Tuesday, November 15, 2011

To be content

"Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content."
- Paul

This passage really speaks out to me lately along with another:

"For they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood."
- Mark 12:44

     The first one is huge to me right now. Learning to literally be content with my life regardless of circumstances. I find that my life can be pretty shallow at times.  I define a good day simply by the amount of events that coordinate with my idea of perfection. This "sunset" mentality of continuing to push forward until we reach the prize so to speak is a bit begrudging. Finding peace and contentment in something entirely separate from circumstances and finding solace within them seems to be quite the juxtaposition.

     It is easy to be enamored by the pressure of collecting a life's worth of accolades that we can brag about over a glass of wine with our friends. Yet, I am beginning to wonder if it's more about what we do not have as opposed to what we obtain. Edward Norton said it this way in Fight Club, "It's only when you have lost everything that you are free to do anything."

   
    I do not think Steve Jobs made computers because he wanted a lot of money.  Steve Jobs wanted to create something that brought people together and helped us all stay connected even more than we ever had. He was not trapped by dogmas or systematic legalistic theology. He chose to follow through with what he loved because there was an overwhelming necessity to create.

    In all of this I am thankful to be able to write. I am thankful that I do not have every single t crossed and every i dotted. Perhaps the beauty and mystery or life is how dysfunctional it becomes when we try to chart it out and make sense of it. Maybe the best way to understand is to realize we are not capable of completely understanding.

Like the widow that gave more because she had nothing left I wan't to leave  everything on the stage night after night. I want to put everything I am into everything I write. High or low, I am content and thankful to be alive and doing what I love.

-Mikey

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Home Again.

It seems like we just left for our October run with Ocean is Theory yesterday, but all good things must come to an end. Thank you to everyone who came out to see us and laugh with us at all the shows. It was good to see old friends and make new ones. This tour was probably one of my favorites to date. So many wonderful memories were made: eating peach french toast, exploring Chicago with dear friends, sitting for hours in the lounge of the only Frank Lloyd Wright hotel still in existence, eating too many s'mores by the fire, and laughing so hard our cheeks hurt. I love replaying these moments in my head- they fill me up with warmth and love. Thank you, thank you, thank you all.

It's so bittersweet ending a tour such as this one- you're sad it has to end, but excited for what lies ahead on the next run. We're heading out again October 20th-November 13th down to Texas and back. We'll get to see our beloved David for a couple of days, which is something I've been waiting for since he left for a few months! I cannot wait to him, his parents, and all his hilarious pets a big hug. :)

-Shannon

Monday, October 10, 2011

Song Meanings


There have been a lot of folks lately who have asked us to share with them the meanings behind some of our songs. We have discussed the subject several times, and have considered publishing Mike’s explanations of lyrics. But truthfully, it’s a complicated issue. So rather than just avoiding the subject, I figured I would take a moment to address the idea as a whole.

Lyrics are a funny thing. When Mike brings songs to the band, there are some songs that he is really excited about, when the rest of us aren’t really feeling it. But sometimes, the songs that we find most moving and powerful are songs that Mike is unsure of when he shows them to us. This demonstrates an important concept in discussing this issue: the value in a song lies not within its writer, but within its hearer.

When I first heard Brand New’s song “Seventy Times Seven,” I was moved to the point of tears. The song was not the single off of the 2001 release, “Your Favorite Weapon.” They never made a video for it. They don’t play it live. But the year I heard that song, a friend’s brother had just been paralyzed from getting drunk and crashing his car. The lyrics of that song seemed to fit the situation that I was so heavily contemplating more perfectly than even my own thoughts did.

But I eventually heard a rumor regarding the actual inspiration behind the song. I researched and found that the explanation could not have been further from the situation I applied the lyrics to. In finding this out, my curiosity was satisfied, but something was lost. I no longer felt the chills down my spine, because I had no personal connection to the writer’s situation.

Some songs are very straightforward. For instance, Mike has explained the story behind our song “Emma Ruth” countless times live. It’s a story that is more impactful when elaborated on. But we have other songs that truthfully mean something different for every one of us personally. When “Stereo” was written, it came out of a period of personal conflict in our band, so its meaning is at least a little different for each of us. But that is perhaps the most beautiful thing about art. It’s meaning is subjective.

A song can mean so much more to so many more people when it’s vague enough that everyone can apply it to their lives. The best songs that have ever been written are ones that never actually lay out what specifically inspires them. When Bob Dylan sings the line, “You’re the reason I’m traveling on, but don’t think twice, it’s alright,” every person who hears it can relate in a different way. This would not be the case if he said, “You slept with my best friend, Dan, and then you took 40 bucks out of my wallet, so I’m going to get into my black ’62 Ford pickup truck and drive to Chicago, I have a gig there tomorrow night anyway. But don’t think twice, it’s alright,” we would lose our connection to it.

Last week a girl wrote to us and explained that she had been inspired by our song, “Beneath Water,” and that the references in it to baptism inspired her to get baptized. That is awesome. But another kid, who is an aspiring writer, finds encouragement in the lyrics “Well maybe I’m the writer that will spark that flame that makes the world believe in the right kind of faith.” That is just as awesome. Same song, two entirely different meanings. So what is important to ask is not what our songs mean to us, but what they mean to you. Therein lies their only real value.

That being said, we may, from time to time, discuss with you guys what specific songs mean to us when we find it appropriate to do so. And of course, ALWAYS feel free to ask us about it in person, and we will most likely open up more in that format. We want to be close to you, and we are always available to discuss anything you have going on in your lives. But as far as the music goes, its impact on us is no more important than its impact on you. So allow songs to move you in the way that you need to be moved, and when you come sing along with us, we can all sing the same words just as passionately, even when the meaning is unique to us all.

-David

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Guide to Nate Dogg's Favorite Snacks.

1. Gardetto's.

This is most certainly my favorite snack food. Almost everyone I know is partial to the small brown rye chips. Personally these are my least favorite part of this delicious snack. My favorite part is the "mini bread sticks".

2. Chex Miix

Traditional flavored Chex is my favorite. It is basically and unseasoned version of Gardetto's. Although Chex has about 16 different varieties of their mix. Honey Nut is my second favorite (not including the disgusting vanilla swirl cookie). The flavor that looks most interesting for me to try next is the Caramel Crunch.

3. Doritos

This is awful that I admit to liking these and I feel extremely guilty after eating them. You should too.

