a few of my favorites from 2013…

2013 was an amazing year and I came across some amazing art.  I wanted to pass along some of my favorite pieces from the year.

In no particular order…

Civil Wars – The Civil Wars 

This whole album was brilliant for me (and Ben).  We actually bought the CD and listened to it in it’s entirety, over and over on our drive from Nashville to Hot Springs, NC for the Wild Goose Festival in June.  Only note is that I prefer the original recording of Civil War’s “From This Valley” from MercyLand:Hymns for the Rest of us.  The new version is a tad over produced for my liking.



What a movie!  For me this is Disney at it’s absolute best.  Wonderful story with suspense, surprise, great and unique characters AND it’s like a broadway musical in animation.  Both Hutch and Haven loved it as well. This will be a cherished favorite for years.


Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – The Heist

I have grown to love and appreciate the art of rap (probably because Ben is such a fan and can do a mean karaoke version of most 90’s rap songs – but I digress ). This album was full of insight, empathy, lyrical challenge to the listener and great dance tracks.  I just loved it and listened to it a lot.  My kids love a lot of it too so we were even more thankful when Kidzbop came out with a couple kids version of Thrift Shop and Can’t Hold us.  But the kids still prefer the original.  can’t blame them…


The Underground Church – Reclaiming the Subversive Ways of Jesus by Robin Meyers

This year I was a horrible reader.  I had no follow through.  I finished all of 4 books which is very unlike me.  I started a hundred and just never finished due to my lack of prioritizing my life. Ugh.  I will do better in 2014 because reading is so fulfilling and life giving to me. Robin Meyers has been one of my favorite authors and every time I made time to read this book I was madly underlining things.  So when I finally finished this book on New years Day I was so elated.  It is full of all that I hope to be as a follower of Christ and all I hope our church to be as well.  I can’t recommend it enough to EVERYONE.  It’s needed for challenge or reassurance or probably both.  I will read it again in 2014 and quickly this time.


Justin Timberlake – 20/20 experience album and concert

Oh Justin.  Chalk it up to my love and respect of great performers, great pop music, skilled dancers, flawless vocals, excellent musicians, and all around love of enjoying watching others enjoy themselves and that equals my affinity towards JT.  He is all of those things.  This album is great. The concert was equally as good.  (My birthday/anniversary present from Ben was very, very close tickets in Nashville – points for BEN!) enough.  enough.


Lee Daniel’s The Butler

This film was everything I needed it to be.  I have a heart for the underdog, the outcast, the less than…so in this film, which tells the story of one man’s long journey of justice slowly but surely being fulfilled, I was brought into the story with him, wanted justice even more after watching, and enjoyed celebrating what has come to fruition in our nation.  Say what you will about it, but I was more than pleased.


Hunger Games: Catching Fire

These books (which I read in the beginning of 2012) were some of my favorite fiction in years.  I was excited about the first movie and after watching was left disappointed but my love of Catniss wouldn’t change.  But this new movie was epic.  Catching Fire can stand on it’s own as a great movie, without need of loving the book and tolerating the movies.  Great suspense and drama and special effects.  It’s a must see for me.


The Croods

I LOVE this movie.  I think it’s brilliant and hilarious.  I usually am not a fan of kids movies and I see more kids movies than anything these days.  This movie was just great.  I think the storyline was interesting and the emphasis on moving forward as life throws new experiences and dangers at you and being open to change and anything new, will get me every time.  Yes. Yes. Yes.




Wake me Up –  Avicii  – trust everyone’s experience no matter their age.  Feel all of life now.   “I didn’t know I was lost”.

Oceans (Where feet may fail)  – I really am not a fan of most Christian music.  I know. I know.  I think that is because it’s all I mostly listen to in researching music for the church/my job.   I have to search and search for songs that are both wonderful lyrically, musically interesting, and corporate.  sigh.  I wish I was a better song writer.  ha.  All that to say this song took a while to grow on me but I have to tell you now I LOVE IT.  I need it.  Our church loves it as well.  Get on the band wagon.  trust me. :)

Say Something – A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera – oh.  Pure vocals from both artists.  Clear, crisp.  the lyrics just pull you in and make you long as well.  It’s a little transcendent for me.  I have felt this towards both other humans and towards God.  I can’t wait to have the opportunity to use the song.

Stay – Mikky Ekko, RihannaI appreciate angst, pure longing and passion.  I think this record has all three. When they performed it live at the Grammy’s I finally loved Rihanna as a live performer, and it was mesmerizing.    The best songs are just that.  Simple.  Honest.  Captivating.

All of Me – John Legend  I have always loved John Legend. I have followed his beautiful, quirky and funny wife on instagram and their love story.  This is the song he wrote for her for their wedding.  Love it.



Living the Questions: The Wisdom of Progressive Christianity by David M. Felten and Jeff Proctor-Murphy 

The easiest way to explain my love of this book is that it gives a wonderful, concise overview of where I am now in my spiritual journey.  It’s easy to read, descriptive, explanatory, moving and challenging.  Even though I whole heartedly know that labels run out, I think this gives insight into the heart of the progressive faith.

So cheers to more reading, listening, more art… more beauty in 2014!!


Best – Melissa