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Thanksgiving Memories...

Nick Alexander here...

When I was nine years old, I had dropped the chance to be Simon.... from Alvin and the Chipmunks.

My family had just moved to New York City, and my mother took a sales job at Macy's. One of the perks of working there is that, every Thanksgiving, you and your family all had to trudge yourself out of bed at three-o-clock in the morning, head over to a decrepid warehouse, one which had been converted into a huge costuming facility, and get yourselves made up into any number of costumes, to march in the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

It was my first time, and I was looking forward to being a clown. We were to march in front of the Muppet bus--the same schoolbus that was in The Muppet Movie. All the muppet characters were inside the bus, looking out, waving to thousands of children on the streets, and millions of viewers in their homes. It was exciting.

But while I waited in line, there was this costume facilitator wandering throughout the lines, calling for anyone to be "Simon". The one who was supposed to be Simon called out sick, and he needed a tall replacement. I happened to have been tall for my age, the perfect height, and so he singled me out. "Wanna be Simon?"

Being my first time, I was confused. I didn't want to separate from my sister, and, well, I was scared. This was uncharted territory. I was trained to be a clown. I could handle being a clown. There were thousands of clowns at this event, and I could smile and be goofy in relative anonymity. But ... a Chipmunk? I'd be the center of attention, (for a little bit), and have to shake hands with tons of children.

The man came to me three times. Three times I refused. I had to be the clown. And to think, for all these years, having memories of being a clown in the parade, I could have been Simon.

So, this Thanksgiving, I thank God for the choices I've faced throughout my life, and the blessings that God had given to me. But many of these same blessings were the result of hard, crazy choices that, had I refused, would never had come again. I've since learned that I have to trust Him, even when presented with a crazy opportunity, knowing that He would be there to bring more blessings from it. Most of my wonderful blessings in life came as a result of trusting God in uncharted territory for me--including converting to the Catholic Church.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. Give Thanks to our wonderful Lord, who always has a tremendous plan for your lives, a tremendous crazy opportunity that would mix the best of your talents, the uniqueness of your character, with the needs of the community that you live in. Who raises up incredible saints.

And be sure to check out the Thanksgiving related posts on this board.

Story Behind the Song: By Your Hand

Gerard Faucheux writes:

By Your Hand is my interpretation of Matthew 6:25-34. After over twenty years of marriage (and just recently leaving my 30's behind) and constant employment with regular raises, I am still amazed that we seem to be doing just as well as when we first started out together. It doesn't seem to matter how much money I make, or how hard I work - we always seem to be making just enough. Sometimes things get tough, usually when I get so wrapped up in trying to handle everything on my own, but when I come to my senses and call out to God, things ALWAYS work out! I feel like God wants to keep me in a place where I know that I need Him as my provider, as my heavenly Father. Why do I forget so often?

Lord, I am SO thankful for the many blessings that You have given us throughout our lives. I had no choice of where or when I would be born. I know that because of You, well, I've got it pretty good. Thank you for being faithful to me, even when I lost my way. I hope that I am being a faithful servant with the gifts that I have been given. Thank you Lord!

By Your Hand
Words and music by Gerard C. Faucheux, Sr.

I could work from dawn till dusk, every minute I'm awake
I could work my fingers to the bone
It really doesn't matter how much money I could make
It would never be enough on my own.

By Your hand I am fed
By Your hand I am clothed
By Your hand I am sheltered
By Your hand I'm made whole
Where would I be without You Lord
For by Your hand I am. By Your hand I am.


Think about the birds they neither sow nor reap nor store
Yet we're worth so much more than them.
And think about the lilies they do not spin, they do no chores
But Solomon never dressed as well as them.

So I won't worry about what I eat or wear
I'll just put my trust in You.
I'll seek You first and Your righteousness
'cause that is all I have to do.

Copyright © 2005 Gerard C. Faucheux, Sr.

Christ is King!

Nick Alexander here...

The Feast of Christ the King is upon us. To celebrate, I crafted a list of my favorite "Christ the King" songs. On this list are:

  1. Holy God We Praise Your Great Name, the "serious" song off my latest.
  2. Jesus Has Come, one of the highlights from John Michael and Terry Talbot
  3. He is the King of Glory, from News At Eleven
  4. Mighty King, a winner from Steve Angrisano
  5. My Lord and My God, an all out awesome song from Bob Filoramo
  6. As It Is In Heaven, from worship leader Matt Maher
  7. All Creatures of My God and King by awesome blues-artist Ashley Cleveland
  8. At the Name of Jesus by Ed Bolduc

... along with exceptional songs from Bob RiceSteve BellMatt RedmanPassionDavid Crowder BandMichael W Smith and Third Day.

Happy Feast Day, everyone.

What Are Your Favorite Thanksgiving Songs?

