Top Ten Musical Experiences of 2013

I used to be big on the end-of-the-year Top Ten lists when I was an avid blogger. Honestly, I haven’t read all that many books, or at least that many books that I would put on a list. I love music, so I thought it would be fun to go through my favorite albums of the year, but honestly, there are only like two albums I’ve listened to this year that were actually released this year. Therefore, I will break all the rules and include albums from various years and list the same artist multiple times. Get over it, that’s just how I listen to music. I have seasons throughout the year where I just get stuck on one album or one artist and do not listen to anything else. So that’s how this list will be ordered –from the albums I listened to at the beginning of the year to the ones I’m into right now. 

1. The Peace of Wild Things – Paper Route (2012)
This album was released in September of 2012. At that time I was already obsessed with Paper Route so I made sure to get it right away and I listened to it for months and months. Yes, in January 2013 I was still hooked. I didn’t think there was another band that would be able to get me off my Paper Route kick. Here is one of my favorite songs from this album:

2. Distances – Canopy Climbers (2011)
My discovery of Canopy Climbers came on a Greyhound bus in late January, just when I thought Paper Route was the last band I would ever listen to. I had downloaded a sampler of Distances from Noisetrade but hadn’t listened to any of their stuff until it came up on Shuffle. I listened to this song and fell in love and listened the crap out of Distances. It’s amazing.

Also, I love this performance of another one of my favorite songs on the album…I totes have a crush on the lead singer:

3. Are We All Forgotten EP – Paper Route (2008)
Back on the Paper Route train. Now yeah, I’m sort of cheating because this “album” is actually an EP and I mainly listened to only two songs off of it. But I decided to include it because I was OBSESSED with those two songs and played them on repeat constantly during February/March. S’good.

4. Tenboom – Penny and Sparrow (2013 – finally!)
Oh. my. goodness. gracious. I remember when I first watched the following video and almost peed my pants from all the beauty. I’m pretty sure I posted it on Facebook and said “I just want to…hug this song.” Then I added the whole Tenboom album on my Grooveshark/Spotify and was HOOKED. It was my go to Bib Interp homework music because it just made me instantly relaxed and happy. Please do your ears a favor and give the whole album a listen. For now, just enjoy this:

5. Creature EP  – Penny and Sparrow (2011)
This one should probably be lumped into number 4, but 1) I needed more list items. 2) The songs Creature and Slaves are too good not to mention on their own.

6. Miles – Canopy Climbers (2013)
I was pretty much on a solid Canopy Climbers/Penny & Sparrow kick from February to June. Then Canopy Climbers released this new album in June and it freaking blew my mind. It has a very different style from Distances, but I just love what they did lyrically. I’m convinced Canopy Climbers tapped into my gray matter and wrote this album based on all I was thinking/feeling at that time of my life. Definitely my jam of the summer and early Fall. Here is an early recording of one of my favorite tracks from Miles:

7. Train! – James and the Drifters (2011)
James and the Drifters is a band composed of some guys that attend the 509, my church community in Huntington. I play with some of them on our music team, so I decided to download their album a while ago and started listening to it a lot this summer when I was missing Indiana really badly. Now yes, I do know most of them personally and I would consider them friends. But I did not put them on this list just because I’m proud of knowing them or because I want to gain some sort of validation from them so they think I’m cool, ha. I got into their music this year because they are straight up TALENTED, especially live. This particular song is my favorite of theirs and it got stuck in my head for a good month:

8. Wesley Blaylock – Wes Blaylock (2012)
This album/EP isn’t listed in chronological order, I sort of listened to it throughout the year. I’ve been a fan of Deas Vail for years, and I love their stuff, but I really like the mood of Wes’ solo stuff. He has a super unique, sweet softness to his voice, and it just goes perfectly with the simple acoustic guitar. I pretty much listened to this EP whenever I needed some mellowness. 

