Awesome FREE Christian Music Events in Indiana!

If you are here on Spin: the Blog, I can only imagine that you probably like Christian music. (What a coincidence!  So do I!)

You may or may not live in the great state of Indiana, so if you don’t happen to be a Hoosier, then I feel for you in more ways than one; particularly because you are going to miss out on some awesome FREE Christian music events coming up in August!

Here are the details:

WORLD PULSE MUSIC FESTIVAL

The City Harmonic II

The City Harmonic!!!

WORLD PULSE MUSIC FESTIVAL–Seriously, this music festival has THE BEST line-up of any free Christian music festival I’ve ever heard of, and I’ve pretty much heard it all at this point. Coming to South Bend on Saturday, August 10th, 2013 the line-up includes, check this out: Tricia Brock (formerly of Superchick! Rock What You’ve Got! I Love her!!), Jason Castro (Uh, hello? Who doesn’t like Jason Castro? I think it would be impossible NOT to like Jason Castro!), the City Harmonic (I LOVE this band to the moon and back. Seriously, you have not lived until you’ve seen the City Harmonic in concert. Trust me on this!), Natalie Grant (No, I’m not kidding. I said ‘Natalie Grant’ and ‘Free’ in the same paragraph!!), Audio Adrenaline (Again, I am not joking. I paid $50 two months ago to see Audio Adrenaline and I thought it was a deal!), and…wait for it…SWITCHFOOT! Switchfoot! Can you believe that?

Jason Castro

Jason Castro

Like I said, this is THE line-up of free line-ups and it is coming to South Bend on Saturday, August 10th, 2013!

Tricia Brock

Tricia Brock

PLEASE NOTE you do HAVE TO HAVE a ticket to get in, but like I said, the tickets are free and still available over at iTickets.com. (For more information and/or additional places to pick up tickets, visit the festival’s website at http://www.worldpulsefestival.com). Of course, you will have to pay for parking ($25) and food (a complete list of what’s available and the prices are on the festival’s website).

I would happily pay these prices for parking and food any day that I get to see the City Harmonic play a live show, but when you throw in Tricia Brock, Jason Castro, Natalie Grant, Audio Adrenaline, and SWITCHFOOT to the mix…well, you know I’m gonna be there, and you should definitely be there too! In my opinion, this is going to be THE Christian Music event of the summer in Indiana so go grab some free tickets now while there are still some left!

CHRISTIAN MUSIC DAY AT THE INDIANA STATE FAIR

I swear I know nothing about these guys.  My son, however, is an expert on them!

I swear I know nothing about these guys. My son, however, is an expert on them!

CHRISTIAN MUSIC DAY at the INDIANA STATE FAIR–Again, another free event (although you do have to pay admission to the State Fair venue. Discount admission tickets are available at all Indiana Wal-Mart stores, CVS Pharmacies, and Indiana Farm Bureau Offices for $7. Kids under 5 are free! Gate admission is only $10.) The line-up for this festival taking place on Sunday, August 11th, 2013 from 2-9 pm is Brianna Caprice (I don’t have a clue who this is, but I intend to find out!), Jason Castro (he’s a busy guy this weekend!), Love & The Outcome (I’ve seen this duo and they are AMAZING!), some band called for King & Country (don’t know why anyone, particularly my 6 year old son Alex, would want to go see these guys. HA! 🙂 and Matthew West.

Matthew West’s kind of a slacker, but the rest of the line-up is decent. 

(Of course, I’m just kidding!  Matthew West is one of if not THE BEST entertainers in all of Christian Music.  You have to go see him if you haven’t yet!)

If those names aren’t enough to get you down to the State Fair on Sunday, August 11th, then I don’t know what will. (The World’s Largest Popcorn Ball? A 4,500 square foot barn made out of glass? An outdoor ice skating rink in Indiana in August? Just a few suggestions!)

Love and the Outcome

Love and the Outcome

The website for the Indiana State Fair is http://www.in.gov/statefair

I’ll be at both of these festivals the weekend of August 10th and I hope to see you there! Should be a rockin’ time 🙂  Let’s just hope the weather is not too sweltering hot…if I have another weekend where the temps get up like they did at LifeFest when my nail polish literally melted off of my nails, I don’t know if I’ll live to tell the tale!

Live 4:1 To Rock Canal Days Main Stage

You know what I think is really interesting?  It’s the fact that the most successful people in the world never, ever start out on top.

For instance, Warren Buffet’s first job was a newspaper delivery boy.  Oprah Winfrey was a grocery clerk.  Even Saturday’s Faith & Family Night Headlining Band at Canal Days, the Sidewalk Prophets, started out small.   Just down the road on I-69 at Anderson University, lead singer Dave Frey and guitarist Ben McDonald started their musical careers by taping microphones to the ceiling of their dorm room and posting files to the (then) legal file sharing site, Napster.

Before the Sidewalk Prophets take to the Main Stage on Saturday night, June 8th, you’ll have a chance to see an area band with similar humble beginnings.  Live 4:1, comprised of Darlene Bush, brothers Greg, Jon, and Kaleb Krempel, Natasha Perrine, James Saunders, and Chris Kindlesparger, will bring their unique 7 piece blend of praise and worship music to the Main Stage in Schnelker Park beginning at 4 pm.

Live 4:1 began in 1996 when many of its core members were only in the 5th or 6th grade, Darlene Bush told me during an interview on April 8th.  At the time, the founding members were all part of the praise band called Next Wave at Huntertown United Methodist Church, and Bush and Debbie Krempel (the mother of Greg, Jon, and Kaleb) worked with the group, encouraging them to rehearse and sing as much as possible.

By 2004, the core members of the group felt called to make a true commitment to where they felt God was leading them.  A suggestion by a friend referencing Ephesians 4:1 (I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called. Ephesians 4:1  ) led to the name Live 4:1.

Live 4:1’s current project, an independent release entitled Let It Rain, has imprints of the band’s heart all over it from the tracks contained on the CD to the design on the jacket.  “This project really reflects who we are as a band and where we are at musically,” says Bush, a vivaciousness reflecting in her voice and eyes.

Musically, the band credits such diverse influences as MercyMe, Casting Crowns, Israel & New Breed, Michael W. Smith, Fred Hammond, Hillsong, and Vineyard.  The band also credits, rather fully embraces, the diversity that makes the band so unique and distinctive.

“We are from different ethnic and church backgrounds; but God created a melting pot, blending us all together to create a Christ-centered sound that touches the lives of people everywhere. It hasn’t been an easy task, especially being a young group with the view society has of youth today,” said Bush, “but we have a message we want people to hear! Although we could be in the world taking part in all it has to offer, we choose to serve God. We desire to serve in whatever way He wants us to.”

