You kick it into 4-wheel drive, and you go… til you hear the banjo.

Have you ever played in a band? Tell us all about that experience of making music with friends. If you’ve never been in a band, imagine you’re forming a band with some good friends. What instrument do you play in the band and why? What sort of music will you play?

Thanks WordPress, I haven’t wanted to write for a few days… this I’ll write on though, for sure!

I have played in a band — worship band, at Camp.  There’s nothing like it.  

Two weekends ago, I played violin in a worship band at Camp for our Sunday morning service.  I’d never played in front of people before.  Not more than a few, anyway… and not for anything more significant than a talent show.

I’ve sang for years and years.  I played piano for several years as well, until I finally acknowledged that it’s not my favourite thing, and that while I value the skills I have now because of how long I played (read:  I don’t have to learn theory while I learn to play the violin, I did it as a kid…), I don’t really want to play much.

My ideal band has an acoustic guitar, a banjo, a mandolin, rockin drums (portable ones, because, well, you’ll see…), and you guessed it… me on the fiddle.  We’ll have an amazing vocalist (because sadly, I haven’t figured out how to fiddle and sing at the same time yet…), and we will just have fun.  We will play and sing, we will rock out and jam.  The drums should be portable, like a jambe or a cajon, because this will all take place on some hot summer night around a camp fire.

Picture:  what I’d like the theme song of my life to be right now…

My idea of perfection right now is the end of a country road …. I kinda have country fever.  It’s what happens when you put a country kid in the city for 6 years I imagine.  Anyway… I won’t entertain that thought too seriously right now, since I’m city-bound for the time being… but there it is 😀

photo 1(4)


One Word for 2014. Some goals, and my favourite posts from 2013.

I had actually already thought about my New Year’s Resolutions for 2014 when I read She Loves Magazine’s One Word idea for the year.  I’ve decided to combine this with Mama Kat’s writing prompts, and add in my top 12 blog posts from 2013 and to talk about some Resolutions, or anti-resolutions if you will.

Here’s what I love about this one-word idea, to get myself back on track.

You pick one word for 2014.  Not a bunch of New Years’ Resolutions.  Not a bunch of lofty probably unattainable goals that you’ll be discouraged over later.  No.  One word.  I had already thought about it.  I had already given 2014 enough thought to decide that the only thing I’ll be ‘resolving’ is this:  value.  I will value myself.  I will value those around me.  I will refuse to devalue myself on account of things of this world.  I will wrap my value up in things of Christ, knowing that that’s where my true value is to be found.  I described this idea to my parents as “I will be less hard on myself,” but when I saw the One Word idea put out by She Loves, I wracked my brain for one word.

So the things I’m not resolving to this year, because I’ve resolved to them every year and failed:

I’m not going to put a number on weight loss.  Instead, I’ll value myself enough to make healthy choices, and if that results in weight loss — awesome.

I’m not going to put a kilometre goal on running.  I haven’t been able to run in such a long time because of a stupid ankle injury from LAST CHRISTMAS that I may stick with boxing and take up swimming instead anyway :p  I will value myself enough to know that I don’t need to obsess, and that if I don’t get in a certain number of kilometres or minutes or whatever… accomplished in a week, that doesn’t mean I’m a failure or that I should be so hard on myself.

I’m not going to put a ‘I hope to be in a committed relationship before I’m 30’ marker on this year, because that doesn’t value my singleness or myself AS a single individual.  I will instead recognize that I have value whether single or coupled.  Besides, I’m currently rocking the preferable term, ‘independently owned and operated.’

I have a few things I’d like to accomplish this year, certainly, but these things have less to do with beginning a new year, and more to do with being a person who likes to set goals for herself.  Most notably, I’d like to rock the violin this year.  I’m starting a 52 week money saving challenge with the end goal being a stellar (probably refurbished) violin which was not made in China and which will not break as easily (mine’s currently with a repair guy and I have a borrowed one.  Handing it over to a stranger was like turning over my baby.  It was sad).  I actually may have a resolution for 2015… I’d really like to enter the Canadian Open Fiddling Competition held every year in Shelburne.  I went with my Grandparents for the first time this past August… and I was enraptured.  I don’t think I’ll be ready for this August.  Maybe next year though 😉

Ann Voskamp summarizes really well my thoughts on heading into 2014.  I want to fall forward, not stumble backwards.  Check this out.  Wonderful words, here.