4. Texas Grilled Fritos

These Fritos had grill marks on them. They remind me of something, when we used to fire up the barbecue and throw down some Fritos. I can still see my dad with the apron on, better flip that Frito, dad, you know how I like mine.

5 Snack Pack

Chocolate, Milk Chocolate Variety, Chocolate Vanilla. Plus check out that name.

-Nate Dogg

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Studio Stay


So, we embarked on our fall tour with Ocean is Theory on Saturday morning at 7:00 AM and arrived to our destination in Chattanooga around 9:30 PM. We stayed at the studio where we tracked David's drums for "Home." No pun intended but it sincerely felt like we were coming home. We were greeted by Stephen Nichols, the producer who owns the space. He is a man every person in our band holds in high esteem and regard. Looking as intelligent as ever with coffee cup in hand and a majestic beard both combining together to create an overwhelming sense of warmth and comfort.

Over the past two years we have remained in contact. Text messages here and there. He would come out to shows and give honest opinions of our set and ways to improve. I remember talking about writing new music with him and discussing the more "business" related aspect of the industry, at which point he said, "Do not let anyone make you out to be someone you are not. Do what you love and let the chips fall where the lay." There are so few phrases that have stuck with me over these last couple years and this one in particular has worn well. Like the old family photo with just enough dust and wear that it shows signs of endurance and age but still resilient and able to embrace the future. We stumble across it from time to time as we are rearranging our room or setting our glass of water next to it. Yet, it serves as a valiant reminder of where we came from, and it lights future paths.

This morning we sat over coffee discussing production and songwriting and some of our favorite records. While pouring out my heart I ever consistently managed to spill my coffee on his shirt. Tripping over myself to clean him and the table off, I slipped back into my chair as gracefully as possible. We continued sharing stories and philosophy drinking our coffee like it was as necessary as air. As we left, my once heavy heart felt a little lighter. As if it was a huge bag of sand and someone gently cut a slit in the bottom of it to let some pour out. If only the cut were deeper that I might have been completely poured out.

I guess what I mean is that it felt how it must of felt like when the disciple's hung around Jesus and spent time together. True fellowship is rich and sinks deep into the bones and warms up your blood.  Conversations like these will I remember in my gray-headed years. I admire this man. I think he is one of the closest examples of how Jesus Christ Himself requires of us to live. I do not believe I want to be like him as much as I want to know the love that enables him to be as calm and graceful as he is.

We are here on this planet for such a short time. Let's stop being pissed off all the time and love one another. I can't say I left St. Elmo, Tennessee thinking I had it all figured out. I will tell you that I drank a cup of grape juice, ate a piece of bread, wept during an old hymn, dreamed about our next record and poured out my soul to a man who did nothing but encourage me to celebrate the beauty and mystery that is loving God. Thank God for that old family photo. Thank God for the camera that took it and the finger that pressed its button down to freeze it into the historical fabric of time. Looking over my shoulder into yesterday helps me to clearly see that sunrises are in the future, and I am willing to face every valley in between.

-Mike

Sunday, October 2, 2011

On The Road Again...

Howdy, Pals!
Yesterday we all hopped into our van and drove 12 hours to Chattanooga, TN. It's been a few months since we "toured" last. Climbing back into that big black house on wheels was like crawling back into the comfort of something that once seemed so familiar- not familiar in the negative, complacent way, but in the way that makes you feel as if you just got a fresh, new surge of energy and comfort in your bones. I felt like I was stepping into a place I'd been missing for the past few months- the place where we are vessels of love, making small changing in this big world that we hope will amount in a big change.

I hope some of you will be able to make it out to some of the shows we have coming up. If not, I hope to see you sometime sooner than later. However, if you are planning on coming out and want to do something nice for us, here are some things we enjoy:
Cookies, individual jelly packets, gift cards, chips (original, bbq, salt & vinegar), fruit, any goodies, but most of all: HUGS. (On a side note, if you have a cat that you can bring out to a show I will shower it with love and hugs).
Also, if you are ever interested in seeing or purchasing anything from Wood Heart Jewelry I'll have all of the pieces traveling with me while we're out so feel free to ask me about them at a show!


Sincerely,
Shannon Briggs Bolanowski 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Only Ahead


I’m writing this at my new desk. It is dark brown. I think “espresso” is the exact shade. That word always made sense to me until now. It’s because prior to writing the third sentence in this blog, I was under the impression that the word was “expresso.” No one has ever corrected me until Spell-Check. Thanks, Spell-Check. I’m not a coffee drinker, so the word doesn’t often come into contact with my lips. I feel that this gives me a pass on knowing such coffee-exclusive terminology. Putting the X in there would make more sense in my opinion. People get “shots” of the stuff and the get pumped, move faster. One could say it’s the express version of coffee. One could also say that it’s the mild version of crack cocaine. I’ll let you decide. But the Red Bull sitting next to my computer serves as a gentle reminder that we each have our own drugs.

            My room has been too bright, and I have never had the initiative to do anything about. But yesterday, I desperately needed a 3:30 nap. So I found a blanket in another room, and then franticly wedged its corners into the mechanics of my blinds. Only this morning did I realize that the blanket I chose has a design covering it entirely: pool balls. It’s throwing off the otherwise 1968-esque vibe of my room. But the blinding light peering through the side of my billiards collage is threatening to flood into my room if I take it down, so I went to a garage sale this morning and bought a chair that would have matched my grandmother’s dining room set to compensate for the vibe clash. It has armrests. I imagine my grandmother might have had some words for a man who puts a chair with armrests at his desk. Armrests are for the living room. “Your arms can’t rest and work at the same time.” Truthfully, Grandma wouldn’t have actually spoken any of those words. She would have glared them. Her eyes always said more to me than her mouth.

            I have never really been close to a grandparent, at least not my own. I have always adopted them. I know it seems odd to adopt an old person rather than a child. But there’s way less paper work and unlike children, they can at least tell you when they’ve peed their pants. I have no message or inspirational truth today. Only a head. These are the things that run through it.

-Your Pal David

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Number One Danger of Playing Outdoor Festivals: Bees.

In the year 2000, there were a massive outbreak in bee sting deaths: an astonishing 54 deaths out of 281 million (census data). "Why is this number so high?", you ask? That is because the an average person with no bee allergy can only tolerate 10 stings per pound of body weight. So, I would only have to be stung 1,450 times to die from a bee sting- a number I will not take lightly.


