Friday, January 28, 2011

Happy 20th Birthday Ben!

I'm stumped. What should I write about Ben? I just asked Leesha, but she just said, "I don't know" and walked away. (Some help she was!) :) Well, I guess I could write how amazing he is or how talented he is, but I think I'm going to let the rest of the family share some words for and about Ben (taken from their birthday cards)...

Caleb: "Dear Ben, WOW! 20! I can't believe it! You have been a nice big brother!" Caleb picked a Bible verse from Psalm 117:1 for Ben.

Jayme: "Ben, Thank you for being my brother. Thank you for also for playing trains with me!" Jayme signed her card "Jayme K. G. C." translated Jayme Katherine Garms Christian.

Sam: "Happy Birthday, Ben. You are 20 years old! I hope you have a really great day!"

Leesha: "Dear Ben, I can't believe you're twenty! It's been a long time in coming to this, and you still don't seem twenty. :) But it doesn't matter how old you get, because you're the greatest big brother in the world! I'm so excited for [you] and enjoy it while it lasts!" Leesha picked Ephesians 5:13 for an encouragement for Ben.

Dad and Mom: "It's unbelievable that you are now beyond the teens. What a joy you have been, watching you grow through those years. May the Lord give you blessing, vision, and strength as you follow Him into a new decade of life. We love you dearly and are so thankful for every moment with you." Dad's verse for Ben's 20th Birthday was 103:17; Mom focused on verses Psalm 119:105, Psalm 32:8, and Isaiah 30:21 concerning "paths".

Mal: "[Thank you for] everything you have done for me. Happy Birthday Ben. Your friend, Mal."
Grandpa Pete's (Mom's dad) card said: "Grandson, you're a fine, caring young man...the kind of person any grandparent would be delighted and proud to have for a grandson. Never forget how important you are to our family, how much you add to the lives of those around you, and never forget, not even for a moment, how much you are loved." Then he wrote, "Happy 20th B-day Ben. I wish you the best of day and all year thru. May God bless you in your endeavors."
Grandma Frieda's (Dad's mom) card said (and I love this one!): "Happy Birthday to a grandson who's smart, handsome, fun, kind, loving, determined, brilliant, sweet, sensitive, strong, and all together wonderful! Looks like you got the best parts of everyone in the family!"
:) Then she wrote, "Happy Birthday! Love you!"
Our home church, St. Stephen's Lutheran, sent Ben a card with Jeremiah 29:11 ("'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'") and the words, "May He continue His good work in your life. Blessings on your birthday! 'God bless you Ben!'"

I can't add what I wrote, because I didn't write anything! Let me explain: I finished my birthday card just minutes before Ben opened all his cards and presents, and was glad to stuff my hurriedly drawn card in the pile of cards. When Ben finally got to my card, he laughed, not only at my dry humor, but the blank space underneath the "Happy Birthday". I had forgotten to finish my card. I was horrified! (I promise you, Ben, I will write something! :)

Our dear "Gentle Ben" has now passed the teens and swiftly entered the amazing twenties. Not only has he grown physically (he is now 6' 3") through the years, but he has matured spiritually and is deeply rooted in his faith and relationship with Jesus Christ. Ben is very gifted and is committed to family. His big smile lights up any room. We are so grateful to have Ben as a part of our family.

"And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ." Colossians 3:23-24

Happy Birthday Ben!
Taylor for the Family
P.S. CLICK HERE to read an interesting article that was featured in the Isanti County News this week! (I'll write more about it later)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Happy 11th Birthday Sam!

