An Oxford Wedding

My sister got married yesterday… What more is there to say?

The doorway to the church… Beautiful!
If rain on a wedding day is lucky, hail has to be blessed. Wedding bells and hail…

One must wear a hat at British weddings.

More updates next week.

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Hello from Oxford… and Honest Songs!

Honest Songs

Two Benedictions – Honest Songs .. Click here to get your copy!

I am writing this blog from Oxford! My eyes are fluttering with the almost intoxicated sleepiness of jet lag  (please forgive the inevitable typos in this post). And yet even in my weary state, I’ve watched the fading gold of a summer evening melt out of the sky over a soccer court and a church steeple. These dreaming spires will always be special to me.

I’m particularly thankful that Oxford has welcomed me back to the UK for this new year. I am excited to go to Scotland, but Oxford is an old friend making it easy for me. And truly… could there be a more magical place for a wedding? I’m so excited for the Sister-Woman.

I look so forward to writing stories and blogs about my adventures this year. But not enough has happened for a full report, so I wanted to update you all on a previous adventure in my life: our new album!

As a parting project, Joel and I worked in all our spare minutes this summer to produce a small album of songs. I can truly say it is more personal than anything we’ve yet written together. It was so beautiful to work with Joel on shaping music that wasn’t just “about things,” but that was more a part of who we are.

I cried when I listened back through it. Perhaps it’s because these songs were parts of my heart and story from this year, and years past. Or perhaps it was because I so cherished getting to work with Joel before heading off to the wide, wide, wonderful year. Perhaps it is because I haven’t slept enough since Freshman year of college. Who is to know?

But this I do know: the making of this album has been a gift to me, and I hope its product will be a gift to others.

So, as I sign off tonight, I thought I’d give you all a copy of all of the lyrics on the album! I am a lyrics person and love to ponder over the songs of my favourite writers. As most of the albums will be bought digitally, I thought I’d use this post as a lyrics wrap. I plan on doing some explanation and stories of some of the songs soon.

I hope you all enjoy, and please get a copy of the album and let me know what you think!

Get your copy here: Two Benedictions – Honest Songs.

Parting Glass (traditional Scottish folk tune)

Oh of all the money that ‘er I had, I spent it in good company.

And all the harm that ‘er I’ve done, alas it was to none but me.

And all I’ve done for want of wit to memory now I can’t recall,

So fill to me parting glass…

Good night and joy be with you all.

 

Disappear:

Joel and Joy

Leaves turn on trees, die and decay

Is this the fall? Or is it just the way?

Seeds fall into the ground and die

So will I, so will I, so will I.

Everything’s waving a long goodbye

 

We will not disappear, tossed away with the turning of the years.

We will not disappear… disappear.

 

Silent and still, under the ground.

Will what is lost ever be found?

Seeds come up through the ground, they try.

So will I, So will I, So will I.

Digging through darkness by and by.

 

We will not disappear, tossed away with the turning of the years.

We will not disappear… disappear.

 

All these days we take for granted are not wasted they are planted

We will grow if we can stand it, if we push beyond the fear.

All these days we take for granted are not wasted they are planted

There’s a hope that grows inside us and it never disappears. (x2)

 

We will not disappear, tossed away with the turning of the years.

We will not disappear… disappear.

 

Leaves turn on trees, die and decay.

Is this is the fall? Or is it just the way?

 

Already:

Joel and Joy

I think I already love you, I think I’ve loved you since I knew I who I was.

Blue car, playing winds, and lonely heart,

And all at once I remember a future I haven’t known.

 

I’m already, already, already to love you.

To love you.

 

I think I already bear our children, I think I’ve born them since I knew who you were.

Church pews, curls and benedictions,

And all at once I remember the children we have yet to bear.

 

I’m already, already, already to love you.

To love you.

 

I think I already miss you, I think I’ve missed you since I knew who we were,

And who we are to be.

 

I think I’ve already found you. I think I found you since I’ve known what love is.

I’m already, already, already to love you.

Already, already, already to love you.

 

When it Comes to You:

Joel

There are some things that I can never say.

There are some words I don’t know how to pray,

When it comes to you I always end up looking the other way,

Because there are some things that I can never say.

 

Sometimes love is just a word and words can always lose their meaning.

And I know when I’m with you, I often feel alone.

But I hold onto the chance that these words could be redeeming,

And I sing these songs because I hope that this may someday feel like home.

 

There are so many things I feel that I must do,

There are so many things I feel that I must do for you.

When it comes to you I know that what you say may not be true,

There are so many thing I feel that I must do.

 

Sometimes love is just a word and words can always lose their meaning.

