Friday, December 22, 2006

Give Love This Christmas

One of my favorite things about Christmas is a special Cartee family tradition. It’s very unusual, but this means as much to me as figgy pudding and Jingle Bells. It’s an annual proclamation. Given in the classiest style by my mother. She has faithfully announced this news every year of my life, since I started recording memories. Never once faltering, never once letting us down. It usually goes like this. “Gather round children, I have something to say. I don’t want you kids to be disappointed, but I’m really cutting back on Christmas gifts this year.”
I am from a normal middle class family. Not rich and even a little familiar with need from time to time. However, I am convinced that if my mother won the lottery and had billions, the compulsion to “cut back this year” would still be impossible to resist. It’s built into her. She must say it. Even now that my sister and I are grown, married and have children of our own, we still hear those predictable words. Karen (my sister) and I await them like two 5 year olds stalking Santa on Christmas Eve. We love it. Mainly because it creates more of the humor that adult children enjoy at the expense of their parents. I am sure Oak will observe funny things about me and I’ll reap the wrath of this blog later in life. Who cares? I would not have it any other way. I love my family and mom never keeps her word. She gives me all the socks and deoderant I can use in a life time and worries that I won’t be happy. However, being happy is not about the stuff. It never has been. The Christmas when I got the G.I. Joe Headquarters (tops of all Christmas presents) or the Christmas when nothing went right...nither one was defined not by the kind of presents but that I was with the people I love. So here’s a Christmas wish for you. Cut back, way back. Give your stuff away and hang on to every minute you can with the ones who mean the most to you. I don’t have my G.I. Joe headquarters anymore but I do have my family. One I could care less about, the other is my greatest possession.
Give Love and give all you can. Merry Christmas. CC

(the pic is... me, Karen, my grandfather and other grandkids)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

fear takes up too much space...

It turns out that being in the hospital is really expensive. Oak’s head surgery comes with this huge dollar amount attached. Even though we have health insurance it’s going to redefine “out of pocket expense”.

Just when I start to worry about stuff like that, last night happens. The 4th Avenue Church of Christ in Franklin, TN has me in for a concert. Not for any other reason than to bless me and take up an offering for Oak’s medical expenses.
We were honored with this huge out pouring of love and support from people who are just getting to know us. They prayed for us, cheered for the songs, loved on Heather and me and gushed over Oak. Each moment with the folks from that church was a reminder of God’s refreshing promise. “I will take care of you, worry is needless, fear takes up too much space in your imagination, I am the Lord your God, I do not slumber or sleep.”
God’s promise reinforced by his people... This is the church at it’s best. It’s refreshing, it’s liberating, It frees the mind to express courage and inspires the heart to love more openly. I just wanted to say thanks to everyone from 4th Ave.. For your generosity, kindness and especially your reinforcement of God’s truth. I am inspired to abandon worry and do what I was meant to for the glory of our Great God.

Proverbs 11:25... “A generous man will prosper. He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed”

Merry Christmas, CC

Friday, December 15, 2006

Home from the Hospital!

We're so excited to report that we came home form the hospital yesterday. Exactly a week to the day of Oak's surgery, we were released. Oak is still doing well and continues to improve. He is really glad to be home. It was fascinating to see how his mood changed once he recognized familiar surroundings. He slept well last night and made us proud, getting in a stretch from 10PM to 7AM. Docs warned us that he would be pretty fussy the first few days home, but so far he's been easy to manage. Even with his first tooth popping through on the bottom, he's as laid back as a surfer. Especially considering he has a hole in his head. He is going to have to sleep in his car seat for a few months because any extended pressure on the sides of his head can cause a relaspe in his condition. He's always prefered sleeping on his belly, but that will be a "no no" for a while. Hopefully he'll get used to that. Right before he was discharged, Oak got a visit from the World Famous Rockettes. He kicked around for them and they were impressed. I, however, discouraged him from becoming a Rockette...not that there is anything wrong with that, but the fake eye lashes and sparkle suit might not match his scar. I think he really liked them, but not as much as he likes Mommy.
I can't be too thankful for all the prayers and support. The peace that Heather and I have had is so refreshing and built up by the words, prayers and actions of our friends. All of you have led me to worhsip through kindness, love and reminders of God faithfulness. Thanks so much for everything...blessings and Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Oak Update #2

We're hanging in there and the little Oak is doing great. We have experienced a tangible peace through this process and it's powerful to encourage. Thanks for your prayers.
We moved into a normal room @ Children's Hospital today. All of Oak's iv lines and the fluid drain from his brain were removed. All good signs and the report from his doctors remains engouraging.