Eleven years old. Whew. Sometimes, though, it's a little like Sam is eleven going on sixteen. Sometimes I look over at his intelligent, maturing face as he works on puzzles or reads a book, and think, "Wow, who is that teen-ager? Where did he come from?" :)

Our deep-thinker is growing fast. He continues to love organizing things-he told me yesterday that, since he loves organizing, he would sort all the LEGO pieces by color and set for us. (No kidding!) He is often lost in thoughts, thinking the most profound things and creating interesting scenerios and stories.
Sammy loves a good story, and can often be seen stretched out on the couch with a book. He is one of the only people I know who will laugh aloud while reading! His favorites vary from the intriguing series of "The Lord of the Rings" to the adventures of "A Bear Named Paddington".
Sam's quick wit and quirky humor keeps us in stitches constantly! But, he also has a very solemn side to him. Once during a Bible study at our church, a friend leaned over to me and wrote on a piece of paper, "I can't wait to hear what Sam has to say." She whispered that she loves hearing his observations on different subjects.
Keep growing in the Lord, Samuel. Listen for His voice and diligently read His Word to seek out His direction for your life. Continue to be a godly young man. Strive to be a gentleman in all you do and pursue righteousness.
2nd TIMOTHY 2:1, 2, 15-16, 22-25a; 3:14-17; 4:2, 22
"You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babble, for they will increase to more ungodliness. Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility...

"But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you
have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

"Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

"The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen."
Happy Birthday, Sam!
Taylor for the family

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fellowship at Freddies

This past Sunday night found us at Freddies' Restaurant in Mora, MN, about 20 minutes away from our home in Braham. Originally, we were supposed to sing there for the Hillman Baptist Christmas Party on December 11th, but due to a large snowstorm which swept through the Midwest, the concert was rescheduled for January 9th, 2011.

And yes, it was still a Christmas party!

Setting up: we amazingly were able to fit our small sound system and ourselves upon the stage at Freddies.

Mom and Leesha putting instrument stands together.

Caleb and Jayme moving chairs to make more room.

Before the concert: Caleb grins while Sam chuckles about something.

Mom, Ben, Jayme, and I doing prelude music.

"Are you taking a picture of me?"

Dad and Mom smile sweetly for the camera.

How do you like the lights? Some of us were green, others were yellow, a few were blue, and don't forget the shades of red! Dad introducing "Little Drummer Boy".

The Christmas Polka!

What a meal! Well, this is all that was left, anyway. The sweet people of Hillman Baptist graciously treated us by paying for our meal at Freddies. IT WAS AWESOME! We all the loved the potatos, coleslaw, fried chicken, and above all, RIBS! Freddies has better ribs than "Famous Daves", in our opinion-just ask Caleb, a new ribs fan.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time spent with the body of Christ last Sunday and came away very blessed by the kindness, warmth, and generosity of new friends.

Blessings and Joy in the Journey!

T for the Garms Family

Friday, January 7, 2011

Recording at the "Cave"

"Do you have CDs?"
It is inevitable that amongst the typical questions ("Are you all one family?", "Whose the mother?", "Who taught you all this?", etc.) we receive at our concerts, this one question prevails above all, even above "Whose the mother?". :) Since we first began singing, people have told us over and over again, "You need to make a CD."
The time has come.
For over seven months, Great Adventure Gospel Band's first CD has been in the making. Frankly, it's taken this great extent of time because 1.) we are learning about the recording process, 2.) it's challenging to balance homelife, school, traveling, and recording, 3.) we have been trying to get the best equipment we can afford to get the best sound we can achieve, and 4.) it's a slow process!
Early recording in the orignal "Cave"

The "Cave Studio" is located in our home and originated in Dad and Mom's walk-in closet. Now it officially resides in the boys' room, as it is more removed from the sounds of daily life, enhances the sound, has more space and light, and is most convenient for Ben (our wonderful engineer).

Ben and Uli recording some mandolin in the new "Cave" last week.

Yesterday, the last recording for the CD was accomplished: Mom's bass playing on "Wayfaring Stranger". Unless there are any overdubs which need to take place, we are finished with this step.


Did I hear a sigh of relief resound from the family?

The next step is for Ben to mix and master the songs we have recorded. This process relies heavily on Ben's ear, and, as I type, he is analyzing "Bigger Than Any Mountain" in the Cave.

Ben, mixing.

