Sun(Fun)Day Night Post – Feel-Good Music by The Hunts

As I end a full and short (by an hour) weekend, I am feeling grateful for Spotify. This isn’t an add for the streaming music service, but rather an acknowledgement of how much it has expanded both my ability to enjoy music and especially to discover singer and bands who make music I like to listen to as much as I can.

Flannel Graph was the band I wrote about recently – particularly their song “Apple Pie” which I find both catchy and moving. Another great “indie” song which has been streaming on my devices and in my head is this one:

In addition to the quirky and playful music, I like the lyrics as well:

I could see,
I could see your heart, through your eyes
On that night from the balcony
How could we ever
Make this leap?

You and I,
Caught up in wind like we were parachutes
Oh how we’d fly until we hit the ground
How could we ever
Make this leap?

We were young,
I used my paper telescope,
To show you the stars and then win your heart
How could we ever
Make believe?

I can see, I can see, I can see a sunrise
Call me out from the dark, cause I’m broken inside
I can see, I can see, I can see a sunrise
Call me out from the dark, cause I’m broken inside

Up above the static
Up above the racket
I hear your voice calling me out of the darkness
Up above the static
Up above the racket
I hear your voice calling me out of the darkness

Caught up like parachutes, Caught up like parachutes
Oh how we’d fly
Caught up like parachutes, Caught up like parachutes
Oh how we’d fly!

You called me out from the dark, and brought me into the light,
You called me out from the dark, and brought me into the light,
You called me out from the dark, and brought me into the light,

It clearly fits into the category of popular “God Songs” in which the “you” could possibly be God. Seems to work here, especially with “you called me out from the dark, and brought me into the light.”

I’ve come to appreciate this band, The Hunts even more after I Googled them tonight and discovered they are all family – five brothers and two sisters – ranging in age from 16 to 24. Their official bio notes this about them:

While getting seven strong-minded brothers and sisters to agree on every last note and lyric can sometimes be chaotic, The Hunts note that the synergy born from that chaos is what makes the band so strong. “I like to look at our hectic way of writing as actually really helpful to us as songwriters,” says Josh. “Each one of us is a filter, and after going through all seven of those filters, each song is so much better than it could ever be if we each just wrote on our own.” Now heading out on tour in support of Life Was Simple, The Hunts are thrilled to harmonize for a bigger audience than ever before. “One of our favorite things is for all seven of us to sing together at once, and I think people really like to see the special camaraderie that comes from brothers and sisters creating something together,” says Jessi. “Growing up, we didn’t really have much,” adds Jenni. “But we did have music, and that was the thing that always brought us together. I can’t think of anything better than growing that relationship even deeper, through making more music that comes right from our hearts.”

And, for even more listening enjoyment on this not-yet-Spring Sunday evening, check out the strings in this song by them:



Friday FaithPost – New Pope Francis Books

I previously shared resources for daily Lenten prayer, reading and reflection. If you’d like inspirational reading in a more traditional book format, check out these two recent releases by Pope Francis.

First – a children’s book adults will enjoy:

Pope Francis and Children's Book-2

The release of this quite cute book was recently featured on Vatican Radio and also on Good Morning America.   The video from GMA is worth watching for the brief interview with siblings Luca and Ruby who reminded me instantly of literary sibs Charlie and Lola.

The second book, The Name of God is Mercy, features transcripts of widely ranging interviews with Pope Francis conducted by long time Vatican reporter, Andrea Tornielli.

Pope Francis - Name of God

A couple of days ago, I listened to a really good conversation about this book and Pope Francis on our local NPR station. The talk show included a number of guests, including National Catholic Reporter’s Vatican Correspondent – Joshua McElwee.

When thinking about God’s name, I was curious as to whether the Muslim 99 Names of God, often prayed with beads similar to a rosary, included “The Merciful” as one of them. Not surprisingly, “The Merciful” is included along with “The Most Compassionate”  and “The Forgiver” in the sacred list.


Friday FaithPost – “40 A Video of Jesus in the Wilderness”

As I mentioned in the first Friday FaithPost a couple of weeks ago, during Lent I’ll be offering more somber and thought-provoking links on Fridays. Sun(fun) Night Posts will remain light-hearted as Sundays are always days of celebrating Christ’s Resurrection – even during the Lenten season.

I sincerely encourage you to take four minutes now to watch this powerful video telling the story of the gospel from last Sunday.