And I know when I’m with you, I often feel alone.

But I hold onto the chance that these words could be redeeming,

And I sing these songs because I hope that this may someday feel like home.

 

There are somethings that I can never say,

There are some words I don’t know how to pray.

When it comes to you I can’t say if I’ll go or if I’ll stay,

Because there are some things that I can never say.

There are some things that I can never say.

 

Girls in the Movies:

Joy and Joel

I don’t want to fall in love like the girls in the movies do,

On vacation in Rome, far from home,

Like love is a vacation too.

 

Let it be gentle, let it be slow

Let it be easy, like coming back home.

Let me come home, let me come home, let me come home to you.

 

Everyone I’ve tried to love felt like a holiday.

Fine while it lasted but as soon as it passed it was too easy to slip away.

 

Let it be gentle, let it be slow

Let it be easy, like coming back home.

Let me come home, let me come home, let me come home to you.

 

I’ve seen city lights come and go,

Faces pass like lines on a road.

All I really want is a garden that grows,

And a hand for me to have and hold.

 

Let it be gentle, let it be slow

Let it be easy, like coming back home.

Let me come home, let me come home, let me come home to you.

 

I don’t want to fall in love like the girls in the movies do.

 

Born Again:

Joy

It’s the same old mountains.

It’s the same old sky.

It’s the same old love song

That made me cry when I was

Just a little bit younger,

Just a little bit stronger,

Just a little bit better.

 

It’s the same old heartache.

It’s the same old sigh.

It’s the same old wishing

For a time when I was

Just a little bit younger,

Just a little bit stronger,

Just a little bit better.

 

So wake me up to the wonder of it all,

Breathe new life in the dry and weary halls of this

War torn heart that has made a home for pain,

I wanna be born I wanna be born again.

I wanna be born I wanna be born again.

 

It’s the same old mountains.

It’s the same old sky.

It’s the same old love song

That made me cry when I was

Just a little bit younger,

Just a little bit stronger,

Just a little bit better.

 

Parting Glass (Continued):

But since it falls unto my lot that I should rise and you should not,

I’ll gently rise and I’ll softly call,

Goodnight and Joy be with you all.

 

Two Benedictions – Honest Songs

 

Indeed! Joy be with you all!

Off to a jetlagged slumber.

Peace,

Joy

Packing in Haiku

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For this detailed deprived idealist, packing is a challenge only to be mastered with a great, great deal of tea. This weeks’ packing struggle has been epic, and I have won. The only appropriate way I could think of expressing the battle was through the honored art of haiku.

Packing in Haiku

A carpet of clothes

Drawers of good intention

An empty suitcase

~

Too many sweaters

Lonely, single, patterned socks

Not near enough books

~

Chocolate I once loved

Now a part of my suitcase

*sigh* And so it goes

~

Sell your things and give

Administrative nightmare

And yet appealing

~

So that’s where you’ve been

You elusive sweater, you

Not a fan now 😦

~

This will be easy

I said before the undoing

Please sit on this case

~

Toil and tight zippers

Begetting a journeys birth

Adventures begin

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The Darcy Dog is a helpful packing companion.

Ode to Colorado

This fall, I’m off on a new adventure: Scotland. But as I go about packing my bags and purchasing my rain boots, I’ve found myself aware of the gift that Colorado has been to me this year. Not just the people — although they are probably the greatest gift— but the place… the mountains, the seasons, the moods of the sky. It is a magical place. It deserves and Ode. So, tonight I wrote it one.

flurple

My friend Rebecca on a hike with me in the big, big mountains.

An Ode to Colorado

Oh, Colorado. I love your ways.

I love your casual magnificence, the way you brandish sunshine mountains and red rocked glory, even on a Tuesday.

Oh, Colorado. I love your untameableness, your proliferation of shy wild beasts. I love the feeling of never being quite safe, and yet being embraced in the glorious Other.

With you as my residence I feel associated with a power I cannot control, but one which deigns to endure me.

I love your blustering emotions poured out across the afternoon sky. The blistering heat of anger that cools in your marshmallow cloud rains.

I love you best in fall, and only better in summer.

I love your phasing flowers, the summer fields that fade from pink to blue to yellow.

I love when you slip into autumn for a day or two in August, just to sooth our sour, sweating souls.

I love the freckling sunshine that doesn’t outstay its welcome, allowing for Camelot rains.

I love when the awakening breath of autumn chill winds its way through the whistling pines. I love the dawn cold that smells like adventure.

I cherish the gaudy shimmer of the aspen trees dancing across the foothills.

I love the days when there’s nothing to do but listen to celtic music and eat apple muffins.

