The Well Coffee House is an awesome coffee shop located in the Green Hills area of Nashville, TN. Not only do they serve great coffee but every cup served assist in saving lives in the world around us. I can’ t give you the sum total of how Amazing this place is better than that of Rob Touchstone. Click Here. My wife and I love The Well’s ambiance. You would’ve never have guessed it was a Burger King with the beautiful construction done to it. The transformation has made for a place where the community can connect through coffee and the sharing of God’s Word.
What is there not to love about Mat Kearney’s music? It’s relate-able, it’s catchy and the man’s a fantastic story-teller. I’ve been a fan since a friend in high-school introduced me to him. When I heard the first songs Nothing Left to Lose, Crashing Down, Bullet, and What’s a Boy to Do. The rest is history and I’ve been an avid listener ever-since. Kearney originally from Eugene, Oregon now living in Nashville, TN found God during his partying days of college and realized there was no turning back to the depravity of yester-year. He began writing music with his friend Robert Marvin, who encouraged the move to Nashville, bringing us the indie-folk, hip-hop inspired genre that I’ve come to love today. I thoroughly enjoy the vivid imagery Mat creates using the least amount of words, proving the lyrics to be effective without stumbling over each other. Here’s an excerpt from Breathe In Breathe Out from the City of Black & White Album…
Breathe in Breathe out Tell me all of your doubts Everybody bleeds this way Just the same Breathe in Breathe out Move on and break down If everyone goes away I will stay
If you are a fan of Mat Kearney, you might also enjoy some of my other favorite artists such as: Keane, The Fray, The Script & Jimmy Needham. Here are some song selections that I enjoy and I hope you do too.
English was one of my favorite classes in school but I never cared for grammatical guidelines. Conjugating this, past-participle that. All I knew was I thought without commas, periods or semi-colons. Words just flooded into every cell in my mind like the interminable journey for happiness. Which brings us to this Inked Thoughts selection. I broke it down to make it easier to read though I think it is best in block format. I was sitting in a grave yard when I wrote this, and I know you will think how morbid or disrespectful. But I can assure you, they don’t care. So you shouldn’t either.
Life in Run-On
I think in long bits and pieces
it never seems to end
it just keeps going
sometimes im afraid ill crash
ill run straight into something
because i was too busy dreaming
dreaming about things that may or may not
come silly things
things that only consume my mind and no one elses
i merely dont have time to defend my myself
thinking of something great and full of grandeur
im curing aids im reading books
im curing cancer im giving hugs
im healing broken people through my prayers
i dont know what i desire from this life
im doing Gods will or am i
maybe im just existing and i have no earthly idea what im supposed to be doing
maybe im not praying enough
maybe im not living
speak to me please im talking to you
yes you there in the corner
doe-eyed in sullen shades of gray
speak to me
im thinking out loud
when was the last time you thanked someone
greeted a stranger
or stretched a helping hand
no judgement just questions
im breathing rather irregularly
my chest feels heavy and is that wheezing why yes yes.it.is
dont leave me here to rot
i dont like to be alone
im not afraid of the dark i just dont like to be alone
please leave the matches on your out way
ill catch up with you later oh my
where did all these ashes come from
dusty sut smeared upon my heel
whos going to clean this mess
i suppose it is i
doe eyes has already left
what are we all doing here
are we breathing
are we living or just existing
NO no no no no no no I want more for me.
I want to do more than just simply stand here on the sidelines. There is a plan for me. I just have to wait it out. I have to be faithful to a God who’s provided more than I could ever imagine. But will there be times when I will revisit this hole? Why, yes. I would say so but I won’t dwell there; I’ll only stay for a moment or two and then carry-on with the plan. We’re all apart of the plan. The bigger plan…right?
It never seems to amaze me that every year after the gluttony has pursued. The Waste Management plant is overflowing with Santa-stamped wrapping paper and you’re trying to figure out when to return Grandma’s ugly sweater. That we find ourselves creating another list, one that is very reminiscent of the one that’d fallen into the night stand waste basket last year. Yes, once again. Here we are, swearing by our double chins that we will eat things we love in moderation, that we’ll visit the family more, volunteer at the local shelter or church, maybe even give a pint of blood. But why won’t we just be more realistic with ourselves about what it is we can achieve.
