Monthly Archives: February, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Theme Songs

I’m trying out yet another book meme. Don’t hate; I love memes, lists, and books. It was inevitable that I eventually start participating in Top Ten Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish. For the record, I at least started writing this on Tuesday, even if I didn’t post it until Wednesday. I’m not super broke, but I am most certainly bookish.

Top Ten Books I’d Give a Theme Song To

Just for a challenge and for the love of the band, I’m going to try to do this with all Switchfoot songs.

  1. The Hunger Games: The first CD I listened to on the new stereo I got for Christmas was Switchfoot’s Eastern Hymns for Western Shores EP. “We Are Bound” is the perfect soundtrack to those moments when Katniss acknowledges that the Games are not about death or victory. They’re about power, and his song expresses the hopelessness of the people of Panem.

    Roam in a bitter bliss … / Throw in the timeless fist … / We are bound / We are falling through

  2. Saints Behaving Badly: This book was all about how men and women who had really dark pasts became role models of faith. Sounds like a bunch of “Dark Horses” to me.

    I made my mistakes / I’ve seen my heart cave in / I got my scars / I’ve been to hell and back again / Born for the blue skies / We’ll survive the rain / Born for the sunrise / We’ll survive the pain

  3. Bumped: One of my absolute favorite SF songs is one that was never a single. It’s from the breakthrough Beautiful Letdown album, and it’s called “Ammunition.” So much of what Melody, Zan, and Harmony experience is an explosion based on the world they live in.

    We’ve been blowing’ up, we’re the issue / It’s our condition … / We are the fuse in the ammunition… / Look what a mess we’ve made of love … / We’ve got ourselves to blame

  4. Unplanned: Abby Johnson’s story was a great presentation of how she wanted to help women and find justification for her past choices. Instead, she found herself trapped when her heart changed. I’ve always thought “Circles” would be a perfect movie soundtrack song, and her story is just waiting to be dramatized on film.

    Am I alive? / Am I on purpose? … / Spinning out in circles … / I’ve lost all that I wanted to be

  5. How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul: This was the best book about love I’ve read in a very long time. SF writes a lot about God, so it’s hard to choose just one. I’ll go with “Restless,” for its chorus centered around Augustine’s famous declaration of the restlessness of our hearts looking for God, even when the best we can have on Earth is a husband or wife.

    I am restless, I am restless, I am restless looking for you

  6. Beauty Queens: I had mixed feelings about this book, but it was extremely culturally relevant. SF songs that speak to the culture are usually reaching for deep themes (loneliness, the media, the search for God), but “American Dream” takes a good stab at a general distastefulness at the way the world is today.

    Maybe we’ve been caught singing red, white, blue, and green, / but that ain’t my America / This ain’t my American dream … / I wanna live and die for bigger things

  7. The Giver: Jonas wants to experience everything his world has to offer, not just what the government decides people are strong enough to handle. He tries to make a splash, but the only way he can get out is to flee. He wants to get big and “Rise Above It.”

    Just another lemon into lemonade job / Just another rust and dust facade … / Oh come on! / It feels so typical / Guess I’m looking for a miracle / Rise above it / Rise above it / I don’t care what they’re telling me/ We could be what we want to be / Rise above it / Rise above it

  8. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Harry and Ginny’s relationship was never fantastically developed, but it was much better in the books than in the movies. Since Harry has to be the hero, any girl who’s with him has to be willing to let him do his “saving-people thing” and still love him when he rises from the ashes. He practically asks the lyrics of “Enough to Let Me Go.”

    Do you love me enough to let me go? / To let me follow through, to make me fall for you, my love / Do you love me enough to let me go?

  9. Orthodoxy: Aside from being witty and brilliant, Chesterton walks us through his journey from skepticism to faith. For him, it’s not about make-believe, but about logic and truth.

