Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Remembering Shelia

Photo from J93.3's Facebook Page

Today I want to share a video that J93.3's Jerry Williams made, to go with the tribute song for Shelia Richards.  Shelia went to be with the Lord earlier this week.

We love you, Shelia, and we will see you again someday.

Monday, August 29, 2011

How Is Your Ship Doing?

Yesterday was a needed and welcome time of refuge and peace in the midst of some difficult circumstances that I have been trying to process.  We've been visiting a church just down the road that I feel the Lord is calling us to become involved in, and this is helping me navigate these uncertain times in ways I can't even express.  The people have been kind, accepting, and generally offering any and every manner of help and direction to get us acclimated.

Attending this new church helps, but it doesn't take away ALL the troubled times.  There are yet some valleys that will need to be walked through, and difficult choices that will need to be made, and even the positive decisions and changes that are coming in this season of my life are a little scary, but I know they must happen in order for me to live up to the fullest potential that God has created me for.

You know by now how I'm in love with the sea.  Yet, for all that it is beautiful and peaceful sometimes, a storm can transform the ocean into a dangerous and deadly force.  Isn't life like that?  There are some parts of it that are full of sunshine, squishy sand and relaxation, but other times life throws us around like a ship about to wreck.  The painful times come, and we feel as though we are soaking wet, being heaved up and down on mile high waves- nearly to the point of drowning- and that our ship is coming apart in splinters.

But it isn't!  If your ship (your soul and your faith) is anchored in and with the Lord Jesus, guess what??  The anchor HOLDS!  It's not going anywhere, and even though you might have to ride out the rough times, all will not be lost!  The ship is safe!

Sunday morning, even as I sat in Worship service in a landlocked town that hasn't seen rain for at least a week, I felt like this one was picked out and sung especially for me.  It was a male solo in Sunday's service, but as I was looking around YouTube for the song, I found this wonderful version.  Enjoy, and be uplifted and encouraged!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Heart The Art Of Brittney Lee!!!

"Bookworm" is just one of the many glorious works of art by California artist Brittney Lee (all images in this post are copyrighted by her.)  I adore her work and encourage you to GO THERE and check it out!  Read more below!

Before I post this "Go Here Thursday", this is my disclaimer:
I sent an email almost a month ago begging this artist to give me permission to use her images in a post like this one* so I could shamelessly plug her art and her Etsy shop and how obscenely awesome she is in general.  As yet, I have not received a reply.  There are several possible reasons for this:

1) She doesn't know me from Adam's house cat (trash the email without reading it).

2) Since #1 is in effect, my email isn't in her contacts list, so it went to her spam folder (trash the email without reading it).

3) Maybe she DID read it, but is otherwise so bogged down in all of her awesome paper craftingness, that she

  • a) forgot to reply that "it would be an honor to be featured on The Modest Peacock", 
  • b) forgot to reply that "outside of her own blog and her shows and stuff, she's actually something of a shy hermit and would I please leave her alone", 
  • c) wrote a reminder to herself on a sticky note to reply "how awesome it would be if I featured her on The Modest Peacock", but then a huge gust of wind blew through her studio window and the sticky note blew away and got lost forever, 
  • d) before she could hit the reply button, some horrible power outage or computer virus wiped out her email and she can't reply because she doesn't know my email address!  Oh noes!!! 

Whatever the case, I decided to throw caution to the wind** and feature her anyway.***

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the art of Brittney Lee!  Please GO HERE TO HER BLOG and treat your aesthetical and optical senses to some amazing sights! (After you finish reading the rest of this post, pretty please!) :)

I found her blog while surfing through some other sites, but once I was there, I studied every single image she posted, moving backward until her very first post in 2005.  Here, for all you chronology nuts, here is a link to it, so you can start at the beginning and move forward, if you want to.  I've done paper crafting before, with quilling and paper piecing/die cuts and what not.  But this amazing lady makes even my best attempts at paper art look like a preschooler's!

I've tried to pick only 3 of my favorites of her work.  But I couldn't.  Seriously, I love ALL of her work soooo much and I'd give anything if she actually WOULD answer an email and let me commission one of her mermaid paper cuttings (Like the one above) to hang up in my room once it gets finished.  Maybe once the bead-board is hung up, I'll start stalking her with an email every day send her polite emails every few weeks so she knows it's not spam, and one day get my wish!  I'm even adding it to my "dreams and aspirations" list on my main page right sidebar.  :)

I finally did pick 3 paper cuttings and 3 drawings that I super super super LOVE, to showcase this amazingly talented artist who is more or less living the art dream job that I wanted when I was 14.  (See below.)