Some rumored home remedies for bee stings include: onions, toothpaste, and lemons. This is why if you are to going to an outdoor music festival, you should always come prepared with an emergency bee sting kit, which would include all of these items. I have gone one step further- I keep a necklace with onion rings and lemon slices on it so when a bee sees me wearing it, it thinks to itself, "Man, why would I sting this fellow, he has all the remedies he needs to fix himself. What a waste!" So far my plan has succeeded 100%.

Please keep yourself prepared. DO NOT be one of the 54.

-Nathan Wethy
Founder of "Do Not Be One of the 54 North American Division"

**This info packet is in memory of the bee that hassled Nate Dogg on stage at Sonfest 2011
***All statistics and facts courtesy of www.buzzaboutbees.net

Saturday, September 24, 2011

"What's YOUR Story?" Contest Winners




We want to give a HUGE thank you to everyone who contributed stories for the “What’s YOUR Story” contest. Every single one of them was an encouragement to us, and many of them touched us deeply. It means so much that you guys care enough about us to share with us your experiences. We want to congratulate Johnothan Bomboy for his winning entry, which won him a Mike Mains & The Branches t-shirt, as well as a bunch of other sweet stuff. We are also currently clapping our hands (yes, really) for our two runners-up, Taylor Dooley and Michael Wilcher, who also get some presents in the mail from us. All three of their stories are below, and all three are great! Thanks guys.

Grace and Peace
-MMTB

Winning Entry, Johnothan Bomboy

It was my first time to the Cornerstone Festival. It was another HOT scorching day. I was standing outside of a porta-john doing the typical boyfriend job of holding the girlfriends purse, while simultaneously attempting to hold onto whatever shred of "manliness" I could. After some time of standing outside awkwardly shifting around, my girlfriend emerges from the porta-john. Though she walked in empty handed, she walked out with a sleek, ever-swanky looking iPhone. When my girlfriend and I carried this phone to our campsite, one of our fellow campers informs us, from the picture of the rather dashing man on the home screen, that it must belong to one of the members of a band playing at the "Underground" stage. My girlfriend and I fiercely debate (argue/fight) over whether we should give this rather expensive cellular device to the lost and found or go to the tent and attempt to match the picture on the home screen with one of the men at the stage, her wanting to take the phone to lost and found, I wanting to play and intense game of "Guess Who?" meshed with "Where's Waldo?" Finally after 30 minutes of debating/arguing/fighting my girlfriend concedes and the game commences!
Instantly I begin scour through the crowd anxiously playing my game I named "Where's Who?". I think I spot someone who may resemble the man on the phone and muster the courage to yell out. "HEY DUDE!!!....YEAH!!!....YOU!!!...*man walks over*...You missin a phone man?" I ask. "Nah man," he replies. Alas. The search continues! Again, I see another man of similar resemblance. I yell to him, "Hey is this your phone?" He walks over. He's a rather tall man, with a beard that could make Gandalf the Gray jealous. Wearing what I presume is an ascot and a polo, with hair combed neatly to the side, I think, “This man closely resembles Fred from Scooby Doo and the gang.” I show him the picture on the home screen. "That's my friends!" he exclaims. I look at him curiously. "It is!" he says once more, excitedly. "I'll get him for you." My girlfriend and I anxiously wait. He returns with a friend dressed equally nice. I've seen this man before. His hair is combed just as neat as his friend, and is sporting an almost pencil thin mustache. This was no John Waters style mustache mind you. But just as well trimmed and cared for. He is also sporting a rather fancy velveteen jacket, and an eye-catching bow tie. All in all, this man defined dapper. He comes over to me and my girlfriend thanking us for returning his phone. He says, "If I had money I would pay you." He tells me, "If you stick around after the show I can give you one of my bands CD's." I quickly accept but can't help but be somewhat reluctant, never hearing the band before. Though they were dressed so nicely, I almost thought it was too nice. I feared it might be a 50's doo-wop sound. My girlfriend and I readily take our standing position as close to front and center as the anxious mob would allow. The band kicks off, and INSTANTLY I am captivated and taken aback. The show was AMAZING and still is my FAVORITE concert of all Cornerstone. I get to meet the band afterwards and they give me the CD as promised. I spend the rest of the summer listening to the CD over and over and over again. It quickly became a favorite among my friends and I. Now I can only dream and wish I could see them again and that I could get more music. That's my story. This is my tale. Of the great. The magnificent. The musically-gifted. Mike Mains & The Branches.

Runner-Up, Michael Wilcher

First off, I don't care about getting free merch, I'm not writing to you to gain anything out of it. I'm writing to you because I just want you guys to know how much I care about this band and how much you guys made me feel like family. You guys have forever changed the way I live because of one weekend at Purple Door Festival.
On the weekend of August 12th and 13th, my friends and I drove six hours to see you all. When I got to Purple Door, I saw David, who remembered me from a show that was almost a year before in VA Beach, we got to hang out for a bit, he suggested music, I suggested music. Mike and Shannon showed up briefly, but in those brief couple of minutes, it was like I was surrounded by family. You guys are the most real and caring individuals that I have ever had the pleasure to meet.
During all of this, I was suffering from depression and all its friends. I didn't smile, I didn't want to. I didn't know what my life would look like in the next 5 and 10 years. Now I do. You guys have inspired me to make music, not only to make music but to touch the lives of teenagers suffering from the same things I was suffering from a month ago. You guys have inspired me to smile.
Thank you so much for just being around and being the most real and caring people I have ever met.