We as humans are such flawed specimen and every year the suicide rates, depression meds, and therapy appointments never cease to exist. But did you ever think that maybe if we were to tackle our lives in a more realistic, and simplistic format that maybe we wouldn’t endure such hardships. If we just vowed something as attainable as learning five new neighbors in our community, being genuine when asking someone “how they are doing?”, asking your spouse or kids “how can I become a better father, mother, husband, wife, lover or friend?” Not just being a Christian at church or with church members but also at work and in everyday life. Something I’ve struggled with is being a Christian of convenience. You know what I’m talking about. I have so many opportunities to shine bright for God and many times I fail. Only because before a previous conversation took place where I’m given the opportunity to speak of my faith. I was just ragging on how lazy my boss is, or how I’m tired or how I’m in much need of R&R. All in a tone that never spoke to my faith in Jesus. And then, all of a sudden the conversation takes a turn and I’m back to, how good God is and I’m recommending local churches and podcasts to listen to.
I no longer want to be that person. My New Year’s objective is to simply Love God at all times. Not just when I’m in need. But in my happy moments as well as my moments of desperation. I want to love people as a whole. I want to be less judgemental and have a genuine interest in the lives around me. This year I want to Love people in a way I haven’t before due to my sinful nature. I want to make God famous through my optimistic attitude and seek him through prayer when I feel myself going astray. I want to become less, so He can become more.
I grew up in a black Southern Baptist environment that gave me very little insight to the world of CCM. I knew of Michael W. Smith & Stephen Curtis Chapman to name a few, but Natalie Grant, I was totally in the dark. That was until I met my wife. And now I’m pretty sure that I’m a bigger fan than she is. She’s got such a power house voice that demands your attention.The thing I love the most about Grant’s music is the sincerity and authenticity behind the lyrics. There’s a handful of artists who can evoke emotion within me while listening to their music and Natalie is one of them. I can relate one of her songs to a moment in my life where I felt that way or I’ve thought that thought. I remember my wife putting in her Awaken album and I heard make me over, and the rest is history. All of her albums are what I call ‘listen through’ quality. That means you might have some favorites, but you can put the album in and just let it play because it’s that good. Here are some of my favorites! And if you enjoy these selections also check out some of my other favorite female CCM artists, Rachael Lampa, Nichole Nordeman & JJ Heller. Enjoy!
It was a rainy day in June 2009. I remember riding home on my way from work and I was listening to a bjork album, but had begun to tune it out. You know what I mean if you’ve ever heard bjork. But I vaguely remember being overwhelmed with the want to cry. It came from nowhere. I wasn’t thinking of anything painful nor was I having a bad day. But I remember pulling into a gas station to write this down.
she appeared out of the blue
concocted from the winds cold hands
and the warmth of the sand
there she lay barren to the suns harsh heat
and the stares of souls past
she was fragile and as frail as a starved child of many wars
awaiting a vessel of hope to be offered
from a warm hand
overwhelmed with the cracks of times
hurt anger pain love
the pearls of perspiration waltzed across her mountainous brow
where the agony of the heat pierced her shallow flesh
and the sun contrived hills and valleys from the pain in her soul
Ever since I was young. I’ve been a daydreamer. I would constantly find myself in a gaze of bewilderment about the most random of things. Things that most of you normal people would never think about. But after all, what is normal? Who sets the criteria for these standards? And whose there to judge them to see if they qualify to make the rules. Maybe I’m over thinking this a little bit.
I remember my teachers would say. “Charles, you’re different.” And they were right. I am. But is that a good thing? Is it a bad thing? Who’s to know. I remember sitting on a hill during recess and watching everyone else play. And I was observing the way that people interacted with each other. The hand-pats on the back, fist bumps and awkward stares. The way the sun-rays made ones face wrinkle when piercing the eyes. As I grew older, I realized not very many people saw the world the way I see it. And that was okay. I’m different.
Sometimes I would sit in the yard and look at the different layers of life in the grass. Red eyes and a runny nose later, I observed another world that you only heard of in the science books. And it was beautiful. The blades of grass, all different heights, shapes and sizes. The dew that covered the blades, shiny and translucent. The bits of dirt that stuck to the dew, that adorned the blade, that came in all shapes and sizes. It was beautiful.