Seriously, all you people who knew me way back when and wanted to know "what I wanted to be when I grew up"?  This lady.  Or, rather, drawing and creating the art that she does.  Her style is what I have always wanted to achieve, I just didn't know what to call it.  I love each and every nuance and expression.  Brittney Lee, you have surpassed Glen Keane and Andrew Stanton on my Heroes list.****
You've probably met/know these animation/art giants, so you know that this is high praise indeed!

Dearest readers, after you have been to her blog and have wiped the drool off of your keyboard, please also GO HERE to her ETSY SHOP, where you can purchase prints and notecards of some of her designs.  :)

My personal FAVORITE pieces:
(Paper Cuttings/Sculptures)
Y'all know I'm a Harry Potter fan.  Look at the cutie pie in the middle with his head turned sideways!!!  Squee!

Her blog post about this amazing piece can be found here.
And of course, I had to show off her peacock.  Isn't he just gorgeous!!!

The blog post on this one can be found here

And my 3rd favorite (though I have MANY more!) is this fantastic Dragon.  Smaug from LOTR?  Perhaps, perhaps not.  Either way, he is magnificent!

Blog post for this and other beauties can be found here

(Now for the Drawings!)
I LOVE HER MERMAIDS!  This one is (one of, if I was super forced to pick, but really I love them all!) my favorite:

The post for this beauty can be found here

And you all know how I've longed to see Paris...

Blog post for this magical drawing can be found here

And since I'm going to see Wicked next month, who can resist her quick study of the Green Girl, Elphaba?  I love it! :)

Blog post for this Ozian inspired art can be found here

There are so many, many more (did I mention that already?) that I love!  I hope I get to meet Brittney Lee someday.  Rock on, girl!  From your #1 stalker fan! :)  More blog posts!  More Etsy shop!  More, more, more! :)

*Or, you know, maybe... actually THIS one.
**Because I'm lame and have been busy and didn't have anything else lined up that I was half as interested in.
***I'm already rather poor and I gave proper copyright citing; please don't sue me.
****Quick top 10: #1: Jesus, #2: My Dad, #3: My husband, #4: My sister-in-law, Heather, #5: Sheila Richards, #6: Brittney Lee, #7: Kristin Chenoweth, #8: Mary Lou Ross, #9: Andrew Stanton, #10: Glen Keane

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It's The Truth!

Have you ever heard Christian comedian Chonda Pierce?  If you haven't, you're about to!  J93.3 is bringing her to Atlanta for a couple of shows in October.  (We're going!)  Enjoy these 2 clips and have a great Wednesday! :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

J93.3 Update and Prayer Request

Here's an update on the Share-a-thon!  Remember my "Go Here Thursday" post from last week?  (click the link if you don't or haven't seen it!)

When the Share-a-thon ended at 7 PM on Friday, the station had added "over 865 brand new MMMP's and over $311,000 raised!" (via j93.3's Facebook page)  WOW!  God is awesome! :)  If you missed the Share-a-thon but still want to give and/or become an MMMP (More than Music Mission Partner), you can donate online any time.

While this is wonderful news, there was some news from the station this morning that is very sad.  Sheila from the morning show (Sheila and Jerry) has been fighting cancer for some time now, and has been admitted to hospice.  I love her spirit and her personality always got me up and going in the mornings when I was dragging.  (Love you too, Jerry, but you know what I mean!)  Sheila's husband, Jimmy, called in this morning with the news (praise God for giving him the strength for that call!  I know that was hard!) and I just cried.  You can hear it for yourself here at Jerry's blog.

Please pray for Sheila, her husband, her whole family, Jerry, her doctors, and all of her listeners as we wait for the Lord to show us His glory, no matter what that may be.  If He heals her, we will praise Him!  He is still the God of miracles!  If He calls her home to be with Him, we will praise Him, because she will not be suffering!  His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) and we must trust Him.

Sheila has already left a precious legacy and shown the light of Christ to so many people.  I hope she has more time with us, but we just have to wait and find out what the Lord is going to do.  Sheila, my family and I love you, and we are praying hard for God's hand to be on you and give you His mighty peace.

Sheila at Lagrange Kia, from the j93.3 website.