Runner-Up, Taylor Dooley

"Just say what's on your mind. 'I think I love you.' But you don't know what love is..." I think most people don't really know what love is. They 'love' their record player, their new hair cut, barbeque sauce... It's a word our society tosses around every time we 'like' something. I'm a victim of this; we all are.
On one of our first dates, my boyfriend Travis had his Mike Mains and the Branches CD in his car. We were listening to it and I instantly adored 'Miracle' and 'Stereo' (which happens to be the 5th most played song on my iPod.) The first songs on the CD were my favorite so we never really got past track 5, the rest being foreign territory. In passing, he had said that one of his favorite definitions of love was in one of the songs, but at the time he couldn't think of the name and if he did I forgot because I kind of freaked out when he said the 'love.' I mean, we'd been dating less than month and 'the L word' wasn't something I'd even thought about.  It caught me off guard until I realized he was just talking about a part in the song... Anyway, it was a while before I listened to 'Stop the Car.' You see, I have this really bad habit of changing the song within 2 minutes, so naturally I didn't reach the bridge for some time. When I finally did, however, I instantly knew that this was the song he had been talking about.
Love, at least in my eyes, is really complex. You can't find the definition on dictionary.com and get a satisfying answer. In lasting relationships, love is an important aspect. I didn't want to be one of those girls who says 'I love you' within a short span of time because I don't think you can determine whether or not you love someone that quickly. In a quest to understand it better, I began relying on the Bible (1 Corinthians 13) and the 'Stop the Car' bridge. The bridge describes it in a way that I can begin to comprehend, saying that '"I know that it's great and it's different. It's when you give and give of yourself until your tank is on empty just to be with the one you love.' You bleed on the inside at the thought of losing them that's how I feel." When I listen to it, part of me feels pain because I hear the pain in your voices as you're telling us what it really feels like to love. It's an honest definition that shows how it feels when you truly care. It's not the fluff Disney shows you when you're an 8-year old watching Snow White for the first time. I'll be honest in saying that I still don't fully understand it. Though it may seem silly, this song has guided me, as all your music does, whether is be spiritually, musically, or otherwise.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Tour Announcement: Mike Mains & The Branches w/ Ocean Is Theory

Hi Friends,

We have some great news for Fall - Mike Mains & The Branches are gearing up for a a 7-date run with Ocean Is A Theory as part of the band's fall tour this year! See if we'll be heading to a place near you, and come hang out with us! Show dates are below, and all details (locations, times) can be found on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mikemainsandthebranches.

09/17 - Mt. Vernon, OH
10/02 - Chattanooga, TN (w/ Ocean Is Theory)
10/06 - Cincinnati, OH (w/ Ocean Is Theory)
10/07 - Louisville, KY (w/ Ocean Is Theory)
10/09 - Terre Haute, IN (w/ Ocean Is Theory)
10/10 - Ames, IA (w/ Ocean Is Theory)
10/11 - Mason City, IA (w/ Ocean Is Theory)
10/15 - Mishawaka, IN (w/ Ocean Is Theory)
10/16 - Canton, OH
10/21 - Grand Rapids, MI
10/23 - Pontiac, MI
11/11 - Spring, TX

~ Management

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Monday, September 19, 2011


Greetings, friends. We are pleased to announce the “What’s YOUR Story” Contest! You guys are what inspires us to do this. Some of the most moving, the funniest, and the most inspirational interactions we have ever had have been conversations with folks who have come up to talk with us before or after our shows, and we want to give you an opportunity to share those stories with the world.

To enter the contest, send us a story of some way that MMTB has impacted you, whether it’s through personal interactions, the music itself, or watching a live show. We’re looking for the funniest, most interesting, or most inspiring MMTB-related memories. If a song helped you through a tough time, we want to hear about it. If your grandma hates our music and complains when you play it, tell us what suggestions she has! In addition to the prizes, the 3 winners will have their stories posted on our blog, and mentioned on our social networks.

PRIZES/Rules
Please submit your story (no more than 2 or 3 paragraphs) to MMTBFeedback@gmail.com no later than Friday, September 23rd. No more than 2 submissions per person.

First place winner will receive 1 shirt of their choice from the MMTB merch store, one MMTB Koozie, signed poster, and a signed copy of “Home.”
Two runners up will receive a signed copy of “Home,” and a personally-addressed, signed poster.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Why?

Why do we do the things we do?
Why do we continue doing what we should not?
There are two voices inside of us
One guiding us into light
The other into darkness

We can sleep our entire lives away
Or wake up and seize the day
I want to live for something bigger
Than the reality of my mortality

Greatness is serving

-Mikey 

We are who we are behind closed doors

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Glow-In-The-Dark Cats: They're all the rave



This morning, Fox News New York reported that “medical scientists at the Mayo Clinic have combined genes from three species to produce a glow-in-the-dark cat resistant to feline AIDS.” Apparently, part of a monkey and part of a jellyfish were placed inside a fertilized cat egg, somehow producing a kitten that is not only resistant to AIDS, which may potentially lead to a cure for humans with AIDS, but more importantly, GLOWS IN THE DARK! They say that it is just coincidence that the jellyfish genes cause this illuminating side-effect, and the media seems to be focusing pretty heavily on the AIDS side of things, and rightfully so.

But if you know anything about Mike Mains & The Branches, you know that we love cats. This is not the I’m-really-more-of-a-cat-person kind of love. We’re talking about the holy-crap-there-are-glow-in-the-dark-cats-now-and-I-have-to-tell-everybody-about-it kind of love.

Now, I know that it is important that we may be able to solve the global AIDS epidemic. Totally get it. Lots of people have AIDS. That’s really bad. We should definitely fix it. But the media at large seems to be focusing almost exclusively on the disease-curing front, so I decided to take a moment to point out a few of the positive things that these rave-friendly felines bring to the table.

For instance, with these kinds of powers, families with cats will never have to invest in nightlights for their kids. Does little Johnny like Muff Muff the cat, but is afraid of the dark? Problem solved. Does your cat run away a lot? Just wait until nightfall to go looking for it. Let’s not neglect the benefit to the military either. Stumble upon a dark cave full of Taliban? Send in the cats! Whether you are marking the fire exits or decorating your yard at Christmas time, look no further than these furry felines. And the best part is their longevity; no way are these cats getting AIDS.

Whether you suffer from a previously incurable disease, or you just like kitties, it’s been a good day.

-David

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wooden Heart

   I usually don't have a whole lot of new, exciting things to say on here, but guess what? Today I have some exciting, new news! As of Tuesday night I officially launched Wooden Heart Jewelry. Since we tour full-time, it's been nearly impossible to find an employer willing to hire someone for a few random days a month. And regardless of what you may have heard, we aren't exactly "raking in the Benjamins" at the moment. Therefore, I needed to find a creative way of sustaining a somewhat livable income. Trust me, I would have gone and done something else with my life by this point if playing music wasn't what I wanted to do with my life. So, I thought real hard about something I could do and take with me while we travel. This is what I came up with: making jewelry.