I’m sharing this video with each of my classes today (3 down, 2 to go). And with each viewing, my appreciation of the powerful simplicity of it grows.

Kudos to YouTuber Adam Young who writes only this about the video:

I took these incredible illustrations by a British illustrator named Simon Smith and put them to an Explosions In The Sky song.

A Song and A Band to Know – “Apple Pie” by Flannel Graph

Having a subscription to Spotify has completely changed the way I listen to music. Obviously, I haven’t bought a CD in a long time and I can stream music from my smartphone, iPad, and/or any internet-connected desktop.  In a broader way, it’s allowed me to diversify what I listen to. No longer do I listen to the same album over and over again – like I did with whatever exciting new CD  (or cassette tape before that) I bought.  Instead, I do much more exploring of genres I like  rather than just playing bands or singers with whom I am already familiar. 

A still very “Indy” duo I found recently via Spotify is Flannel Graph. According to the rather limited info about them on the web (no Wikipedia page yet – I just checked) it’s a young woman singer and young guy guitar player both of whom are from a small town in Montana. By far their most popular song on Spotify is “Five Foot Three” with about 197,500 plays so far. It’s a cute song about how the singer is “small, but mighty” with a video worth watching.

It seems that while Flannel Graph are not explicitly a Christian band (as this word doesn’t seem to appear anywhere on their home page), biblical stories inform a number of their songs. Their first full album is entitled “Ribs of Adam” and it contains a few songs with clear connections to the Bible. This focus is even more apparent on their 2013 EP “Five Foot Three” which includes a thoughtful reimagining of Psalm 23 entitled Saints Out of Sailors. 

The song to know, which I find simultaneously clever, creative and moving, is Apple Pie – a modern adaptation of the Parable of the Lost Son in Luke’s gospel. The lyrics are poetic and the pairing with the playful, folksy melody is inspired. 

 Apple Pie

by Flannel Graph

I told my dad I didn’t love him anymore 
And I grabbed all the cash 

And I ran and slammed the door 

And I spent it like 

Yea, I spent it like a movie star 

Yea, I spent it right 

I spent it right in all bars 

And I was so hungry 

So thirsty 

The ladies, they adored me 

And the men all wished to be me 

They burned with all their jealousy 

I had everything that a man like me should buy 

And I lived like a King in America with Apple Pie 

But my heart was small 

And my world was smaller than before 

And my fence was tall 

To keep out the people who were wanting more 

I knew a girl 

Oh, Katie was her name 

She was quite the whirlwind 

And she wanted to state my claim 

And she said 

Oh baby 

Oh maybe 

You and me could get married 

And we’ll settle down and bury all the warrants in our history 

But all the party lights went out 

And I was left alone 

And the amount of money that I had 

Was the amount of love I was shown 

And I had nothing 

Oh nothing 

Yea, I had nothing 

Yea, I had nothing 


But I had something 

Oh, I had something 

Oh something 

Oh, I had something 

Oh, I had something 

Oh, I had something 

Oh, I had something 


So I gathered up all of my pride 

And I hitchhiked to a town where my dignity had died 

And he was waiting 

Yea, he was waiting 

And he ran and kissed me

I love the last line. That’s the heart of the parable, right?

In the spirit of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, I’m planning on playing this for my students when we talk about grace, forgiveness, mercy – especially during the upcoming season of Lent.  Perhaps you might as well? 

#amcathalm – Twitter Hashtag for Learning About American Catholics

This isn’t a post to do self-promotion of the Twitter feed that I use for school related items. But, just in case you’re wondering, it’s @hartleyrkrelig .

No, it’s to invite you to follow a hashtag on which I post interesting info each day – #amcathalm . While I can’t claim credit for the source material – that belongs to Emily Stimpson and Brian Burch – I do add images and boil it down to all of the characters that fit.

Why, here’s the post for Sunday the 8th of November:

Amcathalm Image

Oh yeah, I HIGHLY recommend you purchase it either in print or ebook.

It’s the first thing I read each morning (after my prayer materials of course)!

Everyday Miracles: Water

Inspired by this wonderful song, I’m beginning a new feature – Everyday Miracles.


When we become more mindful and not distracted, we begin to truly see the amazing aspects of this creation the Creator has made. This feature will reflect upon those “everyday miracles” which are around and within us.