    When I look at the stars, I feel like myself … / When I look at the stars, I see someone else

  10. The Princess Diaries: Mia is only concerned with being exactly who she wants to be, and she is delightful and endearing in the process. She is “The Original.”

    Yeah, no one can do it / Free yourself / Yeah, there’s nothing to it / Free yourself / Yeah, don’t let nobody try to steal your soul / You’re the original

Hooray! I made it through all ten! This meme might be a keeper.

New Switchfoot Lyric Video: “Afterlife”

Recently, Switchfoot (my favorite band) decided to reorganize their fan club. Previously, a membership in the Friends of the Foot earned you a Best of Bootlegs autographed CD, a t-shirt, other special downloads, ticket pre-sales, and meet-and-greet passes before shows. Now, Friends of the Foot is free, but you can still buy individual meet-and-greets. The last time I went to a show, I got to meet and greet Jon and Drew without even buying a regular ticket (because I worked before, during, and after the show), so I joined the free fan club.

Today, I got a pretty awesome Leap Day fan club perk in my email inbox: the first link to Switchfoot’s new video for “Afterlife.” They’re calling it a lyric video. I call it love.

It helps that I love the song by itself. What I hear in the lyrics is a desire to be united with God completely and totally here and now rather than waiting for heaven. Life is so hard; let’s skip to the good part after life. The video’s black-and-white color scheme, the hands pounding against and breaking a mirror, and the first two verses with little instrumentation really express that all-consuming desire for heavenly union and the bleakness and futility of demanding it right now. (I’m almost getting shivers.)

It’s been a while since Switchfoot did something different with a video (all the way back to the 80’s motif and stop-motion performance in “Awakening”). I’m glad to see this direction, and I can’t wait to see what surprises turn up in the remix album, Vice Re-verses.

Friday Five: Growing Up

Hey, there’s a new F5! It appears to have been posted midday, but it didn’t turn up in my feed reader until 1:06 a.m., so I can only wonder what happened there.

  1. How many schools (up until college) have you attended, in all? Does that include college? I attended three elementary schools, one middle school, three high schools, one college for my undergraduate degree, and another college for my graduate degree.
  2. How many states have you lived in before the age of 18? How many countries? That would be past tense for me. I lived in just one state (Maryland), but three countries (the U.S., Japan, Germany, and then back to the U.S.). Since I turned eighteen, I’ve lived in two more states (Alabama and now Texas).
  3. Have you ever seen the hospital where you were born — where is it/what’s it’s name? I have, although I’ve never been in it. It was Malcolm Grow Medical Center on Andrews AFB in Maryland.
  4. Do you plan to live in the same state in which you were born, or somewhere else? Is that even possible if you’ve left the state already? I will always be a Maryland girl, but I don’t know if I’ll ever go back.
  5. Do you still talk to people from elementary school, middle-school [sic] or high school? I talk to no one from elementary school. I have a few friends from middle school I keep in touch with and other who I’m just superficially connected to on Facebook. I have exactly two high school friends I would actually want to see and spend time with, and they’re twin sisters. Most of my current friends are from college, ACE, or Austin.

Maybe the F5 moderators ought to edit the question submissions anyway. The Internet has made people more widely read, but if this is what they’re reading, it’s no wonder they can’t write. I would offer my time as an editor, but I’m not always reliable even with writing original posts my own blog and ACNM, so I guess I can’t really complain. I still want to complain, though.

The Friday Five

The Annual Ash Wednesday Clown Car

No, I haven’t invented a fasting-friendly beverage of some sort. (And I swear I’m not hung up on the “no alcohol for Lent” thing!) This past Wednesday was, of course, Ash Wednesday. I was a little miffed to get to work extra early and find an Aggie car in my regular parking spot, but then I remembered that Ash Wednesday is really not the time to be getting easily frustrated, and we were expecting an Aggie priest for the first Mass of the day. He gave a delightful homily about God’s “scandalously strong” love for us despite our sins. It reminded me of the homily I heard the day I came back to the Church.