   I feel like a lot of the jewelry I see people wearing today is so mass-produced and cheap looking. I wanted to make pieces that were unique, handmade, and had a little special flair to them. I decided to use all semi-precious stones, real gold and silver, and vintage accents (watch faces, gears, found objects, etc...). I think the key to investing into a piece of jewelry is knowing that you're wearing something that was handmade with love, care, and durable material. So, that's what I'm aiming to do: create products that you will love, which will in turn help me continue to travel and be a part of my family, Mike Mains & The Branches. For those who read this, it would mean the absolute world to me if you would help me spread the word about Wooden Heart. I've posted some samples of my work, and will continue to keep updating the store about once a week depending on how busy we are with traveling.

   With Love,
Shannon Briggs Bolanowski

   I present to you: Wooden Heart Jewelry



Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Consistency is Key

   I do not remember the person who actually said this but the quote goes something like, "Spiritual maturity is the consistent application of elementary principles."  This is a fitting principle to live by in every area. Consistency is something I feel like I can grow in a lot. It's the getting up when I do not feel like it, writing a blog when I am way too tired to do so, or caring more about helping someone than isolating myself and only caring about my own concerns.

    I asked a friend of mine awhile ago what she thought our generation would be remembered for. Her response was "overextended adolescence". Maybe it is because our generation at times is so afraid of taking a risk that we never pursue anything. I can be honest enough to admit it. I can dream up big dreams and write up enormous plans. Yet, what is more of a mountain to me is the drudgery of the mundane. We want to do t-shirt ministry and embrace bike rides instead of wasting resources and volunteering for our fellow man and the only way to do it is in a distant foreign land. Yet, what if the greatest place of growth and personal development is learning to embrace where we are? Instead of changing the scenery and moving, why not try to change the landscape where we are at? Perhaps the greatest feats of accomplishment come from every little step taken forward. I hope you are well, whoever you are reading this, and whatever it is that you are facing. I hope this encourages you not to climb the mountain or build some gigantic structure or write a top billboard song, but to take one more step, lay one more brick and write one more line. One day at a time.

Have a wonderful day!

- Mikey

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I'm No Abe Lincoln, But...

You don’t actually believe in something huge if the impact it has on your life is small. If you claim to believe in something so important that your life should be centered around it, but you live as if it means nothing to you, you are a liar and a fraud. I know that sounds harsh. Please forgive me if any of this is offensive. But we try to be honest here, and honestly, I’m getting pissed.

I’ll try to be less vague. It feels more and more like our generation claims to believe in God, but then refuses to acknowledge his existence in their lives. To be clear, IT DOES NOT OFFEND ME TO TALK TO PEOPLE WHO DON’T BELIVE IN GOD. What offends me to me core, however, is to watch people who say they do acting with total disregard for it. I have friends who flat out admit that they don’t believe in the existence of God, that they think we’re here by chance, and that the lack of irrefutable evidence in support of a creator is too overwhelming for them to believe. I respect the honesty in that. While I may personally disagree with their conclusions, I give them credit for being honest with themselves and with others.

There is one key difference between someone who believes in God and someone who does not. A lack of belief in God requires nothing of you. A belief in God requires everything of you. So before you sign your name on the dotted line because it’s what your parents or friends did, carefully consider the fact that when you join a group of any kind, you become a reflection of that group. For instance, if I were a Communist, I would be pretty ticked if a bunch of free-market capitalists started joining the Communist party, taking on that title, and portraying ideals that are fundamentally different than those that Communism stands for.

(To clarify, I’m not a Communist.)

I’m not going to judge anyone for their actions, and I fully recognize that there are people who sincerely strive to live as God intends them to, but almost constantly fall short. I am one of them. But the key lies in sincerity. So regardless of what it is that you believe in, be honest about it, and live a life that is true to it. I’m not talking exclusively about religion. Religion is just an easy target, because religion claims to know the answers to life’s questions, and should consequently be held to a higher standard. Just live your life in a way that you won’t regret when you’re old or dead.

-David

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Breakfast

Hello Friends,

I love breakfast. I would replace any meal with it. I would love to hear about all of your favorite breakfast stops (Which given the chance… I will stop at) But for now I'm going to tell you all about my favorite breakfast joints I have come across.

Golden Harvest, Lansing MI

Fruity Pebble French Toast, Milky Way Waffles, Captain Crunch French Toast. Music is cranked, The last time I was there I listened to: Run DMC, 50 Cent, Blackstreet, Sublime, Bassnectar, Matisyahu. Best breakfast in Michigan


Sarkis Café, Wilmette Il.
30 Year old griddle that has never been cleaned. Thankfully. Order a bacon loretta everything on it with a side of hash browns and can of Coke.


The Griddle Café, Hollywood CA

Right on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. Pancakes the falling off the sides of plates, best bacon I have ever had in my life. My favorite is the pumpkin pancakes.

If you are ever around these spots you HAVE to stop by these places you will not regret it. I’m looking forward to trying out your suggestions. J

-Nate Dogg

Monday, August 29, 2011

Zoe & Evan

This is Zoe & Evan. 
They are two of the most wonderful people in the world. I promise. 
They are getting married in less than a month in sunny Australia. I wish more than anything else right now that all us branches could have an adventure and go "down under" to attend this glorious celebration. 
Zoe & Evan are a part of our family. They braved living with us in our van for a few months last fall, and life hasn't been the same since. We laughed, cried, and danced together. Evan sold merch in our trailer on the lawn of a house in a bear suit on Halloween, Zoe always made everyone laugh, and together they had the best dance moves of anyone I've ever met. It doesn't take you long to know that they are perfect for one another- together they are one. 
They moved back to Australia for a few years which makes me a sad panda, but alas, they shall return. 
My heart swells with happiness knowing they are finally getting hitched. 
On the 23rd of September I will raise my glass and toast to the union of the cutest lovebirds:
Zoe & Evan.

I love you two with all my heart.

-Shannon

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Oh, Panera Bread

   We were headed to a show in Wilmington, Ohio yesterday. Nothing unusual, just hopped off the highway and stopped by a Panera Bread. While in line I was asked for my name. The young lad working asked if I played in a band. I said I did and he asked if it was Mike Mains and The Branches. I said, "yes sir". He said he was a big fan. He ended up introducing me to just about the entire staff whom he had proselytized into MMTB fan's seemingly overnight. So, I hooked him up with a shirt and invited him to our show that night.

   He and his girlfriend came out and we got to hang some. For this young lad I hope the evening was a blast. But David, if you are reading this I want to thank you. I was having a pretty decent day. Yet, you brightened it by helping me realize something so profound: what I do is so much bigger than who I am. Even if I die tomorrow no one can take "Home" and the songs away from me or the hands of all that welcomed it.