Good Morning!

Happy Monday!

I had a rough night emotionally last night.  However, somehow I was able to go to sleep before midnight for the first time in a long while, so I've had 7 hours of sleep and that helps.  After I got the kids off to school, I was sitting here thinking of what to post for Music Monday and to be honest, there were some rather mopey/emotional songs that I considered.  They mirror how I felt last night.  But then...

I thought about how badly I want to move forward from where I am.  If you don't like your circumstances, you don't HAVE to stay in them!  God has blessed me with so much, and if I dwell on what I don't have, I'm not only being ungrateful, I'm also not trusting Him and allowing Him to move and work in my life!  Duh, Jenny!  Get with it!  He is faithful and He has given me a new day to make the best of and who knows what awesome things will happen!  So instead of focusing on my heartaches of last night, I'm going to focus on Him and find out what He's going to do today!  It's a good morning!

Wherever you are today, I'm praying that He reminds you that His resources are not limited.  He is unshakeable, unchangeable and unstoppable!  Let Him give you a Good Morning and have a great day!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Frank Visits The Library

This post is in honor of my dear, dear friend Christina Tomassini, who answered the call to serve her country and is currently deployed in Iraq.  I am so grateful for the time she spent with me and the kids while she was home on leave and I can't wait til she is in the States again safe and sound.  We love you, Christamina!  Stay safe and come home soon! God bless our troops!

It's Frank Friday!

Frank had an adventurous day when our Christamina came home from Iraq and spent some time with us running around town.  We did a lot in one day, but here are a few highlights.  First, here is his trip to the local library:
Browsing the travel books.  Planning your next adventure, Frank?

Hot Air Balloons!  That would be a fantastic adventure!

Frank finally decides to check out "Peter and the Wolf".

Emily, Frank and Charles sit in the garden outside the library to read their books.

After the library, we went to get some lunch at the McDonald's.  As it was her vacation, Christina got to eat anything she wanted! :)  She and I had chicken nuggets with honey mustard.  She tried to get Frank to be a little healthy and have apple juice instead of soda, though.  ;)

The kids took Frank to play in the Playplace for a while, then we headed back home.  Fantastic day!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Please Help!


PLEASE GO HERE and help us out! 

Tomorrow is the last day of J93.3's (WVFJ) fall Share-a-thon!  Please show your support for this radio ministry by calling 888-933-9330 or donating online.

"Wait," you may be saying, "I don't live in Atlanta!  Why should I partner with YOUR station??"  Well guess what!  You don't have to be an Atlanta resident to listen and enjoy the benefits of this wonderful ministry!  You can listen online on your computer or with your smartphone from anywhere!

Y'all, this listener supported radio station has, on some of my darker days, been the glue that holds me together.  Prayers on the air.  A prayer hotline with real people on the other end who listen and believe God with you to ask Him for miracles in whatever you may be dealing with in your life.  They do so many community outreach works that it's just incredible to see God move in a mighty way!  (If you are wondering, this is the station I heard the ad for the Love Worth Fighting For Conference on last year.)
(For my experiences at it, see this post and this post.)

And, oh yeah! The music!  They keep a steady stream of uplifting, positive music by great Christian artists going that just wraps around your soul and you are so encouraged and can't help but praise God's Holy name!!!  It's amazing!  I cannot say enough good things about this radio ministry.

As a not for profit, they need the financial support of listeners.  I have heard wonderful stories from people whose lives have been changed and blessed because of this station.  You can catch the latest happenings on their Facebook page and see what the Lord is doing!  PLEASE call them or go online and make a donation.

This morning I called to become an MMMP (More than Music Mission Partner) with $30 a month.  Yes, the economy is uncertain.  Yes, we work hard to make the ends meet and sometimes can't seem to even find the ends.  But God's resources are not limited and when He laid it on my heart to step out in faith and then I DID, I can't begin to tell you what kind of positive changes I see happening with my life - all over the place- just today!  We don't have much, but He has always provided and I am so happy to have given just $1 a day to help keep that music coming.  And you know what else?  When I called, it was part of a $5,000 challenge, meaning that someone was offering up a $5,000 IF and only IF enough listeners called in within an hour to make up the $5,000.  And you know what?  We did!  That challenge gave the station a total of $10,630!!!!  WOW!  We helped "match it, meet it and EXCEED it!"