God is clearly an artist without boundaries. His brush strokes effortless and perfect. The emotion behind the colors he creates. Have you ever taken time to look at the palm of your hand? Probably not! because it sounds foolish. But the detail in that palm is worth more than earthly treasures. Every line dramatically reaching in towards the center. Look closely at the resemblance of your palm to the vein structure of a leaf. It’s a reminder that it is our flesh that is of this earth, not our spirits. We were beautifully designed for community and procreation to spread the Gospel.
I’ve always dreamt of a simple life in the middle of God’s Country. You know. Some picturesque cottage in the middle of the wilderness. A view of the mountains and the rustle of a nearby stream. I love nature and I adore the fact that it changes from coast to coast. Continent to continent. I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the mind of an artist. If you take a second glance, it’s so easy to find beauty in everything.
I am a music junky. I listen to music almost as much as I breathe. I love lyrics more than melodies and baselines, A minors and drum solos. The lyrics are what determines if I love the artist enough to come back and today’s selection does just that. It keeps you returning for one more listen. Forever Jones is a family band of 7 from Shreveport, LA creating soulful gospel music with influences from pop to rock. My wife was singing ‘He wants it all’ one day and I asked who sings that? Well, the rest is history and I’ve been a fan ever-since. Only stepping on the music scene in 2010 and having a Grammy nomination and 3 Dove Award nominations. The Forever Jones family is a forced to be reckoned with.
My favorite verse in ‘He wants it all’ is: “there’s a voice that cries out in the silence, searching for a heart that will love him”
I truly believe that the God I serve speaks in the silence as well as the chaos. But for me, it has always been in the silent moments of tuning out the rest of the world, that he breathes wisdom into my life. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do. My Forever Jones faves He wants it all Every Moment Heaven
It’s funny, this conversation was spawned by talking to a friend at work. I’ve always had a thing for getting involved in the lives of others, thinking that I had some advice to offer. I always felt I was calibrated to be a 45-year-old who man who sat on his front porch, singing old hymns, accompanied with a glass of lemonade awaiting locals to come down the gravel driveway seeking tutelage. Right now, you’re thinking, what a freak! But hey, here you get the truth and nothing but. But anyways something urged me to ask her about her dating life.
I’ve always found myself intrigued with the dating lives of others because I think it’s interesting. The format in which we choose our significant others. You know there’s always these stipulations, guidelines, and mother-says set of rules that we impose upon ourselves instead of using simple Prayer and waiting or our internal instincts. We don’t like to wait and I think it’s in those moments of impatience that we screw up our own lives. We don’t ask the right questions. We aren’t honest enough with one another. You didn’t meet the entire family…Oh! this is important my friends, you need to know what you’re getting into.
My favorite metaphor for this process is ‘grocery shopping’. It’s so simple and yet so eye-opening if you think of it in this way. First, everyone knows you shouldn’t go grocery shopping hungry. What happens? You end up with a cart full of everything from Oreos to frozen pizza and those things were never on your list. You’re allergic to nuts and find yourself with 2 lbs of bridge mix. Second, you never go grocery shopping exhausted. You aren’t thinking clearly. You don’t read the nutritional guides, you pick up fat-free instead of full of fat, and then you get home to realize you have nothing that you needed to create a complete meal.
I think you get what I’m saying? At least, I hope you do because I could really go on and on. Long story short, be selective when choosing your spouse. Seek God’s advice on who’s right for you. Listen in the silence and you will be amazed at what he can reveal. The things that you never would’ve heard in the chaos of your hunger and exhaustion.
I can’t always place my emotions or begin to understand their source. There would just be moments in time where these phrases, words, vivid imagery and thoughts would just overwhelm me. Usually I had to stop the task at hand and write it down whether or not I understood it. This poem was birthed from one of those moments.
The dark grains of life
once filled with a bright glowing hue of oily noir
seemed to slowly fade away
they were stressed away with every
stroke of bristle
only to be massaged by the wind
today’s new thoughts are just yesterday’s reincarnated worries
carrying a brand new grain
to a brand new death
when will it all cease