Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas, Internet, from the Harwells:

Somewhere in August, I had the idea that a Christmas card didn't have to just be a card, and looking around at the various recording things I'd accumulated, the idea for some sort of "Harwell family Christmas" recording was born. I thought, "Well, why not?"

More songs were started than were finished, but the three that made it are our favorites. In particular, 'Silent Night' was fun to do as a one-take, live-on-the-floor tune with a solo guitar, keeping with the song's history - it was written and performed as a duet with a single guitar after the organ at the newly built - and appropriately named - Church of St. Nicholas in Oberndorf, Austria broke down on Christmas Eve, 1818. Jana has never sang on any of my recordings before, though none of us are quite sure why.

The fourth track is one of my favorite sermons from our church (Classic City Community Church) from December 12, 2008. We hope you enjoy the tunes, and we wish you a most Merry Christmas!

Good tidings of great joy!


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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Well done, Wyatt.

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!" - Matthew 25:21

Our hearts are heavy today for Abby and the Mitchell family. We'll miss you, Wyatt.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Squidmas... Don't Be Late.

Here's a little video I made to get you ready for "Squidmas" 2010 at the 40 Watt here in Athens on Tuesday, December 7th. Our friends Doctor Squid have put this together for the last three years, and this year, the Warm Fuzzies will be joining in the holiday cheer.

 

 

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Untitled

Mercy.

 

 

 

This is a video I helped produce for Mercy Health Center here in Athens for their annual fundraiser banquet.

I started volunteering at Mercy back in May after Medical Director Paul Buczynsky spoke one Sunday at my church. Paul also attends Classic City, and I knew a little about Mercy, but in hearing firsthand about a place in my own town that is caring for those who need help - regardless of income, race, religion, etc. - got my heart racing. Here is a place where love is an action verb, a volunteer-driven organism that puts into practice the words of Jesus. Not perfect, but so very, very wonderful.

 

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Monday, November 08, 2010

In the last week...


... dear friends who had been trying to have a baby for a long time told us they're pregnant.

...we celebrated with some of our very closest friends as they welcomed their firstborn daughter into the world.

...I heard that a really great pastor and friend is losing his job due to budget cutbacks.

... Another friend booked a flight to be with her father in Houston as he seeks treatment for liver cancer.

...I filmed my daughter's first public dance performance.

 

When someone asks me, "How are things?" I never know how to answer. But as these days roll on, I'm finding more and more opportunity to put this verse into practice:

"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." - Romans 12:15

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Video+recap

This is a video I put together for my great friends John & Tara Dunn to show at their adoption fundraiser last Saturday. I think what they're doing is pretty great.

I also need to say thanks to the "Justice League" for backing me up on a handful of songs; it was a blast to play some old tunes with a full band. If I could break down those guys and assign each of them to the actual members of the Justice League, it might look like this:

1. Paul Reeves = Superman. The facilitator. The heart (and also the truth and justice). He's also the Keymaster.

2. Justin Reynolds = The Flash. You know, for the speed at which he wields the "hot licks" on the electric guitar.

3. Michael Whitworth = Green Lantern. For his overall coolness and creative juices on the bass guitar.

4. Ben Thompson = Aquaman. Just because I can kind of picture him wearing Aquaman's outfit.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Suffering.

"For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."

2 Corinthians 1:5

 

I read this yesterday morning. Yesterday afternoon, I found out a good friend of mine had lost a younger sibling, the second this year.

And I wondered about sin and the brokenness that exists in the world. So often, I think that Jesus doesn't understand my problems. That because he was God, he was somehow not really able to experience the worst parts of being a not-God person. But if on the cross, he did not just step in as a replacement for sin but actually became the sin so that sin would be destroyed, I reckon he knows a lot more than I give him credit for. For in becoming sin, he actually took on the weight of every measure of suffering that was, is, and will be. Essentially, he felt an eternity's worth of pain, including yours and mine. And I don't mean he just got "punished" for it but that he actually felt it.

Paul says here that those sufferings will "flow into our lives," and I take that to mean that we should expect such things. A faith that banks upon a smooth life is one with a paper mache foundation. I don't know what to say to my friend Parks as he copes with the loss of his brother; there are no words that can bring him back. I'd just end up sounding like one of Job's friends anyway. How can I even begin to know what they're going through?

So instead of giving them some trite devotional, I'll just continue to hope and pray that just as the Carpenter family has had an extreme measure of suffering flow into their lives this year, they will also see his comfort flow into their lives, too.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Consider this your formal invitation

This Saturday (October 23rd), I'll be dusting off some tunes off my two good records - Alive in the Fall and the.broken.headphones - in an attempt to do my part in helping my great friends John & Tara Dunn raise money to adopt a child from Ethiopia. You may know of John from one of my other slightly-less-good albums, specifically the track "The Ballad of Tae kwon John" from Flavor of the Year, Volume One.

And just so you know, he's still working to become a ninja in his spare time.

So here's the deal: it's completely free for you to come, though if you expect to eat anything, you'll need to RSVP to me or to Tara so that they can plan for the right number of folks. I reckon if you're not all that hungry, you can come anyway, but as best as we can, we're trying to get a head count. I hope that won't discourage you from coming out.

More specific details:
When: This Saturday, October 23, 2010
Where: The UGA Wesley Foundation chapel on Lumpkin St.
Time: 6pm
What to expect: Expect some music from yours truly. Expect to hear from John and Tara about their hearts for adoption. Expect to throw some money in the hat.

Seriously, I want you to come. Just let me know.

If you have any questions, send me an email, and I'll get you some answers.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Who are we following, really?

1 Corinthians 1:10-17 NIV

 10I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas[a]"; still another, "I follow Christ."

 13Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into[b] the name of Paul? 14I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. 16(Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

 

Seems we still do as the Corinthians did. I mean, everybody's got "their guy." I wonder if sometimes it's good to remember that neither John Piper nor Mark Driscoll, Tim Keller, Rob Bell, Francis Chan, Andy Stanley, Rick Warren or [fill in the blank with your Christian leader/author/pastor of choice] actually saves you from anything.

I'm not hating on those guys, by the way, just a reminder to keep your head on straight.

 

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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Being Somebody – Finding Our Worth

Madonna and Self-Worth

by Russ Masterson

“I have an iron will. And all of my will has always been to conquer some horrible feeling of inadequacy. I’m always struggling with that fear. I push past one spell of it and discover myself as a special human being and then I get to another stage and I think I’m mediocre and uninteresting and I find a way to get myself out of that again and again. My drive in life in life is the horrible fear of being mediocre. That’s always been pushing me, pushing me. Even though I’ve become somebody I still have to prove that I am somebody. My struggle has never ended and it probably never will.” (Madonna, Vogue, 1990′s)

Madonna

Being Somebody when you are somebody is easy.
But it’s also unstable because you have to maintain your somebody-ness.
What if you could be Somebody when you are a nobody. That’s freedom.

