Songs from CHWC 2018

Hello there! 

Well, the CHWC Summer has officially come to a close. It was an amazing and beautiful time traveling around and getting to sing and pray with you! I was privileged to lead music and worship for the good folks at CHWCs Wichita, Billings, Muskegon, and Farmington! 

I - seriously - cannot say enough about how awesome my summer was with all of you! I made some amazing new friends and even found two long-lost family members ;) You all prayed with intensity and joy, and louder than any group I'd ever heard! It was a beautiful thing, each week, to join with you all in community and lift our voices in uninhibited worship. You're in my thoughts as we all look forward to what comes next.

So, if you were there this summer and sang along, I thought you might enjoy this comprehensive playlist of the songs I played at CHWC 2018! They're all there, I'm pretty sure. AND, even if you weren't there, you can still enjoy the musical goodness. Just click the link below to open the Spotify playlist! 

https://open.spotify.com/user/1234220014/playlist/0qpOmnYuM0HewzYHbZCrbk?si=8l55g-mSTkG7o0QwtpXqIg

I hope these songs bring you peace, calm, joy, and - above all - closer to Him! Oh, and there's some fun ones on there too! ;) 

Great Songs Project #1 - "30,000 Feet"

I'm not sure if you could tell or not, but I like music...a lot! 

Mostly, I love when people put great, beautiful, and inspiring art out into the world. Great Songs are art, and that art can help us to think, reflect, dance, and - most importantly - be positive! See, each one of us has hard days where we just walk around in a funk. My hope is that some of these songs will help guide you through that, and help you see the world for the beautiful and messed up place that it is. I want to provide you with songs that I love - songs that I hope you'll love to! 

First up, it's the song "30,000 Feet," by Ben Rector.

Ben Rector is one of my favorite artists and songwriters! Maybe you've heard me cover one of his songs, "Brand New," at a conference, camp, retreat, etc. I love his approach to songwriting because he crafts relatable, story-driven lyrics that I truly admire! 

This song, "30,000 Feet," tells a story of the getting on a plane and meeting a fellow passenger. That passenger is a bit nervous for his first flight, and strikes up a conversation with Ben. That conversation leads to some real perspective, which can be summed up with the lyrical line of, "Yeah, looking down from 30,000 feet, life's been good to me." 

This song puts me into a very relaxed and settled place. The beautiful yet simple chord progression played on the piano adds to the feeling of reflection and seeing the good things that have happened in your life. For me, I know that there are times when I'm stressed, overwhelmed, burned out, and frustrated. Maybe I've been traveling for a few weeks in a row and really just wish I could see my family and pet my dog, maybe I've been slammed at work and feel like I haven't had a moment to myself. Whatever the moment is, I can play this song and it helps me to...re-center. 

I take a step back and realize just how blessed I am. I love traveling, I love playing music for others, I love leading others in worship of our God, I love meeting new people, I love my job. Sure these things can become overwhelming at times, but I'm so grateful that I get to do them! This song helps me remember to do that; be grateful and truly see how blessed I am. The lyric is, "life's been good to me," but I'm usually thinking about just how good God has been to me. 

Sometimes we just need to take a step back. "Sometimes it takes the sky, to see what's on the ground." 

~Alex

Alexander and the No Good, Very Bad Blogger

Let's be honest...

You've been thinking it, I've been thinking it, I'll just come right out and say it:

I'm the worst at blogging! Wow, *wipes brow* I feel much better having gotten that off my chest.

So many things have happened since the last time I wrote something on here. I can't sum them all up, or even list them, but I'm going to post some photos from the last YEAR-AND-A-HALF (good grief, Alex) for you to gander at. 

So, enjoy that. And I'll be posting some fun stuff from ICYC 2018 soon!

Catholic HEART Workcamp Summer 2016 Recap

Even though it's hot enough outside here in Boise to cook an egg on the sidewalk (maybe not quite, but it feels that way), Summer 2016 is coming to an end. I'm not, necessarily, talking about the season of summer - as I don't anticipate this boiling heat to dissipate anytime soon - as much as I am the state of mind that is, "SUMMER!"

