Monday, January 30, 2012

This Is Why We Love to Do Worship At Church. This is Why We Love Church

We know and understand that lot's of you don't have the best of feelings about church.  Many have had funky experiences with people which have hurt us, made us feel judged, pushed out or rejected.  This is the cunning scheme of the enemy to keep us from having fellowship with each other in the context of church.  So we all must try as hard as we can to recover from hurts, and find a body where we can connect so we can continue to thrive on the vine and be ingrafted into the family of Christ.  This is essential for our growth and kingdom life God wants us to have.  Below is a post on our church group, and illustrates that we are so grateful to keep hanging in there through thick and thin so we can bless each other in the joy of the Lord:

    From Nancy LaLande:
You all were AMAZING and truly AWESOME today!  I felt the presence of the Lord very strongly during 1st service…  And Jeff you looked so at peace today during worship…  almost as if you were floating on air : )

I am so grateful to Shelley and Cal for telling us about ECF almost 10 years ago!!

Loving you all!!!

Thanks for all you do….


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Guest Artists at Spencer Butte Middle School MLK Assembly

We were invited to play and speak at the Spencer Butte Middle School Martin Luther King assembly.  It was to be Jan 9. 2012.  We arrived at 8:00 and quickly got our gear into the gym on the stage where some of the kids were practicing a dance they were going to do.  That middle school atmosphere came rushing back as we've spent many hours in the schools working with kids.  We were greeted warmly, and just felt good about what we were going to do.
After they watched two videos we were on.  Shelley started U2's "Pride, In the Name of Love" and had the crowd enthralled within a few bars.  That song went over really well.  We then sang Bob Marley's "One Love", and were thrilled to see the kids swaying, clapping, and eventually all on their feet singing with us.  The next song was "My Favorite Things".  Then Cal gave a short speech, encouraging the kids to know that they are unique, and no one can put them down.  MLK taught us that if people rise up in a non-violent way, they show their oppressors the err of their ways. He told the students that they can be proud of how they look, what they like, and bring out the best in others.  Each of us has talents and gifts to contribute to the world, and NO ONE can take that away.  There is only one race, the human race!!

We then ended on "It's So All Right", and danced with the kids at the end when we all got together to dance.  We had an amazing time.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Great Gear Alert- Hercules Stands

     I want to talk about our love of Hercules stands.  They make guitar stands for electric, and acoustic guitars.  Single and multiple stands, music, and speaker stands, plus stands for horns.  Shelley's brother discovered these in Canada about 10 years ago, brought one down to our house one day, and showed it to us.  It was one of the small portable, fold able stands.  We couldn't believe it.   I have not seen or used another stand that comes even close to the design of Hercules since.  Our Hercules guitar stands go to every gig with us, even if it is at a venue where we know they have gear. 
     There have been a few times when I forgot ours, and ended up miserable dealing with whatever stand we've had to use.  Here's why.  Some stands we've used are the type that have a curvy top to secure the instrument.  But that curve gets in the way then getting the guitar out.  Some stands are really short, with the top of it touching the back of the body of the guitar, but guess what happens?  It can tip over one way or another!   Our Hercules stands, on the other hand, are designed to work with any guitar or bass we have.  It also has an ingenious design of two levers that close in front of the headstock from the weight of the guitar.  As you pick it up, they open, and you've got your axe in hand.  We've had a stand of similar look, yet inferior design that we used to use, but the top part is very narrow.  We also have one of their mini guitar stands which folds down to a minuscule size, yet is very solid, and amazingly strong.
    Shelley's brother bought some speaker stands.  They are brilliant.  You can put the speaker up on the stand at the lowest height, and then use the crank to easily raise it to the height you want.  No more hoisting the stand up and tightening it quickly while someone else keeps the speaker from sliding down on you.  Or, no more raising the stand, then you (crazy) or you and a friend hoist the speaker up on the highest height.
   We love that they take in musician needs in their design.  Portability, fingers don't get pinched, they look great, and they are very durable.   Look on their website to see the extensive array of choices they have from guitar stands, singles and multiples, to horns, music, mic, and speaker stands.  Happy gigging for y'all!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Our Memories from the Grammy's 2011

