Archive for February, 2011

National Anthem revisited

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

Okay, I know this was last summer, but we finally got the video up and posted of me singing the National Anthem at the Pirates/Reds game last summer. Just wanted to share. 🙂

Florida, here I come again!

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

The view at our hotel in Crystal River

One of the Indian Mounds at the State Park in Crystal River

First Presbyterian, Crystal River, FL

Naples Community Church

Some of the amazing, weird ficus trees at Edison's house

In Ford's garage - a 1917 model T and a 1929 model A

My mom and Nancy in the Royal Palms at Edison and Ford's estates

Another Triple D place - Keegan's

Well, another busy week, great times, and really hard times. Isn’t that always the way?

Last Friday I got up ridiculously early for me – 5 am. What is this I hear about people who actually get up at this time on purpose?! Craziness. So by 6:30 I had showered, dressed, packed, eaten, driven to the airport and dropped my car, taken the shuttle, checked my bags, gone through security and was waiting for my flight. Normally I wouldn’t have been awake yet. I felt heroic. And tired.

Took a flight to Nashville, changed planes and landed in Tampa. My mom (who had come down early to spend some time with her mom) picked me up and took me straight to a surprise lunch for my grandma’s 92nd birthday (surprise for Grandma, I actually knew about it, you know what I meant). My grandma’s so cute. We were too early, so I pretended that I had forgotten something and HAD to stop at the pharmacy (you know, it was like a hair gel emergency, grandma!) and she never suspected a thing. She was so shocked when she found out that I was so duplicitous and that I bought something I didn’t even NEED! Almost broke her heart, that $4.26 I spent in the name of her surprise.

After lunch, my mom and I drove up to Crystal River, Florida where I was doing a women’s retreat the next day. I had another serendipitous Hotwire experience. I usually try to get my hotels cheap to save the people bringing me in some money – I really don’t like spending other people’s money. Well, I got this on Hotwire where you don’t even see what you’re bidding on until you get it, and it was wonderful. We ended up at the Plantation Golf Resort which was right on the water, so we had a beautiful walk and even went up to one of the state parks and saw the Indian mounds before it got dark. Then we had dinner and I prepped the talks before turning in.

The church, First Presbyterian, was literally just down the street, and we had such a good time. It was a really nice group and we just did a day long retreat with some worship, talked about Peter, sang some songs, had great food. It was a wonderful time together, and I’m so glad I got to be a part of it! They asked for the theme “Make Me An Instrument” and had decorated all around that – it was beautifully done. Thanks, Sharon, for the coolest nametag I’ve ever gotten at a retreat!

After the retreat mom and I drove down to Bonita Springs which is about 5 hours south, and stayed with our friends there, Nancy and Ralph (the ones I shouted out to on Moody Radio last month). The next morning I drove even farther south to Naples and sang the morning worship services at Naples Community Church and then gave a concert there as well that afternoon. They are celebrating moving into their new space which is a re-purposed dress shop. Check out the pictures – even as I was taking them I thought, who made this look so perfect? It’s a real hardship to be down here when it’s snowing at home, let me tell you. 🙂 Had a wonderful time visiting there too, especially since we have another friend, Wendy, who’s there. Thanks for having me!

We went out that night with some more friends who live here half the year (yes, we know the entire state of Florida). Then back to Ralph and Nancy’s. The next day we were touristing a little and visited Edison and Ford’s winter estates which were just beautiful. Edison was trying to find a substitute for rubber during the war and had brought in all kinds of plants to experiment on so the grounds were amazing. Drove back up for our flight to Tampa and my uncle took us to another Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives place where he actually knows the owner – Keegan’s. It was really good.

We had some very sad news while we were down here, though. My grandma’s cousin, Nick, passed away which was not a surprise because he was over 100, but still sad. More shocking, though, was the news that a close family friend at home had died very unexpectedly in her sleep. She was only 57 and wasn’t even ill. It’s still hard to believe. I was supposed to do another event on Tuesday, but they graciously let me reschedule and we changed our flights to get home in time for the funeral. It was so hard to see the family suffering and in shock, and brought back so many memories for me of dad’s funeral and our own loss. I have been praying so hard for them – this is going to be a tough road.

It’s brought home to me again that none of us is guaranteed tomorrow. Don’t wait to tell people you love then and don’t wait to tell them about Jesus – they need to know, and you never know if you’ll have another chance.

Vocal Care thoughts

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Matt Brown, the Marketing Director at Praise FM in Minneapolis, MN, and also co-founder and director of Think Eternity asked me at a visit a while ago about what I would tell people about vocal care. He speaks and teaches frequently and also teaches evangelism, and he was wondering what I would tell his students about taking care of their voices when they are going to need to use them all the time. He asked me to write some of it down, so Matt, this is for you. 🙂

Couple of first thoughts I have, and I may add to this at a later date.

1) Do not abuse your voice. This may sound stupid, but don’t scream at ballgames, don’t keep talking when you’re sick, if it hurts, quit using it. Don’t push it.

