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 😀

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What Brings You Joy?


Holley Gerth over at holleygerth.com has asked us this week “What Brings You Joy?”  That’s what she wants to talk about today on Coffee For Your Heart.

Let me tell you what just fills my heart up to the brim with joy.

It’s music.  It’s singing, it’s playing, it’s listening to music.

It’s anything played on a fiddle.

It’s pretty much anything with a country twang.

You know, they say there are studies that listening to music does fantastic things for our health.  I forget where I read that, so I can’t cite it… whoops.  But I was reading that listening to music releases endorphins and gives the illusion of happiness that may not otherwise have been there.  That’s my paraphrase.  I personally will take it one step farther and assert that for me, music gives more than the illusion of happiness.  Music makes me joyful.

I have God-given talent in music.  I won’t argue that.  I can play both the piano and the violin by ear.  I taught myself to play the harmonica so that I could teach it to Grade 6-8 students who just really didn’t want to play the Recorder for another year. 

I can sing a (low) soprano, alto, or tenor part when singing with other people.  I love my vocal range, and I thank God for it all the time, because I have a lot of fun with it.

I use my musical talent to give back to God, and I feel like that makes a huge difference in why it makes me more than happy.  I’ve learned to play the violin (am learning) for two reasons — so that I can fiddle, but also so that I can play on the Worship team at my church.  I haven’t made it to that level yet, but I’m getting there.

This weekend, I played with a group of people for the first time in my life.  Pretty much in tune, and all by ear.  My Mom asked me to sing with the team, but since I’d just been sick, I declined.  She said, “well you brought your violin, right?”  On Saturday afternoon, my Mom and I worked through the music she gave me, a couple of the songs being unfamiliar to me.  I played off of guitar chords, which, on a violin, means I played pretty much by ear.

Now, I’m starting to feel a little bit like I’m bragging, so I’ll stop talking myself up and start talking God up instead.  I felt so incredibly privileged to be able to participate in Worship in a completely new way this weekend.  I’ve never played an instrument in front of 75 people before.  I’ve only used my voice.  And let me tell you, my heart has never meant it as much as when it was a bow across a set of strings… not while I was helping lead.  I find that normally, while I’m singing on a worship team, it’s a fight for me to pay attention to the reason that I’m singing rather than the mechanics and the act of singing.  Is my part right?  Am I flat?  Where do I come in?

On Sunday, when I played with the Worship team, I messed up all over the place, but I made those strings sing for Jesus, and it was the best feeling I’ve experienced in a long time.

Following our Sunday morning service, I got a chance to play some fiddle with our guitar player and our drummer, and my heart just soared. 

Music makes me joyful.

Even when it makes me seat dance in the car and look like a fool at stop lights… I’m joyful.  My heart is full of joy.

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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 😉

My Top Five Christmas Songs


Mama Kat’s Losin It is a blog I’ve been following for a while.  Once a week, she does a Writer’s Workshop and hands out prompts.  This week there are two I’ll be writing on…  one today, and another tomorrow.  They were technically written on Saturday afternoon, but who needs to know that that “schedule’ button on WordPress is my favourite thing?

Pick five favourite Christmas songs….

Well, I picked six.  I had it to five, but then I remembered one that’s been a favourite since high school, so it’ll be number six.  Here they are, in absolutely no particular order because I couldn’t do that to any of them… how to relegate a favourite to the bottom?  I don’t know.  Tell me if you know how.

1.  Third Day’s version of O Holy Night.  This song is hard to do.  It’s even harder to do well.  Mac Powell and the rest of the guys from Third Day NAILED it on their (phenomenal) Christmas album, entitled Christmas Offerings.  I’m happy to announce that they really are that good live.  I thoroughly enjoy them.

2.  Sugarland’s O Come O Come Emmanuel.  I’ve mentioned this song already in a post last week.  Jennifer Nettles’ voice gets me.  It’s right in my range, I can belt right along with her… she’s a marvelous singer.  Obviously I love twangy, deep Southern country voices and feel that Southern Ontario, Canada was not where I should have been born…. but nevertheless…. Actually, Sugarland’s entire Christmas album, Gold and Green, is spectacular.  I have listened to it on repeat for most of December in the car.  Legit.

3.  The Little Drummer Boy by Pentatonix.  To be able to pull this off without a single instrument, entirely voices…. incredible.

4.  Anything and everything ever done by Lindsey Stirling is genius.  That said, I love love love her Celtic Carol.  I want to be her when I grow up.  Please keep in mind my deep love of Carol of the Bells as mentioned in my post yesterday, and my love of all things fiddle.  Lindsey Stirling just combined them.

5.  Speaking of my deep love of Carol of the Bells… please please check out The Piano Guys’ Cellist playing, I assume split-track recorded over himself multiple times… as he combines with another favourite of mine, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.  The Piano Guys are also musical geniuses, so if you don’t know what I’m talking about, seriously, check them out.

6.  And lastly, as I was making my list, when I got to the song above, I couldn’t help but remember my favourite Christmas song all through my high school years… which inspired the first time I ever asked for a Christmas CD FOR Christmas…. Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan combining God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen with We Three Kings.  I’m sure my Mom thought I was nuts when I asked for “Barenaked for the Holidays” for Christmas…. but no joke.  I still have that CD.  I should dig it back out again.