The Ville du Havre, a ship that inspired “It Is Well With My Soul”

Do you remember what you were doing in 1876? I bet you weren’t writing one of the best songs ever. Neither was I. But we also weren’t experiencing major life tragedies like the writer of It Is Well. Actually, the song was originally called Ville du Havre. The title came from a ship by the same name. A ship that carried the writer’s wife and 4 daughters. If you want to know more about that story, I’d strongly recommend you look it up because it’s worth knowing about. But in short, the ship sank and all 4 daughters perished. As he was carried by boat to reconnect with his wife, he floated past where his daughters died, and soon after wrote Ville du Havre/It Is WellVille_du_HavreOK that’s heavy stuff. You know what will lighten the mood? Remembering that this song is so well-known, even your weird uncle, yeah, that one, has sung it. But still, I keep coming back to the 2 performances below. Watch and let your heart be moved!

First up is a haunting rendition of the song. I say haunting because of the woman’s voice. It’s low and raspy. Smoky and mysterious. Definitely adds an element of soul, and the guy does, too. I’d be acting silly not to mention the quality of his voice. Plus, it’s easy to see that he not only sings the lyrics, but he believes them. I love listening to someone sing from their heart. The trio is called Selah. Since this video, they’ve had a rotation or two in the female singer slot, but this girl, Nicol Smith (now married, Nicol Sponberg) is the Selah I love the most. And is it just me, or does she look exactly like Ashley S. from The Bachelor?

Ashley S from the Bachelor

Ashley S from the Bachelor (above) looks like Nicol Smith (in video below)

This second video is a newer take on the classic hymn. Typically I run away from variations of traditional lyrics and melodies, but not this one. It’s amazing. It’s so good I didn’t even notice they left the original chorus out of the song. The first guy to sing has a good voice, but then the girl comes in and wow, she’ll captivate you with her tone and vibrato. But then that first guy comes back in and steals back your attention with his sound. To keep it simple, I’d say with these singers and this song, “It just works.” Plus, I actually love when the girl messes up. See if you catch it. It’s a subtle reminder that beautiful doesn’t mean perfection. In fact, sometimes there is beauty in imperfection… because it’s real. These are 4 beautiful minutes you need to watch.
-Out of the Wilderness

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Girl Meets World on TV

bmwI was in college doing stuff like this (and studying, of course!) when “Boy Meets World” was still airing new episodes. For a show that started on TGIF (Thank Goodness It’s Friday), it had surprisingly deep themes and storylines. And it was funny. Very funny. I’ve found myself quoting lines from the show even now, 13 years later. I think it’s still on TV, but last I checked, it was super early in the morning, like when my dogs wake up hungry for breakfast. There have only been a few shows that I’ve liked more now as an adult than when I was younger.

1. The Cosby Show
2. Friends
3. Boy Meets World

So consider my extreme happiness when I found out they’re shooting the follow-up to BMW, and it’s called “Girl Meets World.” It will follow the daughter of Cory and Topanga, and it says online that the pilot wrapped last month, so it shouldn’t be long till it’s on air. I’ve got my fingers crossed that it’s a huge success! Do you have a favorite line from “Boy Meets World”? I’ll kick it off with one of mine…

Lauren (on the senior snow ski trip): If you had an affair, do you think the guilt would change your behavior?

Cory: What? What a silly question? I can’t believe they would ask me that question. Me! The Falcon! Everyone knows that falcons are notoriously monogamous birds. I mean, it’s just so crazy.

Lauren kissing Cory on the senior ski trip.

Lauren kissing Cory on the senior ski trip.

Where Are All the Men

Last week I saw a rerun of Friends. At one point, Chandler was asked to do some handy work, and he said to wait while he goes to get his wife’s tools. I was struck immediately with the thought, “Is this the American man now?” That episode probably aired ten years ago, of course, so I understand it’s a bit outdated. But I wonder if there are more Chandler Bing’s out there now. Men who are not tough.

I remember when men on tv were ones I could look up to, men with character that were chivalrous and strong: MacGyver, Cliff Huxtable, Uncle Jessie, possibly Danny Tanner (although he wasn’t very tough except in the episode where he dressed like a rockstar to play at D.J.’s fundraiser), Mr. T, the father on Boy Meets World, Tom Selleck, James Garner and Tony Danza (Who’s the Boss?).

But over the course of a couple of decades they’ve turned into Charlie Sheen (Two and A Half Men), the guys on Big Bang Theory, Barney Stinson, the Situation, and professional athletes that get in trouble for domestic violence. It seems like men in the spotlight now are either over the top, or way under the top. Womanizers, or pansies. We’re persuaded to tolerate those kinds of guys and that tolerance creates more of those kinds of guys. We mock the jerks on The Bachelor, and yet we tune in every week to watch. I guess I’m just tired of seeing the pansification of men in America. I’m tired of contributing to it.

Bring back the men that open doors for women, that don’t call or text after 10pm. Men that can budget money. Guys that play football on the weekends and go to church, too. Men that are less concerned if their fingernails are clipped and more concerned about securing leaks in the house. Men that rough house with their kids, nieces or nephews but will not tolerate outsiders who do the same. Men that care less about matching their shoes with their belt, and more about making a woman feel pretty and wanted. Men that get down on one knee to ask their girlfriend to marry them not inspite of it being old-fashioned but because it’s old-fashioned. Men that would give their life to protect the ones they love. They drive trucks. They have a dog. They may even cuss a little when they get fired up. They eat horse radish because it puts hair on their chest. It’s ok to have calloused hands. It’s ok to believe in something and disagree with someone who believes differently. Tolerance is for the birds. Buck up and be a man. Respect women. Cook burgers and steak. Grill chicken and eat all of it that night. Eat broccoli because it’s healthy, but it’s ok if you don’t enjoy it. Eat a salad and take care of your body. Excercise and get strong. Compete. Compete fairly. Own tools and use them. Be old-fashioned. Don’t be a Chandler. Be a Fred Wilder. He plays the drums. He travels weekly. He’s been married for over forty years to one lady, my mom. He still enjoys washing his car and hers on the weekend. He was in the Coast Guard for twenty-seven years and served in Desert Storm. So he’s tough, but he also likes Hallmark Channel movies. He’s got a truck and a beagle. He has four grown kids that he makes an effort to see or talk to regularly.

He’s an example of what men should be. Well, he and MacGyver.