After nearly 17 years together for some of the member of Live 4:1, you might think that performing might start to become a little monotonous.

You’d be mistaken.

Actually, this summer may be one of the most exciting times in recent memory for the band for a lot of reasons.  First, nearly half of the band is getting married this summer.  (Don’t worry, they planned around their appearance at Canal Days!)  Live 4:1 is also working on new material, and talking about going back into the studio to record some new music, says Bush.

“Wherever, however He leads, that’s happily where we are going,” says Bush.

Wherever they end up, Live 4:1 remains committed to being true to the message within the music.  When I asked Bush a question I was recently asked about whether or not Christian music is as good musically as mainstream music, she replied, “I would point people to Chris Tomlin.  Steven Curtis Chapman.  Israel Houghton.  Fred Hammond.  These are artists that are all about the message, not the sound. It’s the same thing with us.  It’s all about the message.  The message is the most important thing.  I can get you bopping your head and rocking, but if you’re not hearing the message, it means nothing.  The message has to be heard, then the bopping and the rocking will come.”

Vocalist Natasha Perrine agrees.  “It has been placed on our hearts to minister to the lost and encourage the doubtful,” she said.

“We’re all about the ministry; that’s what Live 4:1 is all about.  Nothing else matters,” said Bush.

Live 4:1 will play the Main Stage in Schnelker Park on Saturday, June 8 from 4-6 pm, with a free Meet & Greet autograph session immediately following their set.

 

 

Faith & Family, Wishes & Dreams: An Interview with SWP Dave

Dear Readers:

Ok, so my feature articles from my interview with Dave Frey of the Sidewalk Prophets have all gone to print as of this weekend. which means I can officially release a special edition blog that includes all the best parts of the different Faith & Family Night stories from area publications.  If you live in Northeast Indiana, you may very well live in one of the more than 100,000+ homes that received one of these publications recently:  Fort Wayne Newspapers publications, New Haven Life magazine, West Bend Newspaper, New Haven Bulletin, WhatzUp Entertainment Newspaper, The Frost, East Allen County Times Newspaper, KPC News Media publications, or Northern Allen County Life Magazine. 

I hope you’ll enjoy!

  If you read all the way thru to the end, I’ll post some bonus material for you,  my blog readers!  First, I will tell you what Dave had to say about my Ohio BFF Jill’s favorite person in the universe, Chris August.  Second, I will post some links to previous blogs I’ve written about the SWP’s, and why I thought they would be perfect to headline the first Faith & Family Night Festival in New Haven. (I mean, I waited 10 years to make this happen, it kind of needed to be perfect, know what I mean?)  Finally, I will post a link to a story about one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to, when I met my friend Pam from Minnesota (waving at Pam!!)

Enjoy!
B

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help me find it

One of the things that I believe is universal to all people in all places is the innate ability to dream; by ‘dream’, I don’t really mean fall asleep while strange scenes play out in the recesses of your mind. What I really mean is we all have hopes, and wishes, and, well, dreams.

For some of us, our dreams are relatively straightforward: to be a firefighter, a teacher, a doctor. For others, the dreams are a little more complex: to be the next Larry Bird, Beyonce, or Leonardo di Caprio.

For me, I believe that God, who uniquely and lovingly created me, also uniquely and lovingly created and placed the dreams I have in my heart.

Specifically, I’m referring to one of the dreams I’ve had for over 10 years now to bring an event to my adoptive hometown of New Haven that celebrates the strong foundation that this city is built on.  What originally drew me to New Haven is its rich history of  faith interwoven with the heritage of many legacy families and relationships that last for decades.

On June 8th,2013   in Schnelker Park in downtown New Haven, the New Haven Canal Days Festival is set to host the first ever Faith & Family Night headlined by the Sidewalk Prophets.  This is where my dream of hosting such an event will intersect with fellow Hoosier native Dave Frey’s childhood dream of being a singer; Frey is the lead singer of the Dove award winning, Word Record label band that is based in Nashville, Tennessee.

For Frey, there were two main dreams driving him as a kid growing up in Terre Haute, Indiana. “I dreamed of either being a Chicago Cub or being on stage since I was a little child,” said Frey with his distinctive chuckle in our interview on April 10th. “Since I wasn’t the most athletically inclined, I ended up going to school to be an English teacher at Anderson University.”

God, however, hadn’t forgotten about Frey’s childhood dream of being on stage. In fact, according to Frey, it was quite the opposite. “God just kept showing me that this gift he had put inside me was more than just a hobby,” he said reflectively.

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Dave Frey performs at Winter Jam 2013 on January 20, 2013

These days, Frey’s childhood dream is straight up reality; earlier this year, as the lead singer for the Sidewalk Prophets, he toured with Winter Jam, the #1 attended tour in the entire world in the first quarter of 2013, using his God-given gift to perform for more than 550,000 people in four short months.

“You know, especially once I saw bands like DC Talk and Jars of Clay and Third Day as a kid I dreamed of being on stage, and now here I’ve stood on stage next to each one of them. It’s like, ‘How blessed am I?’” asked Frey incredulously.

Well, as Walt Disney once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

 

 

 

When I conduct interviews, I have to admit that I really don’t have an official angle I work like a lot of writers do when they do interviews. Truth be told, I never do have an angle and it doesn’t matter if I’m interviewing former Governor Daniels or David Crowder. Like any proper journalist, I always have a list of questions to ask in case I develop a temporary case of amnesia, but aside from my handy-dandy list, my main objective is always to just ask some general questions and see what themes evolve over the course of a conversation.

This may not be the method taught at the Harvard School of Journalism, but it works for me; which brings me around to my point. Dreams, both fulfilled and yet to be fulfilled, served as a touchstone of sorts in my conversation with Dave Frey.

Perhaps what I found the most interesting about how this theme kept recurring in our conversation was how Frey consistently pointed much of the credit for achieving his dreams back to others: to God, to his parents, his band mates, his friends, and even teachers from his hometown of Terre Haute.

“Growing up, I had this cloud of witnesses guiding me to truth and love and faith,” said Frey, referring to the verse in Hebrews 12:1 that sparked the Sidewalk Prophet’s latest song and album of the same name, Live Like That.

One such person that had a strong influence on the young Frey was his 10th grade history teacher, Dan McGrath. “There was something about him. You could see the passion inside him. It was infectious,” said Frey. “He loved history, and there are a lot of people who don’t like history, that are bored by it. Why are we rehashing the past, you know? Mr. McGrath just made you realize why history was important, that this was something you could learn from.”