   This record is a direct reflection of some of the darkest and most painful experiences of not only my life but our entire band's. You, my friend, have shown me that we can make an impact. The fact that simply obeying what we felt posssed to do meant playing a song that make you smile makes it all worth while.

   I hope that college goes well for you. I hope things work out for you and your sweet girlfriend. I hope your family is healthy, safe and sound. My advice to you is to never quit. No matter how high the tide or how steep the mountain. Continue putting one foot in front of the other. And finally as my dear friend Rev. Jon Moore says, "Walk in love, Walk in truth, and in forgiveness."

- Mike

Thursday, August 25, 2011

MMTB Is Proud To Introduce: Nate Dogg


Hello everybody! We would like to introduce you all to Mr. Nate Wethy. You may have seen Nathan at shows with us recently strumming on the ol’ bass guitar. He has been doing an awesome job, and since he will be joining us for our upcoming tours and contributing on the blog, we thought we would take the opportunity to introduce you to him. We think he’s a stand up guy, and he has the MMTB stamp of approval!



Nate, thanks for taking the time to share with us a little bit about yourself. First off, can you tell our readers a little bit about you, where you’re from, what you do with your time, etc.?

Well I'm really into barbecue potato chips, Now and Laters, sunflower seeds and Glacier Freeze Gatorade. Now that that is settled, I am from Lansing, Michigan, which if you have never been there, you definitely need to not check out. My Mexican heritage is important to me. (1/8th, no biggie) So everyday I spend 1/8th of the day (3 hours silly) doing Mexican things. Shakin’ the Maracas, wearing the sombrero, etc. The other 7/8ths of the day I do white boy things. Sleeping, wishing I had better dance movies, making spreadsheets, working on my comb over, you know, the usual. 

I know you tend to introduce yourself by immediately acknowledging your ridiculous nickname. Can you tell us about that nickname and where it came from?

I am not sure which nickname you are a referring to, I don't recall having any ridiculous ones. But my real name, Nate Dogg, well that came from my parents, they started that one. Now all the people of the world call me that, everyone from my 75-year-old grandpa, to my 3-year-old niece, not to mention every boss that I have ever had. That being said I have the upmost respect for the late rapper Nate Dogg.


You have been known to consistently wear hip-hop-influenced jeans and flat-brimmed hats slightly off centered, and you recently sold merch for a Wiz Khalifa concert. Are you aware that Mike Mains & The Branches is not a rap group? Are you trying to use this band as a stepping-stone to launch your personal hip-hop career?

I’m just all about that swagger, my friend. My only goal as far as my rap career is concerned is to become "rap support" for some famous rapper. Nothing sounds better than waving a flag on stage behind Weezy, dropping in the occasional “whats,” “uhs,” and shout out to my home town (517, Southside till I die, that’s just how I get down.)

Oooookay. You have spent some time on the road with us now, how has the experience been, and what do you look forward to about the upcoming tours?

I’m looking forward melting the faces of the youth across the land. In addition to that, I plan to re-read the Potter series; yeah you can make fun of me all you want, just wait until I bust out the crucio or avada kedavra. In case you were wondering my patronus is a penguin. 


Do you have any good stories to share about funny or interesting things you have experienced with the band?

Well other than seeing a dead bald eagle, people getting thrown into the ditch on the highway, 2x4's getting shot through windshields and grandmas almost getting plowed over by SUVs…..? No. 

If you had to sum up the Nathan Wethy approach to life in one inspirational phrase, what would it be?

I am not a mathematician so I don't know about all that "sum" stuff but all I do is try to keep it real, don't take things so seriously, and work hard. Most of all: Do those things that the dead people can't!

Kaboom Baby

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"So, are you guys a Christian band?"

We hear this question on an astonishingly consistent basis. The answer is not a simple one, so I thought it would be appropriate to take a few moments to address it in a blog, since this seems to be a point of interest for so many. I find that when people ask us if we are a Christian band, they are really asking one of two questions, so I will address both seperately.

“Do you classify yourselves within the genre of Christian music?”
The short answer is no. We do not choose to use our faith as a means to sell music or advance our career. The Christian music industry targets a very specific crowd. There is a large segment of the population that will not listen to any music that is not labeled as “Christian.” There are entire festivals and radio stations that exist based on this principle. I recognize that the confusion on this subject stems from the fact that we willingly play at some of those festivals and receive airplay from some of those stations. We are infinitely grateful for both opportunities. In the same way that we do not discriminate against a non-Christian audience, we would likewise never discriminate against a Christian audience.

The truth is, we have some lyrics that contain very clear Christian concepts and references (i.e. cross, Jesus, baptism). We did not shy away from these topics in the process of writing our album, and I don’t imagine that we will in the future either. But we are not a worship band. We are more comfortable playing in rock clubs and bars than we are churches. All the same, the lyrics in our songs will always be reflective of what we experience in our lives. We will not compromise truth and honesty either to please the Christian market or to please the mainstream market. Honestly, we wrote like 50 songs for “Home” and just kept the best ones. So while there is a song on the record that says, “It’s not the cross that saves, it’s the man who came and wore it,” we also almost kept a song with the lyric, “She woke up in a bed with a pile of clothes on the floor. He was a coward who got up and crept out of an open door while she slept.” There was another song that contained the lyric “Oh, how I used to love all the benefits of spotlights, sailing deep into the dark night, stealing innocence from girls who said their daddy’s didn’t love them.” These songs just happened to not be as good as the ones that made the cut. We will never shy away from honestly portraying the lives that we have lived, even if that makes people uncomfortable. We cling to the hope that there is some level of redemption to be found in honesty. For better or for worse, you will know the real us. If our lives and beliefs are an encouragement to you, then that is awesome. But if our experiences and mistakes are a warning to you, then is that any less beneficial?

So, if Christian radio, Christian festivals, or Christian music outlets think that their listener base will enjoy or benefit from our music, then we count it a privilege. But we will not EVER define our art based on our personal religious beliefs. There is money to be made in doing so, and we have fought the temptation to cave to that pressure, just so we can eat. But at the end of the day, we would rather have to work other jobs to pay our bills than to whore out our religion for a profit. This is not to say that there is not a place for “Christian” bands. To be sure, there is. We are friends with many musicians who would not be fulfilling their calling if they were not in the Christian music scene. We will gladly support bands that are strictly seeking success in the Christian music world. But that place is not ours. Michelangelo was a brilliant artist; his work was primarily religious in nature. Michelangelo is not remembered as a Christian artist, but simply as an artist. Yet his work still moves and inspires the world.

