Friday, December 19, 2008

Winter-time is Here!

Carolyn wrote a song called Land of the Living, in which she wrote the following lines:

The frost came so early this year
Springtime is long overdue
And my heavy coat,
It don’t keep out the cold like it used to

Nothing but fog in my mind
Nothing but ice in my veins
I know everything’s got a season,
But tell me please the reason
This winter will not go away

"This Winter" in Chicagoland hit Thanksgiving weekend, and seems to be picking up speed! We've had a couple of snowfalls - last night's was 11 inches - and the ground is now thoroughly blanketed. Gigantic piles in the parking lots of various stores. We're supposed to get a little more snow tomorrow night, on into Sunday morning. Sunday and Monday's highs are in the single digits. And it's not really even Winter until the 21st!

As soon as the weather changed I started thinking about this song. My heavy coat, it don't keep out the cold like it used to. I really don't get cold; I've lived in the Chicago area my whole life, so I guess I've got thick blood. But I know many do get cold - my wife is one. And the colder you are, the longer the Winter must seem.

I wonder if we'll feel cold (and, alternately, hot) in Heaven? There's nothing as lovely as a cold Winter night, with no breeze and a gentle snow falling. Or the heat from the sun that streams through your car's windshield on a sunny Winter day. Of course there's the beach in the Summer and that overall feeling of warmth you get from laying in the sun. And the chill of walking into the air conditioning . . . or down into a cave. Perhaps it will be even better! Maybe we'll be able to get close to the surface of a star, or walk on the dark side of the moon . . .

For now, though, I'm enjoying the weather . . .

Sometimes I dream that the summer has come
I feel the warmth of the afternoon sun
But then I awaken and I’m back to waiting
Oh how much longer Lord?

Friday, August 29, 2008

At Barnabas

I haven't updated 'round here for a bit, so I thought I'd post a few pics for those who, in their lamentable misfortunes of not being Pacific Northwesterners, do not get to see Carolyn in concert as much as they wish.

Every year, at a wonderful retreat called Barnabas that is located on a slice of Eden that God, in His mercy, left open after the Fall (or Keats Island, BC, in the more prosaic description), we are blessed to take a pic with Sadie and Carolyn on the last day of camp.

So, for general enjoyment, here are the snaps from the past four years:





She sure likes those hats, eh? Maybe she wants to circumvent any discussion of "moments caught like old hair styles" in the future.

Monday, June 02, 2008

My WWA Review

I posted a review of this book over at Adorable Trivialities, since blogs were unknown to me back in 2000 when Living the Questions was released.
Have a read if you're inclined. (If you're level, you may read it also.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

An Interview with Carolyn Arends from The Christian Manifesto

Hey All!

I came across this April 2008 interview with Carolyn, and I thought I'd link to it so that you could enjoy it as well.

And here is another studio pic that I found at Roy Salmond's site.

I've been thinking that the posts here have needed some graphics to jazz them up a bit, and what better way to do that than find some less-known, casual shots of CA doing what she was created to do?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Thinking of Moving the Fan Blog to Wordpress -- Any Thoughts?

Got this cool, casual pic from Roy Salmond's site.

Hmmm . . . Blogger "accidentally" killed this post the first time I tried to publish it.

So, anyway, I am thinking of moving the fan blog from Blogger to Wordpress, because there are some features over at Wordpress that Blogger does not offer and I think will suit this blog well.

If we're moving, this would be a good time to change the name of this blog, and I'm looking for suggestions from fellow fans -- esp. my cohorts: vermonster, MarkD., and Richard.

We can have some fun with this, so let your imaginations run wild.

The world and I await your ideas.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Carolyn's New Newsblog and Other Sundry Things

Here is a new feature at Carolyn's site: A Newsblog.

It seems a little superfluous to me, but I suppose it will take the place of the "News" section on her homepage.

Re. our adding a chat room or message board to this site: We have not had a lot of new visitors -- at least not many that have made their presences known by a) commenting or b) signing the guest book. So, I'm thinking maybe we should hold off on either option. I'm more inclined toward a chat room eventually, since we could post a meet-up time on the blog without having a message board. And, Carolyn may be adding all this back to her own site anyway, making anything here redundant.