“Watching him, I felt like I was watching Jesus teach his disciples. That’s the passion that Jesus brought, this desperate passion,” said Frey with passion in his own voice. “‘You gotta know this, because this is my heart,” he added after pausing for emphasis.

“I could just see His heart inside of Mr. McGrath. You know, in a public school you can’t necessarily lead kids in prayer but come to find out years later Mr. McGrath was a Christian the whole time. You know, he was showing me that without ever saying it,” Frey said softly. “I was incredibly blessed by his life, and by many other teachers. Teachers are so important in shaping the world.”

Another teacher who had an even more powerful role in shaping Frey’s life besides Mr. McGrath is his mother, who Frey told me has been teaching for 36 years. According to Frey, in addition to her work as a teacher she also serves as the “unofficial” chief promoter of the Sidewalk Prophets.

“My Mom will go to a show and ask people, “Who’s your favorite band?” If they don’t say Sidewalk Prophets, she’ll say “Oh, they’re good too, but I really love those Sidewalk Prophets!” Then she’ll go and buy them all t-shirts,” said Frey with a hearty laugh, adding “I’ll come back and Mom’s bought like 20 t-shirts. She’s our greatest promoter, that’s for sure.”

With that, Frey’s tone turns momentarily more serious. “She and my Father are both the reason I am where I am. They took me to church and showed me, ‘This is what life’s about: bringing joy to others and doing it thru the message of Jesus.’ Yeah, I am very blessed to have the mother and father that I have. Very blessed.”

As someone who has dedicated her adult life to encouraging and empowering young children and families, I love hearing stories like Frey’s.  Truly, it takes both strong parents and influential ‘others’, like teachers, pastors, and youth leaders to bring out the best in kids and ensure that every single child has the very best chance to lead a fulfilling life, a life where they have the tools they need to go out and forge a path to make their own dreams come true.

Perhaps that’s why having a Faith & Family Night to celebrate the importance we place on these values in New Haven is so important to me? No matter the reasoning, it seems my longstanding dream had once again kind of inadvertently found its way into the interview, and intersected with the life and times of Dave Frey.

 

 

 

“You know, I think you really have it in the right order: faith, family, friends,” said Frey. “That’s the order we ought to live our lives.”

I totally agree.

Yet, I wondered, ‘Isn’t it hard to do that when you are on the road more than 200 days a year?’ I mean, seriously, the Sidewalk Prophets are notoriously (in a good way) one of the hardest working groups around with a consistently punishing tour schedule. (For instance, did anyone else realize a few years back they did both the Rock & Worship Roadshow AND Winter Jam in the same winter? While driving a van? And they all lived to tell the tale? Pretty remarkable if you ask me. I barely survived a December road trip to Minnesota in a Honda Civic with my BFF and 2 youngsters.)

“We always have to realize that this is a calling that God has laid on our hearts,” said Frey in his usual gracious and humble manner. “We get to serve him in a mighty way and we don’t want to take that for granted. Not only do we serve him, but we get to do what we’ve always dreamed of. This is a double blessing. It blows my mind how blessed we are. We can’t take that responsibility for granted.”

With this responsibility in mind, Frey will return to his home state of Indiana with the Sidewalk Prophets co-founder, Ben McDonald, lead guitarist Shaun Tomczak, bassist Cal Joslin, and drummer Justin Nace on June 8th to rock the first ever Faith and Family Night in Schnelker Park beginning at 8 pm.

“We’re really excited to come to New Haven,” said Frey. He admitted that while growing up in Terre Haute, different festivals would frequently come to town to play, just not faith-based festivals. “That made it tough,” remembered Frey. “We’d have to drive to Bloomington or Indy or Illinois for the Christian music festivals.”

Frey recalled with a smile to his voice going to concerts at the park in Terre Haute with his Mom as child. “Mom would go to the park with her friends and I would head to the park with her friends’ kids. I would listen from far away. I wasn’t prone to loud music as a kid. I didn’t want to hear them blasting their music, so I’d go out to the swings and listen from afar,” he said with a laugh. “I didn’t get over my aversion to loud music until I was in middle school.”

I think it is fair for me to speak for all the Sidewalk Prophet fans of the world when I say I’m really glad Frey got over his distaste of loud music.

“You know, that’s what’s great about outdoor festivals,” said Frey. “Not everybody wants to be front-row-blown-away-by-the-sound. (Side Note:  My BFF Sarah & I like to be front row center, blasted by the sound unless it’s a RED show.  Sarah may still be missing part of an eyebrow from the last time we got too close to a RED show.)   “There are people out swinging, and families interacting and having fun, and people just there for the atmosphere. Maybe someone who’s just there for the atmosphere will have their life changed because of what God’s doing. That’s our great hope. Hopefully our music is more than just sound bouncing off swing sets; hopefully it’s something that cuts to the heart, perhaps even unexpectedly.”

This is certainly my great hope as the Director of Festival Entertainment, and the great hope of more than 100 pastors and community residents who have been meeting with me since January to pray for the success of Faith & Family Night.

Now, with hope addressed, my mind comes full circle to the dream that started this whole idea of a Faith and Family Night in the first place. I am quietly reminded of something my favorite poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning once wrote: “God’s gifts put men’s best dreams to shame.”

This is so beautifully true; but perhaps Dave from the Sidewalk Prophets said it best in a slightly more modern way when he told me, “When I stand on stage, getting to do what I love, it’s a gift; but when anyone just tries to do something that they love, and spread the love of God, He’s going to bless it when it comes from a real and genuine place. He really is.”

I, for one, am pretty sure that the musical gifts that New Haven is about to hear courtesy of the Sidewalk Prophets on June 8th will exceed even my most ambitious dreams.

Praise God for that!

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Beth Stauffer would like to thank Mr. Frey for taking time away from his vacation with his family to conduct this interview.  It is sincerely appreciated!

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Faith & Family Night Concert Information:  Saturday night, June 8th, 2013.  Pre-show with Central Lutheran School students begins at 7:45 pm at Schnelker Park, Prospect Avenue, New Haven, Indiana.  Hosted by WBCL 90.3 FM.  Opening act–Word artist Love & The Outcome at 8:00 pm, followed by the Sidewalk Prophets at 8:20 pm.  VIP Wristbands for premium seating available for $10.00 donation at the New Haven Parks & Recreation Department, 1125 Hartzell Street, New Haven, IN 46774.

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What did Dave Frey say about Chris August during our interview?  This is a direct quote:  “Chris August is a big jerk.”

OK, Jill, calm down.  He was kidding.  Really, he was totally joking.  I actually thought it was pretty funny!

Dave then went on to say that he and Chris August are actually good friends, and even went to a hockey game together recently.  So, I think it is safe to say that Chris August is not a big jerk.

