Musical Monday/Happy Labo(u)r Day

Happy Labor Day to my fellow Americans and a Happy Labour Day to our Canadian neighbors!  Hope you all have an enjoyable day today!  To start off your free day, here’s some music from a new obsession of mine, Run River North:

Run River North, formerly known as Monsters Calling Home, is an indie folk rock/pop band from Southern California.  The group is comprised of Daniel Chae (vocals, strings), John Chong (vocals, drums), Joe Chun (vocals, bass), Alex Hwang (lead vocals, guitar), Sally Kang (vocals, strings), and Jennifer Rim (strings).

The LA-based, Korean-American sextet has a great sound.  I would liken them to fellow indie folk artists Of Monsters and Men or The Head and the Heart.  The band’s line-up of multiple vocalists allows them to create lush harmonies that create a beautiful wall of sound behind lead singer Alex Hwang.

In addition to their musical style, I was initially drawn to Run River North by their poetic lyrics.  The band members come from a Christian background, and many of their lyrics are tinged with biblical allusions and spiritual metaphors.  As evident by some of the other bands I’ve highlighted on the blog, I really appreciate musicians who are willing to be upfront about their faith without giving up their own artistic integrity, and Run River North does a great job finding that balance.

As an Asian-American Christian with a love for indie folk music, Run River North is right up my alley.  But even if I wasn’t either of those things, I would definitely still be a fan.  With a rich musical sound, poetic lyrics, and a great group of talent, there is certainly much to be enjoyed from this terrific band.

E is for Easter Monday

Happy Easter Monday, everybody! I hope that you and yours had a wonderful holiday!

As a Christian, Easter is a particularly special time for me and my family. On Good Friday, my home church had a special evening service. I’m such a mess of a human being, and it is always humbling to reflect on the sacrifice that Christ paid for even a fool like me. I don’t deserve His love, and am so completely wonderstruck that He chooses to give it to me unconditionally anyway!

On Saturday, I attended a Filipino cooking class at the local cultural center. Both of my parents are from the Philippines, but I was born and raised here in the US. So it’s always fun to learn more about my cultural heritage. After that, I went shoe shopping with my mom. I absolutely hate shopping. I don’t like crowds, and I’m not too interested in fashion (I would wear tennis shoes, jeans, and a t-shirt every day if I could. Curse you, social conventions!!). But I ended up getting a few new pairs in preparation for spring. I spent the rest of the day just hanging out with family — watched some tv, played some games (tried Hanabi for the first time; it was fun!). After that, I got some reading in before bed time (As to the book’s title, I’ll tell you this much: look for my review when we get to the letter O…).

Sunday was, of course, Easter. I helped lead worship at Church with my brother. He played guitar and I played bass. It was a good service; lots of new faces as regular attendees brought family and friends. While Easter is often associated with springtime and candy, to those who follow Jesus Christ, it is a reminder of our Lord’s resurrection and His power over death.

O Death, where is your sting?
O Hell, where is your victory?
O Church, come stand in the light
Our God is not dead
He’s alive! He’s alive!
– “Christ is Risen” by Matt Maher

After church, we went to my aunt and uncle’s house. We had a potluck style meal complete with ham, pork, salmon, egg rolls, macaroni salad, rice, vegetable soup, and more. It was all so delicious, and as per my own personal custom at holiday family gatherings, I over-ate.

I have a very close-knit family with many cousins, and we always get into some kind of foolishness whenever we get together. Our Easter tradition consists of double elimination, tournament-style foam sword fights and several rounds of Ninja. Did I mention that we’re all in our 20s and 30s? Yeah… Once we all get together though, we revert to our eight-year-old selves. We’re all such geeks. I love them so much!

Once our rapidly aging bodies decided we had had enough physical activity for the day, we went inside to play some parlor games. This year we mainly stuck to Celebrity (We play a three round variant where round 1 is any clue, 2 is a three word clue, round 3 is Charades only) and Telephone Pictionary/Telestrations.

All in all, I had a wonderful weekend with my family. I am so incredibly blessed to live so close to my parents, siblings, and most of aunts, uncles, and cousins. I love them all dearly and treasure the wonderful times we share!

How about you, dear blog friends? How did you spend your Easter weekend? Any fun family traditions?