Carolyn's been posting a lot over at Conversant Life. Good stuff. Her essay for Christianity Today's May issue, "The Grace of Wrath," has provoked some controversy from readers. I've been trying to compose my own comments for many a day now, but have been side-tracked by pressing home concerns from actually formulating a coherent response.

Carolyn's Brother's Band: This is a little O/T, but I wanted to let you know that I got The Clumsy Lover's latest album, Smart Kid, from Feed the Lake, and it is remarkable. The only other TCL CD I have is Barnburner, which I enjoy, but this recent addition far surpasses t'other. I'm hoping to write a review of it over at FTL when I've given it a few more listens. Wonderful songwriting -- quirky, humorous, profound, intriguing -- and some of the most original and exuberant musical arrangements to be found. A superb collection! I heartily recommend it -- and would even if it didn't have a song on it co-written by Joy Jonat, Carolyn Arends, and Chris Jonat (God showered talent on that family!).

I hope all is well in the rest of Arends Fandom. We're holding up our end in the PNW as best we can. Blessings!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Album the Tenth

Carolyn's upcoming tenth album may very well be a hymns album (I got a hint about that straight from the songbird's mouth). So, we all know what that means: A blog survey! What hymns would you like to hear Carolyn work her magic on?* We've discussed this a bit over at the (now defunct) message board, but why not revive it here? It's always a fun one to rehash.

Here are mine:
Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee
I Love to Tell the Story
There is a Fountain
At Calvary
The Old Rugged Cross
It Is Well With My Soul

*As G.K. Chesterton said: "A preposition is a very good thing to end a sentence with."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I Hereby Volunteer!

This is not a joke.

I am volunteering my services as a keyboard player on the "next" Carolyn Arends album. I have some little experience as a player and would be happy to submit a sample of my work.

It's a long shot, but I'll take it.

And I can't wait for the next album!!!

A New Poll

There's a new poll on the sidebar. Express your opinion!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Carolyn on The Debbie Chavez Show

In our renewed and continuing efforts at Carolyn Arends 202 to stay on top of and offer a forum for discussion of all news pertaining to Carolyn Arends, I am opening up (a day beforehand, thank you very much) a post to discuss Carolyn's appearance on The Debbie Chavez Show.

OK, we all got the e-newsletter from Rose. (What? You didn't? Make sure you go sign up right now at Carolyn's site. We'll wait for you here.) Carolyn will have a live, streaming interview on The Debbie Chavez Show (based out of Bellingham, WA -- yay!) tomorrow, April 22, 2008, from 12 noon - 12:30 (PST). You can listen to it here. Apparently, they will be taking calls on the air (1-866-597-PATH) and responding to e-mails.

What do you think, fellow 202ers? Do we represent? Or do we give others a chance to get in on the conversation? I'm more inclined to the latter, since I've hassled Carolyn to the point of satiety, and I'm far more curious to hear what other fans have to say.

It does not sound like there will be any music (only 1/2 hour!), or at least not much, which is disappointing. Maybe Ms. Chavez will leave Carolyn a few minutes for one wee song. I'm hoping for the "Resurrection Song."

Well, this should be great! I'm glad, as always, that Carolyn will be getting more exposure. Just think: Someone out there who has never heard of Carolyn Arends will be introduced tomorrow to an artist whose work will enrich his soul -- Wow!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Guest Book

We now have a guest book! Hurrah!

I also updated some stuff on the sidebars -- groovy new colors (though we're stuck with the oddly colored balls until I become more proficient in altering HTML -- read: forever).

Enjoy, and keep on posting!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Message Board at

The message board at Carolyn's official site has been disabled.

I hope this will encourage more dispossessed posters to come on over and participate in this fan blog.

We'll try to do a better job of keeping this site updated with comments on any Carolyn Arends news that comes along. If you would like to join the group so that you may start topics for discussion, please let us know. You are very welcome here.