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Why were the Sidewalk Prophets my #1 choice for Faith & Family Night?  Check it here

Not convincing enough?  Maybe my 3-year-old friend Ned can help.  Check out her Sidewalk Prophet story here

Here’s the link to read the story about my incredible friend Pam.  I last saw Pam and her family in December when I was in Cheese country (aka Wisconsin), and they are all doing exceedingly well.  Since I wrote the linked letter in June 2012, Pam’s sister Daria has completed several rehabilitation programs available to her, and the family prays that she will be released early for good behavior by September.  Please join me in praying for Pam, and Daria, and the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the entire family to be met.

New Music Pick of The Week: Plumb’s Need You Now

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I have a theory that all good things can be traced back in one way or another to the great state of Indiana.  For instance, in basketball Indiana is home to the legendary Larry Bird.  (That fact alone should settle this debate, but I’ll go on.)  Abraham Lincoln spent his formative years (7-12) in Indiana.  The awesomely funny TV show Parks & Rec is based on the fictional Pawnee, Indiana.  Famed movie director Sydney Pollack and actors James Dean and Steve McQueen are all from Indiana.  David Letterman and Red Skelton are both from Indiana.  In terms of music, Indiana is the home to an eclectic mix of talent:  Axl Rose, Michael Jackson, and Jon Mellencamp, to name but three.

In the world of Christian Music, even more good things can be traced back to Indiana.  Rich Mullins is from Indiana.  Gospel music veterans Bill Gaither, Danny Gaither and Gloria Gaither (and probably the rest of the Gaithers!) are from Indiana.  Jeremy Camp is a Hoosier native from Lafayette, Indiana.  Both Royal Tailor and the Sidewalk Prophets originally began to form in Indiana while founding members attended the same college.  (The Sidewalk Prophets lead singer, Dave Frey, hails from Terre Haute, Indiana.)

Even with Indiana’s great musical tradition in mind, perhaps one of the most evocative and powerful female voices from this fine state is the simply named Tiffany Arbuckle Lee, an  Indianapolis native.

You might know her better by her stage name, Plumb.

Plumb has a crazy amazing resume spanning the course of the last decade.  She’s written for Jaci Velasquez, Michelle Branch and Mandy Moore.  She’s a repeat performer in the #1 spot on the charts (come to think of it, right now she’s holding down the #1 and #4 spots with two of her songs, I Want You Here and Need You Know.  She’s also sitting pretty on the iTunes new release chart smack dab between Taylor Swift and Rihanna.  You know, no biggie!)   Her songs are sort of  TV/movie placement phenomenons, being featured in everything from the film Bruce Almighty to the Vampire Diaries and One Tree Hill.  (I’m also pretty sure that was Plumb’s Need You Now (How Many Times) I heard on Pretty Little Liars tonight.)

While all of these accomplishments that  Plumb has racked up over the past ten years are pretty impressive, you’ll be even more impressed when you listen to her new album Need You Now (How Many Times) that released today, February 26th, 2013.

Simply put, Need You Now (How Many Times) is superb.

Plumb has positioned Need You Now (How Many Times) as the album of 2013 that other artists(particularly of the female variety) are only going to be able to dream about being like.

In the past, I have been somewhat of an outspoken advocate for the need for more positive, super talented, authentic female artists in Christian music.  This is not a bash against the guys in any way, but clearly the females are way outnumbered in this particular genre of music.  (Case in point:  on the WinterJam tour, there are currently 10 musical acts, only one of which (Jamie Grace) is a female performer.  The Rock & Worship Road Show has 8 musical acts and zero  female performers.)

Thank heavens for Plumb; she’s the real deal, exactly the kind of artist I would have hand-picked to fill the female void in Christian music.  One of the things I love the most about Plumb is that she’s not some anodized puppet with sugar for the coating.  As the biography provided by her Media Rep rightfully states, “She has a reputation to tell it like it is, giving an honest view of life while always showing the hope and light in every situation.”

It is this reputation, combined with Lee’s creative self-assuredness as an artist and her unparalleled voice, that give Plumb a suprising vantage point from which she can share her remarkable gift of music.

For sure, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Plumb’s Need You Now (How Many Times) is a beautiful amalgamation of striking raw emotion and authentic truths.  Her lyrics are at times intensely sobering while at other times hopefully melodic and teeming with bold optimism.  While Need You Now (How Many Times) is branded under the name Plumb, there is little doubt in my mind that this album is the true life story of Tiffany Arbuckle Lee, the wife and mother of three young children.

Her story is also in a way my story, and maybe even yours, too.  It’s a relatable and riveting story, beautiful but sometimes sad, filled with moments of both laughter and love, mistakes and loss.

Most of all, it’s a story that highlights the hope that we all have in Jesus Christ.

This is one album I highly recommend without reservation.  From beginning to end, Need You Now (How Many Times) is must have music.  For sure, you don’t want to miss the standout tracks Beautiful, One Drop, I Want You Here, Chocolate & Ice Cream, I Don’t Deserve You (with Paul van Dyk), and my favorite of favorites, Drifting (with Jars of Clay frontman Dan Haseltine).  (Side note:  I assume that it goes without saying that Need You Now is 5 Star track.  If you haven’t heard Need You Now by now, you must be living under a rock somewhere without radio stations, TV, or internet…and with that being said, you probably would not have made your way here to my blog.)

For a little sample of just how amazing Plumb is, check out the YouTube video below of her performing Need You Now.  (You may want to head to iTunes first and start the download of Need You Now (How Many Times) before you start the video…that way, you’ll be all set to listen to the album in its entirety when you’ve finished watching the video!  Just a suggestion, because I care 🙂

Big Daddy Weave ‘Redeemed’ Tour News!

(Side Note–I’m sharing because Fort Wayne is on the list of tour stops!  Woot!  I was starting to think Big Daddy Weave had an aversion to Fort Wayne or something because it has been awhile since they’ve been here; also of special note, Chris August will be coming along for the ride.  In case you are a devoted blog follower, yes, I plan to have my friend Jill on tight leash at the show, that is if I even consent to going with her at all.  She’s Family Force 5 cray-button crazy about Chris August!)

From Press Release:

NASHVILLE, TN (January 29, 2013) – Dove Award-winning group Big Daddy Weave is set to depart on the second leg of their highly-successful “The Redeemed Tour” February 1 in Wausau, WI. The tour, featuring chart-topping artist Chris August and special guest Citizen Way, is scheduled to stop in over 38 cities from February through May. This launch comes on the heels of the band’s hit No. 1 single, “Redeemed,” which spent eight weeks at No. 1 on the NCA (National Christian Audience Chart) and nine weeks at No. 1 on the AC Monitored Chart. The video for the hit song has also proven to be a hit as it has amassed close to two million views on YouTube.

