Here is a short sample of the first completed track from my new instrumental project. I have so many of these "fiddly-diddlies" as I call them - short instrumental pieces based around a musical motif that I improvise around whenever I'm playing solo piano. I sometimes call them "Soundtracks with No Movies." I have been performing with a very talented girlfriend here in Nashville, Allison Brazzel, for the last few years and she encouraged me to name all my "fiddlies," & organize them into an album. So that's what she & I have been working on for the last few months. Each instrumental piece is named after an emotion or experience. Some people in Christian circles refer to music like this as "soaking music." It is our hope & prayer that when people listen, they will relax, meditate, pray, & be healed in some way. This one is titled, "Healing." Healing is many times slow, inconsistent, painful, even agonizing. This piece is 9 minutes long but I took time with it so the listener would not feel rushed as they wept, grieved, & forgave. I will offer each piece in the STORE as single purchases as it is completed, or you may wait & purchase the album. The songs are placed in a particular order intentionally so that when you listen from beginning to end it will be a spiritual experience. Enjoy!
Greetings all you wonderful people out there! I keep forgetting to write in my blog. I'm just not used to it. So please forgive me; I promise I'll get better! Thankfully I have a wonderful husband who reminds me ALL THE TIME! Oh and here's something - my husband and I are starting a blog together called WHOLE LIFE RENOVATION. We bought a 4475 sq ft raging-1970's-style house out in the country last year and moved in right around this time. We had occasionally discussed "up-sizing" and looking at bigger houses at some point because the kids were getting older, we already had a few grandchildren, and when everybody was here in town there wasn't enough sleeping space. Well one thing led to another and it was obvious that God's timing was sooner than later, because when this house popped up on the market we knew we had to throw an offer into the pot. We actually preferred something we could renovate, so the fact that this gem boasted lots and lots of wood paneling, layers of flowery wallpaper and borders, multi-colored earth-tone shag carpet, lavender walls, olive green walls and a wrought iron spiral staircase in the living room really didn't bother us. We are getting ready to launch the blog and you can follow our renovation at wholeliferenovation.wordpress.com.
The latest musical project I'm working on is an instrumental album. I have so many little "fiddly diddlies" as I call them, that have never had names, never been charted or notated, but have logged many hours as incidental music when a pastor is speaking, someone is being prayed over, or someone needs "wallpaper music" for their dinner party. Well my dear friend and performing buddy Allison Brazzel has been hearing these fiddlies for years and challenged me to organize all this music and record it. So she comes over every week, spends the night (in whatever bedroom is the least covered in drywall dust), and stays for the better part of the next day helping me develop these ideas into independent, beautiful pieces. Our writing styles and musical preferences could not be more opposite, but we work great together. I prefer instrumental music to vocal music any day, so this album project is easy for me and pure joy. We have decided to name each song an emotional/spiritual subject so as people listen from beginning to end they can pray, weep, dance, and have a soundtrack for working through whatever they're going through. It is our prayer that as people listen they will be healed. I have learned from getting so many orders for I Love Her 'Cause She's My Mom, it's time I take my music seriously. So I pray over each piece, pray as I write and arrange each note, create the instrumentation, I pray for the people who sing it, and pray for the people who listen to it. Music is warfare! Our Enemy understands this, it's about time we take it seriously! So you can trust that when you order one of my pieces, whether it's a children's song, solo, duet, or instrumental, it has been saturated in prayer and love, and so have you. I've lived in Nashville since 1984, but it's never been easier to get your music out there than it is now. I know I would not have children's choirs all over the world singing my Mother's Day songs if it weren't for YouTube. One post of one little Mother's Day performance in 2010 was all it took, & now I have friends all over the globe. I am very thankful for each of you, and I will keep the songs coming!
