It's Nearly Mid-Year... Catch-Up Time!

Wow, how did that happen so fast?!  It’s been quite a beautiful year so far here – pretty different from last year in a lot of ways, (It’s hard to top recording your first album and traveling to the mountains of Bolivia!) but it’s definitely had its highlights and promises of more good things to come!  We started off the year by redesigning the website and working on a lot of behind-the-scenes things here:  Promo photos, mastering some tracks, and, of course, first priority was taking a little rest after the usual Holiday madness in a singer’s world around December.  To catch you up a bit, I’ll give you a rundown on a few things I’ve been up to besides all of that…

Christmas Time Is Here...

Here it is again… Christmas seems to come around faster and faster each year, doesn’t it?  Maybe it’s because I’m another year older, or just that I’m busier than I used to be; regardless, the season is here again with all of its wonder and flurry.

 

Speaking of flurries, :o) I just got done with a wonderful week at Parkside’s Annual Christmas Concerts where I sang “In the Bleak Midwinter” with the fabulous choir and orchestra.  I basically was at Parkside every day for the last week.  We all had such fun, though, and it was so neat to be a part of the concerts again!  There were four concerts this past weekend, three rehearsals and, well, a lot of stuff going on...

It's, well, Pandemonium...

Literally, in so many senses of the word, what has been dubbed as “Cleveland’s Biggest Party of the Year” lives up to its name.  When I asked what to expect at this event, friend and coordinator of this year’s Cabaret Room, Paul Hoffman, gave me one word: “Pandemonium.”  And while event goers do get to revel in what appears to be a chaotic atmosphere of non-stop performances by artists, dancers, singers, comedians on stages, in hallways, or strolling through the melee, Cleveland Public Theatre’s Annual “Pandemonium” is, in all actuality, a well-oiled machine with dedicated workers who know how to put on a fabulous party.  To say I was impressed is definitely an understatement.  Everything went off without a hitch, it seems...

All Over the World...

Hola!  Well, I’m back in the US, in front of my computer screen again after a 10-day break from cell phones, text messages, and internet access.  I really do think we should all have at least 10 days a year where we are away from technology and its vast and, so often, intruding grasp.  While I do love that we are now able to stay in touch so easily with friends & family around the world, the lack of it really does make you focus on what’s in front of you.  Such a beautiful thing! 


For those of you who haven’t heard, I just returned from Bolivia, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity I had to go and help lead worship in song with my friend Jason at the Spiritual Life Conference there and serve alongside the wonderful team from Parkside Church.  It was such a blessing to be able to join people from so many different parts of the world in song each morning to open chapel... From Cleveland, we flew into La Paz and straight to busy Santa Cruz where we headed on a 5 or 6 hour ride in two Land Rovers through the mountains...

This Is the Moment...

Titling my journal entries with song titles or lyrics never gets old - at least not to me.  :o)  So, where to begin… It seems that 2012 truly is the moment: Wednesday, May 9, 2012, 7pm, to be exact.  This is when I began the unbelievable adventure of recording my first, full-length, original-song album!!  Excitement doesn’t even begin to cover it – so many emotions flooded through me as I drove to the studio for the first session – giddy excitement was present, to be sure, but tempered with anxiety and the ever-present creative insecurity.  Am I ready?  How could I not be ready?  But is my stuff any good?  But I knew that it was – I believed in it enough to continue working at this day by day, year by year…or am I just crazy?  Well, I guess all of us artists are a little crazy…so I guess that’s beside the point.  Breathe in; breathe out – and let go.  Trust the process - trust that you have some idea of what you’re doing and just let it happen…

 

Such a scary thought in so many ways, but such a relief to let go and let these songs take flight!!  Somehow through God’s grace, everything has lined up, and the time is now!  With all of the struggles, disappointments, and joys that have led to this coming together, it was so fitting that, as I drove into a breathtaking sunset toward the studio, Steven Curtis Chapman’s song “All Things New” came on!  It brought tears to my eyes to feel that things which seemed so far off and long delayed – things hoped for and not seen - were finally happening.  Moments like that don’t come around all that often, and I will never forget it...

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

And the busiest!!!!!!  Can there be enough exclamation points on this?!?  Probably not.  I barely have time to write this, but wanted to wish you all a wonderful holiday season!  This is my craziest December yet.  In short, I’m singing in Chagrin Falls Studio Orchestra’s Christmas Show, which plays at Chagrin Valley Little Theatre and the legendary Hermit Club at Playhouse Square for two nights each, and also sang in Parkside Church’s Annual Christmas Concerts as a soloist.  All shows feature full orchestras and fabulous Christmas music!  I just have had to learn it all… :o)

 

And, to top off this whirlwind schedule of double rehearsals in different locations on the same night, culminating last week with a four-concert weekend at Parkside, I came down with horrible cold and cough symptoms the first week of December.  There's been a lot of praying and vitamins going on in my world.  Resting hasn’t been all that feasible, but, in lieu of that, I certainly drank a number of gallons of decaf green tea with honey.  Our sound guy at Parkside asked me if my trusty University of Akron travel mug was glued to my hand.  I wasn’t sure that it wasn’t…

The Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer...

Ahhh...nothing like a beautiful summer day. I haven't checked into my journal for a while but, this time, I can say I have been busy setting up more ways for us to stay in touch!! Okay, okay, not a great excuse, but it's something! For those of you who have 'liked' me on Facebook, thanks so much! And for those of you who haven't yet, what are you waiting for? :o) Seriously, the links are on the Home page! I think I've been in a bit of haze, not only because it's been a hot summer, but because it's also been one of those busy, pull-your-hair-out trying to digest all of the new technology seasons. My laptop crashed. Anyone who's talked to me....

"Another Auld Lang Syne: Just Learning as I Go..."

So, I guess I never get any better at updating this journal more regularly! Here we are at the end of another year. Can you believe it? While the year has seemed long in some respects with its changes and challenges, in others, I feel as if it has flown by, like a whispering breeze on a summer's eve. I think I say that because I have many lasting memories of moments this summer, which went way too quickly, and of this year in general. I hope your year has been fabulous in one way or another. Sometimes we have years where big, happy things overwhelm us and cause celebration, and others are marked with sorrow, where the little moments of happiness are accentuated by the deep contrast of pain. I pray that, whatever happened this year in your life, you...

Music and Fashion are always a passion...

...especially during Fashion Week in Cleveland! Dr. Donald Shingler, Founder and Director of Fashion Week Cleveland, asked me to bring a little music to the fashion again this year--to the VIP party to be exact. This year, the event was held at La Place in Beachwood, and the VIP party was located on the upper level, overlooking the seemingly endless red-carpet runway lined with little white chairs for viewing The Cleveland Fashion Show at 10pm. (The picture in the photo gallery only shows about half of its length.) I was fortunate to be able to share the VIP space with...

"If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies..."

So, as most of you have noticed in the news section, there have been some major changes in the last couple of months. It's hard to adjust to major changes, isn't it? I love Meg Ryan's line from You've Got Mail: "People are always telling me that change is a good thing, but all they're really saying is...

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