Thursday, July 31, 2008


I love my iPod nano. And my favorite thing to do with my iPod is to put it on shuffle songs. Songs are put in random order. You never know what song is coming up next. I love it. I feel all nervous waiting to see what's coming up next. Is it gonna be one of my massively great 80's songs? Is it going to be an awesome worship song? Is it going to be something side-splitting funny that I have on there? I love the shuffle. Sometimes I can't even wait until the song is over...I have to forward on to the next song, just to see what it is. I know. I'm a dork.

My band and I enjoyed the shuffle a lot last weekend. We took turns shuffling through each other's iPods. There was much fun music discussions on what exactly IS the best duet of the 80's (Separate Lives? Almost Paradise? Never Gonna Let You Go?).

And we have been enjoying batting around this question for a couple of weeks now:

Who is the all-time best female singer? And, who is the all-time best male singer?

It has been fun trying to beat this one down. Different generations. Different styles. No rules...except you can only have one number 1. And, we excluded classical singers.

I will tell you mine soon. But first..who is at the top of your list? Remember...not your favorite artist. Not the best artist. But, the best singer. Male and female.

Bring it on.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Guess Who Sang on Carrie Underwood's New Christmas Album...

Did you guess me?


Lily Kate did! She sang in an 8-voice children's choir on one song on the record. She had a great time. Carrie wasn't there...but LK loved it nonetheless.

She has done a few things in the studio, but this is the first big thing, where a children's singer booking agency called her to come and sing. Here's how it went when I told her:

Me: Hey, Lily, do you want to sing on a session in a couple of weeks?

(5 second pause)

LK: How much does it pay?

Me: It's for Carrie Underwood.

(0 second pause)

LK: I'll do it. (5 second pause) But how much does it pay?

(End of discussion.)

Monday, July 28, 2008

National Wildlife Day at the Gulf of Mexico

My band and I were in Florida and Alabama this past weekend. We had a CRAZY GREAT time with folks in both places. We had an outdoor concert at Village Baptist in Destin on Friday night (our thanks to Michael, Amy, Lang and EVERYONE for an awesome event). Saturday, all we had to do was travel from Destin to Mobile, which is only a 2 hour drive. So, we decided to sleep in, maybe hit the beach, and take our time on this leisurely day.

I slept until 8:50. I met up with drummer Kevin and bass player Wes, and we headed to the beach.

I threw on some shorts, and didn't even put my swim trunks on, because we knew the jellyfish had been so bad for a couple of weeks, and we wouldn't be able to get in the water. We had walked to the beach Thursday night as soon as we arrived, and the jellyfish were washing ashore in droves. It was pretty creepy actually. There was NO getting in the water. They were everywhere. I was so sad, because I'm an ocean guy. I LOVE to swim in the ocean. I love to just BE in the ocean. Bummer for us. No ocean this time.

So, on Saturday morning when we walked to the beach, much to our surprise, the jellyfish were gone! I mean, almost completely gone! Just like Tobymac sings. GONE. I couldn't believe it. The water was clear and beautiful. My heart skipped a beat. I was so happy. I had two hours staring me in the face with nothing to do but ride waves with my buddies..

I called the rest of the guys back at the hotel and told them to get up and get to the beach. I left messages for them, and went straight to the water. It was really happening; the water was clear. The three of us were joined pretty quickly by our friend Stephen (guy who does all of our words and visuals on the screen). We were having a great time. Then, oops. There was a jellyfish. No problem, though. Just one. Well, and then another. And another. But not too bad. Just here and there. Then we started getting some slightly itching and stinging places all over us. Someone told us that that was probably from jellyfish tentacles floating around...what with the previous weeks' jellyfish convention in that part of the ocean.

Then, we saw a family huddling around something in the water. We asked them what they were doing. They were looking for a sting ray that they had just seen. NICE. Okay. I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that, because I'm having too much fun. I'm in the ocean on a beautiful day with some of my best friends in the world. Sting rays, get out my house.