I was encouraged in today’s reflection by an article in The Conversation entitled “The Universe’s Most Miraculous Molecule.”  The author, a professor of medicine, thoughtfully shares some facts about water which we might often miss:

Even more remarkably, water is practically the only substance known to man that, as it cools from its liquid to solid state, actually expands. Virtually every other substance becomes denser as it “freezes,” but thanks to this remarkable property, ice cubes float in our drinks. More importantly for living organisms, lakes and other bodies of water freeze from the top down.

How about that form of water which will likely fall from the sky in a month or so?

The adage that no two snowflakes are alike seems hard to believe until you consider the fact that the patterns in which water molecules freeze vary depending on temperature and humidity. When you add the fact that the average snow crystal contains about 10 quintillion (10 followed by 18 zeroes) water molecules, it is easy to see why the number of possible combinations is unimaginably large.

Wow! That’s a ridiculous amount of H20 molecules in a snowflake! So how much total water is there on earth?

As a result, even though the Earth holds enough water to make a sphere about 860 miles in diameter, only a tiny percentage of this water is easily accessible to human beings, and increasing shortages loom in the future. Some scientists have predicted that, as some point in the 21st century, fresh water will become a more valuable commodity than petroleum.

For me, another miraculous aspect of water on earth is that it is constantly recycled. Although the origin of water itself on earth is not fully understood, we know that water is not added to the earth’s water cycle we learned about in elementary school. This means that the H2O molecules in the water composing the cold glass of herbal ice tea on my desk to my left has been cycled through rivers, reservoirs, taps, clouds, droplets of vapor, and even other living creatures – for millions if not billions of years!

The H2O I consume or inhale physically and intimately connects me to aspects of our planet, universe and countless living beings which existed long before me. And when I exhale, the H2O vapor in my breath, will be absorbed into the cycle elsewhere and recycled again and again long after I leave this part of creation. Is it any wonder that we use water in the foundational Christian Sacrament of Baptism? Much like the Holy Spirit which is in us and around us and connects, water does as much.

So, I’ll gratefully drink my tea and give thanks for water and the Holy Spirit for, as the author-doctor of the above article concludes:

A saying often misattributed to Albert Einstein claims there are two ways to lead a life. The first is as though nothing is a miracle, and the second is as though everything is a miracle. Water is entirely natural, hugely abundant and so necessary to life that our cells are bathed in it. Yet it is also so remarkable that, as a physician and scientist, I regard it as little short of miraculous.

The Words Pope Francis Used the Most on His U.S. Trip (175th post!)

To put an exclamation point on Pope Francis’ truly awesome U.S. visit, Huffington Post analyzed the 19 speeches and homilies he delivered on U.S. soil. From this, they created the word cloud art above and also a slide show with an inspiring image illustrating each word. Note: The image above is partial – to see it all, visit the HuffPost link.

I’m not going to list the top 10 words here (as I want to encourage you to look at the link itself), but three of my favorite images are:

Pope Francis - 2 - Love

Pope Francis - 4 - Those

Pope Francis - 5 - Many

The Moon Passing in Front of the Earth (Taken from 1 million miles away!)

Tonight, Sunday, in about 25 minutes, the Moon will be in the Earth’s shadow.  If the clouds are parting here in Central Ohio (I need to go outside and see), we’ll witness a total lunar eclipse of a relatively rare Super Moon.

The live shot at Time’s website shows this image at about 9:32pm EDT:

Super Moon Eclipse

So, I thought this to be a good time to share an even rarer site – the moon passing in front of the Earth – as recorded from a million miles away! You can find the website with description of the special event over at PetaPixel. The video itself is here:


One of the really interesting things about this is that the view is of the rarely seen reverse or “dark side” of the moon.  Enjoy the lunar spectacle!

7 Charts on Happiness Everyone Should See

Did you like the infographic on the process of canonization? Did it make you feel happy?

If it didn’t make you feel happy (or if it did), you may want to check out this uplifting and helpful set of “instructional charts” about happiness.  There’s some great ones in the set, including my favorite:

Happiness Charts - 2

Have a happier day!


10 Things to Not Lose Sight of This Year

And now this thought-provoking list from the always helpful Te@chThought:

10. Schools should be ready for students, not the other way around.

9. The school year is a marathon, not a sprint.

8. You don’t need a million tools and strategies to teach well.

7. People change, and students are people.

6. The students should talk more than you do.

5. A growth mindset includes a sustainable mindset.

4. You’re a professional, and you control your own attitude.

3. How you make students feel can last a lifetime. Careful.

2. It’s not your job to prepare students for “the real world”

1. The students are always watching you.

Good reminders for newbies and vets alike.