We had three more Masses that day, plus an ecumenical Christian service with Episcopalians, Lutherans, and ashes, but no communion. Mass attendance has been up in general this year, but I have honestly never seen that many people come to Mass in one day, and the ecumenical service attendance was also way up. And it’s not even a holy day of obligation! (I like to call it a holy day of non-obligation.) The long lines of people coming through the door (and shaking the priest’s hand on the way in, one by one) made it seem as though a penitent Catholic clown car had just unloaded at the curb.

My annual befuddlement over where all these people come from (and why they never come on any of the actual holy days of obligation—including every single Sunday) made me toss around some ideas with my coworkers. There must be something compelling beyond the annual communal call to repentance. Perhaps it’s the clear and visible sign that you went to church that day: black ashes in the shape of a cross, right in the middle of your forehead. You don’t have to be Catholic to receive ashes. As long as you agree that you are dust that will return to dust (or in the lesser-used form, that you will turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel) and are okay with being marked with a Christian symbol, step right up. The prospect of getting free stuff is a draw for anyone.

I drew this in some of my Christmas cards; I could totally draw it on a forehead.

The underlying problem—why people show up on Ash Wednesday but then not even every Sunday—could potentially be solved by giving out more obvious signs on other holy days. Ashes say, “I’m in the Catholic (Christian) club,” for better or for worse. We just need to give people more things that have the same effect.

My suggestions:

  • All Saints Day: Two words: Mini halos
  • Christmas: Body glitter on the forehead in the shape of baby Jesus (it might take a while to put on, but so does holiness)
  • Immaculate Conception: Stickers that say “I prayed” with a picture of the rosary (like the U.S. flag ones you get after you vote)
  • Ascension: Red face painted up arrows on the forehead (toward heaven, of course)
  • Assumption: Same arrow, but in Marian blue
  • Mary, Mother of God: Smack a blue M sticker on the back of the hand (Mama [of God] loves you, but sometimes you do dumb stuff, so she smacks you like your earthly mama would)

It’ll be the biggest draw into the Church since The Light Is On for You!

7 Quick Takes Friday: Vol. 163

I guess this one has a lower volume number because Jen only counts the ones she posts on her blog. Oh, well. It’s not as though that didn’t happen with the Catholic Carnival all the time.

— 1 —

I want to say that another long work week is over, but it’s still charging right through the weekend, so that’s not entirely true. This week did feature a few highlights:

  • two very productive subcommittee meetings with a coworker/friend
  • the winter premiere of Degrassi, even though I still have it DVR’d and won’t get to watch it until at least tomorrow
  • an RCIA webinar about some big issues with RCIA that gave me plenty to think about

Now on to the next long and busy week, which will feel like a continuation of the previous three.

— 2 —

Clearly, my week also included Ash Wednesday. It was so busy that I forgot to call my own father on his birthday! In my defense, I sent a card ahead that arrived on time and which he enjoyed. And I did remember it was his birthday during the course of the day, but I was working so much that I never actually remember to call when I wasn’t greeting people arriving for Mass, actually attending a Mass or our ecumenical service, or trying to get some other work done. I am a good daughter, but a busy one.

— 3 —

Ash Wednesday this year also marked my seven-year anniversary of returning to the Church. I’ll never forget the walk of shame across campus to the Catholic center (a place I’d never visited until that day), the huge crowd, and the amazing homily that made me realize there was still hope. I had decided that Ash Wednesday was the perfect day for a big life change, and it was. I went to Mass the following Sunday, and the Sunday after that, and the Sunday after that. A few more Sundays later, I watched as my father was baptized into the Church. Deo gratias; thanks be to God!