It is amazing to see how Ben's knowledge of recording, microphone placement, tracking, mixing, all the wonderful software tools, mastering, etc. have grown through this journey. Just yesterday, Ben showed me a clip he had recorded last summer of the Lil Adventurers, and then he compared it with the latest song we recorded. It was truly outstanding to hear the difference! (Ben: thank you! You are doing a awesome job; keep it up! God has great plans for your life, and thank you for using your gifts for the Kingdom.)

Yes, it is our first attempt, yes, we are still growing, and yes, it is not quite Nashville level, but we are striving to present the best CD we can with the talents, abilities, knowledge, and tools the Lord has given us for this time in our lives.

(BTW: Ben just announced he has two songs thoroughly mixed! Wahoo!)

Oh yes, here's a sneak peak at a special addition to our first CD. Learn more by coming back again soon!

Who are these people? Wanna take a guess? Leave a comment and say what you think!
Joy in the Journey!
Taylor for the Garms Gang

Thursday, January 6, 2011

"I'm a Soprano!"

As I walked into the kitchen earlier this morning, I found Sam, Jayme, and Caleb diligently doing their school. And as I neared Caleb, I found he was just itching to tell me something.

"Taylor," he began, "I'm a soprano!"

Well, this was breaking news! For about a year, Caleb has insisted he was a bass. He would go for the dive during our concerts, and try to sing a bass harmony whenever we sing together at home. He has often asked Ben to hit a low note to prove he can hit it too. He'd play a low note on piano, let out a growling noise, and then joyfully exclaim that he "could hit a C"! In fact, if you remember from the "I'm Feeling Fine" video with Legacy Five, he gave bass singer Glenn Dustin a run for his money!

Since I had known he was a soprano for a number of years, I feigned surprise, curious to see what caused this change of mind. "So, what makes you say that?" I asked.

"Well, when I try to hit those bass notes, those were actually lead notes! The notes I thought were low were lead notes! I'm actually a soprano!" he exclaimed with the joy of discovery written all over his bright face.

Later, sounds of joyous, high-pitched singing were heard from the bathroom (FYI: all Garms family kids have debuted in the bathroom; the Garms Family singers have been singing for almost 25 years ago in this special "concert hall").

Joy in the Journey!

Taylor for the Garms

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas Eve Service with the Garms

Well, Christmas is over, but the memories are vibrant in our minds, videos, and pictures from the 2010 Christmas season. It was a very relaxing and blessed time around our home, and it has been nice to recuperate for the new year.
On Christmas Eve, we sang at our home church, St. Stephen's Lutheran (LCMS), for the 5:00 p.m. service. We have done this for several years since we started our band (in fact, we "debuted" at a Christmas Eve service in 2007), and we enjoyed singing again this year. Here are some pictures...

Sam, Jayme, and Caleb doing Bible word searches while Ben and Dad set up the sound equipment.

Mom and Leesha during the prelude music. Leesha is signing something.

All done! Cleaning up our "mess" requires our team to move together and efficently. (Don't ask me what Caleb is doing...)

Yours truly.

Leesha looks like an angel with the lights casting a brilliant glow around her! :)

Sam, looking like the gentleman he is.

As we are the janitors of our church (we have dubbed ourselves, "The Singing Janitors"), it was our job to straighten up the church before the 10:00 p.m. candlelight service. Here Caleb displays his weapon of choice: a cordless vacuum cleaner thing to clean up the pews.

I can't tell if they are just trying to look grown-up, or if they really do look as old as they appear in this picture! :) The (growing) Lil' Adventurers at home.

Blessings and Joy in the Journey!
Taylor for the Garms

P.S. Look for exciting news about our CD coming soon!

Monday, January 3, 2011

2010 Family Christmas Picture(s)

The Garms Family-Christmas Eve, 2010

Back Row: Taylor (18), Ben (19), David & Kris, Leesha (16)
Front Row: Sam (10), Jayme (9), Caleb (7)

Oh, yes, can't forget a goofy picture as well! :)

Happy New Year from our home to yours!

The Garms Family

Great Adventure Gospel Band