We will most likely be here till Wednesday. Blessings and merry Christmas.
Carl and Heather

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Oak Update

Hey friends,
thanks so much for all the prayers and concern for our son. He continues to do well with his recovery. To us he looks like he's been beaten to a pulp, but the Docs say that they are pleased with everything to this point. He had a few blood transfusions through the night but that was expected because of the large amount of blood loss with Oak's surgery. All our families went home today so we're diggin in here at the hospital taking turns going back home to rest. Once he is released from PICU, we'll both be able to stay at the hospital. It looks like Monday will be the day for getting a normal room. Prayer is making the difference in this situation. Heather and I are not afraid, we're not worried, we're experiencing a lot of peace and I know that only comes when others lift the burden. Thanks so much for sharing this with us...I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Oak's Surgery

Greetings from chilly Nashville...
For those of you who have not heard yet, Heather and I went into the hospital with our son Oak yesterday to have a major surgery on his skull. He had a condition where the soft spots in his skull closed up too early creating potential for future complications.

Yesterday from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM, Oak had surgery to have the fused places in his skull seperated. He is doing fine and doctors told us that his surgery looks like it will be a complete success. Many folks prayed for the little guy and God heard every prayer offered on his behalf. Mom and dad made it through fine too. Oak has a shaved head now in place of his once famous curly locks and a cool scar that goes from ear to ear across the top of his head. Chicks will dig this.

He is in the PICU right now and will have to stay there until all the swelling goes down in his face. He's looking pretty rough right now, (eyes swollen shut and very "puffy") but we have been told it's typical for this kind of surgery. After that we'll be moved to a normal room and will spend 3-4 more days there recovering.

It's going to be a long few days, but we'll make it and God has already been faithful in every need. We're staying @ Vanderbuilt Children's Hospital in Nashville, TN. Thanks so much for your prayers and there are more updates to follow.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Another way to worship

Make this receipe. Eat it and serve some to your friends. Glorify God by enjoying some great slaw, all in the name of Jesus. I had it at my church community group cook out. Janelle Pharis, presented this lovely treat and won the blue ribbon for best side dish. You too will be the hit of all your holiday parties. Whatever you do, even in eating and drinking, do it to the glory of God!

2 cups chopped cabbage
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 pkg ramen noodle soup mix, chicken flavor

1/4 cup oil
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
envelope of seasoning from ramen noodle package

Chop cabbage and green onion. Set aside. Combine oil, vinegar, sugar and seasoning and shake them together. Set aside. Mix sunflower seeds, almonds, crumbled up noodles with cabbage and green onions (do this right before serviing otherwise they will get moist) and pour dressing over the top and mix. Serve immediately.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Escape of Melody

“Hmmm”. (strums guitar) “Hummm”. (Strums guitar again) My brow furrows, audience members tense, butts shift in seats...waiting, aching for the tension to release. Longing for me to do something, anything but stand there drooling. Such was the scene at this great church in Fairfield, TX this weekend. (FBC wuz up!)

I was leading worship music for this Refreshment weekend for a church. A three night kind of thing, something like I do several weekends a month. I am pretty used to this kind of gig and usually do a pretty good job where they are concerned. Saturday night was pretty unique in it’s events however. I was confronted once again with my great ability to be self-centered and forget about Jesus’ great glory.

This night had been preceded by a chorus of people complimenting me on one of my songs that I had sung the night before. Many well meaning and nice people told me how blessed they were by the song. I like that. It makes me feel good when that happens. Too many times in the most subtle and internal way, I let those compliments get the best of my heart. I turn them into fuel for my ego instead of a boast in Jesus.

So I get up to sing again the second night of the event and I launch into my set in which I had planned to revisit my “hit song”. I thought the crowd would really like it and sing along even louder than before. “Me, Me, Me, I, I, I, I”. After a few minutes of music it came time in the set for me to play the song. So I hit the intro chord, open my mouth, and I can’t remember the melody. I mean I can’t even sniff it. It has left my memory bank with not one trace of existence. I usually remember melodies the very first time I hear/ write them and I always have really good recall of songs...until now. Not knowing what to do, I tried to sing the melody of the last song I just did with the lyric of the song I could not remember. Not good. It went from bad to William Hung. Finally, Chris Brush, my perc guy just whispered to move on to the next song.

Just like so many times before, God used the Holy Spirit and his Word to call to my attention to what was going on. I was turning a song about God into a stage for my own glory. I taking a gift and acting as if I was it’s creator. Psalm 84 came into view...”Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place...He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol or sworn by what is false.”