— 4 —

For Lent, I have given up alcohol and my snooze button. I don’t drink frequently or much, but I will definitely save some money (to give away) and hopefully gain a better perspective on temperance. Last night was my first big test of both (God does not waste time), and I passed. It helps that I love Arnold Palmers. I have succeeded in not pressing the snooze button, but I have yet to actually get out of bed when it goes off. Baby steps. I used to never ever snooze, but I built up the habit, and now I tend(ed) to push it two or three times before getting up. I wonder what it will be like to be on time for my holy hour.

— 5 —

In addition to giving up bad habits for Lent, I have taken up a good one: reflection books. My trigger, taught to me by my lovely friend Sarah, is brushing my teeth. I only need one hand for the booklet, and I can’t do much else during those three to six minutes, so it’s the perfect time. In the morning, I read The Little Black Book. I almost forgot to order it, but I remembered on Sunday, and it was in my mailbox when I got home on Tuesday. At night, I read Christ Our Hope: Daily Lenten Devotions, by Henri Nouwen. I don’t know enough of his work to say whether I like it in general or not, but I enjoy that booklet, at least. Sarah’s mom sent us copies of the Nouwen booklet when I lived with her, and my other housemate Brynn, got the Little Black Book from her mom, so there’s a hint of fellowship and friendship mixed in with my reflective time, too.

I think I’m going to stick with just five takes this week.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Booking Through Thursday: Blogs

BTT this year has been all about the user-submitted questions.

Yvonne asks:

What do you look for when reading a book blog? Does the blogger have to read the same genre? Do you like reviews? Personal posts? Memes? Giveaways? What attracts you to a book blog?

And what are your favorite book blogs?

I look for honesty and humor primarily, but I’m also looking for a reviewer I can identify with. I want to read about someone with similar tastes so that I know how I’m going to feel about a book.

I do love a good meme, but I think I’m trying to do too many. It’s like my love of blogs in general. I follow far more than I can ever keep up with. Forever Young Adult held me the longest, but the volume got to be too much.

Stumbling Through Mass

Work has been epic lately. Among other things, I was on retreat with my students last weekend. That’s the first time I’ve attended Mass outside of a regular church since the Revised Roman Missal went into effect, since we use a big multi-purpose room on retreat. It wasn’t until Mass was about to begin that I realized we were a tad unprepared.

I’m at about 95% for remembering to use the new responses, possibly thanks to Hey Girl Catholic Ryan Gosling here:

I'm not huge on Ryan Gosling, but this is so clutch.

However, I can only do the Gloria if I sing it, and so far I only know the setting we’re using at work (the Black Mountain Liturgy). We tried to recite it for the solemn form of the procession for the Feast of the Presentation, and it was like a teeny train wreck to start Mass. I can’t quite swing the new Nicene Creed yet, either. Most people can’t do those yet, though, even if they go to daily Mass, as I do.

So when we had Sunday Mass, we all stumbled through the Gloria to start things off. The music staff had decided not to use the Black Mountain Liturgy, which was probably a good idea, since it’s piano-driven, and we only had two guitars for musical accompaniment. The problem is that, even if you know the new words, learning a new Mass setting takes time. They chose Matt Maher’s Mass of Communion (download mp3s and sing-along sheets for free!), which I love, but even I didn’t know it well enough to sing along properly. The spirit was willing, but the lips were weak.

We had a similar stumble-fest during the Creed. Our priest was on top of it, but he had the missal to read from. In hindsight, we should have put the words on the PowerPoint slides we’d been using for praise and worship all weekend long. By the next retreat, we should be better at the words, but there’s no guarantee.

Now that Lent has started, there’s no more Gloria to worry about. We’ll have to start relearning at Easter. A more pressing issue that I was pondering was that, even though we’re not using the Mass of Communion, even if we wanted to, it lacks a Lenten Gospel Acclamation. Since we won’t be using the Alleluia, we have to use substitute words. I did some Googling and found only one person talking about that Mass, so I asked him what he would do for Lent, and he created a whole YouTube video to answer me!

Oh, Lent. You inspire us in so many ways.

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