I swam to shore to check my voicemail and see if the other guys got my message. Seth was on his way. Alexis was on the
beach we saw each other from far away and I flagged him over to come join us. As he was walking over my way, I just so happened to look back at the water. My friends were pretty far out there.

ALL OF A SUDDEN...I looked at the water...about 15-20 feet in...where I just walked through to come to my phone...where
the water was about up to your knees...and I saw a SHARK. For real. A shark. A. SHARK. What in the heck? I couldn't believe it. A shark. There were kids and people everywhere, and that shark was tearing through the water at a very fast pace, heading westward up the shore. Dude. This thing was FLYING. People started to see it, and a few people started screaming. The fine vacationing folks were hopping up from their beach chairs to get a better look. But in a flash he was gone. By the time Alexis got down to where I was, the shark was way up shore. But he was able to catch a glimpse of it just before it disappeared into the blue water.

A shark.

And there my buddies were...bobbing along without a care in the world.

So what did I do? I went back and joined them. In the water. In the shark-infested, sting ray ridden water. I know. It was stupid. But what's a sanguine to do? All of his buddies were in the ocean. If somebody's gonna get bitten, the sanguine must be there for the drama. So I headed back out into the deep. Well, not the deep. But, you know. The sort-of deep.

No more sharks. No more sting rays. A few small jellyfish, and a couple of HUGE jellyfish. Oh, and I forgot to mention that the whole time, there were these schools of thousands of small fish swimming around us. But that's pretty normal. They don't bother you. You barely even feel them.

We were having a good time. talking, laughing, swimming. Then - again - all of a sudden, the little fish that were around us, all instantly began to attack all of us. At the same time. It would have been a great video. There we were - 6 guys - instantly and impulsively jumping up and down and yelling, trying to get away from the hundreds of fish jumping all over us. It was the strangest sensation. At first we didn't know what was going on. Then when we realized what was happening, we started chopping at those fish through the waters like Bruce Lee.

We were kind of laughing and kind of like, uh...this is getting a little weird. It was at this point when some man close by said, "Uh oh. When that happens, it usually means there is something larger in the food chain close by."

OK. Seacrest - OUT.

Done. Finished. It was time for my visit to the Destin Aquarium to end. I probably could've hung with it a little longer. But I think the sight of the 4 or 5 foot shark barreling through the waters like Jeff Gordon was a vision too tough to shake at that point.

We had a couple of hours in the ocean, and that was nice. It was great, actually. Amazing weather. Awesome fellowship with friends. I just think next time, I will wait and go when the fish are back in school.

Friday, July 25, 2008


We are in Destin, FL for a concert tonight. I got up early and went and got a surprise for my team this morning. When I got back to the hotel, I plopped myself in the hall of our hotel floor, and texted them this message:

Hot Krispy Kremes in the hall.

They have never moved to sound check this swiftly.

Krispy Kreme is ministry.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Signs That I Have Been A Little Testy Lately

OK. So I have been a little on edge as of late. Some stress. Some work issues. Some personal issues. You stuff. And I think I may have been a little short with the kids here and there. I knew I needed to take a chill pill when Levi said two things:

1. One night when we were doing something fun (I can't remember what it was), Levi says, "Dad you're the best dad ever! EXCEPT know...THE CANDY NIGHT."

Oh, yeah...maybe one night when the kids had snuck one too many pieces of candy, I might have...I don't know...possibly...rummaged through the house and thrown every last morsel of candy in the house away. And maybe the velocity of the candy leaving my hand and plummeting into the bottom of the trash can may or may not have been somewhat speedy and forceful. And the children may or may not have been a wee bit upset when this happened, or you know, didn't happen. Whichever the case may be.

Either way, CANDY NIGHT shall live in Cottrell house infamy.

2. Levi and I were riding in the car together...just the two of us. Out of the blue, he says, "Dad, you don't look madder without your glasses."

I didn't realize I looked mad WITH my sunglasses on.

Oh well. Point duly noted, Levi. Point duly noted.


"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me." John 14:1

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

"Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.

Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight. [a]

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.

This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones." Proverbs 3:3-8

Monday, July 21, 2008

Big Day

We had a momentous day at the Cottrell household this week. Levi lost his first tooth. Now, everybody loses their teeth, I know. But there's something about that younger child who has watched his older siblings lose one tooth after another. When his day comes, it is a big one...and his patience is rewarded with all the blood and pain that he has so longed for.

It took a few days of wiggling and pushing and pulling and nervous jumping and encouraging and staring into the mirror and carrying of many barely-bloody kleenexes. But yeeha! It happened. Here are a few photos to celebrate the journey...I sure do love that sweet face...

Can't you see? Clearly, it is just barely hanging there. :>)

Let me do it!

Wait a minute. This is going to hurt, isn't it?

We even pose for a picture at the THOUGHT of the tooth coming out soon.

I am going to will it out.

Woo hoo! My daddy pulled my tooth!

What time is it? 6:30? Wow, I think I'm already ready for bed for some strange reason. I got the tooth. Good night.

Do I get extra money for cuteness?

And, in honor of the tooth fairy, enjoy this funny clip.

(Stay with it...the last line is worth the wait.)

Living Proof Live Minneapolis

LPL Minneapolis from Rich Kalonick on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mid-Week Chart-Writing Procrastination

Hey peeps. Hope your week is good. We are doing well. Our staycation was fun. It left me with two predominant questions:

1. When can we do it again? and...


: >)

I have been a little bit of a bleh blogger lately. I feel the wind gaining in my blogging sails...and have some fun things to blog about in the coming days and weeks.

First, though, I have to finish writing charts for the Easter musical I am in the middle of recording. And by finish writing charts I mean start AND finish writing charts. Something takes over my brain on the week that I am writing the choir charts...and I feel like the lining in my head is covered with melted marshmallows. I am doing my best to crawl out of my funk, and get some work done. I actually love doing it, which is the weird thing...I just have trouble getting motivated at the beginning.

I have not been on the road in a couple of weekends...since the Deeper Still Atlanta weekend in June. I am pumped to get in Living Proof Live gear for our conference in Minneapolis this weekend. Woo hoo! I have missed it these couple of weeks.

Another thing I am excited about: Next weekend, the team and I are doing a concert at Village Baptist Church in Destin, FL. This is an outdoor concert that is part of their VILLAGE OUT LOUD concert series. We are so excited to be there! If you live in the area, or are going to be vacationing close by next Friday night, July 25, please come be with us!

Off to write charts. Or maybe roast marshmallows. I'm suddenly in the mood to roast marshmallows...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Staycation Is Over

Hey, friends. Our staycation is officially over. And reality is settling back in. We sure did have a great week, though. But one update - we got rained out of going to the water park. As we headed over to that side of town, a torrential downpour hit us. And by the time we got there, even though the rain had subsided a bit, the sign was at the gate. PARK CLOSED TODAY.

Some tears and drama ensued. But we tried to think quickly on our feet...and we headed to Opry Mills mall, where there are some fun things for the kids. They went jumping in those bungee jumping things...not the kind where you jump off a bridge or something....but the kind that you see in malls and other places, and you bounce up and down pretty high. Then we played Glow Golf...which is putt-putt in the dark with glow-in-the-dark things going on. We rode a couple of roller coaster simulators...and even attempted to go to the IMAX movie. But we didn't make the movie.

We ended the day having a great dinner with Angela's former Sunday School teacher, her mentor and our dear friend, Anne Long, who lives over on that side of town.

We filled in the rest of the week with some trips to the YMCA pool. And we ate out a good bit. And we, of course, went to our favorite place...

I will post more later. I have to go start writing charts. I begin recording an Easter musical on Monday. I would be grateful for your prayers!

Have a great weekend...


Wednesday, July 9, 2008


A few random thoughts...