“What happens every night on ‘The Redeemed Tour’ is the most special thing we’ve ever been a part of, and it just keeps growing,” says Big Daddy Weave’s lead singer Mike Weaver. “We’re excited to play and be with the wonderful people that we meet in every town.  We’re also big fans of everybody playing on the tour, so we couldn’t ask for anything more!  We can’t wait to see what God does next with all of this.”

Label mate and three-time Dove Award-winner Chris August will also be joining Big Daddy Weave on this leg of “The Redeemed Tour. This past summer, August released his sophomore album, The Upside of Down, and collaborated with Group 1 Crew on their No. 1 hit, “He Said.” Fans can expect to hear his next single, “Restore,” when it hits radio February 1.

 

Citizen Way has made a big impression fast with their first single “Should’ve Been Me” reaching the radio chart’s top 10.  The Elgin, IL band’s appearance on Big Daddy Weave’s “The Redeemed Tour” marks their debut on a nationwide tour.

 

“The Redeemed Tour” is scheduled to hit the following cities:

 

Feb. 1              The Grand Theater – Wausau, WI

Feb. 2              Community Church – Oshkosh, WI

Feb. 7              Eagle Heights Church – Somerset, KY

Feb. 8              BC Lloyd Building – Paragould, AR

Feb. 9              Christ Fellowship – McKinney, TX

Feb. 10            MK Brown Civic Auditorium –  Pampa, TX

Feb. 12            Clovis Civic Center – Clovis, NM

Feb. 13            RN Tydings Auditorium – Hobbs, NM

Feb. 14            St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church – Tucson, AZ

Feb. 15            Trinity Life Center – Las Vegas, NV

Feb. 16            Reno Christian Fellowship – Reno, NV

Feb. 17            Faith Community Church – Acampo, CA

Feb. 21            Marshfield High School – Coos Bay, OR

Feb. 23            Dayspring Fellowship – Keizer, OR

Feb. 24            Everett Theatre – Everett, WA

Feb. 26            The House of Faith – Lewiston, ID

Feb. 27            Idaho Falls Civic Auditorium – Idaho Falls, ID

Feb. 28            Cheyenne Civic Center – Cheyenne, WY

March 1           Restoration Church – Casper, WY

March 2           Helena Community Facilities Center – Helena, MT

March 3           Faith Evangelical Church – Billings, MT

March 8           Rodger’s Theatre, Poplar Bluff, MO

March 9           Cornerstone Christian Academy – Shelbyville, KY

March 10         Dublin Jerome High School Center for Performing Arts – Dublin, OH

March 14         Memorial Stadium – Waycross, GA

March 15         Westover Church – Greensboro, NC

March 16         Charleston Southern University – Charleston, SC

March 21         Christ Community Chapel – Hudson, OH

March 22         Blackhawk Ministries – Fort Wayne, IN

March 23         Cornerstone Church – West Chester, OH

March 24         Trinity Evangelical – Upper Sandusky, OH

April 5              Cross Creek Community Church – Trucksville, PA

April 6              Wyoming United Methodist Church – Dover, DE

April 13            Davis and Elkins College Auditorium – Elkins, WV

April 14            Walker Center – Wilkesboro, NC

April 20            Plant City Stadium – Plant City, FL

April 21            Truett-McConnell College – Cleveland, GA

April 26            Concordia University Wisconsin – Mequon, WI

May 4              Wild Adventures Theme Park – Valdosta, GA

 

About Big Daddy Weave: 

Big Daddy Weave formed when Mike Weaver, Jay Weaver, Jeremy Redmon, Jeff Jones and Joe Shirk got together at the University of Mobile. They stepped into the spotlight in 2002 with the release of their second album One and Only, which debuted in SoundScan’s Christian Top 5 and saw the group nominated as Dove Awards New Artist of the Year. Their 2010 album Christ Has Come won a Dove for Christmas Album of the Year, and they recently released their first greatest hits compilation, The Ultimate Collection. They have been honored at ASCAP’s Christian Music Awards, were chosen for the WOW Hits compilations in five of the last six years, and are one of the 10 most played artists at Christian radio over the past decade.

Winter Jam Pick #5–Jason Castro

 

So, many of you probably read my review earlier this week of Jason Castro’s newest CD, ‘Only a Mountain.’ I liked it, in fact, I liked it a lot. Since the entire album is still so fresh in my head from listening to it umpteen times to write my review, I had a hard time deciding which songs I would most want to hear him sing at Winter Jam on Sunday night. Finally, I think I have it narrowed down to two songs: the title track, ‘Only a Mountain’ (because surely he will be singing that one, right?) and ‘Stay This Way’, simply because I like it.

Honestly, he could pretty much sing the whole CD and I’d be fine with it.  Come to think of it, everyone at Winter Jam could sing all of their songs and I’d be good with it (granted, it would be a very   l  o  n  g   concert, though!)

27 Days of Christmas, Day 4: TobyMac’s This Christmas (Father to the Fatherless)

I had a so-traditional-it’s-crazy kind of upbringing as a child. My Mom, Sandy, left her job as an elementary school teacher to stay home with my brother, sister, and I in our rural Indiana farmhouse. My Dad, Rick, worked full-time at the local factory to provide for his family. Money was frequently tight, so our food budget was stretched by growing our own vegetables in the garden in the summer time for canning. My Dad was also an avid fisherman and hunter, so whatever he could catch or shoot would often times end up on the table for dinner.

A major part of my childhood was attending church with my family. We went to the church my Mom attended as a young girl, and the church my Grandma Bricker attended up until the time of her death in 2005. Unless I was on my own deathbed with an illness, I never missed a church service or Sunday School. I can maybe remember in 18 years missing 3 or 4 Sundays; one of those Sundays was due to the blizzard of 1978, so it was kind of unavoidable.

The older I became, however, the more I began to question why going to church was so important in the first place. I mean, I already had one father who was an expert in ruining all of my fun. Why did I really need another?

What it all boiled down to in my mind was that having a meaningful relationship with God was the equivalent of inviting another member of the Fun Police into my business.

I had it all figured out, and I didn’t need Him. I didn’t need the Dad I already had, either.

Or did I?

It actually wasn’t until I became a mother that I began to truly see just how important a father is in the life of a child. I began to reflect upon my relationship with my own fathers, both of them, as I observed the growing relationships between my young son and his earthly and heavenly fathers.

What I realize now, and have come to sincerely appreciate from the depths of my heart, is the fatherly love I have been blessed with my entire life.

Even when I ran away from this love, it never left me.

Even when I didn’t deserve it, I always, always, had the love of my fathers.