“Are the individuals in your band Christians?”
There are currently three core members of our band, Mike, Shannon, and David. The three of us are all Christians. We are all active in local churches. I don’t want to speak on behalf of anyone but myself, but because I have discussed the subject with Mike and Shannon extensively, I can say with confidence that our faith is the center of each of our lives. It is my hope that our passion and love that are a direct result of that faith will be evident in everything that we do, musical or otherwise.

That being said, we have not shied away from bringing people on the road with us who are not necessarily on the same page. Currently, our touring crew also includes a bassist, Nate, and a merch person, Courtney. Again, it is not my place to speak on their behalf. But from the talks I have had with each of them on the subject, I have gathered that either because of personal experiences or unanswered questions, they are not in the same place in their journey of faith as the other three of us. And that is okay. We do not want to be so dogmatic or judgmental as to tell anyone that his or her experiences or questions are not valid. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is the asking of questions that leads to the eventual solidification of faith. Just because Courtney is not comfortable being super involved in a church or Nate is not comfortable voicing a group prayer does not mean they have nothing to share or bring to the table. Furthermore, just because a person does not maintain the same views as you does not mean that they have nothing valid to say. It is often the people that I disagree with on fundamental levels who open my eyes to new truths. It is my hope that Nate will soon start contributing to this blog as well. He is wise, funny, and occasionally insightful!

I encourage anyone reading this to examine what you believe. Do you follow your religion because your parents or friends do? When is the last time you stopped to evaluate why you do what you do? A faith unchallenged is a house built on the sand.

I hope that this blog clears up any questions that you may have had about our stance on this controversial subject. It is not our goal to offend anyone. If you have any further questions, or would like us to elaborate on some point, feel free to submit comments on this blog, and we will happily respond.

-David

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mental Vacation

I'm not entirely sure I have the motivation to write some inspiring, life changing blog tonight. In my motivation's absence, I decided to list a few of my favorites:
-There's nothing more refreshing than a cold glass of Trader Joe's Pineapple Juice.
-There's nothing that warms me up on a cold day as much as a mug filled with hot chocolate.
-I would be satisfied living on a diet of popcorn, oatmeal, broccoli, bananas, avocados, perogies, and pizza.
-Harry Potter. The books. The movies. The theme park. Period.
-Let's all go to the park or the zoo! (Preferably one with pandas!)
-Give me all the cats and bunnies.
-Nashville.
-Any Wes Anderson flick.
-Let's go surfing.
-I will bake you any cupcake you ask for!
-I want to see you smile and laugh.
-Sending mail to friends in far off places.
-Books. Books. Books. Read. Read. Read.
-Given the opportunity, I would buy every person in the world tickets to see Sigur Ros live. It will change your life.
-I try to cherish every moment I can spend with dear friends and family. Time passes too quickly.
-Let's ride bikes everywhere.
-Anything but texting.
-True love.

I miss David already. I know he'll do great in school, but for the next four months I'll miss one of my best friends forever. I hear we'll probably be heading to Texas this fall though! I cannot wait to get to Texas to see him, his parents, and his animals!

Love,
Shannon

Friday, August 19, 2011

At The End Of The Day

I apologize to all for a lag in blogging on my behalf. I refuse to give excuses because one is just as good as the next. Things with the band have been great. We are preparing for some big things over the next few months, and as they unfold we will be keeping you guys informed. 

Remember when you were younger and you would look at an elderly person and think, "They are so old. I will not be that old in like forever." Perhaps the amount of time it will take for us to arrive at ripe old wrinkle age is seemingly forever to a bright-eyed youth. For me as the last five years have dissolved into a blur I have been made aware of my aging. 

I do not feel as young as I once did. I look at the world differently now than I did when I was 18. I care way more about social justice and conspiracy theories than I ever did before. My only reasoning for this is one simple fact. That as we age we become more aware of our mortality. This has certainly put things into a very pragmatic perspective for me. 

Life is short so we should enjoy it.  We should not squander precious moments away on being pissed off at our waitress who probably found out her husband was cheating on her. We were upset because she took an extra thirty seconds to top off our water. Yet on the other side of the planet is a little girl who hasn't had water in several days and is so weak she might not even be able to swallow water if there was even some available. 

All I am getting at here is perspective. Someone once said it this way: "I once saw a man complaining that he had no shoes until he saw a man who had no feet." Time is precious and it's short and it's fleeting. These moments today are ever slipping into an ocean of historical events only to be revisited by memories we tuck away inside our hearts. I propose we make these memories something to celebrate. 

Let's look back on these memories and see lives changed and hearts encouraged with the thread of truth that unites us all. Let's live every day and speak every word and sing every song like it's our last day. I play with a band of people who do nothing but simply love me for who I am through hell and through the sunshine. 

I do not know what you are facing, what you are going through. Yet, I assure you. it is salvageable. God is good. His word is truth. Let's live a life with open ears and closed mouths. Let’s let our hands do the talking and help those who cannot help themselves. At the end of the day I find when I provide a shoulder for someone to lean on that the weight of the world is somehow muzzled out by the comfort of knowing that someone else's weight just got a little less heavy. 

Cheers,

- Mikey

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

There's A Lot More To Life Than Being Really, Really, Ridiculously Good Looking

Hey guys, this is David. I wanted to take a moment to update you guys on something that’s going on in my life, and consequently the life of the band. Immediately following Purple Door Festival, I will be leaving for Texas to attend college this semester. I will be living with my family, who I have scarcely seen over the last couple of years because of how busy we have been with touring. I am very excited for the opportunity to go, and I wanted to publicly thank the band for allowing me the time off to pursue school. It’s like the wise Derek Zoolander once said regarding the importance of education: “I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is.”

I will only be gone for this one semester, and after that I plan on returning to my comrades on the road. This decision will in no way affect the band, and Mike Mains & The Branches have some awesome tours coming up for the rest of the year. I am excited to see how much the band grows this fall, and I look forward to returning with great anticipation. As of now, no decision has been made as to who will be playing drums for the band in my absence. But of the names that have been discussed so far, I have confidence in every one of them. My drum parts aren’t super difficult at all, and my personal motto is that playing drums is 90% enthusiasm anyway! Please continue to support the band and come out to their shows. I think they will be selling a shirt with my face on it, so, it’s pretty much like I’ll still be there.