- After looking at the pics on my last post, I felt the need (and by 'I' I mean 'Angela') to tell you that (once again) Levi decided he needed a hair cut, and cut a big chunk out of the front of his hair. So, he had about half an inch of no hair in the middle of his long bangs. So, the haircut person had to chop off most of the rest of it. Now he has about half and inch of no hair in the middle of his short bangs. We're working on this self-hair cut business.

- I played tennis yesterday at 1 in the afternoon. Note to self: 1 in the afternoon is probably not the optimum time to play tennis in July, on the hottest day of the year so far.

- As part of our staycation, we all went ice skating on Sunday after church. We had a great time. It was the first time Angela and I had been skating in a LONG time. I think we had only been ice skating together twice ever. We went on our second date (I later told her it was a good excuse to hold her hand), and one other time, back maybe 8 or 9 years ago. I used to roller skate and ice skate all the time as a kid. But here's my observation. Angela and I could not get over the amount of pain our feet were enduring while we were skating. Is it because we're old, and not meant for such activities anymore? Or is it because my center of gravity is...well, uh...different now with this late 30's version of me? Either way, my feet were in pain the whole time. But it was still loads of fun. And my kids loved it. Even Levi. They have these heavy bar things that little kids who don't know how to skate can hold onto and push around. Genius. The ones our place didn't look exactly like this, but it was the same general idea:

- We are heading to Nashville Shores (the local water park) today. I love a good water park. I have never been to this one...I hope it is as good in reality as I have been hoping it is.

- Wipeout continues to be a tv highlight for our family. It was awesome last night. There are a few changes in the obstacle course every week, and that keeps it interesting. The hosts (John Anderson and John Henson) and hilarious. They took the climbing wall aspect off of the Sucker Punch wall. Very interesting. And how about the girl who couldn't see the pole? "Where's the pole?" Too funny. We made a pallet on the floor and turned off all the lights...and drank our Sonic slushes and watched. Fun staycation times.

Off to the water park. Hope your day is a great one...


Monday, July 7, 2008

4th of July

Hey, everybody. I hope you had a great holiday weekend. We had a busy one...but a great one. We started our STAYCATION on Friday, the 4th. This is our vacation week. We couldn't really go anywhere this year, so we are taking in some things in this area that we have never done before. And we are spending a lot of time doing absolutely nothing...together.

On a side note I am becoming pretty stinkin' good at MarioKart on our Wii. You don't want to mess with me in Mushroom Gorge.

So, our 4th of July began slowly. We slept in and enjoyed the morning. The kids spent their morning much like I did when I was a kid...chillin' out playing games on a Macbook.

After breakfast, we decided it was time for a family activity. So we made cupcakes.

We are nothing if not good posers.

We finally got ourselves in gear, piled in the car, and headed to Nashville. We went to the Frist Center For Visual Arts. Fancy us. We went on July 4th because kids get in free (my wife has done some massive homework for this STAYCATION).

They had fun things to do for the kids. Which was good...because the art...well, lovely though it was, started to all run together for the 5 year old. And, well, everybody else. What's a Clampet to do.

Fun art times at the museum...

We finished at the Frist around 5:30 or 6pm. Since we were already downtown, we decided to stay down there and enjoy the fireworks show with the Nashville Symphony at the RiverFront, which started at 9:30.

As we were walking out of the Frist Center, we walked by the cafe they have there in the museum. We have heard really good things about it. But at that point, I already had my heart set on Jack's Barbecue, which is downtown, right by the RiverFront. Mmmmm. I was so dreaming about that delicious food. SO, because she is such a wonderful woman and wife, Angela gave up a nice quiet, no-wait place that uses words like pesto, pannini and veranda for a loud place that uses words like pork shoulder and smoky, names their sauces after southern states, and has this:

She is a mighty good woman. But it turns out her generosity may have been ill-advised. We had to move our car out of the Frist parking lot. So we headed down toward the river. Big mistake. Apparently this fireworks show is a big deal. And apparently people plan to go there months in advance. And apparently they come with gear and all manner of food and lounging products. And apparently the shut down roads for such an event. And apparently thousands upon thousands of people were pouring into downtown for said event...all while we were leisurely enjoying the art.