I just had to stop right there and admit what was going on. I had to soak in the humiliation. It was certainly good for me. Highly embarrassing and uncomfortable for all involved, but Jesus used it in my life as seeds for a lesson. Highlight him in everything you do. Make much of him and stop wasting moments on yourself. If you satisfy your self, do it on something that is truly enjoyable. Something eternal. Something fresh. Don’t make worship music and leadership a launch pad for your ego. It will be terrible. Every time.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

enjoying the ride of the road...

I've had some busy days lately. Playing on the same bill with Third Day and Steven Curtis Chapman on August 19th, heading to the Integrity Songwriters Retreat last week and finishing up the week playing @ Youth Fest 06' with Tammy Trent and Todd Agnew. I've had a lot of great things going on recently. I have been around a lot of people I'd like to impress...people I hope think I’m cool and that my music was their favorite. I know you're not supposed to say things like that on your blog and you're supposed to act all cynical and snotty, but I am just being real about my thoughts. In the midst of all these goings on, I heard a profound voice of reason. Don Moen, (worship leader, songwriter and President of Integrity Music) was speaking about being "edgy". He described a story about him sharing the stage with a very popular and edgy worship band. He was going on stage after them and wondered how he could change his style to make it seem cooler... in order to impress his fellow artists. He was tempted to become edgy like them. The Holy Spirit, at work in his life said, "you be you, and let me define edgy. I'll show you where the edge is." Don felt God was telling him to redefine edgy in spiritual terms and not to let a sound or style dictate the value in his ministry. So, instead of reshaping who he was for a moment, he obediently took the stage as himself. Not as an over hyped rock star with the latest sound... just as a guy named Don who plays and sings for a great Kingdom. He was a profound success, just as the band before him had been. In light of that, I have been trying to become edgy. Living in a way that takes me to the edge of faith. Going further into a place that I have never been in Christ. I am trying to let that define my ministry and songwriting. I’d love to be cool and hip, but not at the expense of who I am. Not if I’m required to abandon my identity in Christ. So, to all the edgy & cool people I am around form this point on... I love you and please excuse the huge dork who is asking to have his picture made with you. I am just trying to be me...

Monday, August 07, 2006

the boy teaches the old man...

Oak is getting older, fast. He is growing and changing so much. He eats about every three hours and has put himself on a pretty predictable schedule; however, about 5 minutes before feedings, he starts crying for food. He gets worked up, kicks around, and makes out like he’s going to do something if he does not get to eat. But every time, right on schedule, Heather feeds him.  
I was bringing him in to her the other day and he was having a melt down. It had been almost three hours since his last feeding and he was making sure our whole neighborhood knew it. Holding him up close to my face, I asked him, “Oak, what about these last few weeks would make you think Mom and I would not feed you? You don’t need to worry, just remember that every time, no matter what, Daddy is going to help you.” Oak had no comment on the matter because right after that I gave him to his mom. But just then, I felt the Father say to me, “Carl, what about me would ever make you think I would not feed you, hear you when you pray, meet your needs, give you dreams, bless your life, protect your family, mature your ministry, or save your kids? Have I ever failed you or have I ever failed the generations and generations before you? You are my son and I’m the King. I know how to take care of my son. Don’t worry.”   
Just remember that no matter what is happening to make you have a melt down, if you call on Jesus, He listens and responds. I had forgotten that, but the Lord confirmed it with his word…
Matthew 7: 7-11  "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" 

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Wish you were here

We're chillin in good ole Boiling Springs, NC. Home of Crossroads summer camps and not much else. I used to live here, but have obviously gotten spoiled by the big city life in Nashvegas. I love getting to see some old and dear friends however. A few of which I consider to be the best I've ever had. Steven, Matt, Clayton, David and Brad. Nothing like some mighty men to inspire you to greater heights. Towns get boring over time...friends get better. I love my friends.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Our Son!!!!

Isaiah 61:3 (the year of the Lords favor)
...They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.

