Blues + Strings = BlueStrings
Songs Are Memories
Every song on all of my CDs represents a moment in my life. Experiences that have made an impact on me that were important enough to put on paper and partner with a tune.
After experiencing a great sense of accomplishment producing my first two CDs (Strings Attached and Up & Strumming), I felt a tug to write some blues. I have always loved the blues. I was about 9 years old when I was introduced to the song, Stormy Monday. I fell in love with it immediately. I sang it all the time at home and at Girl Scout camp-outs. Whether people were listening or not I just loved singing that song over and over. Something about it was different. Something about it resonated with something deep inside of me. Blues spoke a special language. A language I needed to speak to. (more…)
Mama Bear Blues: Infertility, Motherhood & Bears
Infertility? But then there’s this…
After being told I couldn’t have children I wrestled with the feelings of not becoming a Mama Bear. But to my surprise a couple years later I found myself laying in a hospital bed looking over at a baby girl. My baby girl…this precious little bundle who proved the specialist wrong. Because of her (and some help from my beloved, of course) I now had the privilege of carrying the title:
“Quiet Me Down” – A Song Blog About ADHD
Bringing Quiet to a Busy ADHD Mind
A few years ago I learned that I have ADHD. There are many different types of ADHD, so they don’t all look the same. My flavor is one that is often overlooked. Some describe it as the quiet, good girl version, however, boys often have this version of it too. I was one of those kids who either day-dreamed much of the time or was distracted by the movements and quiet interactions in the classroom.
Unfortunately, what also can come with that is a quiet lonely internal battle with anxiety. Looking back I can now recognize anxiety in my childhood mannerisms. I chewed my fingernails something fierce and often the inside of my lips. When watching TV my mom more than once had to gently encourage my hands to open up from clenched fists.
As an adult, I felt like this monster was slowly taking me over, kind of like “The Blob”, one of my daughters favorite old movie villains. I always had this underlying feeling of being uptight, but when I made mistakes my anxiety would increase exponentially!
New Forest, New Squirrels
Moving to Boise definitely pushed my anxiety level up a few notches. We had been living in a small town, Yakima, in Washington state, for 10 plus years. It was very easy to get around and family was not too far away in any direction. My mother-in-law lived about 7 houses down so I had her support whenever I needed it. Moving far away from everything familiar and everyone I knew shook me up. To magnify matters, Boise was at least 3 times bigger than Yakima! Yikes!
It was during Boise’s school system’s spring break that we moved. Within days of moving I had to take my precious little first grader to a brand new school filled with strangers…and then I was supposed to leave her there for the whole day!
When my anxiety would completely wear me out, then I would suffer from depression and loneliness. This was a really dark time.
Before I came to understand that ADHD was the source of my troubles, I wrote a song to try to help quiet me down. I would go for walks in the morning along the river and I would sing it to myself. Some days it helped more than others. At least for the period of time that I was walking and singing, I would eventually feel a little calmer.
I hope this song brings comfort to you as you listen to it.
Engage here. Do you ever struggle with anxiety? Is ADHD part of your life? What do you do to calm yourself down? Do you need help addressing this issue in your life?
Add to the conversation. We’ll be glad you did! Invite a friend to Prepare For Rain today!
Here’s a link to the “Quiet Me Down” video:
Quiet Me Down from Prepare For Rain on Vimeo.
photo credit: Alan Cleaver via photopin cc
Hand of Heaven – Final song on “Up & Strumming”
Hand of Heaven
Tears poured down my face as I wrote out the words to this song. I sang Hand of Heaven probably a hundred times before I could get all the way through without crying.
The three years following my retirement from Youth Ministry ended up being one of the most lonely and painful periods in my life. After 7 years of working so hard at my career I realized that all the relationships I had were tied to that church. (When you retire from a church staff position it is proper to leave that church. This helps the congregation adjust to the new person. It also gives the new person some breathing room without the old guard watching over their shoulder. I have seen the dysfunction that takes place when pastors don’t leave their congregation and isn’t very pretty.)