We love recognition. We bask in the glory. Some recognition is nice, floods of it warps us, and we shouldn’t gleam our self-worth from it. The justification for our existence shouldn’t lie in achievement or recognition, because one day we will fail, then our self-worth will plummet. Depression will arrive. The fight to never fail is impossible, only exhaustion awaits that pursuit. We are left only to find our worth outside of ourselves.

This is the gospel: though I’m broken, though I’m small and love recognition too much, God still loves me through Christ!

Our validity is given, not earned. The love is given.

If you don’t know your important before you achieve you will become a slave to your achievement or the pursuit of it.


This is something I've been trying to really come to know over the last year and a half or so. My favorite part of Russ' post is this line:

"Our validity is given, not earned. The love is given."

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Help Us Make One Less Orphan

More details as we get them nailed down, but go ahead and circle Saturday, October 23 on your calendar with a bright yellow highlighter or something and plan to join me at the UGA Wesley Foundation to help my good friends John & Tara Dunn afford to adopt a child from Ethiopia.

And for the first time in about a billion years, I'll be doing a full band set with a heroic group of musos affectionately referred to as "the Justice League" backing me up.

And remember: Admission is free but adoption isn't, so bring some cash to help the world have one less orphan.

[We need a headcount for food, so RSVP to me and let me know who's coming.]

 

To recap:

What: J.Harwell & the Justice League benefitting John & Tara Dunn's adoption efforts

When: Saturday, October 23, 2010. 6 pm.

Where: UGA Wesley Foundation, 1196 S. Lumpkin St., Athens, GA 30605

Who: You and all your friends. RSVP to me so we can get a head count for food.

 

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Squish.

"God can never make us into wine if we object to the fingers He chooses to use to crush us."

"If you are not ripe yet, and if God had squeezed you anyway, the wine produced would have been remarkably bitter."

(excerpted from My Utmost For His Highest)

Some days I am not a very good grape.

 

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chasm.

This morning I came across the blog of someone I know, but only really in passing. He spoke of the days back when he was a "fundamentalist" Christian and how now the only really important thing is to love and empathize with others.

Reading it made me sad. Mostly because "Christian" and "love and empathy" are far too often on opposite ends of the spectrum.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wyatt Mitchell is a giant among men. And he's fighting cancer.

Support for Wyatt & Abby

20 Sep

Dear Friends,

We pray these words find you well. This is not Wyatt or Abby writing to you today. On behalf of some of Wyatt’s friends from college, we have asked for the opportunity to contact you for your help in a vital role during this difficult battle against synovial-cell sarcoma.

First, thank you for your prayers, phone calls, text messages, letters of support, gifts and many other ways you have loved the Mitchells. They have been blown away by the support and love that friends, family and perfect strangers have shown them. Christ has been made tangible through you.

Besides the above, we have all been asking, “What else can we do to best support our dear friends?” Please continue to pray above all. Additionally, there is a new opportunity that has come up to support Abby and Wyatt. Through an organization called Helping Hands, Abby and Wyatt will be able to accept financial contributions tax free.  This organization is an IRS approved 501-C(3) non-profit that acts as a receiver and distributer of charitable gifts to people in need. It was founded by Terry Parker, who started the National Christian Foundation, in order to facilitate Christian charity through the gifting of tax-exempt donations to those in need.

Through Helping Hands we have created the Wyatt Mitchell Medical Project. This allows you to give a gift, which will go directly toward Wyatt’s continued medical treatment costs, is tax-deductible to you and does not create a tax liability for Wyatt and Abby. Additionally, Abby and Wyatt can use this towards other treatment costs (i.e. travel and medical services not covered by insurance). What a blessing and amazing way to serve our friends!

Please visit Helping Hands website (Helping Hands) if you would like more information about the organization.  If you would like and felt lead to support Wyatt and Abby in this way, you can give in the following ways:

1.       On-line:

  • Visit www.hhmin.org
  • Select “Donate to a Helping Hands Approved Project”
  • Select “Medical”
  • Scroll to “Mitchell, Wyatt”

2.       By check:

  • Make all checks payable to Helping Hands Ministries, Inc.
  • In the Memo section of your check, please write The Wyatt Mitchell Medical Project.
  • Please mail all checks to:
    Helping Hands Ministries, Inc.
    135 Main Street
    PO Box 337
    Tallulah Falls, GA 30573

Your donation information will be confidential. Helping Hands will handle all financial matters and receipt you directly. For other gifts; stock, etc, please contact Dawn Llanas (dawn@hhmin.org).

We anticipate that God might even bring more than we can ask or imagine for Wyatt’s treatment. If God in His mercy does that, then Helping Hands can hold these funds for future additional medical needs for him.

As we continue to pray for Wyatt’s healing, let us continue to remember that God has the power to do more than we can ask or imagine, so ask and act big. Thanks be to the Lord!

Ephesians 3:14-21

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Thank you, and may God heal Wyatt,

Kyle Belcher
Al Daniel
John and Mia Mattioli

You may not know Wyatt; that's cool. But a lot of us do, and I couldn't help but pass along this to any of you who may want to help out. - jason

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

One item off my bucket list.

 

This past weekend, my friend Craig gave me a priceless gift: he flew me out to see one of the most influential bands in my life, Toad the Wet Sprocket. Craig really deserves his own post (which I hope to get to soon) for being an incredible friend to me for the last decade or so, but I'll do something out of the ordinary here and keep things brief.

I took this photo with my fancy phone; I was probably six feet from the stage. Now, if you were born in 1989, you probably have no idea who Toad the Wet Sprocket is, and that's kind of a shame. Completely understandable, but a shame, really. If you're into measuring success by unit sales, they had two platinum albums (Fear and Dulcinea) and a #1 hit on modern rock radio ("Fall Down" from Dulcinea). So there's that. But as I sat on the plane out (alternating between listening to Toad albums and the South Carolina announcer's feed from the UGA - South Carolina game), I was reminded why this band mattered so much to me, and it had nothing to do with how many albums they sold or how cool they were. Toad became a part of my autobiography because they actually wrote about things I cared about. Not surfacey stuff about girls or getting your heart broken (though relationships and heartache are in those songs) but about the deeper longings and bigger questions that we all have. The kinds of things that need more than 140 characters or a "Like" button.

Those records hold up, even twenty years later. When my friend David and I started a band in college, I basically made every attempt I could to write like Glen Phillips. I failed, of course, but those Toad the Wet Sprocket albums set a very high bar for me in terms of songwriting that I'm still trying to hit.

I don't know why Toad didn't last longer or have greater success. Maybe it was because they weren't from Seattle or they didn't sound like Korn. Who can say? But I can tell you that back when I was 17 and drove a blue Chevy Cavalier and made mix tapes to jam in my cassette player, you could always find some Toad the Wet Sprocket on both sides of the tape.

