an amazing way to end such a great night of live music and worship. Worshiping God with thousands of people, all singing the same song, is a little glimpse of what I imagine heaven to be like.


The next day, we got to do a little exploring around Dallas, which was so fun! I really have taken a liking to this lovely and artful city. Everytime my sister, cousin (who came on the trip with us), and I are there we always talk about how we want to live together right in the middle of the city in one of the pretty loft apartments we always pass. Ah, Dallas, how you romance us with your artsy atmosphere! Maybe someday you'll be more than a dream. :)


While we were exploring, we found a great coffee shop called, "Opening Bell Coffee".
I had heard about Opening Bell over a year ago and had been wanting to try it. All of us girls were very taken by the cozy and artsy atmosphere of this cute cafe. Upon entering you're greeted by pretty art on the walls, comfy sofas and tables, good music, and a friendly smile from the barista at the counter. I loved how right at the entrance there's a rack of cds by indie artists, many of whom play shows at Opening Bell. Cecily and I are always very observant of the decor in cafes because it's our dream to someday open one of our own. And we both thought the decor created the perfect atmosphere. In some ways reminding us of a cute antique shop, with a curio cabinet filled with trinkets, an old piano, and big clocks against the backdrop of a red wall. And an awesome stage in the corner for all the singer/songwriters that play shows there regularly. But enough about the decor ... lets talk coffee and food shall we? Okay I have to say right here and right now, in my very humble opinion, their coffee was just as good if not better than Starbucks. That's right, you heard it here folks. :) My sister, Cecily, and I shared an Iced Caramel Mocha, and she was very adamant that it beat Starbucks by miles. We also ordered some delish food and desserts. May I recommend the Chicken Salad? Very fresh and even a little spicy. Also, their Tuxedo Truffle Cake is quite heavenly! Needless to say after indulging in sandwiches, cake, and coffee, we were somewhat full but very happy!




www.myspace.com/openingbellcoffee


We also got to visit an awesome bakery called "Society Bakery".
My sister and I are crazy about cupcakes and when we go on trips she's always on the look out for bakeries that make the best cupcakes. Well let me tell you, we've tried many different cupcakes from many different bakeries, but Society Bakery is without a doubt the best! My cousin, Pam, and I shared a chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting, while my sister had a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting. Both cupcakes were hits! The cake was moist and the frostings were very fluffy and creamy. The place is pretty small but has cute little tables outside to sit down and enjoy your cupcakes. Society Bakery has a wide variety of cupcakes, cakes, cookies, and petit fours. They make their frostings from scratch with no shortening, and their cookies are made with real butter. On a funny little side note, there's a photo hanging on the wall of none other than ... New Kids On The Block, with a cake that Society Bakery made for them last summer lol. Society is definitely the place to go for anyone with a sweet tooth.




http://www.societybakery.com


A couple days in Dallas full of live music, coffee in a cute cafe, delish cupcakes, plus lots of laughter with my family, was definitely the mini vacation I had been craving. It was so much fun and I can't wait to do it again!


Below are some random photos of us in Dallas:

(My sister Cecily, me, and our cousin Pam, after the concert)


(The three of us at Opening Bell)


(Me & Pam at Opening Bell)


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Album Review for "We Mapped The World" Ep by Joy Williams



Singer/songwriter Joy Williams has been busy making music and touring in the indie/folk duo, The Civil Wars, but Joy has also managed to release her own solo Eps. Her latest entitled, "We Mapped The World", released in April. This 4 song Ep is filled with beautiful lyrics and sweeping melodies that truly captured my heart. It opens with the piano/pop title track, "We Mapped The World". The music has a very flowing, airy vibe that is somewhat reminiscent of Regina Spektor, and maybe even Imogen Heap. "Did I find you or did you find me? Just an ordinary day made history. And we missed the train, didn't know what else to do. So we mapped the world". Definitely the most energetic and poppy song on the ep. "Tightrope" is a very soft and delicate piano tune about having the courage to step out and live life in spite of fear - "Here we go, around pass the edge, daring the tension of heights we dread. Will we fall or fly? We'll never know if we don't try." Joy's soaring voice and the rich instrumentation in the middle make this song magical. The first thing you notice about the song, "Woman of a City", is the drums. The pounding percussion sets the tone for this mysterious and intriguing tune. Almost eerie in sound, it begs your attention and keeps it the whole way through. But I must say I feel the true gem on this fabulous Ep is the beautiful, "Lover, Find Your Cover". Let me tell you this song stole my heart! Chills, tears and all ... yeah it probably wasn't a pretty sight lol. But when a song does that to you it's a sign of something really special. This piano ballad feels epic to me. The soft sound of the piano is beautiful but the instrument that really shines in this song is simply Joy's voice. Which starts soft and builds with power in all the right places, you can feel the emotion in her voice. The lyrics draw you in and you can't help but want to know more of what she's talking about, "The best things always happen at night. The best things always happen when you're not looking. It's the little things that can go missing. The best things always happen in a moment. The best things, they even happen in a war. In the sunlight, in the dark night". I love how in the middle of the song she repeats the line "All of your secrets you don't need them". The line feels powerful and you feel it in your soul. I suppose I've done enough raving about it but you just have to hear it for yourself - the song and the whole Ep!

"We Mapped The World" is a digital only release which can be found on Itunes or Amazon. It may only be four songs but these songs are gems that are not to be missed. Also, don't forget to check out Joy's other Eps; "Songs from This", "Songs from That", and "One of Those Days".



For more info on Joy and her music go to - http://www.myspace.com/joywilliamsmusic