Converse on, fellow fans, converse on!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Lucky Number Thirteen

Well, 2008 is the thirteen year anniversary of Carolyn's debut album, I Can Hear You (Reunion Records, 1995). In a spirit of fun and celebration, I would like to take a poll. If you were to look over Carolyn's complete catalogue of music (including her Christmas album, her downloads, and contributions to collaborative efforts) and choose the definitive thirteen songs for the first thirteen years, what would you choose, and why? I humbly offer my own suggestions as follows (in no particular order):

"I Can Hear You" -- A fun song with a great beat; a crowd-pleaser with a strong message; Carolyn needs to contribute the sunglasses and white pants-suit from the video to the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame -- sweet!
"Do We Dare" -- The best song ever written in any genre
"One-Syllable Words" -- You cannot let the marvelous coinciding of Chesterton's Orthodoxy's centennial and Carolyn's triskaidekial (sorry to mix Latin and Greek) pass by without including this gem.
"What Love Looks Like" -- Leave it to Carolyn to write one of the best songs about the life of Jesus without mentioning Him once by name
"Now in Flesh Appearing" -- A Christmas song that works just as well "in the middle of July;" plus, she rhymes "Kazakhstan," which is an historic first for Christmas season songwriting
"Travelers (The Airport Song)" -- Funny and lively with a poignant touch; will resonate with any person who has ever experienced the convenience of modern air travel
"Everybody Wants Everything" -- Possibly the coolest song Carolyn's ever recorded
"The Wasteland" -- Desolate and haunting, but ultimately redemptive; a masterpiece of minimalism; also, one of the few songs where you cannot hear a smile in her voice
"Not a Tame Lion" -- Great elaboration of Lewis's observation that Aslan is not "tame, but He is good;" has one of the greatest endings of all of Carolyn's songs
"Love is So Blind" -- This cover of Mark Heard's song is exquisite
"The Resurrection Song" (not sure of the title; I've only heard the song once) -- I can hardly wait until this one is recorded; I cried when I heard it, not that that is news.
"Everything Changes at Christmas" -- Happy and wonderful Christmas song; we must have played it 5,236,831 times in the two weeks leading up to Christmas this year
"We've Been Waiting For You" -- I think it has been scientifically proven that no parent can hear this song without blubbering; just watch the Kleenex come out the next time you're at a concert

Where am I right? Where am I wrong? What's my most outrageous omission (I think I can guess)?

Friday, January 18, 2008

My Cup Already Runneth Over, But . . .

OK! So, the 2008 American Chesterton Society Conference is already going to be amazing. Who wouldn't love three days in St. Paul, MN that not only celebrate the Centennial of Chesterton's masterpiece, Orthodoxy, but also include such Justine-pleasing presentations as "Chesterton and Shakespeare" and "Chesterton and Jane Austen," right? I am so going to be there!

Cloud Eight was floating pretty high, but then came the niggling little idea, "You know what would make this ACS conference even more sublime? Music by Carolyn Arends and Spencer Capier, of course!"

I said to Jason, my sounding board for all my crazy ideas, "I think I'm going to e-mail the ACS and ask them to book Carolyn for their conference."

Jason shot me down with a disparaging, "That's really weird. You're not Carolyn's promoter -- why would you approach an organization out of the blue about booking a concert with someone of whom they have most likely never heard?"

Well, if the ACS has "never heard" of Carolyn Arends, it's about time they did. I would, perhaps, not know about G.K. Chesterton, had I never read about him first in Living the Questions, and they would be down one three-year subscription. So, I remained undaunted by Mr. Gloomy's negativity. I decided to e-mail Paula Flink -- Fearless and Tireless Coordinator and Manager of Team Carolyn. If this really was weird, she would (gently and nicely as Canadians know so well how to do) let me down.

Well, Paula e-mailed back that it was OK by her if I contacted the ACS on Running Arends's behalf; so I did. Now, I'm scared as hell. It's pretty intimidating just to put your ideas out there to strangers with the very good chance that they will be rejected.