Seeing them do one of their annual reunion shows could never be like seeing them on top of the world in 1994, but it doesn't matter to me as long as those songs stay alive.

Craig, thanks so much, man.

 

-----------------------------------------------------

 

These are my favorite Toad songs - I would seriously encourage you to take a listen for yourself sometime or buy them here:

1. Windmills (from Dulcinea)

2. Whatever I Fear (Coil)

3. Dam Would Break (from Coil)

4. Crowing (Dulcinea)

5. Nightingale Song (In Light Syrup)

6. Rings (Coil)

7. Something's Always Wrong (Dulcinea)

8. Are We Afraid (In Light Syrup)

9. All I Want (Fear)

10. Fall Down (Dulcinea)

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Friday, August 27, 2010

So I'm (kind of) a Christian hipster?

 

I read this article about the intersection of Christianity and coolness and I'm looking forward to reading the book. I've always really liked Brett McCracken's writing (or at least the stuff I've read of his on Relevant over the years). Then I clicked on over to the book's website and took their "Are You A Christian Hipster?" quiz. You're looking at my result.

Not sure what I think about this, especially considering that the explanation is pretty accurate. I'm not sure what to think about that, either.

More on this some other time (maybe).

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Levels.

[[posterous-content:pid___0]]My lovely wife and our kiddos are out of town having adventures for a few days, so today I tried to take the opportunity to do some things I don't do very often (in addition to the work-stuff and errands I do pretty regularly).

I had breakfast with Tae kwon John at a really great local restaurant (mmmm.... Mama's Boy...)

I watched a baseball game on television.

And I spent a little time out at the practice space turning sounds into little 1s and 0s and watching the needles jump.

I didn't record anything of any note, really. I'm still getting the setup dialed in and learning to use the new multitracker I bought last month, so I just threw a drum loop into it and played some stuff from my cheesy Wurlitzter student organ to get levels and begin developing a good workflow. But doing these things helps to put things in balance for me somehow, and that's a good thing for them, too.

Posted via email from JasonHarwell.com

Levels.

[[posterous-content:pid___0]]My lovely wife and our kiddos are out of town having adventures for a few days, so today I tried to take the opportunity to do some things I don't do very often (in addition to the work-stuff and errands I do pretty regularly).

I had breakfast with Tae kwon John at a really great local restaurant (mmmm.... Mama's Boy...)

I watched a baseball game on television.

And I spent a little time out at the practice space turning sounds into little 1s and 0s and watching the needles jump.

I didn't record anything of any note, really. I'm still getting the setup dialed in and learning to use the new multitracker I bought last month, so I just threw a drum loop into it and played some stuff from my cheesy Wurlitzter student organ to get levels and begin developing a good workflow. But doing these things helps to put things in balance for me somehow, and that's a good thing for them, too.

Posted via email from JasonHarwell.com

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

What?

From My Utmost For His Highest:

"We are not taken into a conscious agreement with God’s purpose— we are taken into God’s purpose with no awareness of it at all. We have no idea what God’s goal may be; as we continue, His purpose becomes even more and more vague. God’s aim appears to have missed the mark, because we are too nearsighted to see the target at which He is aiming. At the beginning of the Christian life, we have our own ideas as to what God’s purpose is. We say, 'God means for me to go over there,' and, 'God has called me to do this special work.' We do what we think is right, and yet the compelling purpose of God remains upon us. The work we do is of no account when compared with the compelling purpose of God. It is simply the scaffolding surrounding His work and His plan."

 

At what point will I let go of trying to figure out what God is doing and just trust that he knows what he's doing? When will I be content to simply look around where I'm at and join him in whatever he's doing there? When will I learn to accept my limitations and weaknesses and embrace the "vagueness" of a plan I can never fully grasp?

I long for a relationship with God that has no seams. No boundaries. No fences. I don't feel "called" to do much of anything anymore -  aside from loving God and my neighbors and stuff like that; you know, the stuff we're all called to do - but maybe that's a good thing.

Then again, who knows? It's all kind of vague, isn't it?

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Monday, August 02, 2010

Untitled

For the past week or so, this was the view from my front porch (if you consider the bottom step of an RV trailer a porch). For the fourth year in a row, I've traveled to Farragut State Park in northern Idaho to hang out with high school students (all from the Seattle area) and play ridiculous songs. I also wild out on croquet and volleyball while 300 students trek to the lake to ride wakeboards and banana boats and air chairs and things of that nature. There's also an espresso machine and square dancing in a local barn.

I always find this event to be a difficult thing to explain to people back home, and this is actually something I enjoy a great bit. I like it when things are hard to explain; it forces me to use my imagination.

I really miss my family while I'm gone, but because I've been making this trek for four years, it's very much like I'm with family when I get there. And to be honest, it's also good to be away from normal life for a bit. Seems I'm constantly getting bogged down by stuff that's ultimately not that important. And by that I mean all the little things I do in a given day that have nothing to do with loving my family or other people or whatever. Things like always being on time. Or signing some insurance forms that came in the mail.

But I'm also always reminded that in those seemingly insignifcant comings and goings is precisely where I will live out my faith. How I handle stress at work is to me a very good (and in my case, damning) indicator of the state of my heart. Ouch.

So I am encouraged and challenged to remember once again that I am not capable of saving anyone, including myself. That obedience is something I must choose to do. And that I have much farther to go.

 

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

normal

This is from my great friend David Herndon's blog, and I think it's a worthwhile read. I'm biased of course; I think everything David writes is worth reading.

 

I watched the Nooma video, “Name,” tonight with some friends.  As he always seems to do, Rob Bell, uttered one of the most profound statements I have ever heard in the shortest phrase possible.  He makes me jealous in that way.  Every time I try to say something profound it takes several paragraphs and the profoundness never seems to carry the weight I aim for.  He also looks pretty cool wearing those glasses.  I could never pull off that look.  Anyway, this is what he said on the topic of comparison:

The question is not what is normal for most people.  The question is: what is normal for you?

The idea is that we spend a great deal of energy and time worrying about what is “normal” and we determine our “normalness” by comparing our lifestyle, thoughts, ideas, actions to other people’s lifestyles, thoughts, ideas, and actions.  Another way to say it: I determine what is right for me by determining what is right for others. 

Over-simplified example: If everyone around me wears a red shirt, then maybe I should wear a red shirt.

There are several definitions of “normal,” but my favorite one is this: serving to establish a standard.

Normal is establishing the standard.  Normal is achieving the goal.  Why do we so often compare to others when determining what normal is?  Because we have not set a standard for ourselves.  Why do we fear being abnormal?  Because it means we fall short of the standard.  You may not realize it, but the search for normal is what your life is based on.  Every decision you make, every action you take is in an effort to meet the standard.  All of this leads to one very important question:

What is the standard?

