Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hope versus doubt, and a free download...

It's a beautifully overcast rainy August day today in New York City, and I have been able to create a most lovely day out of it. There is a pot of chicken and vegetable soup on the stove that I have been brewing all morning long, and while tinkering around in the kitchen, I've been playing with the idea of finally posting on my blog again.

Now I get to sit here and open my heart up to you about a few things. You see, I have just a few more short days of Summer left before I go back to work next week. I am both excited and a little apprehensive about the school year that lies ahead. When I look back at the year I just undertook, I shudder at the thought that this coming year could be equally or even more difficult than the previous year was. I think about the "roller coaster" in which I just rode on, and while I learned a lot and gained so much, I have to admit that I don't really want to hop on again even though I know I must. However, I am truly grateful that I even have the opportunity to ride on the roller coaster at all. That seems ironic, doesn't it?

I must say though, I feel hopeful for this "new year." I know it's not technically a new year, but I always think of "back to school" as a new beginning of sorts. Yet, there are still so many unknowns to what lies ahead, and with that come all the doubts tumbling through my mind as well.

These feelings are all related to a song I have recently released as a free download. The song is entitled "Hope" and you can hear it and download it here:

Last year, around this time, this song was born one day after work when I was walking to my car with a co-worker who was telling me about her daughter. She was explaining to me how much work it was to have her. I thought about her comment and said in response, "But would you have it any other way?" She thought for a moment and then said, "No, I guess I wouldn't." We then parted ways, and it got me thinking...I had recently had a big load on my plate, and many of those responsibilities had been taken off for one reason or another. I felt liberated at first...but then I started to feel sort of empty. It was also around this time that I was beginning infertility treatments. This was when the song unfolded as I began to learn about these opposing forces...hope versus doubt, joy versus pain, love versus loss...and it became extremely clear to me how important hope was in motivating me to move forward. It truly felt like the light that was guiding me through a dark tunnel of the unknown. I also noticed that maintaining hope was difficult. I would go from being hopeful, to doubtful, and then to hopeful again...all in even just one hour! It was exhausting and yet rewarding. Strange how that works.

So, with that background on this little song of mine, I invite you to listen and hope you enjoy. I will say in closing that this recording would not have been possible had it not been for Matt Sucich who recorded, played on it and produced it, as well as Amy Vachal and Jamie Bendell who also sang the harmonies with me. They are dear friends and truly, truly talented musicians. 

Lastly, thank you dear reader, for reading, listening and for being a part of this musical journey of mine.

With all my heart,


Saturday, May 11, 2013

New video, roller coasters, and making wishes...

Have you ever made a wish on something before? ...Either on a star, or a birthday cake, or when you tossed a penny in a fountain? I grew up making wishes on things like that. I usually made a wish about a boy I had a crush on or something ridiculous like that. Actually, I remember several times making a wish that I would like roller coasters. I'm not kidding you, I was embarrassed by my dislike for roller coasters because I felt like I was always missing out on all the fun. I hated them though to be honest, and still kind of do.

There's really nothing quite like being the kid who has to wait at the exit for all their friends to get off the crazy roller coaster they just had so much fun on. You feel like the biggest party pooper ever. Yeah, that was me. Although, I did make an effort to fit in. Since everyone was having such a good time, I'd go on the roller coasters and convince myself that I could endure just 2 minutes of pure suffering and torture. That is honestly how I feel about them, even now. The pain in my stomach when I drop is so miserable, I have never been able to really get over I've kind of learned to just suffer through it I guess. 

I've also never really enjoyed metaphorical roller coasters either. I'd much rather enjoy the thrill of a fast car then going up and down and back up again on a roller coaster. Despite my attempts to avoid roller coasters, or to wish that I'd someday magically enjoy the thrill of them, I am still faced with roller coasters, both literal and metaphorical, and they just don't seem to be going away. They are a part of life I've discovered. And to be honest, these past few months have been by far the craziest roller coaster I've ever been on. 

Some of you may have read my post last year on Mother's Day where I talked a little about my journey toward wanting to start a family. Joseph (my cute husband) and I have been wanting to have kids for what seems like the longest. Ok, so maybe I'm being dramatic, but it has almost been 4 years now that we've really been trying to prepare for having children, and wanting them so much that it hurts our hearts a little (or sometimes a lot). 

Last year I wrote this song called, "Wishing Well," which was inspired by my wise acupuncturist who pensively made the observation that often times, it is our wants that cause us so much pain. This past year has had it's particular ups and downs, has had plenty of joy as well as pain, and the want and wish to have children has been growing and growing within me, leaving an undeniable hole in my heart. I can't really think how else to describe it. 

Ups and downs this past year have included quite a lot...doctors appointments, blood work, waiting by my phone for the nurse to call back, dates with the hubby to the infertility specialist, grabbing jamba juice after our appointments to either console or celebrate, running late to work, running late to work again, having hot flashes in the most awkward places, sleeping with the window wide open during the coldest winter nights, seeing single lines on my pregnancy test, seeing that over and over again, seeing double lines on my pregnancy test, feeling like I was pregnant, feeling an incredible amount of excitement, feeling like I wasn't pregnant anymore, going to the ultrasound, finding no heartbeat, feeling love in overwhelming amounts, feeling loss in overwhelming amounts, learning the importance of hope, learning how to let go, learning how to continue striving for the best that is within matter what the circumstances are, and finally, learning to trust that God is truly in the details of my life. 