So, We pulled into the first parking lot we came to, paid 5 million dollars to park there, and headed to Jack's. On the way, the kids were so excited to see the Batman building up close (they had only seen it from far away all these looks so cool and ominous from the interstate).

You can't really tell from this picture why everybody in Nashville calls it the Batman building. But it just looks like a Batman building. From a distance. In the dark.

We had to wait in line for an hour at Jack's. I am sure my sweet baby thought about how close she was to a peaceful pannini on the veranda at the art center more than once while we waited. But she never complained. Not even once.

I sent Jack in to scout out a table for us (the line was all the way out the door and down the street). He found one pretty the family got to sit and wait while I waited in line for our food.

People, the Jack's Barbecue does not disappoint. I am still thinking about it today. The sauces! Especially St. Louis and Texas. Mmmmm. The smoked chicken. It makes me want to cry. All of the Cottrells were so happy eating there. Even Angela...she had no veranda regrets. It rocked our 4th.

After we ate, we waddled out of the restaurant and began to try to find a place to sit and watch the fireworks. By this time, it was almost 9, so we wouldn't have to wait for long. There were so many people, we could not even get to a place to even lay our eyes on the symphony. But that was ok. We would still have an amazing seat for the fireworks. Since they are, you the sky.

I was so proud of Nashville that night. The fireworks show was nothing short of amazing. We took pictures, which of course don't do fireworks justice.

And only in Nashville will there be a big neon guitar poking up in the bottom of your fireworks pictures.

We had an awesome time. I had a tender moment when my eldest looked over at me and said, "If these fireworks are this awesome, imagine how great God's fireworks will be in heaven." True dat.

We even had a great time in the traffic gridlock that we were stuck in for an hour, trying to get out of downtown. That's such a good time to surf around the radio stations and laugh at old songs. It's also a good time to find out that your wife sang in a band in 7th grade called DESTINY, with whom she did two shows (in the elementary school band room) and sang two songs: Heartbreaker and Hit Me With Your Best Shot.

Pause and reflect.


We were exhausted by the time we got home.

But what a great day it was. Swords, tattoos, pork shoulders, Van Gogh, and Pat Benetar...all in one day. And this was just DAY 1 of our STAYCATION!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Hey, All You Deeper Still Peeps

Rich, my good friend and awesome photographer at all of the Living Proof Live and Deeper Still events, has made this awesome photo available for all of you who would like to have a picture of our time together at Deeper Still in Atlanta this past weekend.

If you would like to purchase one of these, go here and type in the gallery deeperstill.

Thanks, Rich!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Ho Ho Ho

Remember last week when I told all the Deeper Still attendees that they should be looking for a gift from me at the bookstore there? Well, my record label printed out some fancy cards to offer a free download of one of the songs from my new Christmas project. The cards were there...I think...but maybe not in the bookstore. I definitely saw some of them on the women's ministry table, but I am not sure if they ever made it to the bookstore.

Anyway, the cool cards look something like this...

If you would like to download a song from the upcoming Christmas record, you can go to this page, enter 12252008, and download "O Holy Night." I think you can even pre-order the CD.

We are starting to work hard on the Compassion International Christmas tour. This is the info being sent out to churches interested in hosting the tour:

If you think your church might be interested, have your worship pastor or pastor or some nice staff member call the number on the picture.

Well, I just blogged as the sun rose up over the horizon. It's another great day that we have been given. God is still God...His mercies are reigning down on this morning...just like yesterday...and the day before...and every other day before that. Take this moment and thank Him for those mercies that cover your life. And have a great day.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Hey, friends. I'm waiting for enough brain cells to collect before I post a REAL post again. I'm still EXHAUSTED from the weekend...but it was AWESOME one at Deeper Still and First Baptist Cartersville.

My kids had a swim meet today, so I spent most of the day at the pool. It's just as well. I still feel to ambushed from the weekend to get much work done. I think one more good night's sleep, plus tonight's episode of Wipeout and I will be good to go tomorrow.

Take care...