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Brock’s Summer Music Picks

July 1st, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in From Brock
With summer finally here, I thought I might put together a Top 10 list of fun new songs, from Christian artists, that I think all have a great “summer feel” to them.  I’ve tried hard to avoid the more obvious names, at least for the most part, in hopes of introducing you to a new artist or two–or at least nudging you in the direction of an artist you hadn’t previously considered.

I’ve also ranked these songs, in descending order, according to how summer “jammable” they are–to my ear, at least.)

Hopefully, you’ll find at least a few, in this mix, that you like half as much as I do.

10) Aaron Bucks–California

Aaron is a Canadian artist, from Vancouver, real name Aaron Buchholz.  He’s just inked a new record deal, with BEC Recordings, and California is his debut single (under the new moniker).  Sort of a breezy/laid back summer track–artistically, Aaron is the real deal!

9) Francesca Battistelli–The Breakup Song 

It’s been a few years since we’ve heard, from Franny, awesome to have her back making music again.  So, what is she “breaking up” with?  Well…fear!  Love the message.  I also love the throwback vibe of this one.  

8) Social Club Misfits (f. Tauren Wells)–War Cry

If you’re looking for something a bit edgier, to really pump you up, this summer, look no further.  Social Club Misfits + Tauren Wells = the perfect artistic match.

7) Rhett Walker Band–Say Hello 

These guys burst onto the scene in 2012…announced they were discontinuing, in 2016…and then re-emerged, in 2017.  Frankly, as confusing as that may sound, they’re actually sounding better than ever on this track.  The new self-titled EP releases August 10th.

6) Jasmine Murray–No Other Love

Raised by a single mother, Jasmine was exposed early on to stellar vocalists like Christina Aguilera, CeCe Winans, and Yolanda Adams.  She made the top 12, on American Idol, back in season 8, when she was only 16 years old.  Fast-forward nearly 10 years now, and Jasmine’s new Fearless project is fully on point.  Her vocals are nothing short of incredible here.  Really fun track.

5) Citizen Way (f. Bart Millard)–WaveWalker

Citizen Way seemingly came out of nowhere to score a surprise Christian radio hit, last year, with their song Bulletproof.  In a similar musical vein comes WaveWalker.  As you can probably tell, from the title, the song is indeed very “summery”, and you can’t go wrong with a little Bart Millard on the side for good measure.

4) Tedashii (f. Jordan Feliz)–Gotta Live

As Tedashii puts it, Gotta Live is a song “about perseverance, and the idea that there is so much life to be lived we shouldn’t let trials and hardships blind us to that fact“.  Sometimes you just “Gotta Live”!  Jordan Feliz is a great addition here too.

3) Chris August–Delivery

Delivery is from Chris’ new project, just released, called Seasons.  He describes the project as “a little unlike” any record he’s ever done, and also says that he “poured (his) soul into every lyric and every piece of the music“.  All I can say is, it shows!  In many ways, this record has surprised me more than any other this year.  So fresh!  There’s nothing else quite like it, right now, in Christian music.

2) Tiger Drive–Here We Come

Say hello to new indie-trio, Tiger Drive.  These guys take a multi-genre approach, think MuteMath…meets Coldplay…meets Imagine Dragons…meets something totally original.  Here We Come grabbed me right from the get go.  Wow!  I feel like they’re poised for a massive breakthrough.  What a song!

1) Aaron Cole–One More Day

Well, here we are at the very top, of my list, with the absolutely most “jammable” song of your summer 2018.  Aaron Cole’s One More Day, simply put, is the song of the summer!  Just listen & you’ll hear what I mean.

Honourable mentions go to (the always encouraging) Mandisa, with her newest track, Good News…and the long-awaited return, of For King & Country, with Joy.

To hear all these songs and others for the background music of your summer check out CHRI’s Spotify playlist A CHRI Summer. Enjoy the tunes…and have a great summer!! 