Thanksgiving is coming up in a week. If you were to choose your favorite songs that offer Thanks to God, what will they be?

Christmas Edition of Grapevine Magazine Out

Grapevine is a great magazine which highlights the efforts of Catholic Musicians from all styles and ministries. They have an online edition, or you can purchase a quality bound edition for your library.

This month features:

Donut Man
Merry Christmas New York City
Spirit Wing Records
Christ Music Kids
Bernie Choiniere
A new column about podcasts from the Catholic Mom

Plus news, reviews, artist updates. David Wang wrote an excellent column about artist's creativity in comparison with mainstream music. And I, Nick Alexander, got to write a column based on the Top 10 Traditional and Contemporary Advent Songs You Need to know. These lists will appear here shortly.

What is TopCatholicSongs?

What is "TopCatholicSongs"? TopCatholicSongs is a service to all Catholics, to provide a way to share the best that Catholic Music has to offer. This is a site to keep coming back to, to discover new artists, new songs, new styles, that speak to who you are as a dynamic Catholic Christian. To speak to issues that you are dealing with. To communicate our awesome beliefs about our faith, our love for Jesus Christ, our commitment to church teaching. It will be consistent with the myriad apsects of Catholic faith. It will reinforce themes on the liturgical calendar. It will speak to you, encourage you, bless you. If you have very little knowledge about the Catholic music "scene", this is the perfect place to start. It will open your doors to the incredible variety there is within Catholic artists, whether from contemporary flavors or from our ancient heritage. It will also cut to the chase, providing the best Catholic music can offer. The songs are chosen from a committed private group of lovers of Catholic music, whether from musicians themselves, to A&R reps, to radio/podcast djs, to the fans. The songs need to be nominated to be chosen, and the artists themselves nominate their own songs. Bookmark this page as it will continue to change over the next few months, as more lists come up. As artists share their story, or their influences, or their favorite songs, or insightful commentary. And if you are a Catholic musician that wants their music to be counted, the you have to join the forums. There is no initiation fee. There is no paperwork. But what you get out of it is a greater publicity for your music. It is the goal of this board that both the major Catholic labels and the indie Catholic musicians get to both benefit from the spirit of healthy competition, and that those interested in discovering Catholic music would benefit the most. Catholic music has lied dormant for too long now, and here is a tremendous opportunity to change things around. If you have any questions, feel free to email me, or to ask on the comment page.

Artist Profile - Sean Clive

Sean Clive has been compared to CCM artists Chris Tomlin and Joel Hanson of PFR. Sean's fans always comment on the strength and beauty of his vocals and the sincerity of his message. Through his original music, Sean helps you feel and experience the power of God's love.

Sean has been performing contemporary Christian music in Central New York since 2002 in various churches and coffeehouses and has recorded three solo albums. His most recent CD, Amazed, contains 12 original songs with a contemporary pop sound.

Through Amazed, God has provided Sean opportunities to perform his music to a wider audience. The title track of the CD, Amazed, won several UNITY awards, was chosen as the 2006 Grand Award Winner in the Song Door International Songwriting Competition and earned 4th place in the Christian/Gospel category in the popular Unisong International Songwriting Competition. Read Full Story >>>

"They Think That I'm a Pastor"

Sean Clive writes: Something funny to share... So, I signed up with CCLI for a license to use copyrighted songs on lyric sheets, etc. They must have sold my name to some "respectable" companies - so I get some interesting mail - crusade invitations, etc... Also, I regularly get a package of no postage necessary postcards that I can send back for free samples and information for a variety of products and services. They must assume I am a "pastor" and therefore have a church for which I can buy... --- Great Big Signs with funny phrases to draw people in, --- Nice comfy chairs to seat people, --- Big Bucks Audio & Video Equipment with Big Savings, --- Church Software with which I can keep track of everyone's birthdays, anniversaries and financial giving, --- AND even a new text messaging service to text message all the cell phones of everyone in the choir that rehearsal will be cancelled or the all the kids in the church that the youth group meeting is tonight (must be tough to have 300 people to call to schedule something), Well, the best came this time with the Communion Package... I think I like being Catholic - we're messy and don't mind the unbelievable amount of cleanup time when it comes to Communion, we adapt to whatever setting and are willing to take our chances by receiving Our Lord from someone else (without sanitized gloves on - oh the horror). I think the best was the FAQ about the elderly, "Will the elderly have difficulty opening the cups? - The Celebration Cup has been designed with the cellophane lid extended beyond the foil lid to assist in opening the cup. Churches around the world have felt a new sense of "family" when asking their congregation to assist anyone having difficulty with taking Communion." Interesting family I guess ;-) I really like ours, don't you? Thank God for the Eucharist! Blessings and peace, Sean Sean Clive's website is www.seanclive.com
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