9. Jacaranda Tree – Josh Garrels (2008)
Back in March, Josh Garrels gave away FIVE of his albums for FREE on Noisetrade. I had heard a lot of good things about him so I decided to download all the albums while they were available. I sort of just left his music alone for a while due to my obsession with other bands at the time. In September, I was writing a big paper for my Systematic Theology class and needed some good chill music to write to –and a lot of it. I figured it would be a good time to just listen through all the Josh Garrels music I hadn’t listened to. BEST DECISION EVER. I’ve been totally hooked ever since. I’m even sad to say that I didn’t listen to Christmas music as much this year because I just want to listen to Josh Garrels ALL THE TIME. His voice is beautiful and the lyrics are crazy good and just UGH. He’s so great. Anyway, rant aside, Jacaranda Tree is definitely my favorite album of the five I downloaded. Don’t even know how I’m going to pick one track to show you…but I’ll pick a video where he plays live because it is so magical to see him in action:
10. The Sea in Between Soundtrack – Josh Garrels (2013)
This is actually a live album/soundtrack from Josh’s new documentary. He gave it away on Noisetrade earlier this month and you better believe I snatched it up QUICK. This album is sort of cheating because it does have a lot of tracks from Jacaranda Tree. But it also has some tracks from Love & War & The Sea in Between, my 2nd favorite album of his, so it ends up being a nice collection of some of his best songs. Plus, I actually like these “live” versions of those songs a little better than the ones recorded in the studio. This soundtrack is still available for free download so I will leave you with this link and a video to whet your musical appetite:
Overall, this has been a great music year for me. It takes some crazy talent for anyone to end up on my “Favorite Bands/Musicians of All-Time”, so I’m grateful that I have been able to add [at least] Canopy Climbers and Josh Garrels more to my list just this year alone. I’m ready for 2014 and the musical joys it will bring –a new Paper Route album hopefully, new Canopy Climbers if I’m lucky, and maybe a Josh G. CHRISTMAS ALBUM? PLEASE? 


So. It’s my birthday today.

On May 25th, 1993, God decided that my mom would go into labor. And by 1:40 pm EST [so I’m not EXACTLY 17 yet], I was born. I was not at all a planned baby…at least not planned by my parents. I was born in a city called Maracaibo in the state of Zulia in this little South American country called Venezuela. Lately as I’ve been thinking about those facts, I realize that I am nothing like the person my parents thought I would be. I’m sure they had these expectations of having the typical Venezuelan daughter who, like most Hispanic children, are brought up to enjoy large family gatherings and listen/dance to weird music and speak Spanish and stuff. Who would have thought that seventeen years later that daughter actually turned out to be a blogging/social networking/Midwest-loving freak, who doesn’t like parties or dancing, but prefers to play board games and learn rules about grammar? Definitely not MY mom. Nevertheless, I know she still loves me even though she may not like me a lot. She often hints at the fact that she wishes I was that daughter she was expecting, but I hope that deep down she knows that who I really am is pretty cool too.

Like I mentioned on my last Stats Suck Sunday post, I’ve been having mixed feelings about turning 17. Ya know, feeling like I’m growing too quickly but at the same time too slowly? I dunno, I guess one day we all learn that these numerical measurements for age do not really mean much at all. I never feel like I’m getting older on my birthday. It’s only when I look back at the person I was before and open my eyes to how different I am now, how much I’ve grown intellectually and spiritually without even really noticing…THAT’S when I feel older. Despite that, I still like to celebrate birthdays. I mean, God brought us each into the world on a specific day that worked perfectly in His plan, even though we totally don’t deserve to be alive. The anniversary of that day is one to celebrate, I think.

