Sunday, February 27, 2011

37 weeks left. 47 songs to go.

Tonight, all I want to do is sit on my couch and eat Blue Bell ice cream with peanut butter (don't knock it 'til you've tried it!). I have no desire to record or write a song, although I have a good chunk of time since Ellie is sleeping and Nick is out of town.  It's nights like these that I wonder... can I really do this?  Can I really write a song for every book of the Bible before 11/11/11?  This is TOUGH!

I put together a "best of" Scripture to Music playlist for those of you who would like to listen to the songs but maybe haven't been able to keep up with the 1 to 2 new songs a week (I can barely keep up myself!).  If you listen to any of the songs, please listen to these.  You can also download most of them for FREE!  If you are reading this on Google Reader, or something like that, just go directly to the blog post.  Hope they encourage you!

I'll also be posting a top four from every "quarter".  Check out the first quarter top 4!

Best of Scripture to Music Project by Caroline Cobb

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Nick's going to Sierra Leone!

Today (Tuesday), Nick and 5 others from our church are heading to Sierra Leone, a small country in west Africa that is still trying to rebuild after years of civil war.  

Our church has a partnership with a church in Freetown, and the group hopes to bless that church through pastoral training, a women's conference, preaching at 3 church services on Sunday, and helping them think through some sustainable small business options.  

You might have to zoom in, but the picture below gives a lot more detail on what they'll be doing, and how you can pray. 

In the meantime, I'm headed to Houston and then to Dallas to connect with friends and family.  I get to play a concert in Houston on Thursday, and I get to go to a songwriting conference with Charlie Peacock on Saturday in Dallas (thanks to my sister who is babysitting and my mom who is driving up to Dallas with me to help me with Ellie!).  How cool is that?

Nick and I are both excited about our trips, but I think Ellie and I are especially going to miss having Nick around here.  Reading between the lines, that means I am especially going to miss having Nick around to help me with Ellie! :)  But, of course, I'm also just going to miss having him here - many of you know that when your husband or wife leaves for a long trip, and you can't talk to him/her on the phone, it's like walking around with a missing limb.

Please do pray for Nick and his teammates if you think about it.  And pray for me and for Ellie as we trapse across Texas and miss Nick.  We are really going to be excited to have him back home on Thursday, March 3.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Thankful: #51-#70

As part of my "30 things to do before 30" list, I'm keeping a running list of everyday things I am grateful for.  It helps me be more fully aware of the daily gifts that God gives, and all the sacred moments in a normal day.  Inspired by Ann Voskamp's 1,000 gifts project and my friend Kit.

51. Playing chase with Ellie
52. Finding NPR on the radio
53. Finally being able to record again after being sick for 3 weeks
54. Opportunity to sing for the women at church
55. A talk reminding of why it's important to write songs
56. Unexpected flowers from my sweet dad

57. Laughing at a stupid movie with my husband - "I love lamp." & "Loud noises!!" - do you know which one it is?
58. "His nearness is our good"
59. The way Ellie waves bye-bye, floppy hand style
60. The way she's needing her mom lately
61. The all-day anticipation of a date night
62. Unexpected flowers from my husband

63. Handmade Valentine's cards

64. The way she rests her head on me in her shy moments
65. The clutch of a little hand on my arm as she sits on my hip
66. A breakfast & lunch date - all in the same day
67. Saturday lunch in the park
68. Ellie's smiles as she swings
69. Playing with the band yesterday morning
70. The hard lessons I learned in the year after college, and the way they can encourage someone now.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

We Bought a House!

Yes, it's true!  We bought our first-ever house.  We have been holding out on the news until it was official, but now it's ours.  And here she is!  ***EXCLAMATION POINTS!!***

Sorry, not the best pic!
The short version of the long, crazy story is this... We have been looking, looking, looking since early this fall.  In the fall, we had a contract on one house in a different neighborhood that we loved, but we pulled out because of some issues they found on the inspection.  That would be house #1.

After Christmas, we put a contract on house #2 - just around the corner from our new one.  We had the inspection, and we were going through with it.  Still in our option period, we decided to take a drive by our new house (house #2).  On the way home, we happened to drive right past this grey one (house #3) and saw the for sale sign up - it must have gone on sale just the day before.  We looked at each other and said "Oh no!  Well, let's just look at it to be safe."

When we looked at house #3, we instantly fell in love with it.  It's exactly what we had been looking for.  It's what I had imagined our first house to be.  We really did love house #2... there were a few issues that we were just going to "deal" with, but we loved it.  But then - BAM! - house #3 surprised us and we really loved it.  Third times a charm, I guess!

Some of our favorite things about our new house....
  • It's an old, charming house in a historic neighborhood, but it doesn't require any "fixing up" (we are not those HGTV people!)
  • Some of our best friends in Tyler live just down the street (priceless)
  • The front porch (Nick's fave - he will be out there all the time)
  • The playground and park just around the corner really draws a diverse crowd, and we're excited to get to know people that we wouldn't normally get to interact with
  • The kitchen - snug but awesome!
  • Everything else!!! 
Thanks for being excited with us.  We move at the end of March and will be sure to put up more pictures then!

Friday, February 18, 2011

An Extraordinary Life?, Part 2

I feel like I need to clarify a post from earlier in the month.  In it, I mentioned that I wanted to stop focusing so much on doing big, "extraordinary" things for God and start focusing on being extraordinarily faithful.  Extraordinarily faithful in the unobserved and ordinary moments.