2) When it’s hurt, don’t whisper. Whispering is actually much worse for your voice than just talking. If you’re sick or you’ve overused your voice, talk as little as possible, but when you do talk, do not whisper.

3) Stay hydrated. This is all the time and water is your best friend. If it’s hurting, drink warm water, maybe with ginger in it or lemon, but straight warm water is the best.

4) Avoid caffeine and ice, especially right before singing or speaking. They are the plague. Caffeine makes everything tighten up and causes a lot more wear and tear. Ice will make you cough and coughing is extremely hard on your vocal cords. Don’t believe me, try drinking a glass of ice water and I guarantee you will start clearing your throat or coughing. Trust me – there is a reason that on-air people leave their water bottles in the closet rather than the fridge.

5) Speak in your natural range. Many people try to push their speaking range lower so that they will be taken more seriously. They may not even know they are doing it, but it’s very fatiguing to your chords. Try to speak in your natural range – your voice will last much longer.

6) If it hurts, stop. There is a difference between fatigue and pain. It should never actually hurt to talk or sing, and if it does, stop. You need to recover from something.

7) If you are having unexplained pain (you’re not sick, you weren’t screaming, etc.) check for reflux. It’s extremely common, especially in singers because the way one breathes to sing puts pressure on the sphincter at the base of the esophagus. You can have silent reflux and the only symptom is vocal pain. It’s easy to treat, so check into it.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got off the top of my head. Hope that’s helpful and I’ll post again if I think of more. 🙂

Back to Georgia, being like Peter

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Camp Pinnacle was pretty even on a rainy, gray day

With some of the ladies from the retreat

At Sherrill's Pioneer Restaurant in Clyde, NC - note the gun over the cashier

Well, Ohio was hit with one major, major ice storm this week. I know the weather was nuts everywhere – I keep hearing about it, but boy was I happy to not have to go anywhere for those few days!

I was also so thankful that we decided to drive to Georgia this week. I had a women’s retreat for Crossgate Church in Seneca, SC, and they were having their retreat in Clayton, GA. The closest airport was Atlanta, and that was still going to be about a 2.5 hour drive, so we just decided to drive the whole thing, and am I glad because the airlines were so messed up from the storm, I would never have gotten out. We had no school most of the week and the roads got to be good enough to drive on pretty much exactly as we had to leave. Thank you, Lord!

This time, my husband decided to come with me which was great. His parents came down to spend the weekend with the kids. We have not had as much time together as we’d like this past month, so it was a luxury just to drive in the car and talk. He also has a handy phone (so much cooler than mine!) so I spent some time trying to find, you guessed it, local places that aren’t chains for us to eat and stay, etc.

We found a really awesome sushi place on Thursday night just south of Cincinnati, I think it was Miyako? They have a hibachi side which we weren’t very interested in since we were in a hurry, and a cute little sushi bar right in the middle. Absolutely delicious, I have to say, and so quick. I’d do that again anytime.

We stayed in a little historic bed and breakfast in Richmond, KY called The Bennett House. It was a pretty nice b&b, and a good change from hotels. Got up and headed out to the retreat center. On the way, we stopped for lunch at Sherril’s Pioneer Restaurant in Clyde, NC. I have to say, I would never have stopped here normally (not the best looking from the street!), but the reviews online were fantastic, and they were spot on. It’s just a little diner, but the food was great and cheap, and the people working there were super friendly. Totally should be on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives!

Got to Pinnacle Retreat Center in the early afternoon, and it was raining and gray and still couldn’t hide how beautiful this area is. I’m sure this was one of the worst days of winter for the people down here, but after our ice storm week, 40 and rainy was looking pretty awesome! The women we met there were just wonderful. I did a concert at their church about a year ago, and it was like meeting old friends. So kind and welcoming to us! And the staff was amazing at this center – I was so impressed.

I taught the retreat on the life of Peter – we looked at how he had been transformed by his time with Jesus into someone God could and would use for amazing things, and how his life could relate to ours as we seek the same thing. I felt really good about the retreat, and about my conversations with the women there. I also led worship for them, and it was just a great group. Many of them were going through some very hard things, but they were seeking the Lord, and He is faithful.

On Saturday, Nathan and I finished the retreat and then drove the whole way home because I didn’t want to miss church on Sunday. We made pretty good time, only stopping once, at a great little Indian place for dinner called Masala – fabulous pakora, by the way. We ate in a hurry to get back on the road and when we were driving through town to get back to the freeway, we drove right by the b&b we’d stayed at on Thursday night! How funny – we had no idea we were that close. So I guess we know where to eat and stay if we ever need to get back to Richmond, KY. 🙂

Got home and led worship at church in the morning. Looking forward to a little bit of down time now before my next trip to catch up on life!

New Single on CMW!

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Just had to share this because I’m psyched about it! My single officially went out last Friday and Christian Music Weekly came out today – I’m on all their lists – Most Added (# of stations), Powersurge (# of added spins), and On the Verge (close to top 25)! Woohoo! Very cool. Can’t wait to see what God will do with the song!