All too often our standard is whatever everyone else is doing, thinking, saying.  But Romans 8:28-29 says this: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, Christ Jesus.”

Normal is establishing the standard.  The standard is the purpose.  The purpose is to become like Christ. 

Not to become like others, but to become like Christ. 

What would your life look like if, instead of constantly trying to be like everyone else, you just tried to be like Christ?

What would your conversations sound like?  What would your budget look like?  How would your perspective change?  How would your life change?  What would our world look like if we all unanimoulsy strived to be like Christ?

Jesus is the most normal person who ever lived, yet to most of us his life looks like the most abnormal way of life we’ve ever seen.

Maybe we need a new definition of normal.  Maybe we need a new standard of living.

 

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

"Bastille-strong?"

For the last couple of years, my great friend (and Renaissance man extraordinaire) Rob Simpson has organized a Bastille Day cross-crit bike race. That's "crit" as in "criterium," you know (are you impressed by my armchair bike knowledge?). Essentially, this means you ride on the road and off the road and by some gravelly railroad tracks and other parts where you can't ride at all, and you have to dismount and carry your bike over the obstacle. Rob races a lot of cycle-cross during the year, so he's pretty awesome at it. He also knows how to put together a ridiculous (and ridiculously fun) event. And by that I mean costumes are encouraged.

This is a photo of the trophy I won this year. And if you're not familiar with the acronym, "DFL" refers to being dead last (complete with expletive!), a position I held mightily this year despite doing my best to kick it "Bastille-strong". I reckon DFL is better than a DNF, though.

Coincidentally, this last weekend I cleaned out my garage and threw away all my old tee-ball trophies. You know, the kind that your mama paid for at the beginning of the rec ball season. I used to display them proudly on a shelf in my room, and it was actually a traumatic shock to the me the day I realized those trophies didn't mean anything other than the fact that I had played tee-ball in 1986. It was like realizing someone had been letting you win all those years and that you weren't as good as you thought.

Of course, on a bike I'm well aware of my limitations. For example, last year's Bastille Day cross-crit course was a little easier, but I didn't finish. I quit with one lap to go. By that point, I'd thrown myself off my bike a few times, I was hurting a little and tired, and I just gave up. I kind of blame it on the fact Rob made me eat a baguette before I could begin the race, but that's probably not really it. But this year, on a more difficult course, I managed to stay on my bike, and I finished. Dead last, but nonetheless.

So while I just threw out a whole box of old trophies that were supposed to make me feel like a winner, it's kind of funny that I'm actually a little proud of a homemade one I got for being the loser.

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Friday, July 09, 2010

Loyalty?

Loyalty is an interesting thing in the context of professional sports. Of course, I'm writing this the day after LeBron James announced that he's leaving the state of Ohio for the first time in his basketball career to play in Miami with some other friends - and great basketball players - next season.

People are angry. There are jerseys burning in the streets. The owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers wrote a scorching letter (in Comic Cans font!?) accusing his former moneymaker of quitting on his team in the playoffs. He also - like many others - are making a point of crushing the guy for being disloyal.

And that's where things get confusing to me. The premise seems to be that LeBron is turning his back on his city, his state, his people. He's just stabbed them all viciously in the back and laughed as he twisted the knife before jumping the charter jet to Florida. But what is loyalty in professional sports? Doesn't it work both ways?

In any sport, franchises routinely sign players for as many years as possible, and they also routinely trade or cut these players before their contracts expire. The team owners expect these players to honor their contracts while they themselves do the opposite. Where's the loyalty in that?

So players get as much money as they can get in guaranteed money and make decisions based on what they want. If a team is not going to be "loyal" to them, why should they return the favor? They've only got a window of a few years to earn as much as they can, so why wouldn't they get what they can get? Pro sports is a business, and business is about making money. The teams want to make money; the players want to make money. So wherever a player can make more money, they'll do it. Now, I understand that in this particular scenario it's likely that all LeBron (and Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh) will make less than they could so that they can play together, but if you factor in the possible endorsement deals and global fame they'll receive from winning championships, they probably stand to do a little better outside of basketball.

Anyway, I just think it's ridiculous that we kill these athletes for being "disloyal," as if they need to clear their career decisions with us, the fans. Be upset; that's part of being a fan. But a businessman made a business decision, and that's that. It's not loyal or disloyal. And by the way, ask Kevin Garnett what "loyalty" gets you in sports. One of the best players in the game, he stayed loyal to the team that drafted him, giving his best years to the Minnesota Timberwolves on teams that never made it past the first round of the playoffs. By the time that he realized the team ownership was too cheap to ever bring in a good enough supporting cast, he was past his prime. At that point, he jumped ship to the Boston Celtics and won a championship (and played in two other NBA finals). Had he been "disloyal" earlier, who knows how many others he may have won?

I'm not defending these players, especially the way in which LeBron (and Wade and Bosh) carried themselves through this free agency period. The documentary cameras, the drama, the nationally televised "decision" show were pretty crass if you ask me. All these guys make a lot more money that I'll ever see, so Cleveland vs. any other city is kind of moot point at some level. I'm also not defending the ownership of any of these teams. If sports is supposed to be about winning, then I guess some others have to lose. Dan Gilbert is doubly angry because his team now lost their best chance to win on the court and literally millions upon millions of dollars in revenue. But firing off an angry letter - especially one in Comic Sans - is pretty ridiculous.

I've already gone too long here, but there's also an interesting parallel here with the music business. For years, major labels have operated just like these owners, signing artists to contracts for as many years/albums possible for no other reason than to keep the labels' options open. There were no guarantees an artist would every get to release the number of albums stated in his/her contract, or if an album would be released period. The label could agree to whatever they wanted without having to actually deliver.

So the artists countered by looking to get as much money up front as possible (in the form of an advance) which was the only money they were guaranteed to ever receive. And at some point, when an artist "made it" to the point where they were commanding top dollar at concert venues and selling millions of albums, many of them would jump ship to other labels who were offering them something more. The artists were essentially allowing themselves to get screwed up front in the hopes that they could reach a level of superstardom that would allow them to either renegotiate or jump ship to another label. 

Music, like pro sports, is ultimately a business. So labels sign artists to contracts that best suit the labels, and artist's make decisions based on what's best for their careers. So maybe "loyalty" is really about honoring your contract and less about some sort of moral responsibility. 

And all of these basketball players did that, whether I personally like them or not. 

Hey, I'm as guilty as anyone of looking at sports as an analogy for life, but by that, I'm referring to the actual competition that happens on the court (or field, or whatever) and not rest of it. The business part of it - that's not life. If you want to despise these guys because they make lots of money for doing something very inconsequential in the broad scope of things (they do get paid millions to put a ball in a hoop), you're free to do that. So yeah, there are good reasons for not liking professional athletes. But "loyalty" in this context is not one of them.