I will continue to write blogs, though probably not quite as regularly as the rest of the guys. I am hoping that Mr. Nathan Wethy, the gentleman playing bass for us now, will soon be contributing on here as well. Thank you all so much for all of your love and support. I will miss you all, and I look forward to seeing you on the road next year.

Grace and Peace
-David

Monday, August 8, 2011

Endure & Conquer

There are some people you just can't give up on- the people who look in the mirror and only see themselves covered in the ash and dirt of mistakes they've made and things they think they've done wrong. However, no matter how much bad they see in themselves, I have scraped away the dirt and found gold underneath. Precious, beautiful gold. I hope one day they can see it too.
I don't know what to be other than optimistic in these circumstances; being pessimistic is like being content with letting yourself waste away in a pit of mud. I want to throw a rope into the pit and tell them everything will be okay- they just need to grab on and pull themselves up.
I can't give up. Love doesn't give up- it endures and conquers all.

-Shannon

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Change

The older I get the more set in my ways I become. At times I desire to change. At other times I could care less. I have found myself becoming more concerned with the victims of social injustice as of late. Yet, I wonder still, am I only doing this out of some need to feel better about myself? Am I doing this to be like Bono in hopes that someday I too will sell out arenas?  Who knows. Who cares. I am certain that someone cares.

    What I know is that you will never change unless you want to. You will never develop unless you truly desire to do so. Stepping back from our own reflections reveals that our decisions affect more than just ourselves. They hurt or help the ones we love the most. Time is the greatest revealer of character. I only hope to continue writing music. To continue living life and helping people even though I feel in shambles at times. Yet, when I am lost I am found.

When I am weak. He is strong.

-Mike

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Do What You Were Made For.

The nature of our lifestyle is so strange. We have a lot of time off right now, and it feels very… empty. We had a band meeting yesterday, and it ended up lasting for hours. We didn’t really have all that much to discuss, but I think we just got to hanging out, and lost track of time. Truthfully, I think we were all subconsciously dragging it out, just so we could be with each other longer. The people I travel with have become my family. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

I have a handful of other relationships in my life, but our consistent touring schedule for the last year has ensured that I am unable to be particularly close with any of them. We go to exciting places, and often get the privilege of meeting some truly wonderful people. I fall deeply in love with the places and the people I meet, making it difficult to be away from them. I have only enough time to plant the seeds of friendship, never enough to water them. I sometimes feel robbed, as if I am owed anything. But lately I am being reminded of the gift that life really is, and how fortunate I am to have a single person to call my friend. I am blessed with people who care about me for reasons that I will never understand. I am overwhelmed by the love I feel from people who I have only interacted with in person once, or maybe a handful of times.

I miss Burk, my best friend for as long as I can remember. I miss my awesome parents, who I haven’t seen since May. I miss Blanton, my old roommate and surrogate big brother, the most fashionable dude in Cooke County. I miss Jessica, who I met in Lancaster and who is now living in Florida with her parents because she has a heart of gold. I miss the girl I fell in love with and hate the girl she’s become. I miss Josh and Trista Lamb, my Pennsylvania family. I miss Jay, the weird looking guy with one awkwardly long dread who had a significant impact on me, even for the limited time he spent with us. I miss Rob McFadden, the guy who spent more time eating chili cheese fries than he did playing guitar with us last summer. I miss Chase Burnett, the guy from Texas who I feel so strangely connected to despite our limited interactions. I miss Corinne Chase, the person who gave me hope for this world of ours, but who I haven't seen or spoken to in ages now. I don’t have a phone right now. I can’t call these people to tell them how much I care about them. And even if I could, it wouldn’t make up for anything. The truth is, I missed Jay’s wedding last week. We had a show. And there are similar stories with every one of my aforementioned relationships. Almost every person I mentioned could write a blog longer than this strictly about all the ways I have let them down, most of them as a result of me being in this band.

I’m not complaining. Even while recognizing the weighty consequences of my choices, I wake up every day and make the decision to keep doing what I do. I don’t regret any of it. I have to spend my life trying my hardest to make a difference, to live in such a way that people’s lives are impacted. I’m not good at math. I’m really not good at sports. I’m good at hitting things with sticks. And by some bizarre turn of events, I was blessed with the opportunity to do it as a job. The interactions that this band allows me to have with people like you are what motivate me to keep doing this. And I am so grateful for it.

I know this blog is longer than most. Thanks for sticking with me. I just woke up this morning (at 2:00 p.m.) and was feeling overwhelmed by the consequences of my lifestyle, and this is my way of processing it. I don’t have plans today. I don’t have plans for the rest of the week. There’s a dangerous sense of self-pity that tries to creep up on us in the midst of isolation. There is no noble decision in this life that comes without some negative consequences. It is exceptionally important that in the midst of that negativity, we remember the good for which we have sacrificed so much. Don’t just do what is easy. Do what you were made for.

-David

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summahtime.

It seems to be a little harder to keep up with the blogosphere since summer has arrived. Why would I want to shut myself inside to write a blog when I could be enjoying the sunshine and warm weather outside? We've had a lot of time off recently, and have most of August off as well. I've been able to visit friends & family, which has been very nice. I've also started making jewelry & painting more in my spare time, as I plan on trying to make some extra cash by selling these creations! It's great to be able to put my hands to something a little different than music, but each day that we're not playing shows I feel like I'm forgetting to do something or missing out on this pattern I've become accustomed to doing. I know though, that as soon as I start getting used to being home, we'll be starting up full-time again and I'll have to readjust back to living in a van & getting yelled at for letting the ice in the cooler melt and get gross. :) Life is good, especially when you get to spend everyday with your best friends and create music together. 

-Shannon

Friday, June 17, 2011

Death

I have constantly been thinking about death lately. I think it's something we all think about often. How will it happen? When will it happen? What is the reason for it? These are all questions I ask.

Instead of being overwhelmed with questions that will never entirely come full circle until after the grave, I choose to celebrate today. We are not young forever. We all want more time. The reality of my mortality is sobering. So much so that it really puts a fresh perspective on what I believe. Who I follow as my Lord and what the main desires of my heart. Elijah heard Him in a still small voice. Perhaps removing things off of our minds and out if our heads will enable us to hear what is knocking on the door a little more clearly.


- Mike