I've been toying with the idea of writing about these experiences on my blog or not. I hesitate mostly because I don't want people to feel bad for me, or to feel pity- I promise I'm not seeking after that. I appreciate people's love and support, but I'm not trying to get attention or sympathy by expressing my experiences. I just want to explain a little more about what I'm learning. I feel like it's a huge part of the purpose behind the challenges and obstacles we face. Also because I want to know if you've experienced it, or how you coped, or what you learned along the way. I love that human connection. That's a huge part of why I love to share music. It's all about sharing those connections...learning, growing, and loving along the way.

While there have been a lot of "downs" recently, I can't deny that at the same time, there have been a whole lot of "ups." Hense...the roller coaster. One of those "ups" has been my process of writing and creating music. I haven't been performing as much recently due to all of this, but I've been writing. I'm so grateful for that. I recently wrote a song that I am in the process of recording right now. I can not wait to share it with you (hopefully in about a month). For now, I will leave you with this video that my friend Matt Sucich and I did of my song "Wishing Well." Lauren Merkley, my very talented sister-in-law, shot and edited the video. 

I hope you enjoy. I'll have more songs to come soon and I am excited to share them with you. Thank you for listening, for sharing and for being a part of this whole experience. 

All my love and warmest wishes,


Monday, April 1, 2013

Rising Star and feeling inspired

I am truly sorry that I haven't updated my blog in such a long time! It feels a little like how I feel when I go to write in my journal and realize that months have gone by and I didn't even realize it. I know this might sound strange, but I have a theory that time in New York City moves faster than in other parts of the country. I really do think it's true. I've lived in a few other states and countries, but never has time flown by like it does here. I think it's because everyone is hustling and pretty much all the time- so before you know it, a week has gone by, and then a month, and then a year! Well that's my excuse anyway...and I'm sticking to it.

Anyway, happy Spring everyone! Things are starting to pick up again for me in the world of music. Last month, I had the privilege of going out to Utah to play at a Rising Star event. Rising Star is this amazing non-profit organization that helps leprosy colonies in India. They've using my "Grateful" song in one of their videos on YouTube and so they invited me out to play "Grateful" as well as a few others songs at one of their fundraising events. 

I knew about Rising Star, and the work they did, but I had no idea how moved I would be by the experience of playing and singing at this event. I was truly inspired. The thought even crossed my mind as I heard people tell of their stories about going to India, even bringing their entire family over there to live for a few years..."Maybe we should move to India, there's so much good that can be done there too." They even had a live video chat with the children in India and we got to see them and hear them, and they sung us a song, and it was really incredible. I mean, how can you not want to go to India after actually seeing the children and hearing them sing a song...seriously?

I also had Brinn Chipman play her fiddle with me on some songs which was really lovely. She plays in a band called Matteo. It's such beautiful music- you've never heard anything like it, I promise. Give them a listen.

Anyhow, thanks to all who bought my CD at the Rising Star event. All the proceeds went toward the Rising Star fundraiser. It was amazing, I sold almost more CD's at this event then at my CD release show. So thank you to those who supported.

As for future shows, I have one booked in Nashville and some I'm setting up for Utah and Idaho in the I'll update those on my website in the next few weeks. I'll also be posting a new song and a video real soon as well. I can hardly wait to share them with you- but they are still in the works, so once they finish, I'll post them for you to enjoy.

Until then, I hope everyone has a great April! Spring is finally here...or almost.



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fundraiser Update!

I am beyond amazed at how much response we got from the "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" fundraiser. Not only did people download the song, donate a few extra bucks, make hot cocoa gifts, we even had someone make a "Hot Chocolate Stand" with their family! 

There were people from all over the country who bought extra download codes and used those as part of their gift packages to loved ones, or at parties, etc. Here's a few examples of how they turned out.

As for the hot cocoa stand, Shelley Coates decided to put one together with her family and it turned out beautifully! In fact, her 6 year old son was part of the motivation behind it all. When he saw the Mormon Helping Hands video, he was so moved by what had happened to families in the East Coast during hurricane Sandy that he wanted to raise money in efforts to help those people "buy a new house." They were able to raise $105, and it was sent to a woman and her two daughters who live in Staten Island along with a note and pictures of their hot cocoa stand. 

I honestly can't help but get teary-eyed as I look at these photos. I am truly so touched and inspired by the examples of others. Especially this little boy- so young and with such a pure heart. Children inspire me.

As for the money that we raised for the "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" fundraiser...we made a total of $681! 

With that money, we did the following:

Bought gift cards for families in need...

Bought clothes to donate to the Steven Siller Foundation which is a place in Staten Island that is collecting clothes, food and items for people who lost everything during the storms. Those people were allowed to come to the foundation and do some "shopping" for things they needed. I was told they were in need of teenage clothes in particular, so that's what I spent my Saturday before Christmas doing. I went to buy the clothes in the crazy packed lines at the stores...

I then drove to the foundation in Staten Island, praying the whole way that I'd get there before they closed at 4:00pm. (I made it...but just barely!)

Since they were closing up, I didn't get as many photos as I would have liked to...but I got a photo with this guy at the foundation. Not even sure who he is really, but it's all I have to show I'm afraid. :)

So THANK YOU to you all for your support in this fundraiser! Thanks for listening, for spreading the word, for downloading, or for reading. Thank you again to Weeds to Wishes and How Does She for writing about it as well and supporting. And lastly, thank you to the musicians who made the  music happen.

It was such a joy and the highlight of my Christmas this year.
May you all have a blessed 2013!!