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you know I have never championed a cause like this or asked you for one thin dime.  But this is SO important!  Just one $30 a month donation helps the station reach 200 listeners!  When was the last time your generosity impacted that many people??!  The station currently (as of 9 pm tonight) needs 980 more MMMPs to make their Share-a-thon goal.  I think they've had over 500 sign up so far, so it shouldn't take long to make it happen!

Please help by giving them a gift.  They have loads of volunteers at the phones, so it only takes a couple of minutes.  888-933-9330.  Thank you so so so much and God Bless!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Program...

No, that's not really all I have been doing.
But who am I to hoard sarcasm??

Well, my lovelies.

Life has been moving at break-neck speed this week, and I wasn't able to find the right poem for today's Poetry Wednesday.  So it has been overtaken by Video Wednesday for a while, until I can get some good (and applicable) poems in stock/written.

(Yes, I am totally phoning it in right now, but at least the video picks will keep you amused/entertained/encouraged while I sort things out.)

Today's YouTube selections:  3 Walt Disney "Goofy" shorts, exploring the how-tos of 3 of my loves: photography, dancing and sleeping (although, like Goofy in the last short, I can't seem to get enough either.)

Enjoy! :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Missing My Beloved

Jake's still working in Birmingham.  We hope he will get to come home by the end of this week at the latest.  For any of my readers who have to be apart from someone you love for a little while, here's a sweet love song that reminds us we can wish on the same stars and all you have to do is look up and meet at the moon...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Worth Fighting For (Part 2)

So when I left off a while ago, I had just told you about last year's conference and my growing feeling of trepidation that this year would be any different or actually get through both of our thick skulls and do any good.

Jake got in at around 10 p.m. on Wednesday night.  I was sewing new buttons on one of Emily's favorite dresses and I had to scramble to put it aside without sticking my fingers with the needle or losing the buttons because I knew as I heard him walking up the stairs that there wasn't anything more important at that moment than letting him know I missed him.  For those of you who may be reading this who aren't married or in a serious relationship, that involves jumping up, meeting him halfway (while not posing a hazard of falling down the stairs and hurting ourselves) and kissing like crazed, hormonally charged teenagers until we are forced to come up for air. :)  (Hey, no one is forcing you to read this. Don't be such ninnies. LOL)

We spent a few hours together talking and telling each other happy anniversary (that we both hated he had to miss.)  We exchanged cards and I gave him the tickets to Wicked that I had purchased the week before.  Then it was after midnight and I had to get up at 6 to see the kids to school, so we went to sleep.
Thursday morning came WAY too early.  In fact, here's a little true something about morning people (I'm not one) and the birdies "singing" outside the window...

But I digress...

I got my butt up out of the bed (whiiiiiiinnnne.  Complaaaaaiiiiiinnn!) and got the Cute Gremlins up, ready, out the door and on the bus.  By then it was getting late in the morning, you know- nearly 7:30! and we had stuff to do so I got a shower and dressed and then got Emily dressed and put her hair up in pigtails and Jake said "It's so cuuuuute!  UGH.  It's disgusting!" :) LOL

We took Emily to Jake's Grandmother's house for a while so that we could spend time together looking at some furniture/antique places.  There's this French style dresser I want for the room redo and I found a pretty good one for a really great price over on Clairmont Rd.  If it's still there when he gets back from the Birmingham job, he said we'll bring his truck and come get it.  If it isn't, it wasn't meant to be.  I can live with that.  We went to a few other places in Tucker, though, just to see what else there was available (nothing!) and we had lunch in this little cafe that has great BBQ.  I didn't really want BBQ though, so Jake got that and I had the chicken salad.  It was  really good!

From there we headed over to Fernbank Museum to see the Mythical Creatures exhibit.  That's my "Go Here Thursday" post*, so look for that to show up a little later.  (I'll post links, don't worry.)
It was a great exhibit but it wasn't overly huge and we spent maybe 2 hours looking at and reading everything, after which we picked Emily up and headed back to Douglasville.

We dropped her off at home with my mom and Grandmother.  I grabbed my Bible and the conference tickets and we were off to the Church at Chapel Hill for the event.  It's a good sized venue and we sat around the middle (ish).  I got the nice people in front of us to take this:

Yes,  Jake really is that much taller than me. :)
We also got shirts that say "I love my husband" and "My wife rocks".  I'll get a pic of us in them soon and post it. :)

The event started off a little different than the last one, because they showed this short text on the screens and the guy reading it came out from one of the front rows and proposed to his girl!  It was sooooo sweet!