Wednesday Bookmark Summer Reading List

July 1st, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in From Brock

The Best of Wednesday Bookmarks: Summer Reading List

With summer already flying by, we thought we could help solidify your summer reading list. This list is compiled of books featured on the Wednesday Bookmark who have been deemed the ‘best of’ books featured on CHRI!

Throughout the summer, hear which books were 2018’s ‘Best of’ Wednesday Bookmarks. Tune in to the Morning Express Wednesdays at 9:00 A.M. for Brock’s non-fiction Wednesday bookmark interviews. Tune in to the Home Stretch Wednesdays at 4:30 P.M. for Care’s Kids and Youth Wednesday Bookmark interviews.

All books can be purchased from Books for Christ.

Reignite Friendship in Your Marriage

July 1st, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Advice and Tips
Romantic relationships often get their start in healthy friendships. Think back to the days when you and your spouse were dating and then engaged — the long talks, romantic picnics, casual walks, endless adventures and the fun you shared together. Then somewhere in the busyness of married life you lost sight of that friendship. And unfortunately, the flames of romance are no longer raging in your marriage without a solid friendship.

Studies now back up the understanding that friendship helps romantic relationships. The National Bureau of Economic Research notes that researchers found that individuals who consider their spouse to be their best friend get about twice as much life satisfaction from marriage as do other married people. The Gallup Organization has calculated that a couple’s friendship could account for 70 percent of overall marital satisfaction. In fact, the emotional intimacy that a married couple shares is said to be five times more important than their physical intimacy. Apparently, growing a stronger friendship with your spouse needs to be of high priority because it will help lead to an overall stronger marriage.

I’ve seen this in my own marriage. My husband, Greg, and I were great friends prior to dating. We began our friendship in college because I dated his roommate — who had dated Greg’s sister. (Yes, this has provided many delightful conversations over the years.) Our friendship led us to the realization that we really had fun together and enjoyed each other, so we began dating. The four years of friendship built a solid basis for our romantic relationship, and 25 years after our wedding, we can see what a gift that friendship foundation has been to our marriage. It’s carried us through the ups and downs of our relationship because the friendship qualities of common kindness, honesty, empathy, loyalty and trust have brought stability to our marriage.

What happened to us?

As many couples settle into married life, the friendship can begin to fade. Often it is due to over-commitment, exhaustion, social-media overload, marriage administration or simply ceasing to do the “little things” for each other.

All these things have a negative impact on a marriage friendship. As you read through that list, did you consider whether any of those issues have weakened the special connection you have with your husband or wife?

Regardless of the cause, the fading of the friend connection in marriage can lead to a lonely, isolated experience. I’ve heard many women say, “We just aren’t friends anymore — it feels like we are just roommates living parallel lives.” If this is your experience, you are not alone.

What can we do to rebuild?

If you desire to rekindle the friendship in your marriage, there are a few simple things you can do. Consider the following: 

Laugh together. Look for ways to laugh together … often! Laughter sets a light-hearted tone in marriage, often making a husband and wife feel safe in the relationship. Tell stories of the past, reminisce about silly things you once said or did, or watch a funny TV show or movie together.

Recognize the differences in how men and women view friendship. Male friendships tend to have different qualities than female friendships. Most men prefer “shoulder-to-shoulder” activities; so if you are a wife wanting to connect with your husband, engage in an activity with him. Most women love deep conversation in order to feel connected; so if you are a husband desiring to connect with your wife, take her for a cup of coffee and enjoy the discussion.

Take an interest in what interests your spouse. Although we all have different likes and dislikes, there are times when we’d do well to sacrifice for each other by participating in what our spouse loves to do. I love to bargain shop — Greg typically hates shopping. So when he offers to come along with me to my favorite store, I feel very connected to him. Now, there is one type of shopping that Greg loves, and that’s shopping for antiques. So when I get on board with his area of interest, it ultimately gives me an amazing opportunity to connect with my husband.

