Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Few Book Reviews

What have I been doing? Reading, playing the keyboard, itching to take on a new house project, and preparing to become a FATHER! Yep, the Beam's are expecting a baby in November. Those are just a few things on the horizon, but I do have some catching up to do. Only two more Fanny Friday hymns remain in the Celebration Hymnal, and I don't plan to leave you hanging! They're coming, I promise.

Back to book reviews: First, Wicked, The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, by Gregory Maguire. This is a great read. It is a parallel novel to The Wizard of Oz, and I love that you go into it with so much of the work already done. Everybody already knows Dorothy's story, but here you get another side that is so real, so immediately engaging, that I was totally enthralled all the way through. As you might expect, it is a bit dark, but you end up seeing exactly how all the witches of Oz came to be who we know from the other, more famous story. It is tantalizing.

I began reading Brother West, about Cornell West, but found his endless, braggadocious banter about his superior education and womanizing so exhausting that I could not finish it.

Then I read The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks. Again, here is a story that continues on something we all know at least a little about, The Civil War. I enjoyed this book. It chronicles the life of Carrie McGavock and her time at the Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee, a true place that Amanda and I have visited. This is part romance, part blood and guts battle, part history, and all together fascinating.

Dog On It is a mystery/thriller by Spencer Quinn, written from the perspective of a dog named Chet. Chet's commentary is so true to dog behavior that it alone, without the story, could have kept me entertained throughout the whole book. His owner, Bernie, is a private detective, and together they search for a missing girl. It's not going to be on anyone's recommended reading list for college lit, but for a super quick summer read, it is perfect.

The Millionaire Next Door, by Thomas J. Stanley is a book that has been on my shelf for years. Dave Ramsey, the famous financial advisor recommends it for anyone who wants to know how to have more money. The book is full of case studies that disprove many commonly held beliefs about your average millionaire. Most commonly, you learn how thoughtful they are about the money they make, not necessarily the massive amounts of money that they bring in. In getting ready to possibly spend a good amount of money on a house, this was great to help me think about ways to keep from spending too much, and to make the absolute most of the money I do earn.

That's it! You made it through my reviews! I hope you stayed awake, and maybe found something you either wanted to read or to avoid like the oily shores of Panama City Beach.

(Just kidding PC Beach, you know I love your pink high rises, super sized surf shops, and drunken, sunburned, puking teen spring break parties.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

He Hideth My Soul

  1. Happy Fanny Friday! It is a fine one.

Watch me play He Hideth My Soul here.

  1. A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
  2. A wonderful Savior to me;
    He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
    Where rivers of pleasure I see.
    • Refrain:
      He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
      That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
      He hideth my life in the depths of His love,
      And covers me there with His hand,
      And covers me there with His hand.
  3. A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
    He taketh my burden away,
    He holdeth me up and I shall not be moved,
    He giveth me strength as my day.
  4. With numberless blessings each moment He crowns,
    And filled with His fullness divine,
    I sing in my rapture, oh, glory to God!
    For such a Redeemer as mine.
  5. When clothed with His brightness transported I rise
    To meet Him in clouds of the sky,
    His perfect salvation, His wonderful love,
    I’ll shout with the millions on high.

I love the imagery in this song. It is so comforting to me. Definitely one of my favorite Fannys.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Living With Crazy People

How is it that I was dropped into the middle of a situation full of people who won't do what I want them to do, think the way I want them to think? they go right when I was certain they would go left, up when they clearly should have gone down? What's up with that!?

Then, some smart Alec in the Bible has the nerve to tell me that I'm supposed to love my neighbor as myself? Well if said neighbor was the enlightened individual that he or she should be, then that would be a cinch. But things being as they are, this has proven to be an impossible task for me.

But it's all still there! Honor your Father and Mother, they will know we are Christians by our love, turn the other cheek... What!? This all sounds well and good when I'm in my Sunday-go-to-meetin' clothes, I've just heard a great choir special, my hair's slicked back, got on my shiney shoes and my heart is right... But what about when reality slaps the livin' Sunday suit outta me!?

Say it's like... Thursday afternoon, the Sunday has all worn off by now and somebody does something that really pisses me off? Now I've read the whole Bible including the footnotes and have yet to find any exceptions to these commandments.

Even if you can find ten people to say that you are right and they are wrong. Even if you can find fifty! No loopholes.

So, that is where we live. In the real world. We are given an impossible task, and eternal damnation awaits us unless we can find a solution. GREAT.

Finally, here's the good news. Jesus. He already knows that we can't do it, so He did it for us. He bore our sin, took on our weakness, and made a way. What we have to do is admit that we can't save ourselves. Sound's easy, but that is the hardest part. We are SO smart, and we think around every corner we will find a new idea. Surely we can be perfectly independent? We sent people to the moon for goodness sakes! And all we really have to do is love our neighbor as our self? Surely we don't need help for that? Right?


Friday, April 9, 2010

Close to Thee

Here is Fanny Crosby's Close to Thee.  Watch me play and sing it here, watch a far more entertaining version here.

1. Thou my everlasting portion,
more than friend or life to me,
all along my pilgrim journey,
Savior, let me walk with thee.
Close to thee, close to thee,
close to thee, close to thee,
all along my pilgrim journey,
Savior, let me walk with thee.

2. Not for ease or worldly pleasure,
nor for fame my prayer shall be;
gladly will I toil and suffer,
only let me walk with thee.

3. Lead me through the vale of shadows,
bear me o'er life's fitful sea;
then the gate of life eternal
may I enter, Lord, with thee.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Blessed Assurance

  1. Here's Blessed Assurance. It is, maybe, my favorite hymn of all time. Definitely my favorite Fanny Crosby hymn. You will be happy to hear that I finally got my piano tuned! It had gotten to the point where everything was beginning to sound like honky-tonk pi-aner instead of piano. I mean, I love ragtime, dixie-land, 1920's whorehouse music just as much as the next guy, but when you're trying to play an altar call song in that style, it just doesn't jive! You know?

  1. There was a bird poop on the window so I covered it up with the cool Harry Connick Jr. poster we got a few weeks ago at his amazing concert at the Ryman.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Not Fanny Friday

Fanny Friday will be back next week. Here's Dramatic Chipmunk.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Take the World but Give Me Jesus

This is the first Fanny Crosby hymn I have come to in the Celebration Hymnal that I was not familiar with. I like it! How bout that?

Watch it here.

  1. Take the world, but give me Jesus,
    All its joys are but a name;
    But His love abideth ever,
    Through eternal years the same.
    • Refrain:
      Oh, the height and depth of mercy!
      Oh, the length and breadth of love!
      Oh, the fullness of redemption,
      Pledge of endless life above!
  2. Take the world, but give me Jesus,
    Sweetest comfort of my soul;
    With my Savior watching o’er me,
    I can sing though billows roll.
  3. Take the world, but give me Jesus,
    Let me view His constant smile;
    Then throughout my pilgrim journey
    Light will cheer me all the while.
  4. Take the world, but give me Jesus;
    In His cross my trust shall be,
    Till, with clearer, brighter vision,
    Face to face my Lord I see.