The grammy's aired Feb 13, on a night where we were able to watch the entire 3/12 hours uninterrupted.  There's a part of you as an artist that says, "I don't care about all of that crap," but then you must say, "c'mon, why am I all mad at this?  It is a huge production and a lot of amazing people are performing together on the same stage in one night.  It is an amazing performance and production showcase. " Be glad for your fellow musicians, writers, producers, to be honored.  
     Our friend Christopher Stevens has decided to attend his first ever Grammy Telecast in Los Angeles on February 13th, 2011, with his wife Nancy.   They went to LA because he was nominated on TWO different albums.  Stevens produced Sanctus Real’s “Pieces Of A Real Heart” and tobymac’s “Tonight,” both of which are nominated in the category for Contemporary Gospel Album.  Now that is some fun stuff for them to do, and it would be wrong if all of his hometown friends were not giving him his props.  So we had fun facebooking, and tweeting our bro all night and today.

The Show - 

We saw each performance.  Part of what happens to us, is that we can totally put ourselves in each performers head, and feel the nerves.  We know how nervous we'd be on that stage.  It is not their regular audience.

The opening song tribute to Aretha Franklin -  5 great singers, Yolanda Adams, Jennifer Hudson, Christina Aguilera, Martina McBride, Florence (and the Machine) and they really sounded great.  Got my applause at the end.

Miranda Lambert - She's a GREAT singer.  The real country deal.  Man I love good country.
Bruno Mars, B.o.B., and Janelle MonĂ¡e - loved the retro act, with the black and white film.
Barbara Streisand - Legendary!!!!
Mick Jagger - He took over the entire arena.  Another legendary performance.
Justin Bieber, Jaden Smith, and Usher - Great production, and killer songs!
Mumford & Sons
Bob Dylan with all of the bluegrass/folk bands
Cee Lo Green with Gwyneth Paltrow - Wild and fun
All of the new bands.

I am glad there was such attention to live performances, which became the majority of the broadcast.  We also marvel at all of the production that goes so well.  Set changes, different bands with different sound, wireless mics, wireless in-ear monitor systems.  Electric instruments, acoustic instruments, guitars, bass, drums, vocals, horns, piano.  Incredible job sound engineers!

It turned out that Chris didn't win.  It was one of the awards you had to find out about from the website.  His nominations were in the same category, so he had a 2 in 5 chance, but there was a different album chosen.  But wow, to be nominated for two grammys ever in your career, let alone in the same year!!!  Chris produced a new single that will be coming out by Blake Shelton.  The song is called “Hey!”  Awesome stuff.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Some Nights

I was holding Eva after reading her a nighttime book and gazed into the ocean painted on her wall.  Then I thought about the two boys who just lost their lives in the ocean right by our favorite spot on the coast.  We've written many songs there, waked the trail, loved each other, lived.  But tonight, tears came flowing as I thought of the parents who may never be able to look at the water the same.  They held their boys like I was holding Eva, and life threw them a wicked curve.  I pray for the comfort of everyone deeply affected by their loss.  I hope for many guardian angels to hold them close.  

So I wrote this poem for Eva.

Some Nights

Some nights
I hold you a little longer than others
You are asleep, your innocence in my arms

Some nights,
I feel a little deeper
I kiss your cheeks
And lips all sweet and warm

Some nights
I linger a little longer
And love the baby stuff in your room

Some nights
I care too much
And cry knowing it will end too soon

But tonight
I cherish the moment
Memories safely tucked away

I'll never forsake
That you are a miracle
So I'll love you with all my soul today

Much love for Conner & Jack


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Jamming a Friend Goodbye - Mo'Fessor - A Night of Musicians Send Mo' to Hawaii