By their very presence in my life, my fathers showed me over and over again the true meaning of love and grace.

Doesn’t every one deserve to have the same?

In TobyMac’s song, This Christmas (Father of the Fatherless), he tells the story about a nine-year old orphan named Johnie, and how he came to find his fathers. A chorus in the song, in my opinion, is especially poignant, and one that we should remember not just at Christmas but all year-long:

Father of the fatherless

Be with your sons and daughters this Christmas, this Christmas

(You ain’t livin’ ’til you choose to give

Love and Joy and Peace to one of His)

Father let us not forget

The children who are all alone at Christmas, this Christmas

(You ain’t livin’ ’til you choose to give

Love and Joy and Peace to one of His)

With these lyrics in mind, I want to encourage you to look around you this Christmas time and ask yourself, ‘Who are the fatherless in my circle of influence?’

Maybe it’s the little neighbor girl from down the street riding the pink bicycle.

Maybe it’s the college student serving up your cappuccino at the local coffee hot spot in your town.

Maybe it’s the widow who just lost their spouse this past year that you see at the park while walking your dog, or maybe it’s the single father of three who coaches your daughter’s basketball team.

The fatherless come in all shapes and all sizes.

They are in every community, in every neighborhood, from the projects to the affluent.

They speak every language, from English and Spanish to Burmese and Swahili.

They come in a rainbow of assorted colors. Some have dark skin, some have light skin. Some may even have tattooed skin and blue hair.

Yet in spite of their differences, the one thing they all have in common is the fact that they each have a Father who loves them to the ends of the earth. He loves them so much He came to earth as a tiny baby, delivered in humblest of places, and lived His life for the express purpose of dying so that one day we all might spend eternity with Him in heaven.

I ask you, what could be a better gift to give this Christmas time than telling someone they have a Father who loves them like that?

It’s up to you this Christmas to share the good news of Jesus Christ with the fatherless.

Won’t you join me?

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:27

Thanksgiving Mishaps: Food Fights & Ice Cream Cakes

This is so not what Thanksgiving looks like in my family!

It’s that wonderful time of the year once again, when family togetherness and nostalgia for days gone by reign.

At least, in my own mind they do.

This weekend had me thinking a lot about the Thanksgivings I have experienced in the past.  I was so fortunate to grow up in a rural old farmhouse in Northern Indiana with my close-knit family beside me.  Many of my favorite memories took place in that white, two-story house sitting on a little hill with those very same people as the starring characters in the saga of my early life.

As I was thinking about these memories, the funny thing I realized is I don’t really remember all that much about the Thanksgivings that went off without a hitch.  The Thanksgivings I remember the most were the ones went things went wildly awry.  I know I’m not alone in this; whenever my family gets together these days, the times we reminisce about the most and laugh about the hardest are the times when the unexpected happened and chaos ensued.

So, I thought this week I would share a couple of my favorite Thanksgiving mishaps memories with you–2 from when I was growing up, and one from my own household as an adult.  I hope you’ll enjoy my stories as much as I enjoy remembering them!  (Side Note:  If you live in WBCL 90.3 FM’s listening area, you might have heard me talk to Phil & Larry this morning about my favorite Thanksgiving mishaps!  What fun that was!)

My third favorite Thanksgiving mishap took place when I was a child, maybe 9 or 10 years old.  My Grandpa Whiteleather, my Dad’s Dad, was our guest for Thanksgiving Dinner.  My Mom, who had no doubt been up since the wee hours of the morning slaving over a traditional Thanksgiving meal of turkey and all the fixings, had finally given the signal that the food was ready and we should all come to the table.

My Father, brother Brent, sister Stacy, and I crowded around the table along with my Mom’s Mom, Grandma Bricker, and my Grandpa Whiteleather.  After the blessing was given, we all began passing the food around and filling up our plates.  Of course, we had a veritable smorgasboard of food:  turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, corn bake, stuffing, a relish tray and who knows what else.

Well, I do know at least two other things–the bread basket and the ice cream cake.

Somehow in the flurry of activity of passing the dishes, my Grandpa (who sat at the foot of the table) had missed getting a roll.  The rolls were sitting in front of my Dad, who was sitting at his place at the head of the table.

My Grandpa, seeing the rolls in front of my Dad, uttered these words which will live on in infamy at family gatherings probably until the end of time:  “Will somebody please toss me a roll?”

Dad, without missing a beat, picked up a dinner roll and threw it at my Grandpa.  Grandpa, who was apparently not expecting my Dad to literally throw a roll at him, was pinged directly in the face with one of the brown & serve rolls.

My siblings and I found this hysterical, and peals of laughter rang out from around the table.

Grandpa picked up the roll and threw it back, hard, at my Dad.  My Dad, ever the star athlete, caught it and threw it right back at Grandpa.  In a bold move, my brother Brent picked up a roll and threw it at me, and I proceeded to throw it at Grandma.

In a matter of moments, we were engaged in an all out food fight.  My Mom, bless her heart, heard the commotion from the kitchen and came back into the dining room only to catch her own mother, Grandma Bricker, right in the middle of flinging a spoonful of stuffing at my Dad.

The look on my Mom’s face was one I will never forget as long as I live.  My normally calm, as close to a saint as they come without being Catholic mother appeared to be horrified by the shenanigans of her family.  Without saying a word, she looked at each one of us around the table, forcing us to each cautiously put down whatever food flinging implement we were holding.

Mom removed her holiday plaid apron and gingerly sat down at the table next to Grandma.

In silence, we passed around the dishes to my Mom, avoiding eye contact with her at all costs.  We were all treading on thin ice at the moment.  A short while later, my Dad broke the ice by asking my Mom if she could pass the olives that were on the relish tray sitting in front of her.

I swear to this day I caught a glimpse of the slightest smile ever as my Mom picked up a spoonful of olives and launched them towards my Dad, pelting him in the nose.

Truly, that was one of the most epic moments in Whiteleather family history.

Of course, the mishaps didn’t end there.  Actually there was one more mishap yet to come.

Against tradition, my Grandpa had suggested to my Mom that he would bring a Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake for dessert instead of the traditional pumpkin pie.  Apparently, Grandpa had seen a commercial for DQ cakes and wanted to try one.  Reluctantly, my Mom had agreed.

When the time came for dessert, Mom asked Grandpa about the whereabouts of the DQ Cake.  Nonchalantly, Grandpa responded that the cake was out in his car and told my brother to go out to his station wagon to get it.

My Mom and I made eye contact, and I could see the wheels in her mind spinning.  The DQ Cake was in the car?  That’s weird, I thought to myself.

Things were about to get a whole lot weirder.