Posted via email from JasonHarwell.com

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

If you don't already have them...

Here's how you can download my best two albums for free: 

1. Go to http://jasonharwell.bandcamp.com

2. Choose an album.

3. Click "download" and choose your preferred file type (mp3, FLAC, etc.)

4. Drag downloaded file folder into your iTunes library (or whatever you use to keep a music library)

5. Enjoy!

 

That's all there is to it. Now, if you've got your heart set on buying some music, you can always get these recordings online at any digital service. You're also incredibly awesome. That will help me pay off some new studio equipment that is currently helping the Warm Fuzzies make new recordings (as well as finishing some of my own newer recordings).

But since I'm giving you this for free, you're supposed to be guilt-free.

 

Thanks for listening!

jason

Posted via email from JasonHarwell.com

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Jana.

As I alluded to a couple of days ago, today is my eighth wedding anniversary with my lovely wife, Jana, and four of them have been the happiest years of my life (that's a joke, people. My father-in-law used to use that one a good bit, and it never gets old). 

Much like a lot of things I've noticed as I've gotten older, the last eight years seem to be simultaneously a moment and an eternity. Weird how that happens. In that time we've had our share of adventures, and I am continually grateful to be with her as we find our share of new ones.

I am often reminded of something profound that Jana and I read during our pre-marital counseling from the book, A Severe Mercy, by Sheldon Van Auken. I passed the book along a few years ago, so I don't have an exact quote, but the gist of the passage was this - that it's actually quite easy to destroy a marriage, and negligence is the most dangerous assassin. Van Auken spoke of his own marriage, about how he and his wife dedicated themselves to each other's interests in order that they may avoid what he called the "creeping separateness." It boiled down to a simple truth, that each day a married couple will either choose to take a small step toward one another or a small step away. The application is that if we're not careful, we can easily erode our own marriages by slowly and surely drifting apart from one another.

That particular part of the book is ingrained in my consciousness. With the increasing amounts of things out there to entertain us, it is very easy to drift apart. I'm not going to criticize anyone for playing video games, but there is a hard reality for someone who spends hours alone playing games online by himself. The Van Aukens of A Severe Mercy figured that surrendering all the things you love to do (i.e., playing video games) wasn't really all that helpful either, so instead, they chose to do such things together for the sake of their marriage.

Jana has always done this. She knows things about music and recording and Weezer and comic books that she probably wouldn't have except that she's married to a guy who knows a lot about those things (a great example would be the very nice guitar I mentioned in the last post... she had taken the time to learn that about me). And I know about soccer and Young Life and Wendell Berry books and David Wilcox records because those are things she is interested in. Jana taught me how to throw a frisbee and play Ultimate; I taught her about the X-Men. And our marriage is much stronger, deeper, and better for having done so. Like with anything, I find that if I can get inside of something new and engage it in my life, I will find a new appreciation for it. And with each passing day, month, and year, I continue to find newness and a new appreciation for her as we continue to, as best as we know how, to take those small steps towards each other.

I've certainly done some boneheaded things in the last eight years, some of which cost us a little money and time and some others that cost us a lot more money and time. But despite my crazy ideas that haven't worked as well as I thought, Jana has remained my biggest fan, encouragement, and example of God's feelings about me through her love with no strings attached, her patience, and at times, her compassionate forgiveness. I am not worthy of such a love, nor is it something I could have earned. It is a gift, and God forgive me for the times I have taken that for granted.

Almost eleven years ago, Jana and I fell in love working as summer camp counselors on St. Simons Island. It was the day before the end of the summer, and neither one of us really wanting it to be so, we ended up staying up all night, dipping our feet in the Epworth fountain, and fighting mosquitoes as big as your head under a full moon. Three years later we returned to that fountain, and I asked her if she might like to do such things with me for the rest of her life. That's where the song, A Lovely Shade of You, came from. I don't write too many traditional relationship love songs, but certain occasions call for such a thing.

Okay, enough sap for today. I've got things to do and kids to wrangle and clothes to wash. But I wanted to take a few moments to celebrate my wife; heck, maybe if we all did that a bit more our divorce rate wouldn't be so high.
 

Lovely Shade Of You by Jason Harwell  
Download now or listen on posterous
lovelyshade.mp3 (4673 KB)

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dad.

June holds for me two significant events - Father's Day and my wedding anniversary. This year, the two dates are only a couple of days apart.

Eight years ago, I married my lovely wife Jana. On the day before our wedding, she gave me a gift: a Gibson "Buddy Holly" reissue J-45 acoustic guitar, one of only 250 in existence. I gave her a Miles Davis album. That was kind of awkward.

Her gift to me is my single most prized possession (when it comes to "things" that I have), and having it has forever removed the desire in my being to have any other acoustic guitar. They say that things only satisfy you for so long before you want something new and shiny, and I would agree with that, except in the case of that guitar. And a lot of that has to do with the fact that it is a symbol of something bigger than wood and string or even music itself.

My father has the same guitar. An old one, from the sixties, that he got when he was a younger man. Growing up, some of my most important memories involve my father playing that guitar in our home. As I've gotten older myself, I don't really know if he played it all that much, but the times he did must have stuck to me like flypaper because in my memory, he played all the time. I always loved it when he would play; when he and my mother would practice some special song for a church service. I loved that my house had music in it [For a long time, I thought my dad wrote "Jack & Diane" and "Star of Bethlehem;" imagine my disappointment.]. And I always loved that old guitar. It was there for me as a teenager when I learned to play, and I built up a few callouses from the hours I spent banging out chords. And I do mean "banging."

I think of my father when I play my own guitar, something I do nearly every day. As the current of my life seems to take me further and further away from the performance stage, my own J-45 doesn't find many occasions to leave the house. Fortunately, my wife has given birth to a small audience of eager and enthusiastic music fans, one of whom is only big enough to enjoy banging on the side of it as I play for him in the floor. And I do mean "banging."

And so it goes that on a (mostly) daily basis, I hope to somehow be a bridge of what was in my own life to what is and will be in the lives of my own children. I hope to carry on the goodness I saw (and continue to see) in my father and to be a kind of father that imparts something lasting and good in my kids. I don't know if my father really knows the impact he has had on my life or if he imagines himself to be a "successful" man. I guess I feel the same way in my own life.

But when there's a tiny little girl singing silly songs and a small baby boy using my guitar as a percussion instrument, I begin to think less of my own life and more of the hope in theirs. 

My father taught me that.

Posted via email from JasonHarwell.com

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bring us some drudgery!