We are so blessed to announce to you the birth of our son!!!
Oak Edwin Cartee was born on May 8, 2006 at 10:51 AM, He was 8 lbs, 2. oz and 21 in. long. He and his mom are doing fine and we brought him home this afternoon. We're going to call him Oak. We love being parents and he is a very good boy.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

My baby's Mama

Here is the promised picture of Heather. Yes, I know she looks amazing but not only that, she's feeling great, getting our home ready to the arrival and doing 1,000 crunches a day. Ok that last one was a joke. But she is doing well. This pic is taken on the deck of International Ministry Headquarters, here in beautiful Nashville, TN. She is 37 weeks pregnant. Look for more when the little man is born. He's due May 8th!
Much Love,

Friday, January 06, 2006

Turkey #5

Today is the last full day of our work here. we'll have a worhsip service tonight and then a send out in the morning. We'll be heading home Sunday to Nashville. Can't wait to tell you all about it. I promise I won't be "annoying, I just got back from a life changing trip, why are you not as happy as me person". I really miss all my boys and girls in the States. I am looking to write some good dongs after this joker is over. E-mails have been flooding in and we're collecting prizes for those who are responding. Have a good time and I'll be eager to see you all...

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Turkey #4

Amazing days here in the mid-east. God has been doing some stunning things in worship. These people we're working with are just cool. Not Fonz cool, but different cool. You have different perspective in worship when you can sing and dance w/o out fear. Fearless singing is some of the best kind. Fearless dancing, well that's just crazy. It is such an honor to be here and connect with the church from all over the world and to see what God is still doing for his glory. I want to be fearless too.
We're going shopping on Saturday so if you want me to get you a trinket or flying carpet, put in your request via e-mail soon.

throwing caution to the dogs,

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Turkey #3

Day three, here in the big T...(I been waiting all week for that rhyme)
Anyway. WoW! what an unpredictable place this is. Not Turkey, the world. Once again, I ran into an old friend from my home town who is working in the field. I am so proud to know these people. Some of the world's most committed believers are here. People who embody "loving not their lives, even unto death". As far as I can tell, I am getting a look into what it means to "have faith". I wonder how much faith it takes to gripe about my name getting ommitted on songwriting credits. Some of these folks can't even allow their last names to be mentioned or their picture to be taken at all. Their faith makes it too dangerous for their loved ones. Something to think about. I love being around people who make me better...I love being around believers who's lives challenge me to believe.
We had a great worship service tonight with my old friend JD Greer speaking, even J. Welch friend and former band mate made the trip. The band is getting better and I'm making them laugh at my forgetful mind...the Lord is working...thanks for praying.

Carl Cartee
The Band...
(L to R Dustin Rohrer, Chris Stephens, {CC Deville} and Thom Rayner)
Brooks Abbot is the sound man

Monday, January 02, 2006

Turkey #2

Hey People! It’s Day 2 from fabulous Turkey.
My dream was made a reality today when in the retreat center cafeteria, I was served a turkey leg. A turkey leg in Turkey…could life get better? I submit that it cannot.
I was rehearsing with my band all day today. Guys who took off work and made the trip over to help out Heather and me with the music. We’d never played together, with the exception of Dustin Rohrer, who was a former member of the Summer Worship Experience. Gear here is pretty rough by US standards. I’m such a spoiled brat…but just when I start to think about getting frustrated, I remember 1 Samuel 17 and David’s fight with a giant. He had the most out dated and inferior equipment that there was. Literal toys compared to the sword and spear of the giant. God’s word for me was to enjoy the weakness of the equipment and embrace the opportunity to see him work. Sometimes, I rely on good gear to win a battle, but the battle belongs to the Lord and I am being reminded of that every moment I’m here. Please pray for me as I have lost my guitar strap and I have a very bad in-grown fingernail on my left middle finger. It Sounds funny, but it hurts real bad. Heather is doing well but is having some swelling in the legs due to too much walking…I am being sure to make her take it easy. She’s having my son!
Be back tomorrow,

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Turkey #1

Hey folks,
Thanks for your prayers and encouragement. We arrived safely in Turkey after over 30 hours of flying, waiting, flying and more flying. I am so eager to see what the Master is going to do. Security is a big issue here, so I’ll keep it shady on the terms. But with that in mind, amazing things are happening in the Spirit. I know that we’re here for a reason. One of the coolest things is that we ran into a guy who we went to college with who serves in this region. He and his wife are up on our fridge and we pray for them when we’re getting milk. I had not seen them in years and here they are all the way around the world in Turkey. Amazing. He shared stories with me of phone taps and privacy invasion and suddenly I got a good and clear picture of what it means to give your life away.
This morning we went and had an amazing service in a 2000-year-old stadium (think roman style gladiator thing). The service was opened with a trumpet duet of A mighty fortress is our God. It was stunning to hear the melody proclaimed all over the hills and surrounding area. All the people we’re here for arrive tomorrow and the real work begins.
Keep us in mind when you can…I’ll be back tomorrow to give more updates and reports. I have strong feelings that His glory is about to be revealed.