     Our good friend and fellow musician Maurice "Mo'Fessor" McConnell decided to move to Hawaii with his sweet wife Karen a few months ago.  His departure date was to be Jan 11., so at the time I write this, they are there already.
      Mo played in Satin Love Orchestra for 4 years I think.  We were in LA when he joined, so I'd have to check with one of the other band-mates for accuracy of when he started.  But he was a great member of the group, such a gentle soul, and a terrifically talented musician.  We will miss him in the band, and wish he and Karen all the best on their new adventure.
      On Wed, Jan 5 a bunch of musicians got together at Diablo's in Eugene to 'jam' him farewell.  He was on keys, and super drummer Tim Donahue was holding down the throne all night.  Sax great Paul Biondi was the glue helping organize the musicians, and jamming with the different groups as well.  
     He started at 8pm with some great blues musicians.  His mates from Mr. Wizard got up a bit later and cranked out some killer rock and funk including the funkiest version of "Brick House" I've ever heard.  Me, Shelley, Joe Weber, and Rica Wright joined him for a few Satin Love tunes, then his friends from Frown Squad got up to rip out a few of their covers.  We finally had to leave at 11, and I could tell that Mo was gonna be playing for quite a while longer.  He still had his brothers to come up, plus numerous other musicians in the cue wanting to join him for one last note with the guy.  In the meantime, a whole bunch of dancers from a club weaved all over the dancefloor, loving the night of great music they were getting to absorb.
      It is obvious that Mo's sweet spirit, and talent have gained him so many good friends from the way that place was packed that night.  I felt so good for him to see the fruits of his kindness and abilities to mold himself to so many musical situations.

We love you Mo!!!!
Shelley & Cal

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Three Recipes - Baked Potatoes with Gruyere, Quesadillas, Apple Salad

Hi All,

We were recently asked to share 3 vegetarian recipes for a mommy blog interview we were doing.  On several different nights when we were cooking in, and wrote the recipes down we were making up that night.  Of course, Shelley gets most of the credit, as she is wayy ahead of Cal in the understanding of ingredients, and cooking techniques.  Don't get in a tizzy over this, this is Cal writing.  Shelley does not assert that.  Anyway, here are the three recipes!

Vegetarian Recipes by Shelley & Cal - The first two are original recipes that we created and tried in the past few weeks.  The third is a family recipe created by Shelley's mom.

Baked Potatoes topped with Gruyere Garlic Broccoli Saute

2 big bakers or 4 small russet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 oz gruyere cheese, grated
2 broccoli spears, chopped
2 oz finely chopped onions
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons of flour
2 tablespoons of butter
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup white table wine
1/4 cup chopped parsley
pinch black pepper

Bake the potatoes at 400 (cooking time will vary 45-1hour).

In a medium sauce pan, drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Saute the garlic, onions, broccoli on medium heat until soft.  Add the wine and reduce. Season with salt & pepper.

In a another small sauce pan, melt the butter, whisk in the flour, cook flour for one minute, then add milk & cheese and continue to whisk until creamy.

Meal for Two
Pour cheese sauce over cooked potatoes and top with garlic-broccoli mixture, garnish with parsley.

Super Duper Quesadillas
8" flour or whole wheat tortillas
2 oz grated cheddar cheese
2 oz grated pepper jack
1 small can of sliced black olives
1 ripe avocado cut into small pieces
3 green onions chopped
1 clove garlic chopped (for health!)
1 small can green chiles
1 can refried beans (you will need to spatula thin layer of beans onto tortilla)
Serve with:
your favorite salsa
sour cream dallop

Heat pan to medium low heat.  LIghtly butter (or oil if you prefer) one side of tortilla and place butter side down in pan. Line tortilla with some of all of the ingredients while it's in the pan, place another buttered tortilla on top.  Cook until golden brown and flip.  Cook another few minutes until cheese is melted. 
Remove from pan to cutting board and cut into quarters. Serve with sour cream and salsa on side.

This can make 2-3 quesadillas if you portion out the tortillas and ingredients.

Cabbage Apple Salad -

1/2 Cup Mayonaise
1/4 Cup Vinegar
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1/4 Cup Sugar

2 Fuji apples peeled, chopped -
1 medium cabbage, cored, finely shredded
2 large carrots - peeled, shredded
1 bunch scallions finely sliced

Prepare the Dressing. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients together until well blended. Set aside.

Prepare the salad. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrots, scallions, and apples. Pour in the reserved dressing and toss until well blended. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving, mixing the salad at least once to evenly distribute the dressing.