Still, though, they might not be. And, how cool would it be to get Carolyn and Spencer in Minnesota to rock out with their fellow Chesterton fans? How much would those fans get a kick out of "One-Syllable Words" and all the rest of her songs? It would be "legend -- wait for it, and I hope you're not lactose intolerant, because the second part is -- dary. Legendary!"

Here's to hoping for an upgrade from Cloud Eight to Nine!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Sweet Vindication!

Have you ever gotten an idea, and then gotten passionate about it? Thought about it; pondered it; imagined every little bit of it? You poured your heart and soul into seeing this wee little idea blossom into the grand dream that came to overwhelm your imagination? And then, the day of reckoning dawns, and everything either comes together beautifully or falls flat on its face . . . And it comes together beautifully and is maybe even better than you had dared to dream it might be? Isn't that GREAT?!!

Sometimes you just know things. And I just knew -- I just knew -- that if Carolyn Arends and Spencer Capier played at our church it would be a revelation and a blessing for all involved. So, I kept at it. I prayed and asked and was rebuffed. Then, I prayed and asked and was rebuffed. Then, I prayed and asked and, well, it was a little disheartening. Not that my church was opposed to having Carolyn come -- I think it was just that the timing was always off, and they had no real motivation to make room on the busy church schedule. Then, this past summer, I was sitting in Sunday service, watching a guest musical artist play on the stage. And she was OK, but certainly not Carolyn. And then I had a vision -- yes, a vision. I saw Carolyn and Spencer on that same stage/pulpit area, and I knew that this was the time to try, try again.

God's timing always is perfect, and suddenly everything I had hoped and prayed for fell into place. Yay! And I got so excited, not so much for myself, because, though there's no limit to my love of hearing Carolyn and Cap, I have had many an opportunity to enjoy that privilege over the years -- both in the U.S. and Canada. I was getting so excited for all of my fellow congregants who had most likely never experienced the pure pleasure and unmitigated joy of a Carolyn/Spencer concert.

(Sometimes, when I'm in a pondering mood, I think about that oblivious listener out there, right this moment, who is someday going to stumble across Carolyn's music and be blown away. I get so excited for this person, and yet I am filled with a bit of jealousy -- how cool to have all that amazing music lying hidden, just waiting to be discovered! Then I remember how much better it is to have had that music over the years, and I'm no longer green-eyed -- except that my eyes are usually rather green without any visions of jealousy dancing in my head.)

Anyway, the rest is beautiful history. Carolyn and Cap came on December 8 -- sadly without Paula Flink, the Queen of All Management/Booking Agent Types of Rock Stars, both Canadian and American -- and met with the whole panel of Calvary Chapel South's pastors and Mrs. pastors at a crowded and authentic Mexican restaurant. There, much jolly political talk ensued between Spencer and our pastor, Kevin, while Carolyn developed a sudden and pointed fascination for the food in front of her and I contemplated whether a dropped napkin could provide a refuge beneath the table. Joking aside, there was probably more civilized talk from opposite ends of the purple spectrum that night than there will be through this whole bloody presidential campaign. Oy!

But, when you're talking Carolyn and Cap, it's really all about the music, Stupid. And, when you're talking those two, the music is transcendent. The next morning, bright and early at the 9 AM service -- and only God knows how they managed it -- they were rocking; and the party continued on through the 11 AM service. I think that Pastor John summed the whole thing up best when he pulled me aside after second service and said, "That was really an annointed time." Amen.

I was pulled aside a lot that morning by the pastors three of CCS. Phenomenal, amazing, wonderful, and other words in the English vocabulary that almost, if not quite, describe the Carolyn/Cap experience were thrown around with justifiable abandon. Everyone was already busily at work, trying to come up with reasons to have them back as soon as possible. It took every measure of grace I could summon not to let go with a big, "I told you so!"

So, if you would like to see some of the fruits of my long labor of love, check out the tour page at Carolyn's site. This time, the church scored a coup by getting Mark "Love You Forever" Arends to join in the fun. Truly, it is hard to imagine a better couple to lead a Couples' Banquet than the Arendses. If I can get a date, I might just go myself this year. I wonder if Jason's free . . .