Two great posts on the goodness of doing the boring, repetitious, and tedious work we have before us:

Oswald Chambers' My Utmost For His Highest (June 15 entry):

In the matter of drudgery. Peter said in this passage that we have become “partakers of the divine nature” and that we should now be “giving all diligence,” concentrating on forming godly habits (2 Peter 1:4-5 ). We are to “add” to our lives all that character means. No one is born either naturally or supernaturally with character; it must be developed. Nor are we born with habits— we have to form godly habits on the basis of the new life God has placed within us. We are not meant to be seen as God’s perfect, bright-shining examples, but to be seen as the everyday essence of ordinary life exhibiting the miracle of His grace. Drudgery is the test of genuine character. The greatest hindrance in our spiritual life is that we will only look for big things to do. Yet, “Jesus . . . took a towel and . . . began to wash the disciples’ feet . . .” ( John 13:3-5  ).

We all have those times when there are no flashes of light and no apparent thrill to life, where we experience nothing but the daily routine with its common everyday tasks. The routine of life is actually God’s way of saving us between our times of great inspiration which come from Him. Don’t always expect God to give you His thrilling moments, but learn to live in those common times of the drudgery of life by the power of God.

It is difficult for us to do the “adding” that Peter mentioned here. We say we do not expect God to take us to heaven on flowery beds of ease, and yet we act as if we do! I must realize that my obedience even in the smallest detail of life has all of the omnipotent power of the grace of God behind it. If I will do my duty, not for duty’s sake but because I believe God is engineering my circumstances, then at the very point of my obedience all of the magnificent grace of God is mine through the glorious atonement by the Cross of Christ.

From The Art of Manliness blog:

Editor’s note: In conjunction with the two-part series we’re doing on vocation and calling, we will be publishing excerpts from Self-Culture Through the Vocation by Edward Howard Griggs (1914).

Dead Work

There is no honest vocation that cannot be made to some extent a fine art. That is, in every honest vocation, each day, growth is possible, if the work is loyally done; and that, we have seen, is the meaning of art. Indeed, the one supreme fine art is the art of living, and the particular vocation gets its meaning as a phase of that highest art.

In most vocations, it is true, there is so much dull routine work that we can discover little growth in the action of the single day. To go to the shop and sell a spool of thread and a paper of pins, to make the physician’s daily round, prescribing for those who are ill and the larger number who think they are, to work over the lawyer’s brief for some petty quarrel, to write sermons for congregations that will not listen and that demand the sermon shorter every week—it all seems such a blind mill-wheel grind that one sees little progress in the day……

It is, nevertheless, just such work, done cheerfully and loyally, to a high purpose, through the succession of days, that builds into the human spirit the noblest elements of culture. What then do we mean by “culture”— some esoteric knowledge or remote adornment of life? Surely not. Its foundation elements are: loyalty to the task in hand, the trained will that does not yield to obstacles, cheerful courage in meeting the exigencies that come, serenity maintained amid the petty distractions of life, holding the vision of the ideal across the sand wastes and through the valley of the shadows: these are the basic elements of culture, and they are built into the spirit of a man or a woman by the loyal doing of dead work through the succession of days….

Then, too, there is an almost universal optical illusion with reference to work: each of us is fully conscious of the dead work in his own calling, because he must fulfill it; with the tasks of others, he sees only the finished product. Thus each is inclined to exaggerate the dead work in his own vocation and to envy the apparently easier and happier tasks of others. You sit down in an audience room, and some master at the piano sweeps you out on to the bosom of the sea of emotion, playing with you at his will. The evening of melody is over; there is the moment of awed silence and then the storm of applause; you go home exclaiming, “What genius!” O yes, it is genius: someone has defined genius as the capacity for hard work. Genius is more than that — much more; but no exaggerated talent would take a man far, without the capacity for hard work; and what you forget, as you listen to the finished art of the master genius, is the days and nights of consecrated toil, foregoing, not only dissipation, but even innocent pleasures others take as their natural right, that the artist might master and keep the mastery of the technique of his art.

The thing that seems to be done most easily, costs most in the doing and has been paid for, invariably, out of the life. It is when men work with most exhausting intensity, on the basis of a life-time of training, that they work with most apparent ease. This world is no lottery, where you take a chance ticket and run your risk of winning or losing a prize, but serious business, where nothing worthwhile comes any other way than through dead, hard work carried through the days and years. One never truly possesses anything one has not earned by hard effort. To possess money, you must have earned money, or you do not know its worth, nor how to spend it aright. To possess knowledge, you must have earned knowledge; and the brilliant student who slides through college on his wits, coaching up just before examination and winning fairly good grades, loses in the slower race of life beside even the ungifted plodder, who has taken faithfully every hard step of the road.

It is said of Euclid, formulator of the earliest of the sciences, geometry, that on one occasion he was called in to teach a certain king of Egypt his new science. He began as we begin, with definition, axiom and proposition — we have not improved appreciably upon his text-book; and the king grew restless and indignant: “Must a Pharaoh learn like a common slave?” Euclid, with that pride in knowing one thing well, that everyone ought to have who knows one science thoroughly to the end, responded: “There is no royal road to geometry!” We can universalize the statement: there is no royal road to anything on earth — perhaps in heaven either — worth having, except the one broad, open highway, with no toll-gates upon it, of dead, hard, consistent work through the days and years. Spinoza said — it is the last word in his Ethic: “All noble things are as difficult as they are rare; ” and we may add, they are rare because they are difficult.

Posted via web from JasonHarwell.com

Bring us some drudgery!

Two great posts on the goodness of doing the boring, repetitious, and tedious work we have before us:

Oswald Chambers' My Utmost For His Highest (June 15 entry):

In the matter of drudgery. Peter said in this passage that we have become “partakers of the divine nature” and that we should now be “giving all diligence,” concentrating on forming godly habits (2 Peter 1:4-5 ). We are to “add” to our lives all that character means. No one is born either naturally or supernaturally with character; it must be developed. Nor are we born with habits— we have to form godly habits on the basis of the new life God has placed within us. We are not meant to be seen as God’s perfect, bright-shining examples, but to be seen as the everyday essence of ordinary life exhibiting the miracle of His grace. Drudgery is the test of genuine character. The greatest hindrance in our spiritual life is that we will only look for big things to do. Yet, “Jesus . . . took a towel and . . . began to wash the disciples’ feet . . .” ( John 13:3-5  ).

We all have those times when there are no flashes of light and no apparent thrill to life, where we experience nothing but the daily routine with its common everyday tasks. The routine of life is actually God’s way of saving us between our times of great inspiration which come from Him. Don’t always expect God to give you His thrilling moments, but learn to live in those common times of the drudgery of life by the power of God.

It is difficult for us to do the “adding” that Peter mentioned here. We say we do not expect God to take us to heaven on flowery beds of ease, and yet we act as if we do! I must realize that my obedience even in the smallest detail of life has all of the omnipotent power of the grace of God behind it. If I will do my duty, not for duty’s sake but because I believe God is engineering my circumstances, then at the very point of my obedience all of the magnificent grace of God is mine through the glorious atonement by the Cross of Christ.