Warren Barfield came out on the stage then to lead the worship.  He said "I'm glad she said yes, because it would have been really hard to follow that if she'd said no!"  :)  We sang this song to get things going:

Then he introduced Kirk Cameron and we settled in for a couple of hours of AMAZING teaching and worship.  I seriously can't even put it all here, because it was just such an experience more than a lesson or anything.  I cried a lot because of the topics that hit home, but you know what, that was ok because I wasn't the only one.

Warren came back out after intermission with this song, which was the theme for the Fireproof movie.  He didn't write it for the movie.  He wrote it for his wife when they had gotten in an enormous fight and things looked pretty bleak.  I've looked for the story on you tube, but I couldn't find it.  He tells it with humor, you know, like looking back on it there were funny parts.  But then he gets serious about it and honestly tells the audience that he understands what he almost lost that night. I bet he's told the story over 100 times by now and he is so humble and affected still.  He means every word about how he's sorry for what he said to her and how he acted and there is such honest emotion in the song as he plays it.

I wish I could tell you how many couples came to the front when Warren played "I Surrender All" and Kirk gave the alter call to kneel and pray.  But I couldn't see where I was going, because I was still crying, and Jake led me up there with him and honestly, I wasn't event staff taking a head count. (None of them did either.  They were all up there with us, praying.)  It was a lot, because there wasn't much room to maneuver, but somehow we all fit up there, on our knees.  We were allowed to stay up there as long as we needed to, to ask forgiveness and a fresh start from the Lord and our spouses.

Jake wants to go again next year, only he wants the VIP tickets that give us front seats and a 30 minute Q & A with Kirk.  If you are able, PLEASE attend this conference when it comes near you.  God will show up and He will change you and your marriage.

Lord God, give my Jake a new wife in me.  I will fight for him against anything Satan can think to throw at us.  This is a battle and I'm not going anywhere.  I'm fighting.  Because our marriage is worth fighting for.

*The Mythical Creatures exhibit closes tomorrow in Atlanta, but check your local Natural History Museum to see if it's coming somewhere near you.  It's been to other cities like Boston, NY, Sydney and Ontario.

Worth Fighting For (Part 1)

PART 1: How it all came about

Alright, y'all.  My mom has taken the kids to play at Chuck-E-Cheese and I'm taking advantage of the quiet to catch up on the posts I missed this week due to crazy schedules.  I'll write a short "This is what you might have missed in your feeds" post that includes links for all the other posts later.  Right now, I have to tell you about this conference!!!

It was going to be my "Go Here Thursday", and it will probably still get a tag as such.  But the focus this time is going to shift from "Hey, I think you should do this" to "I have to share this awesome thing that the Lord did!".  It's long, (so I'll break it into 2 parts) but it's from the bottom of my heart and I hope something in it touches your life and gives you hope and a smile.  It's more personal than most of my posts, and there are friends (you know who you are) who would caution me to not publish some of it.  But I can't tell the happy ending without the story of the hard part, so thank you for your concern, but understand that I prayed and thought and edited this carefully before hitting the Publish button and it's exactly how it needs to be.

Last year on J93.3, I heard this commercial for a conference by Feed Your Faith ministries called "Love Worth Fighting For" featuring Christian actor/speaker Kirk Cameron and musician Warren Barfield.  It was coming to Marietta, which is fairly local, and promised practical, scripture based, solid support and encouragement for a Godly marriage and moving things from the way they were, closer to the way they should be.  This all came in the wake of my own marriage being more or less in ruins and I was desperate for anything that could possibly help save it.

We went and it was fantastic.  We were up at the table meeting Kirk Cameron and thanking him for the event and he asked us if we had seen the movie Fireproof.  We had, about six months before then, but this was a really sensitive point for me, because not long after we had watched it and cried and promised to do better and love each other, some catastrophic choices were made that left me broken and hurting inside.  I didn't want to talk about it because I felt like saying "Yes, but it didn't help at all!"  I didn't say that, of course, but I was having a hard time staying composed.  Kirk was so perceptive to the fact that there was so much happening there that wasn't being said out loud.  So he asked us if we had done the Love Dare book from the movie (knowing full well from me falling apart what the answer was).  We told him, no, we hadn't.  The truth of the matter was that we had only barely scraped up the money to go to the event.  We had nothing left to buy any more books, whether they would help us or not, but we were embarrassed to say so.  What happened next blew me away:

He reached into his wallet and handed us the money to buy it right there at the next table over.  "From me," he said "but for each other.  I hope things work out with you guys.  Let me know how it goes."
I was astonished and grateful.  We thanked him and headed home.  Fast forward a few months and the book was still sitting on the nightstand where we left it.  We were in counseling, but with Jake's job taking him out of town at a moments notice (or sometimes no notice at all), I often went alone.  He needed to be there.  He needed help and therapy to fix what was wrong (and more issues came out later in a big blow-up-in-your-face kind of way that took us backward more than a few steps) but I felt like I was the only one doing any sessions or caring about it at all.  Almost a year passed, but the wounds were still raw and I would pour my heart out to God daily and ask Him why I had to deal with this mess.  One night I got this answer: "I'm sorry and I know it hurts.  I love you.  Watch Me make something amazing come out of all this.  Trust Me."

I thought about the Love Dare book, sitting there on the nightstand day in and day out, unopened.  I decided that instead of waiting on Jake to do it and be changed and suddenly be Super Spouse, that I would do the Love Dare for him and see if God would do something with me and change my attitude.  I got to the second day and then more or less had a nervous breakdown.  "I CAN'T," I yelled at God.  "IT HURTS and he's not even HERE for me to do these acts of love and kindness.  THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE!"  I yelled some more things at God and more or less threw the book in a pile of other marriage and self help books that I knew Jake had ignored and left to collect dust.

Even in my rage against Him and Jake and life in general, God held my heart close.  I cried and cried and cried and He kept reassuring me way down in my spirit "Then don't do the Love Dare if you can't.  There are other things I can give you.  You have everything you need, but you have to trust Me and let Me move."

I asked Jake one night if, since we were having such a hard time making the counseling sessions, we should try to go to the conference again.  I didn't know what else to do.  He said yes, to see when they would be coming this way.  I looked for tour dates, but the closest one was in Opelika, Alabama.  Still, Jake's parents live in south GA and we could have made it work.  So I watched and prayed and wondered where the ticket money would come from.

2 hour drive one way. Doable, but a hassle.

Then, in the week after that blow-up-in-our-face thing that happened, God provided a miracle:  I got an email from the event enews updates that a new date and venue had been added: Douglasville, GA.  God brought the conference TO US!

20 minute drive.  Much Better!!!

What's more, it was the week of our wedding anniversary!  The event was exactly 40 days away.  The Lord was speaking to my heart saying "Do you need anymore proof that My hand is all over this??"  He also answered the question of tickets: a wonderful friend of mine, who has been so supportive of my Lucy Jane endeavors, ordered 3 more stuffed elephants in order to send us to the event.

I was so nervous this time.  I kept fighting to push away doubts.  We had done this conference last year; why would this time be any different, or help in any way?  Jake had to miss our anniversary on Sunday, because of work.  He called me twice from Birmingham to tell me Happy 7th Anniversary and he couldn't wait to get home for the conference (he had cleared that day with his bosses in order to make sure he came to the event).  I'm going to leave you in suspense here.  What happened at the conference, night before last??  Part 2 is coming right up!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Musical Memory

When I was much younger
And the world was not yet so heavy
on my shoulders
I learned that I loved music.

I learned that it was
a living, breathing thing
on its own
And that I was always better
for having experienced it.

Somewhere along the way
the radio wasn't enough
to satisfy my cravings
to apease my appetite for melody.

So I followed its call
to learn an instrument
A clarinet
My own means of
instant musical gratification.

I joined the ranks of that elite club
those individuals who could
glance at dots on the lined page
And make sense of them
Translate it to something beautiful
or comical or loud and frightening
or soft and haunting.

This new language I spoke fluently
I reveled in it
But as time passed
I became busy with other things of life
heartaches and joys
And I stopped reading the dots on the lined page
until the language was halted.  Broken.  Foreign.  Lost.

This year I turned 30
and looked back over
What my life has been so far
And where I want it to go
From here.

I missed that knowledge
that I used to have
that brought me such happiness
and swelled up inside my soul
like a flower blooming
until it can't bloom out any more.

So I take myself to task again
with posters of piano chords
and fingering charts
and sheets of that lost language
of dots on the lined page.

For, my soul is in need of feeling
of emotion
of passion
of depth
of life and breath.