Ok I know this second entry is WAY overdue. Apparently I am supposed to be offering delicious nuggets of sage wisdom each month for all of you wonderful people to feast upon, thereby altering lives & destinies & making the world a better place. If it weren't for my dear husband I probably wouldn't even have a music website, so thanks to all of you for your patience with this crazy musician! I said something to my husband (Garrett) just now & he literally pointed to the computer & ordered me to sit down & enter it as a blog. I always have a lot to say, I just forget to write it down. I'm going to be very vulnerable with all of you. I think a lot about the past thirty years of my life here in Nashville, most of which has been very disappointing & painful. I try to fit the worst of what I've endured into Bible outlines & sermon notes, but most of the time there are really only just a few verses I hang onto for dear life. The warfare has finally let up after thirty years & I can breathe. I still can't believe it. Two - not one but two - heartbreaking marriages & divorces, the difficulty & strain of being a single mother of three little children for four years in between them, expensive court cases, visitation, miserable summers my children spent with their biological father, my only brother a cocaine addict (he's sober now!), seeing both parents to their dying breaths, single-handedly dismantling & selling the Atlanta home I grew up in, losing my two best childhood friends to cancer, the list goes on. I'm always the strong one, the reliable one, the consistent one. I really don't mind because I've gotten so used to it, but sometimes I just get tired, don't you? Many times I used to lie in bed in the dark staring at the ceiling with tears streaming into my ears saying, "But Lord, I thought You liked me." These long, challenging years have been very confusing for me. And I think the main reason is because I really tried to do everything right. I thought through my decisions, prayed, sought good counsel, was careful, but the marriages were still a disaster, some investments I made with my inheritance turned out to be a disaster, & honestly, if it weren't for the promises of Yahweh & my faith in Him, I would feel like my life was a total failure, just one stupid decision after another. But you know what I'm discovering? Even if I do everything right, other people sometimes don't. I can make 100 right decisions, but one angry, insecure, or dishonest person can sabotage them all in less than a minute. Does that mean I'M a failure? No. It also doesn't mean Yahweh throws up His hands & says, "Well, that's the end of that! I had big plans for you, but so-n-so just ruined them, so we'll just have to institute Plan B!" (Remember those sermons about Perfect Will, Permissive Will & all that?). I'm redefining what "God's will" is. I'm redefining what a "good day" is. I've redefined "happy." You know what? It was a "good day" for Yahshua/Jesus when He died on a cross, because that's where He was supposed to be. It's still a good day, even when everything we plan "goes wrong," if we truly did our best, we allowed God to lead us, our reactions were godly, & we stood up for what was right. Sometimes that means being patient in an abusive situation, sometimes it means being strong enough to get the heck out of it. I'm just now beginning to understand that Yahweh is so much bigger than what we've been taught in western Christianity & even Judaism. We are part of a HUGE, HUGE plan! A plan that involves the weaving of thousands of years & thousands of lives together. We have to keep moving! We can't lose hope! Everything we do is important. It matters. And God sees. I'm preaching to myself. I hope this has helped some of you too.
How many times a day do we either hear these familiar phrases or say them ourselves? I think if we were to really pay attention to what we think about, & in turn verbalize, we would be amazed at how FEAR-MOTIVATED we are. Do you know that studies in the healthcare profession have proven without a doubt that physical afflictions as minor as heartburn & as major as heart-attacks can many times be associated with fear-related stress? We have a fear of confronting & being confronted, yet we fear being alone. We fear death, but sometimes are afraid to face one more day of life. We fear the unknown, but are still afraid when we know what will happen next. Those among us who make a big noise & seem to be able to take on anything may have an underlying fear of relinquishing control. But one thing is certain: FEAR IS PARALYZING. While it may succeed in limiting some of our pain, it also limits the joy we could be experiencing in our lives. FEAR DOESN'T COMPARTMENTALIZE. If I were the bumper sticker type, I would have only one on my vehicle, & it would read: FEEL YOUR LIFE. I made a conscious decision years ago that I was not going to let Fear dictate major decisions I made in my relationships. This decision didn't mean that I would glibly skip into any relationship that afforded itself, whether business, romantic or otherwise, willy-nilly. It simply meant that I would give God more room, more license to move in a future I was not seeking to completely manage & control. Great! So how did it work for you, Cin? Well, I can safely say that since the time I made that fateful decision, I have been devastated more deeply than I can pen, lied to & betrayed, abandoned by those who claimed they loved me, taken advantage of, taken for granted, quietly endured vicious tirades, the list goes on. And not because I was stupid!! I can also say without a doubt, that the reward & dare I say ecstasy I have enjoyed as a result of being motivated by unconditional love is deep. It's indescribable. When Yahshua was languishing in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before He was crucified, He too had a decision to make. Would He allow Fear to override the reason for which He was sent? Or would He "feel His life" one more demeaning morning, one more torturous afternoon, 3 more heroic days & nights challenging His Ancient Enemy, forever altering the face of Time & Eternity.
"Fear not, for I am with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you." "In this world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." If we could only begin to understand & tap the far-reaching strength promises like these have the potential of affording our worn-out hearts, we would never again fear the fire.