From The Art of Manliness blog:

Editor’s note: In conjunction with the two-part series we’re doing on vocation and calling, we will be publishing excerpts from Self-Culture Through the Vocation by Edward Howard Griggs (1914).

Dead Work

There is no honest vocation that cannot be made to some extent a fine art. That is, in every honest vocation, each day, growth is possible, if the work is loyally done; and that, we have seen, is the meaning of art. Indeed, the one supreme fine art is the art of living, and the particular vocation gets its meaning as a phase of that highest art.

In most vocations, it is true, there is so much dull routine work that we can discover little growth in the action of the single day. To go to the shop and sell a spool of thread and a paper of pins, to make the physician’s daily round, prescribing for those who are ill and the larger number who think they are, to work over the lawyer’s brief for some petty quarrel, to write sermons for congregations that will not listen and that demand the sermon shorter every week—it all seems such a blind mill-wheel grind that one sees little progress in the day……

It is, nevertheless, just such work, done cheerfully and loyally, to a high purpose, through the succession of days, that builds into the human spirit the noblest elements of culture. What then do we mean by “culture”— some esoteric knowledge or remote adornment of life? Surely not. Its foundation elements are: loyalty to the task in hand, the trained will that does not yield to obstacles, cheerful courage in meeting the exigencies that come, serenity maintained amid the petty distractions of life, holding the vision of the ideal across the sand wastes and through the valley of the shadows: these are the basic elements of culture, and they are built into the spirit of a man or a woman by the loyal doing of dead work through the succession of days….

Then, too, there is an almost universal optical illusion with reference to work: each of us is fully conscious of the dead work in his own calling, because he must fulfill it; with the tasks of others, he sees only the finished product. Thus each is inclined to exaggerate the dead work in his own vocation and to envy the apparently easier and happier tasks of others. You sit down in an audience room, and some master at the piano sweeps you out on to the bosom of the sea of emotion, playing with you at his will. The evening of melody is over; there is the moment of awed silence and then the storm of applause; you go home exclaiming, “What genius!” O yes, it is genius: someone has defined genius as the capacity for hard work. Genius is more than that — much more; but no exaggerated talent would take a man far, without the capacity for hard work; and what you forget, as you listen to the finished art of the master genius, is the days and nights of consecrated toil, foregoing, not only dissipation, but even innocent pleasures others take as their natural right, that the artist might master and keep the mastery of the technique of his art.

The thing that seems to be done most easily, costs most in the doing and has been paid for, invariably, out of the life. It is when men work with most exhausting intensity, on the basis of a life-time of training, that they work with most apparent ease. This world is no lottery, where you take a chance ticket and run your risk of winning or losing a prize, but serious business, where nothing worthwhile comes any other way than through dead, hard work carried through the days and years. One never truly possesses anything one has not earned by hard effort. To possess money, you must have earned money, or you do not know its worth, nor how to spend it aright. To possess knowledge, you must have earned knowledge; and the brilliant student who slides through college on his wits, coaching up just before examination and winning fairly good grades, loses in the slower race of life beside even the ungifted plodder, who has taken faithfully every hard step of the road.

It is said of Euclid, formulator of the earliest of the sciences, geometry, that on one occasion he was called in to teach a certain king of Egypt his new science. He began as we begin, with definition, axiom and proposition — we have not improved appreciably upon his text-book; and the king grew restless and indignant: “Must a Pharaoh learn like a common slave?” Euclid, with that pride in knowing one thing well, that everyone ought to have who knows one science thoroughly to the end, responded: “There is no royal road to geometry!” We can universalize the statement: there is no royal road to anything on earth — perhaps in heaven either — worth having, except the one broad, open highway, with no toll-gates upon it, of dead, hard, consistent work through the days and years. Spinoza said — it is the last word in his Ethic: “All noble things are as difficult as they are rare; ” and we may add, they are rare because they are difficult.

Posted via web from JasonHarwell.com

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Kid Ridiculous.

I laughed out loud when Jana showed me this picture of our daughter pretending to be one of her dolls.

Posted via email from JasonHarwell.com

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Weakness!

It's been about a year since I went through counseling, which means it's been about a year since I realized just how weak I really am.

Beginning in my teenage years and continuing on through my twenties, I had become aware (and all too familiar) with some of my depressive tendencies. I couldn't really explain it; some days were just hard from the beginning, and little things (thoughts, experiences, conversations) could all be triggers that would send me off in a downward direction. Within moments, I could lose all hope as feelings of despair would just snowball out of control. I felt like I was drowning in my own skin, and I never saw it coming.

Like I said, I'd known this about myself for years. I tried to modify my behavior, tried to "buck up" and will myself out of the hole. I'd remind myself that all hope wasn't lost, that God cared about me, that I was fortunate. This only brought guilt and shame as I felt terrible for not seeing the goodness all around me. I was wasting my life. I was letting everyone down, including God; including myself. Try as I might, I couldn't figure out how to whip myself into shape, but I did learn to excel at whipping myself.

At some point last year, it hit me like a bolt of lightning. I'm 30 years old. If this hasn't gone away - or even gotten better - all by itself in 30 years, it's probably not going to. I need some help.

I've been happy to talk about this with folks face to face, but I haven't really mentioned it publicly. It's kind of hard to do that because I'm telling everyone (for eternity, in the case of the internet) of my weaknesses, of my inabilities to pull myself up by my own bootstraps. To have to come off my high horse and admit that I cannot do much on my own. To admit that I had been guilty of carrying some huge misconceptions about a God I claimed to know personally. To admit that in fact, I'd put myself on the kingly throne. That I needed others to tell me who I was, to validate my existence, and to give my life meaning. That I found my identity in how well I performed at the things I did. 

I could go on, but you get the point.

And so it was that, inwardly humiliated and ashamed, I contacted some friends for some recommendations for Christian counselors. A couple of weeks later I found myself sitting in "the chair" in a comfy office here in Athens, somewhat shocked in disbelief that I was, in fact, "in counseling." So much for my rugged individualism. All the "vision" I thought I'd possessed; all the great philosophical ideas; all the grand notions of "the world as it should be according to Jason," done. The end had come.

And then began anew as I dug more deeply into the scriptures than I ever had before. I was hungry for the word of God; I needed it. I read (for what felt like the first time) what God really thought of me. Not what I thought he thought of me, but what he actually said. I realized that my performance was not what he wanted. He's got infinite resources, so my work was no so important that he was depending on it. My heart... now that's what he wanted. And I wanted him to have that, to really have it. I began to reorganize my priorities, to try and find balance in my life. To learn to say "no" sometimes. To embrace the real freedom that Jesus died for instead of just suiting up in a different kind of chain.