'SUMMER,' is the greatest! Whether you're in school or not, everyone is transported back to that state of mind of the absolute freedom that comes with the time of year. Leisurely days by the lake, the melodies of the ice cream truck, the anticipation of adventures to come, and the long days of constant sunshine and endless possibilities! 

And now, we find ourselves at the end of this wonderful season. I'll give you a minute to wipe away the tears...

Whenever I'm asked the question, "How was your summer?" I find myself lost to explain. How do you sum up in a few sentences to a barista a summer like the one I've had?

Like this: This summer I was privileged to witness hundreds of teens come together to try to make the world, and themselves, better through works of service! And because of it I am filled with joy!

Catholic HEART Workcamp is an experience which can be difficult to summarize, because it is so unlike most things. It's like a mission trip, but not completely; a retreat, but not really; a camp, but different than most camps. It really is Catholic HEART Workcamp, and nothing else! It's a crazy week-long, service-oriented, faith-building, community-growing, taco-consuming, dancing, singing, praying, camp experience! If you haven't had the chance to experience it, I highly encourage you to do so with your youth group or school. You can find more info at the Catholic HEART Workcamp website.

This summer was my 4th with Catholic HEART Workcamp (CHWC) and I was able to sing and pray with campers in Reno, NV; Ashland, MT; and Detroit Lakes, MN. If you attended a CHWC with me this year please know that I consider myself so privileged to have had the opportunity to meet you, and that I hope your experiences were just as joyous as mine. I had a great time with so many of you getting to know your story! Thank you for the beautiful moments of song and prayer that you helped create, thank you for the love that you shared with others, and thank you for being open to the will of God, Who - through the Holy Spirit - called you to, "Go...and make disciples!" (Matthew 28:19).

I want to say thank you to some people that helped make CHWC 2016 such a great experience for me, and many others! Bryce, Brian,  Fr. Brandon, Fr. Paul G, and Fr. Paul M, Marina, Pam, Tony, Emily, Misty, Amanda, Br. Jason, Sue, Sheila, and Dcn. Gary - thank you all for your leadership, dedication, and willingness to serve! You'll never know just how much of an impact your service has had upon others! Friend Youth Ministers, thank you for going above and beyond the call of duty to bring teens to this experience! As always, huge thanks to Steve, Lisa, and the CHWC Home Office Team for all that they do to help everything run as smoothly as possible! 

Finally, I was blessed to work with an amazing group of people who made me a part of their team, and who became more like family by then end of our time together. Billy, Anne, Aaron, Jessica, Erica, Hannah, MJ, Matt, and Alicia; I am so blessed to have "worked in the fields" with you! May you continue to lead others closer to Christ everyday! 

I've shared a few photos from my experiences with CHWC 2016 here, but if you click the link below, it will take you to my Facebook photo album with even more photos of the coolest people I know! ;) Check it out!

To view the full Facebook Photo Album, CLICK HERE!

As always...

Peace,
~Alex

It's The End Of The World As We Know It...

...okay, not really, Michael Stipe, it's just the end of SUMMER 2015! It's time for everyone to get back to school, work, whatever it is that you do. Even for those people that work all year - and don't take summers off - there's something special about the season we are leaving. Here's the good news: the weather will stay delightful for a little while longer! And who doesn't love the Fall? 

Alright, that's really enough chat about the seasons and the weather, the real reason for this update is to tell you that a SUMMER RECAP IS COMING SOON! What does that mean? It means that I'll be posting some pictures, videos, and stories from my adventures this Summer. That will be coming very soon! I'm excited to recap the journey of recording my EP, "Made for More," traveling to Chicago, Mishawaka, Hartford, Wichita and Reno with Catholic Heart Workcamp, and more! 

Stay tuned! Until then, enjoy the start of a new school year! :)

Peace,
~Alex