I even love your hateful winters. I begrudgingly thank you for unplanned snow days. Though I mope and stew, those days give time for thoughts to simmer and rise with a clarity as bright as the blinding snow. In winter, roots grow deep.

I love the eucatastrophe of your springtimes, the way they come in a sudden rush, like someone bursting from a closet to surprise you, scattering violets with every chuckle of self satisfaction.

I love the urgency of your summers, the aching feeling you must drink them up before the glass is dry, or frozen by winter.

And as I lay my head down tonight, witnessing the clashing flashes of lightning and grumbling explosions of thunder, I feel that same urgency. I am urgent with the desire to stand witness to your loveliness that I might not forget it when I’m gone.

The fragrance of falling rain fills my heart with rest and longing.

Wherever I go, thunder will make me think of my mountains.

I will miss you, Colorado.

And I’ll be back.

Honest Songs

Honest Songs

Honest Songs – Two Benedictions… coming soon!

Music is special.

It seems that there is something woven in the fabric of our souls, and written into the chemistry of our brains that makes us respond so strongly to melodies and harmonies. Even those whose aged minds are fading into another world respond to an old familiar hymn. Every couple I know has a song that is “their song.” Music is univerisal. Every culture without fail has their music, their patriotic pieces, their aching story songs.

Where there are humans, there is music. We can’t help ourselves.

Personally, music has the effect of making me feel swept up in a reality larger than my own. In writing music I find I can lose myself and find myself all at once.

Really good music feels like an invitation to me; my soul responds and I dive in. The melodies and harmonies and rhythms pull me under like a rushing river. They draw me out of myself and remind me that there is so much pulsing, aching beauty in this world. Music gives me the gift of self-forgetfulness.

And yet…

Music helps me wrestle into resolution what I cannot resolve in life. Just as we all long for the resolution of that final major chord, we all long for resolution and peace in life. We wish for tidied loose ends and relationships where we are always understood. The older I get the more situations I have been faced with that I could not, in my power, resolve. I find myself returning to creativity, whether writing or music, to face the irresolvable bits of my life. The disappointments I can’t make sense of. The rush of wondrous joy I can’t quantify. In music I find that though I can’t always resolve elements of my life, I can give them shape.

I need music in my life at the moment, because there are many things that need shape given to them. In my experience, much change begets much creativity.

That is why I am very glad to be in the midst of producing another album with my brother Joel.

Joel Maestro

In the slap-dash, quick-bang manner that we are accustomed to, Joel and I decided to write and produce another album before we are off on our wild, wild adventures. 

Recording is not always glamorous.

Book Micro

As you can see, we work with a very sophisticated (and somewhat wobbly) mic stand comprised of fat books. We laugh a great deal while recording; The Giggles are the great enemy of the recording artist. We gently tease when our voices just won’t cooperate. We forget words and start over again. And yet, somehow in the midst we pray we can make something beautiful… something hopeful.

Silly joel

We’re calling this album “Honest Songs.” We are calling it this because it is a work of our lives; the songs are shaped by the experiences we have had, by the hopes we harbor, the griefs we carry, and the faith we keep.

I feel a bit as though in releasing this album, I am releasing to God the past years, so that I can open my arms to all that is coming.

How thrilling that is.

Thank God for the gift of music.

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For anyone who lives in the Colorado area, we are throwing an album release party. You can get tickets  here.

For everyone else, I will post about it here when it is up on iTunes, Amazon, etc.

And, just because, I thought I would share with you all the lyrics to one of our Honest Songs.

Disappear:

Leaves turn on trees,

Die and decay. 

Is this the fall?  Or is it just the Way?

Seeds fall into the ground and die,

So will I, so will I, so will I.

Everything waving a long goodbye.

Chorus:

We will not disappear,

Tossed away with the turning of the years.

We will not disappear… disappear.

Silent and still,

Under the ground.

Will what is lost

Ever be found?

Seeds come up through the ground,

They try.

So will I, so will I, so will I.

Digging through darkness by and by.

Chorus:

We will not disappear,

Tossed away with the turning of the years.

We will not disappear… disappear.

Bridge:

All these days we take for granted

Are not wasted they are planted.

We will grow if we can stand it, 

If we push beyond the fear.

All these days we take for granted

Are not wasted they are planted.

There’s a Hope that grows inside us,

And it never disappears.

Chorus: 

We will not disappear,

Tossed away with the turning of the years.

We will not disappear… disappear.

Leaves turn on trees,

Die and decay, 

Is this the fall, 

Or is it just the Way?

– Joy and Joel Clarkson

Click here for the full audio of this song.