I am still doing this a year later. At times it has been incredibly painful to "relearn" how to live my life, and it's something I'm still wrestling with. I'm still living with the consequences of the decisions I've made in the past (they don't go away, by the way). I'm still making mistakes with new consequences. There are no shortcuts; there is no easy. There is, however, forward.

On the day I finally accepted that I was not capable of saving myself, my whole life changed direction. I miss Rebuilt Records sometimes. I miss putting out records. It's hard to watch many of my friends doing greater and greater things with their art while I'm not. Now I have to fight feeling "washed up" and "useless" when I talk to other artists. What used to make me seem interesting to others ("Oh, you run a record label? Wow!" or "You hang out with all these cool artists? That's so awesome!") evaporated in a millisecond (and rightfully so). And while the human part of me still continues to wrestle with my need to receive someone's seal of approval, through it all, I'm more and more assured that the road ahead of me is a good one to walk. 

For many years I was angry at God for the way I was made. I'll never know why I am wired this way, and I also know there will never be a time in which I "conquer" the depression that seems to be always around the corner. I'll just have to stay alert, to continue to push forward towards God's truth in scripture, and to always be willing to admit (as I did a year ago) that I am not capable of saving myself. 

So now you know. And if you happen to look at my life and see goodness there, you'll know I had nothing to do with it. Thanks for reading this ridiculously long post.

"8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."- 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Posted via email from JasonHarwell.com

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Things You May Like If You Like The Kinds of Things I Like

If you're like me, you'll like these things: 

Singing With The Corner Flag (your in-depth World Cup soccer blog curated by none other than Erik C. Kriebel himself).

"Calling Vs. Vocation." The continuing series from The Art of Manliness

(Note: I read this blog regularly, but I tend to subscribe to the "grain of salt" method. I don't always agree with everything on here, but I really like a lot of it. This series is good and challenging to think through.)

Good, personally challenging blogs about Jesus (and other things): 

Music:

Posted via email from JasonHarwell.com

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Some quick items of note

May always finds a way to be full of stuff to do. Athens is always buzzing during the first half of the month with thousands of people graduating, followed by hundreds of high school students graduating in the second half, so maybe that's part of it. I always intend to take things a bit easier in May, but that never seems to work out according to plan. Nevertheless, here's a quick roundup of the comings and goings around here.

1. 500 Songs for Kids at Smith's Olde Bar with the Fuzzies.
On May 7th, I had the distinct pleasure of being part of the fun at this year's 500 Songs for Kids fundraiser with the Warm Fuzzies. We had the opportunity to put our own spin on Buddy Holly's classic, "Peggy Sue," and we seized that opportunity. And by that, I mean we all bought gigantic "Buddy Holly-esque" glasses and put on ties. If you're not familiar with what Josh Rifkind is doing with 500 Songs, I'd encourage you to take a moment and check it out. What's not to like about musicians going into children's hospitals and playing music? Medicine is really only one kind of medicine, you know.

This year marked my third time participating, and it was by far the most fun song we've gotten yet. I also think Laura should forego all keyboard stands in the future and just sit on a park bench or something like in this photo. She's so rock n' roll she doesn't even need support.

2. Maybe 7 Songs For Kids at Molly's School
A few days after the Fuzzies destroyed Buddy Holly's legacy, I went and rocked out at First Presbyterian Weekday School here in Athens with my daughter Molly's class at their end-of-the-year party. As you can see, everyone is enjoying my musical stylings, except perhaps for that one little girl looking at the camera. She's not feeling it, I'm afraid. We nearly tore the roof off the joint with our scorchin' versions of "Farmer in the Dale" and "I'm A Little Teapot," and while no mosh pit broke out, one child did have to go to the bathroom.

3. Micah's new EP.
My good friend (and former Rebuilt artist) Micah Dalton is getting ready to release his new EP (recorded by my good friend and former Rebuilt artist Paul Reeves) called Gathered 'Round The Greasefire pretty soon, and I've really enjoyed listening to it. Micah just gets better and better. He was kind enough to drop by for a few minutes to bring me a copy and to listen patiently as Molly talked his ear off. She's good at that. 

Check it out at www.micahdalton.com.

So there's your quick photo roundup. 

In some sad news, my great friend Parks lost a niece and a sister within a span of days, and I was glad to be able to drive up to Chattanooga to Marie's visitation with some old friends. There is no easy, friends, only harder and harder. And it's supposed to be that way because it gets harder and harder because you're loving deeper and deeper. My heart hurts for the Carpenter family, and we'll continue to pray that they will find rest and peace (and comfort) in the days ahead.

That's it for now.

Posted via email from JasonHarwell.com

Monday, May 17, 2010

Recent Design Work: Nutria Album Release Show

Here we have a show poster I designed for my good friend Adam Klein (GO LISTEN TO HIS MUSIC RIGHT NOW!). In addition to being a world traveler (he's been everywhere) and one heck of a storytelling songwriter, Adam also runs an indie here in Athens called Cowboy Angel Music. Good stuff.

The label is releasing Nutria's new record on June 3rd at the 40 Watt, and Adam's playing, too, so if you find yourself near Athens and looking for something awesome to do, consider your search over.

Adam gave me the freedom to just run with whatever I wanted, and after chasing a few rabbits, I came up with this. The label's aesthetic is vintage and well-worn, but it's stlll fun (especially Nutria's stuff), so the old rollercoaster seemed to fit the bill. 

Makes me kind of want funnel cake.

Kind of.

Posted via email from JasonHarwell.com

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Some recent design work.

Here are a couple of album designs I've worked on recently (and had a blast doing, I might add). The first one is for Atlanta songwriter Jeff Delbridge's upcoming digital release, Endless Ocean, which has an absolute ton of REAL symphonic strings all over the place. If you like the Amelie soundtrack (or Sufjan Stevens or Elliot Smith), then you'll do well to give this a listen on your favorite digital retailer when it's up. Jeff had Hassel Weems shoot some photos at the Chattanooga Aquarium and wanted to use those as a basis for the design, so that's what I did. Good stuff. http://www.jeffdelbridge.com

The second design is for our good friend from Melbourne, Australia, Levi McGrath, and his new album, Children of War. If you were up on the old Rebuilt Records podcast (still available on iTunes, I think), you would recognize Levi from the podcast I did with the wonderful Mark & Niki Tulk from Small House Records (now Small House Creative here in America... and right down the street from me, to be exact), the label which releases Levi's records. Levi got to come back to the US to record vocals last Fall at RoomFiftyThree (Mark's new studio here in Athens), and I was blown away by some of the photos he took on a recent trip to Uganda (on which the album's music and design are based). Levi has some pretty heartbreaking stories about children soldiers, and his heart for them is pretty inspiring. I encourage you to check out Levi's music online at http://www.levimcgrath.com and read more about his adventures in Africa and elsewhere. He's also quite handsome. There, I said it.

Thanks for letting me be a part of your art, fellas.

Posted via email from JasonHarwell.com