And as I get ready to usher in 2014 with One Word, I’m going to bid 2013 farewell with a few of my favourite blogs from this year (both my posts and those that I follow).  I’ll do 12 of each.  One for each month, I suppose.  Check out Sarah Bessey’s post along the same idea.

First:  Blogs I followed.

Tim and Olive, Olive To Run, A Holy Experience (Ann Voskamp), Jen Hatmaker, Sarah Bessey, Megan Gahan, Sometimes Screaming Helps (Sarah Richardson), Holley Gerth, She Loves Magazine, The Young Woman’s Bucket List, Mama’s Losin It, Darcie the Kindred Spirit, The Road To Rome, Avoiding Neverland (I know… that’s 14.)

Second:  My top 12 posts from 2013.

1.  My ‘2nd Blogiversary Post — I Will Not Humour the Cray Crays.‘  I wrote this just kind of summarizing my most recent dating experiences, and didn’t expect it to get kind of out of hand.  Blog Her picked it up and featured it and it got like 1300 views or something insane like that.  For a fairly newbie blogger, it just blew my mind.

2.  I Am Not Bible Barbie.  This was another one that kind of blew up on me.  I had decided that I’d had enough of being held to this impossible standard by potential suitors, and some friends and I were talking about it at church, and this happened.  And then 450 views happened.  It was my first big post, and the first one that blew up without help from anything else.

3.  The More Boys I Meet, The More I Love My Dog.  I’d been on an AWFUL date.  Seriously, read the story.  I decided that I’d better channel it into good writing that would get new readers, lest I sit around and mope.  It was good therapy 🙂

4.  I Don’t Want to Marry Bible Ken.  The day after I wrote I Am Not Bible Barbie, it occurred to me that I had picked on guys for holding us women to this impossible standard, when we do the same thing to them, and that I don’t want to keep looking for the ‘perfect’ guy.  Read on to find out why 🙂

5.  Singleness is not a disease, nor a curse, nor an affliction… nor is it a problem of mine for others to solve.  I wrote this post about a year ago.  Someone obviously had a ‘solution’ to my singleness problem.  I haven’t re-read these posts, so I don’t remember what prompted it, but it sounds angsty.

6, 7, 8, and 9 were parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 in a series of stories I wrote about a girl named Anna (fictional) who was sold into the sex trade.  I wrote it for The Exodus Road, an organization which works to spread awareness about sex trafficking and the work that’s being done to combat it.  Read Part 1 here.  Part 2 is herePart 3 is hereAnd Part 4 is here. Please read them.  They were hard to write because the details were supplied by Exodus Road, and I knew they were technically fictional, but it was gut-wrenching to think that even though I was making this up, it could very easily have happened in real life.

10.  How I Feel About Endings — A Tribute to My Buddy, Jack.  Hardest post to write this year probably.  I wrote it in the days before we had to have one of my Mom’s dogs, Jack, put down… he was very sick, we had no choice, really.  But it was really hard.  So hard.

11. A Picture’s Worth A Whole Lot… Apparently.  I updated my profile pictures on the dating sites I was registered on because a friend of mine showed me how to use makeup…. and like magic, I had a whole bunch of interest generated.  It caused me to reflect on the value we place on looks.

And tied for number 12 (yes, I know that means I have 13… but I have 4 tied into one story that took 4 months to finish, so I think it’s fair.  Also — it’s my blog.  #idowhatiwant)  “My ‘come-to-Jesus’ moment about Rob Ford’ and ‘A Duck Call for Love.’  Both of these posts were written in response to public figures blowing it in view of the entire Western World, and how I feel like there has to be a better way to do things than we’ve been doing it.  As Christians, we’re called to love, and that’s what both of these posts are aimed at.

favourite TV

Bones, NCIS, NCIS Los Angeles, Nashville, Chicago Fire, Rick Mercer Report, Elementary, Castle, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, and… apparently there are only 11 of these.  That’s ok.