Don’t overcommit yourself. Leave special blocks of time on your calendar for just the two of you. We all run at such a fast pace that we need to create opportunities for connection with each other. Spontaneous times and activities are great, but realistically, most couples probably need to plan for shared time together. Prioritizing our marriage friendship should be apparent by the activities on our calendar.

Put your cell phone down. We often don’t recognize that having our eyes glued to our cell phone or computer can actually rob us of opportunities to connect with each other. Our spouse deserves our undivided attention — and our eye contact. In my marriage relationship, I struggle with screen distractions the most. I feel guilty even writing this, but I have to continually remind myself to “set it down” when Greg is around. I don’t want to continue missing out on the daily connections that are available with him. And I want him to feel confident that he is more important than any incoming texts or emails.

How do we reignite the romantic spark?

Don’t stop intentionally pursuing each other as friends. And remember that you need to be the type of friend you desire your spouse to be for you. That means you need to model the kind of friendship you want to experience with your husband or wife.

Greg and I have now been married for almost a quarter of a century, and I’m certain that not one pursuit we’ve shared has been more profitable than the pursuit of a thriving friendship with each other. We’ve discovered that the time, effort and intentionality have been more than worth it. We are reaping relational benefits today, and we’re confident that we’ll reap more in the years to come.

Via: Focus on the Family

6 Things to Know About Sunscreen This Summer

July 1st, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Healthy Living
Everyone knows that applying sunscreen is important to avoid sunburn, skin damage and skin cancer. But with all of the confusing labels and numbers — how can you know you’re making the best choice for you and your family?

Consumer Reports can help. The publication recently released new research on the best sunscreens and what you should look for when purchasing one, some of the results were surprising. Deputy editor Patricia Calvo shared some of the most important things you need to know:


Both Consumer Reports and the American Academy of Dermatology Association recommend using a sun protective factor (SPF) of 30, at a minimum. Though just because a sunscreen says it has a certain SPF, doesn’t mean you can trust it.

“The problem is, in Consumer Reports testing, a lot of sunscreen we tested didn’t meet the SPF levels printed on the package,” Calvo explained.

Out of 73 lotions, sprays and other products the research team tested, 24 showed protection of less than half of their labeled SPF number. Some products that touted an SPF of 50, actually only offered an SPF of 24.

So what should you do? A simple way to address this issue is to re-apply your sunscreen often. Experts suggest slathering on more product every two hours, and immediately after dipping in the pool or getting your skin wet.

You can also avoid this problem by purchasing a sunscreen Consumer Reports has tested to have a reliable SPF number. For their full list, see the detailed report or check out these products.


While you may think you’re doing yourself a favor by opting for mineral-based or “all natural” sunscreens, you might be doing the exact opposite.

“In our tests over the years, so-called ‘natural’ or mineral sunscreens — those that contain only titanium dioxide, zinc oxide or both as active ingredients — have tended to perform less well than those that have chemical active ingredients, such as avobenzone,” the report noted.

Put simply, look on the back of the sunscreen and identify the main active ingredient. Look for the chemicals avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene or homosalate.


Broad spectrum products protect against the sun’s two types of harmful rays: UVA and UVB.

UVA rays are primarily responsible for signs of aging such as wrinkles and sagging; while UVB rays are the main culprit behind sunburn. Both increase one’s risk for skin cancer.

Make sure your product says it’s “broad spectrum,” meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays.


There are some labels that aren’t as tightly regulated, and don’t mean as much. Labels such as “pediatrician recommended” doesn’t mean it’s better than the next product, Calvo said.


There’s a reason why some people love spray sunscreen: It makes less mess! But there could also be less coverage if it’s not applied properly.

“People tend to just spritz it around and then don’t really focus on rubbing it into skin,” Calva says. “Depending on the spray pattern, a lot of it goes into the air. You have to make sure you’re applying it directly to your skin and rubbing it in.”