I don't mean that it's wrong to chase a dream, to create, to imagine.  In fact, I'm all about those things! I feel so alive when I am crafting a song.  I dream about The Scripture to Music Collective becoming a movement.  I take little steps to chase my dream of becoming a songwriter, like submitting songs to contests and working at it as often as I can so that I can write a better song.

But where things get twisted for me is when it becomes about ME.  About making a name for myself.  About doing something "extraordinary" in the eyes of the world.  About being discontent with my life because I'm not "there" yet.  

But if I'm always living for "there", then I'll never be fully here. 

I have been really content lately (not the norm!).  Content with writing songs because I love it.  Putting them out there in the hopes that they'll encourage someone, but trying not to worry about how many people actually listened.

I think I've been more content because I'm trying not to view songwriting as a ticket to "there" but as part of who God made me to be... right HERE.

Do you agree?  Disagree?

Here is a video of the song I wrote about this, mentioned in the last post...


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Life Unobserved

Nick's grandad, Rufus, passed away only a few weeks ago.  At his funeral, they read through a few of his earthly accomplishments.  He pastored a number of small-town Baptist churches and started a prison ministry that was always small.

"Brother Rufus" never made much money and was always doing outside jobs while continuing to do ministry full-time.  He was never a well-known guy. As a preacher, he wasn't one to blow your socks off with his charisma or engaging personality.

He was more of a pastor, visiting folks in the hospital and at their homes.  Let's just say that if Rufus had pastored today, he probably wouldn't have been "Google-able", even with a name like Rufus!  He wouldn't have many Twitter followers or podcast subscribers.  In fact, he probably wouldn't have tweeted at all.

In other words, Rufus was never extraordinary.  He lived a life unobserved.  But... it seems as though he was extraordinarily faithful.

My mother-in-law read a letter to her dad at the funeral on behalf of all of his kids.  After teasing him for being stubborn and strict and a little ornery at times, she sincerely thanked him for doing 2 things.  First, for loving and serving her mom so faithfully and adoringly.  Second, for loving God's Word.  

And aren't these the unobserved things of life? 

Oh God, please help me to live faithfully in the unobserved things as well as the observed things.  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Concert in Houston Next Thursday!

So excited to be playing a concert in my hometown next Thursday, Feb. 24th at Bohemeo's!  I'll be playing with an awesome up-and-coming band, Gatlin Elms.  Check them out and vote for their band to play at the Cornerstone Festival here (yes, they are big time)!

There will be old songs and new never-recorded songs, including a few from the Scripture to Music project.  And it will be like a way-too-late Houston CD release party for Sing, the most recent album.

Bring yourself and all your people!
Woo hoo!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year!

Chinese New Year was Feb. 3, and we had some friends over to celebrate the next night.  Asian food potluck = deliciousness! And I got to check off #17 from my 30 Before 30 list too!  Of course, we couldn't resist dressing Ellie up in her Chinese New Year best too.  

Thursday, February 10, 2011

An Extraordinary Life?

Update: Watch a video of the song called "Extraordinary Life" in the post "An Extraordinary Life, Part 2".

My life looks very ordinary. I'm a wife and a stay-at-home mom living in a town in Texas a lot of people have never heard of.  I give my daughter a bottle 4x a day, cook dinner, hang with friends, clean my house, lead Young Life.  Before Ellie, I worked and did the normal 8 to 5 thing.  See? I'm totally ordinary.

And then there's this songwriting thing.  I often view it as my ticket out of "ordinary" and into "extraordinary."  I mean, what if I could write a song that some famous rock star recorded? Yes...that would make me extraordinary.  I would be doing something extraordinary for God, right? All this time spent writing and singing would be for something. It would be my day job, and I would start to love answering the common question "what do you do?" and I would start to love being introduced as a "professional songwriter."  I would be extraordinary.

Wow. Don't I sound like a terrible person? Lately, I've felt convicted about this lie... the lie that we must do something extraordinary for God, the lie that ordinary is not enough.

The truth is, we should not focus so much on being extraordinary, but on being extraordinarily faithful to God in the ordinary moments on the most ordinary of days.

There is more to this story, and I'll post more about it in the coming days.  But, until then I want to leave you with the lyrics of a new song I wrote a few weeks ago as I was thinking about these things.  I hope it encourages you.    

So, what's your story? What's your ticket out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary? Are you ok with being ordinary in the eyes of the world, knowing that you are extraordinarily made by an extraordinary God?  Are you extraordinarily faithful in the ordinary moments? 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Top 4

Guess what?!  I'm 25% done with my crazy goal of writing and recording a song for every book of the Bible before I'm 30 (on 11/11/11).  Whew!  It's been a fun ride so far.  I've posted 18 songs from 16 different books.  Only 50 left!

To celebrate, I've posted 4 of my favorite songs from the "first quarter".  These are all free downloads, so download away and enjoy.  Thank you to those who have followed along over on the Scripture to Music Collective site.  I've had a few new songs from other songwriters too, so it's been fun!

If you're interested in hearing the other songs I've posted, please go here.  You'll find songs from Nahum, Habakkuk, Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Revelation, and more.    

Strong as Death (Song of Solomon) by Caroline Cobb

Woman on the Roof (2 Samuel) by Caroline Cobb

Philippians 2 by Caroline Cobb

All the Stars by Caroline Cobb