Books:  Confession ~ I didn’t read anywhere close to 12 books this year.  I’d like to read more in this next year.  I guess that comes with valuing my intelligence and not squandering so much time on Facebook?  We’ll see how that goes.

Pirates of Savannah, The Sacred Search, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, Made To Crave, Every Body Matters, The Sweet By and By, Love Lifted Me, Softly And Tenderly, Flabbergasted.  I can’t think of any more that I read this past year.  There might be more, though that number in itself kind of shocked me.  I have a giant stack beside my bed to get through still, so… we’ll see how that goes :p  Next on the list, which I’m really excited about (just have to finish The Sacred Search first), is Real Men Don’t Text, by Ruthie Dean.  Can’t wait.

Movies: I should preface this — I’m not super picky when it comes to movies.  I’m pretty easy to please.  The only one I really didn’t like was The Heat.

The Hobbit, Frozen, The Butler, Captain Phillips, 12 Years A Slave, The Family, Oz the Great and Powerful, Gangster Squad, Safe Haven, Olympus Has Fallen, 42, Runner Runner.  Those are just ones I saw in theatres.  Like I said, I’m pretty indiscriminate.

Music:  I could never pick just 12 songs.  I guess I can pick 12 artists, though.  Note:  I fell in love with Eastern Canadian Folk Music this year.  So…. get ready for this.  That’s right… The Rankins are in there.  Classic, 1990s Rankin Family.  On repeat in the car for the last 5 days.  Straight.  Legit.

Charlie Worsham, Natalie MacMaster, Leahy, The Rankins, The Band Perry, Luke Bryan, Third Day, Dixie Chicks, Sugarland, Duelling Fiddlers, The Piano Guys, Lady Antebellum, Lindsey Stirling.  I know, I know, that’s 13.  It’s the best I could do.

And that’s it, guys!  That’s it for 2013!  Stay tuned for January.  Another NaBloPoMo kicks off January 1.  Am I insane for taking the challenge during a Report Card month?  Probably, but it could lead to some really entertaining (albeit brief) posts 😉

Fiddling Around – a concert review

Yesterday I went to a concert — a Dixie Chicks concert.  They’ve taken a lot of media flack throughout their careers, most of which I’m not entirely sure was warranted.

They got a lot of flack as musicians and as people for their history.  But you know what?  I reject all of the flack.

What I went to last night was an incredible display of unbelievable musicianship.  I’ve been to a few concerts, and in that time, while I’ve seen great performers (Emerson Drive, Keith Urban, Third Day), I’ve never seen anyone that I think was better live than they were on their CD.

The energy was electric.  It was unbelievable.

I’ve enjoyed concerts — each one I’ve gone to has been great.  But I’ve never screamed, and sang at the top of my lungs, and danced along, and been happy to be on my feet most of the time (though I’m very glad I wore sneakers and not spiky high heels like my dear friend did).

The way Natalie, the lead singer, can nail those notes, in front of thousands of people, and hold them with such incredible power… it was unreal.  It gave me chills several times.

The way each of them can play several instruments was inspiring.

The way Martie, the fiddle player, can make holding that bow and drawing the sound out of the strings look SO EASY was both breath taking and frustrating for me.  Being a fiddle player myself, I know that what Martie makes look unbelievably easy is NOT easy at ALL.  The fiddle is so much more challenging than I thought it would be, but I’m in it now and I love it, so I’m sticking to it.

The way Emily can flip back and forth between sliding on her guitar to playing acoustic or electric guitar, and then to the banjo without blinking an eye — awesome.

And I know — I know that there are many artists who can stay on pitch live, and who rock out with piles of energy from the stage.  I know there are many artists who deserve accolades for their talent.  But tonight I write about the Dixie Chicks because I feel they’ve gone without the accolades they’ve deserved for a long time.