Not content to relearn only what I once knew
Now I need more
the thirst is never quenched
note by note
chord by chord
song by song


Like a breaking storm or
a wave of the sea
Quiet at first but then
crashing and deafening

This is who I am
What I want in my life
What I love
What I need
Like Oxygen or Energy.

Now I am older
And the world has been heavy
on my shoulders
But music changes it somehow
Lightens the load
Eases the sorrows
Heightens the joys

It breathes new life
into my humanity
And I am always better
for having experienced it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

So Beautiful

This post is a bit long, but I hope it's one of my best.

By now y'all know that not only do I come from a long genealogy of musicians and music lovers, but that there are certain times in my life where particular pieces of music seem to seep into my very blood and I can't help but be moved and stirred from the inside out.  The notes break me down to the very core.  When was the last time you heard a score so beautiful it brought tears to your eyes?  When has the melody reached inside your chest and made you aware that you were simultaneously feeling nearly every emotion namable, and some that you couldn't identify, but nonetheless feeling?  Dramatic?  Yes, absolutely.  That's exactly the point.

By now, most of us who have grown up with the Harry Potter phenomenon have seen the films through to completion and the epic adventure of The Boy Who Lived has come full circle.  I say "grown up with" even though I was 16 when the first book was published, because according to the book timeline, Harry is a year older than me (born in 1980).  {The timeline is it's own complete post in the future, now that I really think on it...}  But back to the music-

The original "Hedwig's Theme" by John Williams has always enchanted me.  I bought the soundtrack to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone back when the film was first released (2001). However, with the soundtracks of the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy competing for my attention (among others), and Potter soundtrack after Potter soundtrack being released with each film (at $15-$20 each, this becomes an expensive habit!), I more or less lost interest in the music of Harry Potter other than the emotional value the scores added when I re-watched the films.  I vaguely remember that the opening soprano notes and ascending strings of HP & The Half Blood Prince (a theme carried out later in the film with Dumbledore's death) caught my attention and I almost purchased that score but then didn't.  (Lack of disposable resources; refer to explanation above.)  At this point, the 3rd Pirates film (At World's End) had beaten out everything else to become my most played film score.  Until now.

I knew from the book what awaited in the final film of the Harry Potter series.  I knew that many of the characters I had grown to love would die.  I remembered the tears I shed when Dobby died in Deathly Hallows Part 1.  But still, as we left for the theater I thought, "I'll probably shed a few tears when this, this and this happens.  Meh, these couple of tissues will be plenty."  Pfft.  Whatever, Jen.  Nothing prepared me for what I was hearing and, consequently, feeling.  I didn't cry.  I didn't sniffle.  Oh, no.  I BAWLED MY EYES OUT like a heartbroken baby.  I tried to be considerate of other people in the theater.  Only, as I took small, deep and even breaths to calm down and stay quiet, that's when I realized that everyone else was doing the same thing.  It wasn't just the content of what we were seeing with our eyes.  It was the score under it, telling our hearts what to feel and how strongly we should be feeling it.  If love is the most powerful thing on earth, I attest here and now that music is a close, close second.

It took me 4 or 5 times of hearing it through (and really, if I could post the entire score I would) to find the track that affected me the most and earned the top spot on my current playlist.  In the end, it was a tie between two tracks that carry the same theme.  It's the essence of Hogwarts itself, and all of the characters in it, fighting with everything they have to save who and what they love.  But it extends past the entire Harry Potter world that it was written for and branches into anything and everything else it can reach.  This is the power of music, and I am so grateful to be allowed to hear, feel, experience and appreciate it.  Enjoy.

Track 9- Statues

Track 15- Courtyard Apocalypse

Friday, August 5, 2011

Frank Wants To Go To School

The Cute Gremlins went back to school this week, and Frank misses them.  We took him along on Wednesday to the open house at Mason Creek Elementary to let him meet Charles and Jennifer's teachers and make some new friends. :)

Charles loves his new teacher!

Frank!  You aren't on her roll.  Sorry, Buddy.  We'll work on letters with Emily at home.

Frank found some fellow monkey buddies to hang out with!

Jennifer and Frank with Jennifer's new teacher.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


John at RJR Daydreamer awarded me this super sweet award!  Thank you!!!

The rules of the award are:

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you. 
2. Pick 5 awesome blogs to pass it on to and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog. 
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers. 
5. And most of all - have bloggity-blog fun! 

