Sojourn "Advent Songs"

Three of the last four years, I've recorded on Christmas albums. I only tell you this because it means that I start listening to Christmas music in July or August. Then, by December, when everybody else is ready for it, I'm already tired of it. Either that, or it looses its specialness because it's not attached to a season anymore.

Well, this year I found a CD that I actually am enjoying listening to. ALOT. Very rarely do CDs get more than 1 or 2 spins in my car before they join the rotation. I think I played this one for a week straight, and there's only 8 songs. This is an EP from a church community in Louisville called "Sojourn." Most of the songs are "Advent" related, so they speak much of the coming of Christ, and a preparation for Christmas. I love these versions of "Joy to the World" and "O Come, O Come, Emanuel." My favorite original is "Glory Be." You should really get this EP. You can pay whatever you want to for it, or download it for free by telling 5 friends. iTunes also sells it for less than 8 bucks. It's worth the money.


No Crying She Makes

This is a video of Bella playing Baby Jesus in the Second Baptist musical last Saturday night. She was really wonderful. She just sat and looked around, making faces. 


Thanksgiving and Beyond

::deep breath::

Back to normalcy. Whatever that means, I feel like we're back to our real life again. It's been a whirlwind of a week, with alot of activity, alot of people, and ALOT of driving.

Thanksgiving day was great. We got to have dinner with my mom's side of the family. My parents were in Las Vegas, so Bethany and I were the representatives of the Smith family. I was really excited to find out that my grandma was going to be there. She has Alzheimer's and lives in a nursing home. I haven't gotten to see her in several months, and she has never met Bella. It was actually the first time Bella got to meet most of those family members. Here's a few pictures of her meeting some family for the first time. These aren't in any chronological order.

This is my grandfather's mother-in-law. She lives in Mexico and speaks no English. When I was younger, and her visits to my grandpa and his wife lined up with our family visits, I would always make sure I said "hola" and "adios" to her whenever we came and went. That was (and still basically is) my Spanish vocabulary. For whatever reason, she felt a bond with me and would always ask about her "little amigo." So now I'm still her little amigo, and she got to meet my daughter, who is now affectionately her "amigita."

Here is a man completely smitten by his great-granddaughter. This is my mom's dad, Pappaw. He absolutely loved seeing her, and out of his 10 great-grands, this is the first he's gotten to see so young, and his first to feed. She was wonderful for him, of course.

My family has a long legacy of music lovers. I think alot of that comes from Pappaw. In this picture he's singing a verse from "Because He Lives."
"How sweet to hold a newborn baby, and feel the pride and joy she gives; 
but greater still the calm assurance, 
this child can face uncertain days because He lives." 

I don't know whether she knew who she was holding or not, but it was overwhelming to get to see my Mammaw holding my daughter. I will cherish these pictures and this day. 

This is Bella and her Great(est) Aunt Willa. Bella smiled so much for her.

Friday after Thanksgiving I had the chance to play some music on the Riverwalk in San Antonio with an artist named Darrell Smith. We kicked off the Parade of Lights that starts the Christmas Season on the river. Bethany and Bella get the award for best gig family. They endured 10 hours outside on the Riverwalk. It was a really long day, and all of us were fighting colds.  

Bella and Pappaw saying good-bye for now. She was obviously heart-broken. 

Saturday evening we drove from San Antonio to my parents' house in Montgomery, and got there just as the rest of the family was leaving. We got to sneak a few pictures in, and spent a little time with just my parents and my brother and his wife. Bella has decided that when Papa (my dad) holds her, she will stick out her bottom lip. We're not sure why she does it, but it's really cute. I was prepared with camera in hand. 

Here's a picture of 4 generations. I'm the only boy. And the only one looking at this particular camera at this particular time.

Sunday afternoon, just as I was waking up from a much needed nap, we got a call saying that Bethany's grandfather was not doing so well. He's been bed-ridden for about a year-and-a-half, and somewhat unresponsive for the last few months. A few hours later we got the call that he had passed away. Monday morning we packed up again and headed to Burleson to be with Bethany's family and attend the funeral on Tuesday. We were very grateful that, not two weeks before he died, he got to see his great-granddaughter. As you can see, she had no idea what was going on, but this is another picture and event that we will all cherish.