In addition, Consumer Reports suggests you avoid using sprays, especially on children or babies, because of “risk of inhalation.”


While sunscreen goes a long way to help protect your skin, it isn’t the only solution.

“It’s not a magic bullet that means you can stay in the bright sunshine all day long. Even if you’re wearing sunscreen you have to make sure you seek the shade, wear a hat and sunglasses, and take other measures,” Calvo says.

Enjoy the sunshine, but stay safe out there!



Family Dinnertime Fun

July 1st, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Family
Some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around family mealtime. I loved gathering with everyone at Gramma’s house for dinner Sunday afternoon, and I love that our door was always open to anyone needing a meal.

Schedules are a lot different now than they were when I was growing up. We didn’t have as many after school activities. I was fortunate to sit down with my family almost every night for dinner at 6:00pm. I remember the laughter that took place around our old dining room table and I remember sneaking my lima beans to our dog laying at my feet under the table. (I still don’t like lima beans!) We ate better and we spent quality time together. We talked about our day and what we were looking forward to the next day.

As a widowed working mom, it hasn’t always been easy to sit down at the kitchen table every night but I try my best to make dinnertime a priority. According to statistics, eating dinner together as a family can have significant benefits. Children who eat with their families do better in school, develop healthier eating habits and are less likely to be overweight, have fewer eating disorders, have lower suicide rates, and are less at risk for drug and alcohol use. Stronger family bonds, mutual respect, and a general consideration for each other develops through family mealtime.

Here are some mealtime activities that will have everyone in the family looking forward to eating together. Give one or two a try. They are sure to create new, lasting memories and may start some new family traditions! They did for me!

  • Have a “picnic” in the living room. Spread a blanket or tablecloth out on the floor; use paper products or plastic picnicware; serve typical picnic food and add plastic ants for fun.
  • Eat by candlelight and/or use your fine china for an every day meal, not just on a special occasion.
  • Eat dinner backwards. Start with the dessert and end with the appetizer.
  • Each night at dinner, ask everyone at the table what was the most Christ-like thing they did that day, and what was the least Christ-like thing they did that day.
  • Let the kids set a unique table. They can make placemats, place cards, a centerpiece, napkin rings, etc. Let them choose a theme and really get creative!
  • Have everyone speak with an accent during the meal.
  • Put a selection of ingredients on the counter and have the whole family work together to make dinner using only those ingredients. To make things fair, have everyone choose a few of the items that will go on the counter.
  • Have family devotions during dinner.
  • Make a new mealtime tradition for a specific night of the week. Some ideas:  Taco Tuesday, Fondu Friday, Family “Date” Night (rent a movie and eat dinner together while you watch the movie), Breakfast for Dinner Night, or Dippy Dinner (everything you serve comes with a dip).
  • Have everyone assemble their own dinner by setting up everything you need for making pizzas, omelets, crepes, burritos, or stir-fry, etc. Each person prepares their own creation and then one family member (of appropriate age) is the chef.
  • Go around the table taking turns sharing where you saw God that day.
  • Have a pajama party. Everyone puts on their silliest pajamas, eats pizza in front of the fireplace, plays Twister, and then eats popcorn while sharing silly stories.
  • As a family, bring dinner to a shut-in and stay and share the meal together.
  • In the morning, select a country, state, city, etc. that has been in the news. Announce the location and then, at dinner, everyone shares what they have discovered about the location.
  • Place a jar or box of questions, topics, etc. on the table. Take turns each night pulling one out of the jar. Spend mealtime discussing what was chosen.
  • Have everyone bring an interesting vocabulary word to the table. See if anyone knows what the words mean. Try to “stump” each other.
  • Play a word game during dinner! Here are a few that will have everyone laughing:

Categories: Take turns saying a word in a chosen category (music, movies, food, ice cream flavors, names of candy, cities, etc.) or words beginning with the same letter. For example, if the category is music, take turns listing music-related words like “sing,” “note,” “drums,” “concert,” “song title,” etc.