So we left. It was like starting all over again, accept we were living in the same home.
For those three years I found myself in a friendship drought. If it hadn’t been for a very small number of people in my life and songwriting, life would have been so much harder than it already was. The depression due to the extreme chronic pain in my hands made regular life even more difficult.
When Jessica was in first grade, Joel was offered a promotion and a move to Boise. We had been in Yakima 10 years; we were ready for a new adventure!
Joel moved 7 weeks before we did. So for 7 weeks I prayed that God would prepare some special ladies to become my friends. I also prayed that He would prepare my heart to be a good friend to these new ladies. Frankly, I was feeling pretty rusty at friendships by that point. I had come to believe that I was a pretty boring person who was no fun to be around.
In the Hand…Heaven
Well, God pulled through and multi-blessed me with friendships. It was during that time I discovered a bunch of ladies who for some odd reason loved me to pieces and thoroughly enjoyed my company. I had never experienced so much love from so many ladies at one time in my life ever!! Their love really set me free from feelings from the past. It also empowered me to open up and reach out to others. All this became very helpful both in boosting my self-confidence and encouraging my music along.
Of course, as time has gone by some friends have moved and others our paths just don’t cross anymore. I seem to be in another drought but I have confidence that I will get through this. When I desperately needed to know I was lovable, God blessed me a rainstorm! So I am just preparing for rain once again.
I can’t thank God enough for pouring down on me so much love in the past!! He provided a hand of heaven. I can’t wait to see what God comes up with next. He has already started the process of ending the drought with one new girlfriend. Yeah!
Have you ever experienced a friendship drought? Are you there now?
Express your thoughts here…. If you know of someone who is going through a friendship drought, give them a little TLC and then encourage them to read this blog. Knowing that you are not alone in the experience can make a big difference!
photo credit: Alyssa L. Miller via photopin cc
Tea Party Time?
Have you ever invited someone, or been invited, to a tea party?! If you haven’t, you must! However, I must state that your tea party will never be a match for having a tea party at Anne’s, my mother-in-laws, home. She is the Queen of Tea Party! As the phrase goes, “she is the Hostess with the Mostess!”
For five years, we had the joy of living just down the street from Joel’s mom in Yakima, Washington. Joel and I knew that this was a very special time for our little family of three which, now with “Mams” just a block away, made four. We spent many a weekend visiting each other. Mams also did a lot of babysitting of Jessica, so Joel and I could go out on a date together. Anne would also watch Jessica once or twice during the week so I could go write music with my friend, Jeff. Mams actually was really my support staff. If it hadn’t been for her, my music would never have had the chance to blossom! I am forever grateful for this. Thank you, Mams!
Earl Grey? Hot!
Oh! Back to the tea parties! Once a week or so, after school, Jessica and I would walk from her elementary school across the street and stop in at Mams house for a visit. Often those visits became little tea parties.
Anne has this way of taking any normal everyday food and making it extra fancy and special. She also is a great house decorator, so doilies and fancy table cloths decorated her dinner table. She often had a candle and petite little plates for us to use along with her beautiful teacups and saucers. She would often take a large blueberry muffin and divide it into thirds, and sometimes have a few crackers and cheese on the side. Our “Tea Party” consisted of her very weak coffee, and my hot water with a variety of teas. And last, but definitely not least, Mams would put together the perfect mixture of juice and water just right for Jessica’s tummy.
We would often talk about Jessica’s day at Preschool, Kindergarten, or First Grade. Usually, much laughter took place along with silly stories and little games Mams and Jessica would routinely play.
It truly was a special time we shared together. I encourage you to stop and take time to slow down. Enjoy a treat and something warm to drink. This is a great time of year to make memories with family members, neighbors, friends. But then, what time of year isn’t a great time? You could also pick up the phone and give someone special a call and have a long distant Tea Party!
I wrote this song, “Tea Time,” for Mams. It is written from the perspective of Jessica, reflecting on these days when she was a wee little thing.
Who in your life would love a tea party? Put the pot on and start a new memory.
Add to the conversation. We’ll be glad you did!