Here are my 5 picks:

~The Feathered Nest~

I Refuse To Go Quietly


A Novice Novelist

2 Bags Full

The Fabulous Fox

Happy Thursday, my loves!

This morning was the first day of school for 3 of my 4 cute gremlins.  Gremlin #4 and I will spend the day together cleaning up the house, running errands, and checking out what is left at Borders before it leaves our mall forever.  (50% off on photography books?  Yes, please!)

This morning after they had boarded their new buses safely, I checked my email, FB, etc. and found a great deal on tickets to something we had been wanting to do for 3 years now.  So I got them.  Happy 7th Anniversary to us! (A month late.  Hey, when your schedules are like ours, you take what you can get...)
Next month, we will be going to Atlanta's Fabulous Fox Theatre to see:

WICKED will be the 11th time I have been to see a show at the Fox, and all but one of those were musicals. (The exception was when we went to see "An Evening with Tim Conway and Harvey Corman".  We were probably the youngest people there, but we didn't care.  I loved the Carol Burnett show!)
Other musicals I've seen at the Fox:

1997, 2001, 2005 and 2010

1999 and 2001
1997 and 1999

Ok, so "Stomp" isn't technically a "musical".  But it was a great show!

I want to take you back to my first memory of the Fox.  It's one of the most special memories of my whole life.  (And that's saying something.)

Picture a 15 year old high school sophomore, from a small town in West GA, head over heals in love with a boy.  Not just any boy. The boy.  Now picture that her parents have just given her permission to go on her very first date.  Ever. With him.  Boy's grandparents volunteer as ushers at Atlanta's Fox Theatre, a fine arts venue that she's grown up hearing about, but has never been to herself.  Boy saved up all his summer job money and got them 5th row center orchestra seats to see Phantom of the Opera.  (Dad comments later that the only way he could top that date was to marry me.  Which, 8 years later, he did!)

The street entrance to the Fox is pretty unassuming, although the architecture of the buildings sides are amazing and eye catching, with domes and arched windows like something straight out of Aladdin.  There's a marquee, of course, and the box office, but there isn't much outside to indicate the utter opulence that awaits the theatre-goer once they proceed through to the lobby.

Outside Atlanta's Fox Theatre
There are mosaic tiles everywhere.  Floors, ceilings, walls, you name it.  The bathrooms have gold gilding everywhere.  They look like Turkish baths and they aren't even called "bathrooms".  They are "lounges" and there is plush everything everywhere.  Velvet fainting couches and armchairs, enormous mirrors, and thick burgundy colored carpet that softens your steps, except where there are sections of those tile mosaics; a riot of color set in a sea of crimson.  That's just the lobby and lounges.  Once you get inside the actual theatre, it takes your breath away (again).

 These photos do not do the interior one shred of justice.  See that blue "sky" in the picture above?  It has twinkle lights all through it so that you are standing under a night sky, gazing up at the stars!  Stars!!!

Now, photography of any kind is not allowed inside the theatre during the shows.  This is an understandable standard procedure practiced by thousands of venues everywhere.  So you'll have to go back to using your imagination, with those two press photos as a reference point.  Imagine me, completely awestruck by all of this gold and red plush grandeur, sitting in (arguably) one of the best seats in the house, as the famous chandelier - which is an intrical part of the Phantom story and show- rises from the stage during the overture and rests 60 feet above, directly over my head.

This is the show chandelier pre curtain rise.
Imagine also, my horror and delight as it "falls" as though it might squash me altogether, at the end of Act 1 and "crashes" onto the stage!  There was nothing like it in the world.  That first experience at the Fox was like nothing I'd ever known.  It was a magical, glittering, wonderful night that I will treasure always.  "Boy" became "husband" and we saw Phantom every time it came to the Fox after that, including it's last run EVER last July.  I cried like a baby from the first line to the last note.  I sent a letter to the theatre's manager, telling them how much we loved seeing Phantom at the Fox and how sorry we were to see it gone forever.  I got the nicest letter back, thanking us for being Fox patrons all these years and inviting us to please continue enjoying other shows.  "Oh, don't worry," I thought to myself as I put the letter in my scrapbook. "I intend to!"

If you are ever in the Atlanta area, PLEASE GO HERE!!!  The building itself has a long and rich history; there are guided tours you can take as well.  If you are at all able, come and see a Broadway musical here.  You will not be disappointed!  As for me, September 22nd just can't come fast enough! :)