Alphabet Game: In alphabetical order, take turns listing items that you would take with you on an imaginary trip to a silly location. Before listing an item, you have to repeat the intro sentence and all the previous items. For example, it’s your turn and the letter is “G.” You must say, “I am taking a trip to Timbuctu and I have to pack my suitcase. I will be bringing anchovies, batteries, cow, doorknob, envelopes, football, and a _____ (your “G” word). I have never made it all the way to “Z!”

Tell a “Chain Story.” One person begins to tell a creative story. After a couple of sentences, the story is “passed” to the person on the right who continues with a few sentences and then passes to the next person on the right… The result will be some very interesting, creative, and silly storytelling.

  • Have theme days:

Choose a color of the day. Everyone wears and eats only items of that color.

Food Item Day: Eat foods that are made from one food item. For example, if the food was an apple, you would eat, apples, dried apples, baked apples, apple pie, applesauce, candy apples, biscuits with apple butter or apple jelly, apple glazed chicken, etc., and drink apple juice and spiced hot apple cider.

Foreign Food Day: Choose one country and eat food from that region all day. For example, if you choose France, have Crépes Suzette or croissants for breakfast, Coq Au Vin for dinner, etc. You can turn this into a family educational experience by having each person research different things about the country to share during dinner. Younger kids can make props like drawing and coloring the countries’ flag.

Instead of choosing a country, make up your own! Together, decide where your country is located, what foods they would eat, what the weather is like, what is the standard mode of transportation, what their words are for certain items, what the houses look like, etc. Create a menu to go with your country and let everyone help with the preparations.

Make the most of family time around the kitchen table. When I think back on my childhood I don’t necessarily remember what I wore on the first day of school or what I got for my 10th birthday, but I so remember the sweet faces and giggles that filled our dinner hour. These memories will last a lifetime.



FREE Family Fun: Summer Splash!

July 1st, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Concerts

Healthy BBQ options For Ottawans This Summer

July 1st, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

A recent news survey has revealed that 65% of Canadians prefer to grill on Canada Day more than any other day of the year. This was rivaled by Father’s Day at 55%. Whatever your favorite time to turn on the grill, the fact is that many Christians are getting together all over Ottawa this summer to celebrate their faith during the barbecue season. However, tradition doesn’t mean that you have to be stuck with the same recipes time and time again? Just think of all the different ways you can create a healthy barbecue for yourself and your friends.

Lean and Mean

It’s easy to stick with what’s on offer in the supermarkets, but it’s often not always the best thing for your gut. As an example, a single hot dog has over 300 calories, a whole array of chemicals and all the meat is processed. You can easily take a healthy focus by choosing lean protein, quality cuts of meat and even fish (a seriously underrated choice). Didn’t Jesus feed a following of 5,000 with it? It seems like he had the right idea.

Food Tips and Magnificent Marinades

Who can say no to the flavors of an exceptional marinade? If you’ve got a great cut of meat, prepare an equally magnificent marinade, ideally for longer than two hours – this is a serious way of injecting some much needed flavour into the proceedings. But don’t these marinades have a fatty and oily consistency? There are numerous healthy alternatives to create low calorie marinades, for instance using zero fat yogurt, fresh fruit juices and spice rubs. Seasoning should never be neglected either, but opt for unrefined sea salt with more nutritional load.

Healthy Veg on the Side

Say bye to the level of bad fat and hi to healthy greens. The vast majority of Canadians find meat to be the center of BBQ attention; however, this doesn’t mean you can’t have a range of fresh accompaniments. Swap a few of the traditional slaws and baked beans with less fatty and sodium free alternatives such as green salads or spicy mixed beans.

Now you’re a bit more aware of nutrition, work out what you need and get as organized as you can so that when it’s time for your barbecue to shine, everything’s ready to run like clockwork. This year, let a healthy BBQ flavor bring out the best in your gathering of fun and faith.

By Lucy Wyndham