Stats Suck Sunday

  • Ladies and gentlemen, today is the day! The beginning of the end, as I call it! The best show on television right now [and please don’t argue with me about it, just let me have my opinions, hehe] is coming to an end. Some people have been watching all 6 years, some only 2 years [like me], some only two weeks [yes, I know someone who started watching LOST two Sundays ago and I think has caught up], but all the same, all LOST fans feel the same connection to those characters as if they were real people. And yes, I’m going to miss them! I’m going to miss the mystery, the excitement of finding connections between different lives and different story lines, the way that all LOST fans seem to share this weird bond. I know this is sounding really cheesy, but it really is a big deal! I’m pretty sure I’m gonna cry tonight…even more than I cried for Gilmore Girls. Hehe.
  • Anyway, my LOST party is also a birthday gathering kind of thing, so I’m excited just to hang out with my church peeps. I can’t believe my birthday is only in two days. My feelings about turning 17 are sort of torn. In one sense, I feel old, especially since in a couple weeks I’ll be a senior in high school. I was only 14 and a freshman when I started this blog! And that doesn’t seem like it was so long ago. But at the same time, after going through so many transitions from last year to this year and subsequently maturing more and more, I feel like I’ve been 16 for 5 years. Sophomore year and being a 15 year old seems like FOREVER ago. Having friends who are a lot older than me also make me feel anxious to be older already. Overall, I definitely have mixed feelings, but I will definitely enjoy my birthday either way.
  • In addition, that special/exciting/blog-related thing I’ve been talking about lately is going to be revealed on my birthday! Woot. I’m anxious to hear what you guys think!
  • I just realized that my first two bullets are short novels. Sorry.
  • I’m disgustingly sick right now. Head colds are the worst. Happy birthday to me!
  • I’ll stop here. The mucus in my head is contributing to blogger’s block.

It took about three months…

…but I finally finished! Finished what, you ask? One of the most convicting books I’ve ever read, after the Bible.

About three months ago, I used my Family Christian bookstore gift card to buy Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love. I’ve loved Francis Chan ever since Challenge 2006 [he was the main speaker], and had heard that Crazy Love was an amazing book I decided to give it a try. What I didn’t expect was that after putting it down I would have this burning desire to drastically change the way I live my life. If I’m being completely honest, I feel like I’ve been in a terrible state of complacency lately and the guilt because of it has been a great burden. It’s one of the worst feelings in the world, I think.

Now I’m not going to go too in depth about the different things Francis talks about, because I really can’t do his writing justice. I want you to read this book yourself for the full experience. I will just say that it really causes you to examine your own life. Francis definitely did not write this book to make Christians feel good about themselves. It’s more of a wake up call. A call to Christians who are living lives who don’t really require faith. A life that involves God in some aspects, but is just comfortable and planned out enough that we are not really dependent on God for anything. It’s a sad life, really.

So after I read this book I’ve made a couple goals for myself…For one, I want to put myself in more risky situations. As I’ve mentioned, I’m a very plan-oriented person. I like to have an idea of the future and use those plans to make me feel better about life’s uncertainties. However, I feel like that tendency takes away from having complete faith in God. In relation to that, I’m also a big saver of money. I save pretty much any money I get, and have a specific budget for the money I do spend. The one thing I do waste a lot of is time. I like leisure time too much. “Relaxing” time or whatever. So my other goal is to use my time and resources to a better use, to serve others. I’ve already been taking small steps, giving away little bits of money that I would usually save to buy myself something to something that counts.

I know it’s not going to be easy at all, and it’s gonna take a lot of courage, discipline, and prayer. I just have to know that God will give me what I need to do His work if I’m willing to devote my whole self to it. I am sick of being comfortable already. I don’t want to be on the middle road. I mean, the natural response to God’s crazy love should be living a crazy life, right?

Stats Suck Sunday

  • I think one of the most devastating moments in one’s life is when a good pair of headphones stop working -.-
  • There are exciting things happening right now in the blogosphere! Can’t wait for you to see it (:
  • You know what’s super fun? When you scratch a bug bite a little too hard and blood begins to flow from that spot, without you even noticing. Yep.
  • Today I went to the beach. For church. Yes, my pastor decided to move our church service from our usual building to a little shelter about 50 feet from the Atlantic Ocean. It went pretty fun, although I didn’t really go in the water. I sort of hate the beach anyway.
  • Today I ate Five Guys burgers and fries for the first time. The fries sucked, but the burgers were pretty dang tasty. I still prefer Fuddruckers though (:
  • Oh and if you’re curious, my Friday festivities were very fun. Went to Fuddruckers with my friend actually. He was torturing with Fudd’s amazing burgers, fries, and shakes but I stayed strong and got a salad, which is still very delicious [yes, really].
  • He also forced me to go to one of his basketball games. Well not HIS basketball game…he coaches a team of 5-7 year olds. It was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. I heart little kids trying to play sports.
  • I can’t wait for next weekend! Birthday weekend! LOST finale party! WOOT.
  • If you’d like to get me something for my birthday…I’d like some new headphones ;)