Top 10 Christmas CD’s: at least in our home!

Here’s a list of the top 10 (or so) in our house. Well…my top 10 anyway! ๐Ÿ™‚

Songs for Christmas by Sufjan Stevens
My sister-in-law and brother-in-law turned us on to this set of CDs last year. We love it! This is a set we could do end on end, day after day. (And I normally can’t stand CDs being played over and over…and over!)

The Dawn of Grace by Sixpence None The Richer
Each year we buy a new Christmas CD. This is our 2008 acquisition. What a great buy! I love their versions of “Riu Riu Chiu” and “Carol of the Bells.”

Bing Crosby’s Christmas Classics
It’s Bing. Need I say more?

Drummer Boy
I picked this up back in ’95. I love their version of “Drummer Boy”!

Holiday Pops
I’m a big fan of the Boston Pops and Keith Lockhart. They are excellent musicians that know how to have fun. A great combination in a Christmas CD.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside: A Crooner Christmas
A CD full of great crooners! Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis Jr., Carmen McRae, Bobby Darin, and Andy Williams.

All winter our kids mimic Sammy Davis Jr’s “Baby you’ll freeeeze out there!!” from his duet with Carmen McRae’s on the title track!

December: 20th Anniversary Edition by George Winston
My high school roommate introduced me to George Winston’s December. Winston is amazing. And it’s sort of palate cleansing to have no lyrics every once and a while.

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Celebration
In so many ways, Christmas doesn’t feel right without Mannheim Steamroller in the air. These 18 tracks get constant air time in our house! (As does Christmas in the Aire.)

The Christmas Cowboy by Gene Autry
Not sure how this got into our mix but now it’s family staple. Lots of Santa and reindeer classics. But his rendition of “One Solitary Life” is particularly moving.

Handel’s Young Messiah: Got this back in 1990 and still like the modern but faithful renditions of Handel’s Messiah.

There are many more in our Christmas CD tray. Like Starbucks Winterludes: Cool Holiday Notes, possibly Starbucks’ first attempt at a Christmas CD. Apparently they had a hard time figuring out how to make this multi-cultural. So in the midst of Christmas music, you here two songs from Fiddler on the Roof: “Sunrise, Sunset” & “If I Were a Rich Man”! We love those songs, they just crack us up coming after “Winter Wonderland” and “Santa Baby”! ๐Ÿ™‚

What’s on your ipod this time of the year?

Would you help get my book into Starbucks?

Could I ask you a big Friday favor?

Would you help me get Ask Without Fear! into Starbucks stores?

My local baristas strongly encouraged me to try to get Ask Without Fear! into Starbucks in conjunction with the National Philanthropy days in November. The "grassroots" appeal of the book is perfect for the typical Starbucks customer.

Naturally, as a former barista, I loved the idea! I think it’d be awesome to have Ask Without Fear! featured in stores!

So I found the agency that arranges for book promotions. Their email is: I’ve emailed a couple times but haven’t heard anything back.

National Philanthropy Day is November 15 but groups celebrate it whenever it’s convenient to their previously scheduled events. So there’s a long "celebration" time for National Philanthropy. It also positions Starbucks as a proponent of philanthropy and partnering with the communities it serves.

I wrote "Ask Without Fear!" to be a simple guide to inspire and equip normal people to start raising money for their favorite causes. Definitely a grassroots thing.

The book is available through distributors like Ingram and all the major retailers including Barnes & Nobles and Amazon. And the book has been featured and positively reviewed in national print publications as well as on the blogosphere.

Would you send them a quick email today encouraging them to do a "National Philanthropy Day" promotion featuring Ask Without Fear!? The email address is Getting an email from you will really help!

Thanks so much!

Imax not iPod

I’m currently reading The Gospel According to Starbucks: Living with a Grande Passion by Leonard Sweet.

Sweet has a way of taking an analogy and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g it a bit thinner than I think it should go. But I do the same thing so maybe that’s why I like reading his stuff.

The center of his book on what the church can be is built around the acronym EPIC:

  • Experiential
  • Participatory
  • Image-rich
  • Connections

In the section on being image-rich, he talks about the need for church cultures to be Imax, not iPod and comments on how Starbucks minimizes words and maximizes images.

As I read that, it hit me, VCW 1.0 has been text heavy. Despite our desire and vision of being a place for artists, having murals or art on the walls, and using all our senses in our worship service, we’ve been basically preaching and singing. We even podcast the sermon.

The walls are still bare. The building’s exterior, embarrassing. Word heavy, image lite.

But I want to be part of a church that attracts people skilled in painting and sculpture as well as word and song. I have no desire to lighten up on the teaching and worship singing. But in VCW 2.0, I certainly want to expand our understanding of worship. I want the giftings of Bezalel and Oholiab to be a reality in our midst.

If you’re of the praying variety, please pray that I’ll be the kind of leader that can release these God-given gifts in our midst. And that I’ll also be able to identify the giftings and release them in people.

The Protestant Church prides itself on being a talking-head-church. But Jesus didn’t seem to hung up on preaching only. He engaged entire human beings, not just their brains.

That’s the kind of people I want VCW 2.0 to be.

Starbucks work day

We were blessed to be the recipient of our local Starbuck’s first community service project!

They helped with heavy yard work in Vassalboro and rebuilding a roof in Norridgewock.

Here are a few of the pictures:

Do you HAVE to be so negative?

Just had a conversation that made my head spin:

Person 1: Have a great weekend.

Me: It will be a wonderful weekend!

Person 2 (aka Eeyore): Don’t say that just yet, you don’t know for sure.

Me: Of course I do. The local Starbucks chose our church as the recipient of their community service. So, no matter what happens, two of the ladies in our church will have volunteers making their houses nicer this weekend.

Eeyore: Did you hear Starbucks is going bankrupt?

I kid you not.

I just had to smile and walk away.