My brother came back in with the cake and plopped it down on the table.  Everyone gathered around, anxious to see just exactly what a DQ Ice Cream Cake looked like and perhaps even more eager to find out what it tasted like.

Mom slipped the flaps on the box open and lifted the lid, and the highly anticipated DQ cake came flooding out the sides of the box.

The DQ Cake was a lot more liquidey than cake like, that much was certain.

“Dad,” my Dad asked, “Didn’t you keep the cake in the freezer?”

“No, I bought it on Tuesday and left it in the car.  Why, was I supposed to put it in the freezer?” Grandpa asked.

“It’s an ICE CREAM CAKE,” my Dad said slowly, a deep belly laugh permeating the room.

“Oops,” said Grandpa, turning bright red.  He looked at the mushy melted cake and let out of laugh comparable to my Dad’s.

Then, everyone else started laughing too.

I’m not sure there has ever been another Thanksgiving that I have laughed so hard, nor has their ever been a messier Thanksgiving between the food fights and melted ice cream cake.

That was one of the few times I ever remember my Grandpa Whiteleather laughing, and in the years to come as he battled with health problems and dementia from the aging process, I would cling to the memory I had of that day filled with his laughter.

I still can’t help but laugh every time I see a DQ Ice Cream Cake and think about Grandpa…and if you’re lucky enough to ever have Thanksgiving dinner with my family and you hear the infamous words, “Will somebody please toss me a dinner roll?” you might want to duck!  We don’t pass the bread basket like normal families do.  We prefer our bread airborne.

Tomorrow, I will share the story of the first Thanksgiving I ever hosted for my family the year Alex was born.  It was a culinary disaster of epic proportions!  With that being said, I’m off to try to find the pictures from that Thanksgiving of Jon at the kitchen sink with the toilet plunger and me washing dishes by hand in the bathtub. 

A Blog of Woe About Daylight Savings Time

This probably isn’t a news flash to anyone, but I am about as Hoosier as they come.  (For those of you who are wondering what a ‘Hoosier’ is…well, it’s basically a nickname for someone who lives in Indiana.)

Both of my parents were born in Indiana.  All of my grandparents were born in Indiana.  All of my great grandparents were born in Indiana, and to my knowledge, all of my great grandparents were born in Indiana.  This would make me something like at least a 5th generation native-born Hoosier.  Yes, I know, impressive.

That’s a long, long lineage of Hoosierness we are dealing with.

As a child reared in the great state of Indiana in the 1980’s, there were certain things you were generally raised to revere or, at the very least, accept without question.  First, there were three men in your life that you needed to listen to, obey, and respect at all costs:  God, your Dad, and Bobby Knight (or, I imagine if you were raised in a Purdue home, Gene Keady.)

Second, there is no greater sport than basketball, and no greater player in basketball history than Larry Bird.

Third, the only time that matters is Indiana time.  Daylight Savings Time?  What is that, anyway?

Because we were always on Indiana time, leaving Indiana was always interesting and, well, downright confusing.  Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin were almost always either an hour ahead or behind us, frequently leading to chaos and general pandemonium on family vacations.  Further adding to the fun was that someone in my family, who shall remain nameless, never knew how to change the time on her watch.  (Okay, so I’m talking about me.  I still don’t know how, either.)

Then, there’s my Dad, who tells time by the position of the sun in the sky.  (That’s probably a whole ‘nother story for another day.)

That pretty much left my Mom in charge of the time-telling, and since no one really ever listened to my Mom back then, vacations were kind of a nightmare.  From an early age, I came to the conclusion that all time should be Indiana time.

This worked for a while, at least until Daylight Savings Time came to the Hoosier State.

In the United States, Daylight Savings Time has been an on again/off again thing with many states as far back as 1918, with the exception of the great state of Indiana.  Indiana, up until the spring of 2007, was always on Indiana time.

As I mentioned at least once already, I kind of liked it that way.

For the first 31 years of my life I never had to worry about making my clock either spring forward or fall back.  Time was time.  Time is not something people can harness or exert control over.  In my mind, time was like God; it just is.

Then, in 2006 (even though I voted against it), Daylight Savings Time was approved to begin the spring of 2007.  Not the best timing for me, not really.  I was the sleep deprived mother of an infant, and now because of Daylight Savings Time I was supposed to willingly give up an hour of my sleep?

I wish I had a picture of myself, eyes wild and crazy hair with baby Alex in my other arm as Jon tried to pry the clock out of my hand to change it that first time.  Surely, that would have been a moment for my scrapbook.

Little did I know that Alex was going to like Daylight Savings Time even less than I did.  I swear it took 6 months to get readjusted to the his new nap and bedtime schedule, which was precisely when it was time to turn the clocks back an hour and start readjusting him to the old schedule.

The biggest problem I have with Daylight Savings Time is it takes me weeks to really feel like I know what time it is.  ‘If it’s 6 o’clock now, what time is it a week from now?  5 o’clock?  7 o’clock?  What time is it tomorrow?  Yesterday?  What time will it be in an hour?  Does Alex have to be at school at 7:45 Indiana time or Daylight Savings Time?”

My husband, Jon, as well as my Father-in-Law, Mike, enjoy tormenting me over the Daylight Savings Time situation because they know how crazy it makes me.  Their favorite question for me during a transition to Daylight Savings Time:  “Beth, do you know what time it is?”

After I respond, they will follow-up with, “Is that the time right now or Indiana time?”

Jon has literally brought me to tears with that question before.

This year, we tried a stress free approach to transitioning to Daylight Savings Time.  Jon didn’t mention it at all in the days leading up to the big transition and he waited until after I went to bed on Saturday night to change the clocks.  Before he went to sleep, he briefly woke me up to tell me he changed the clocks.

In my half-awake state, I didn’t really care.

Things were going well, really well, until I went to the grocery store on Sunday afternoon.  I knew what time I had left the house, but when I got in my car after picking up 2 pies at Kroger for the church hog roast it was 2 hours later.

I was immediately filled with panic.

How had I lost track of almost two hours while buying a couple of pies at the grocery store?

Did I have a black out?

Enter some kind of time devoid vortex at Kroger?

Was the new Maplecrest Road extension a bridge to a different time zone?

Then, I remembered Jon telling me he had changed the clocks in the middle of the night.  I looked at my iPhone, and it had automatically adjusted its time; apparently my brand new 2012 Honda Civic with a dashboard that looks like the inside of spaceship isn’t smart enough to reset its clock.  It can do everything else under the sun but that.

Nice.

So, I still hate Daylight Savings Time.  I probably always will.  Maybe someday I’ll run for Governor or Ruler or the World and do away with Daylight Savings Time, but until then I guess I just have to put up with it.  Looking at the bright side, in the fall at least we get an “extra” hour of sleep.  (This really isn’t true.  We’re just getting back the hour of sleep taken away from us in the spring.  Without interest, I might add.)