I don’t care if you don’t like their style.  That’s not what I’m here to convince you of right now.  There are a lot of musicians out on stages all over the world right now whose music I would not listen to if given an option not to.  But can I see their talent?  Absolutely.  I can’t speak globally, here, but I see a big trend across Canada and the US where if we think someone’s particular musical style is bad, we write them off as bad.  Don’t like pop music?  All pop singers are fake, in it for the money, and lack talent.  (This, of course, may be true for some, but certainly not for all of them.)

Don’t like country music?  Well naturally that’s because every song is written about a truck, beer, or a dog, and they’re all twangy and that crap.  Well, they may be twangy, but that’s country music.  The musicianship is there, so are the song writing skills.  I’d love to see a world where everyone could appreciate the talent of others without having to want to buy an album or listen to the music in their own spare time.  This is something I’ve tried to impart on my students when they (particularly the older boys) cover their ears and scream “my ears are bleeding!” when they hear a One Direction or a Justin Bieber song.  You know what?  I don’t like their style, either.  But there’s talent there, and I’d love to see everyone be able to appreciate that in everyone else.

I don’t think it’ll happen, but just in case I can sway a few opinions, check out this instrumental by the Dixie Chicks, live in concert (this was not last night).

Here are a few pictures from last night, all of which were taken on my iPhone.


the lights were finally low enough that I could get a shot - landslide, acoustic, just the girls...
the lights were finally low enough that I could get a shot – landslide, acoustic, just the girls…
sold out, packed house
sold out, packed house

Weekly Writing Challenge: Moved By Music

Oh, I’m excited to write this one.  I’m excited about this post.  WordPress feeds me prompts, and this one — this one I can write about.

Music.  Sweet, sweet music.

Whenever people ask me what I’m into, I have to throw music in, because I can’t picture life without it.

I play it, I sing it, I listen to it often.

I’m not sure why it’s so important to me, but those three things consume a lot of my being.  I know I’m musically talented, so that certainly helps, but I suspect it’s more than that.  I suspect it’s wired in.

Anyway, those are my three sub-topics — playing, singing, and listening.  Wasn’t planning on turning this into an essay, but I guess it sort of ended up that way.

I play.  I play piano and violin, though lately my piano skills are used only for figuring out how to play a song on the violin when I’m struggling to get the timing or the notes just right.  I’ve linked to a video of me playing an apparently traditional Metis fiddle reel that I put on YouTube.  The song is called Caribou Reel, and I looooove it.  I sat around for years musing that I wished I could fiddle.  I’d listen to Dixie Chicks and Emerson Drive, and tune out everything but the fiddling.  In December 2009, I finally caved and bought myself a violin and started taking lessons.  I have never regretted it, and my fingers are finally starting to fly.  (there’s not supposed to be any visual to this video… my phone was sitting on my stove while I played — sorry.)

I sing.  I am on a team at Church and we sing together every so often (about once a month at the moment).  I was on just yesterday, and the way the harmonies blended together was just incredible.  The voices, the harmonies — none of that is technically important, since none of it is the focus, but I sincerely believe that the worship (in song, though there are many other ways to worship) that can come from well-led singing (I’m not bragging here, I wasn’t the leader) can be incredible.  Not being all that shy, and knowing that I’ve got a good voice, I’ve never really felt shy about being on stage to sing.  Sure, when I was younger and I sang by myself, that was nerve wracking, but it doesn’t make me nervous anymore.

Finally, I listen.  To say that I’m eclectic in my taste in music is accurate, but I definitely prefer to listen to Country when given the option.  Particularly, I adore a good country love song.  I know they’re often unrealistic.  I know that often, life doesn’t pan out the way that country love songs make it look like it does… but some of them still make me swoon and want for a love like that.  I think too, that the type of song that resonates so clearly with a person says a lot about them.  I won’t interpret that statement for you — I’ll let you figure it out on your own if you so choose.

Oh, these songs.  These songs….