If you are Indiana or have funny/like-minded thoughts about Daylight Savings Time (or really, anything at all!), I’d love to hear them!  E-mail me at Beth@BethStauffer.com

My Son, The Kindergarten Hunk

I woke up to a beautifully sweet moment early on Saturday morning.  I heard the creaking of my bedroom door and the tiptoeing of little feet moving towards me as I lay in bed.  “Mom,” Alex whispered.  “Can I snuggle with you?  I had a bad dream.”

With my eyes still heavy with sleep, I lifted the blankets up and Alex hopped up beside me.  He placed his small hand against my cheek, yawned, and in his sweet little sleepy voice said, “I love you, Momma.”

Oh, how I wish I had the power to stop time because if I could, I would have hit the pause button right then and there.

Lately, it seems my little boy is growing up really, really fast.  It seems to me that we are starting to enter an entirely brand new world,  a world that I’m not entirely sure that I like and a world that I am entirely sure that I’m not ready for.

Long gone are Alex’s Elmo underpants and Sippy cups filled with whole milk, not skim.  I no longer have to worry about small parts causing a choking hazard like I did when he was three and under.  I don’t have to worry about safety locks on the cupboards for Alex anymore because he’s better at getting them open than I am.

Batman and Superman are quickly dwindling in popularity when compared to Pokémon and something called ‘The Skylanders’.  To tell you the truth, I have no idea what a Skylander even is; all I know is we have a pumpkin sitting on our front porch carved into a Skylander face and it isn’t pretty.  That’s really all I need to know.

Personally, I kind of like Batman and Superman and will be sad to see them go.

The most frightening thing of all, however, isn’t shopping in the full-on boys section at Kohl’s Department Store.

It isn’t Pokémon and his entourage of weirdly named counterparts.  I would know as I’ve been reading to Alex from the Encyclopedia of Pokémon he bought at his school’s book fair this past week.  I hate this book primarily because it gives height and weight information for each Pokémon character.   I swear if I hear “Mom, how many Pikachu’s does it take to weigh as much as you?” one more time, something bad is going to happen to that encyclopedia.

No, the scariest thing of all about Alex and this new world we are entering into is something you might not expect to be an issue for a six year old boy.

The scariest thing of all is 5 and 6 year old girls.

After attending a few of Alex’s events at school, attending church and Sunday School with Alex, and hearing all the scuttlebutt from my friend Sarah who works at the afterschool program that several of Alex’s female classmates attend, I’m convinced that Alex is likely to be voted the “Biggest Hunk” of his Kindergarten Class.

This surprises no one more than me, and proves to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is the miniature version of my Dad.  When I was a kid, my Dad never wore his wedding ring because he was a tool grinder and could lose a finger if the machinery caught on the ring.

I have vivid recollections of being at the grocery store with my Dad only to have brazen women see the good looking single father out with his cute kids and attempt to hit on him.  My Dad would always laugh, pat whichever one of us kids was nearby on the head, and say, “Sure, I’ll go out with you if I can bring my kids and my wife, their mother, along, too.”

After over 40 years of marriage to my Mom, I’m thinking that was a pretty effective deterrent ; as for Alex, he may need to take some lessons from my Dad on how to get rid of unwanted advances by women (or in his case, 5 and 6 year old girls.)

Two weeks ago at our church’s Fall Festival, Alex made the mistake of sitting next to one such little girl during a hayride.  (We’ll call the little girl ‘Anna’, but that is not really her name.  I’m the 1993 State of Indiana Spell Bowl championship team co-Captain, and I couldn’t spell this girl’s name if my life depended on it.)

Following the hayride, Alex and Anna exited the wagon and headed over to the bonfire where our Pastor was about to lead everyone in devotions.

Anna sat down on a bale of hay by fire.  “Alex,” Anna said, patting the spot on the bale of hay next to her, “come and sit by me!”  She smiled at Alex and, Girl Scout’s honor, batted her eyelashes at him.

Of course, this caught my attention.  In my mind, I was like, “Oh, how cute!”

Alex ignored her.

Anna moved to another bale of hay.  “Alex, come here!” she said a little more forcefully, giving him her best ‘Come hither’ look.

Alex looked at her and raised his eyebrows.  “No way,” Alex replied.

Anna stuck out her lower lip into a pout.  “Please?”

I made eye contact with Alex and made a motion for him to come and talk to me.  “Why don’t you go sit by her?  She wants you to sit by her.  It’s a nice spot by the fire.”

Alex’s face contorted as he looked at me as if I had sprouted a second head and morphed into an evil Mom.  “Mom, do you know what she did to me on that hayride?”  Alex asked me, raising his arms up in a highly suggestive manner.

“What could that sweet little girl have done to you on a chaperoned hayride, Alex?” I responded, insinuating he was making a big deal out of nothing.

“She tried to hold my hand!!!”  Alex retorted, which, by the tone of his voice, is the functional equivalent of me asking him to eat Brussels sprouts or asking him to face a fully armed firing squad.

I choked back a snort of laughter.  “Oh, so you think she wants to hold your hand?”  I said.

“I know so.” Alex stated solemnly, emphatically.

“Then you don’t have to sit by her.”

Alex turned on his heels and walked over to one of his friends and sat down.

On the frozen, cold, hard pavement.

We can only assume the pavement regardless of condition is preferable to holding a girl’s hand on a warm bale of hay by a cozy, romantic bon fire with your mom looking on.

Of course, this isn’t where the story ends.

Anna sees Alex’s retreat to the pavement, crosses her arms over her chest and her bottom lip starts to quiver.  The tears start flowing, and shortly thereafter I am given an evil look from Anna’s mother.

All I can say is, my son has a mind of his own.  He won’t be tied down to any one woman, at least not at six years of age.

The week after the Fall Festival, a similar situation took place at a school skating party as reported to me by Alex’s dad, Jon.  Apparently, the lucky lady this time, Jo, also a classmate of Alex’s whose name I can’t spell, chased him around the roller rink at high rates of speed the entire night wanting to hold his hand.  Alex didn’t mind the chase, but as for willingly touching a girl, well…you might as well forget about it.

When I questioned Alex about the skating party, and the sudden popularity he’s experiencing with girls, he told me, “I try to keep a low profile, Mom, but what can I say?  Girls like me.  I don’t like them.”

Let’s just hope that this entire philosophy of Alex’s lasts a long, long time.

Pokemon, Skylanders, and other traditional boy things I think I can deal with.

Boy-crazed Kindergarten girls I cannot.