Happy Halloween!

As spirits roam the neighborhoods at night,
Let loose upon the Earth till it be light...
~Nicholas Gordon, 

Quote of the Week "If there is on characteristic more..."

"If there is one characteristic more than others that contemporary public worship needs
to recapture it is this awe before the surpassingly great and gracious God."

-Henry Sloane Coffin 


Mosaic Monday: Music Tee's

I realized as I was looking to organize and clean my closet that I had quite the collection of music themed t-shirts.  It's only natural being a musician that a few of these tee's would sneak in over the years.  I have been on a photography kick lately so I thought it would be neat to take a few snapshots of my favorites to share as part of Mosaic Monday, sponsored by the blog Little Red House.
  • The "Musicians Brain" was actually a great second hand find while I was in high school.  I have since grown out of it and I hope to make it into a pillow or something crafty one of these days. 
  • My "Little Rock Star in Training" was worn by my little rock star, Oliver.  I couldn't resist putting it in this collection.
  • "Life is Music" was given to me by my friend Dorothy a few months ago.  I love how the text was morphed to make the shape of an eighth note.
  • "The Universal Language" t-shirt was a present from my friend Cynthia several years ago.  It is my favorite comfy sleep shirt.  It is so fascinating to see how the word music is written in all the world's languages and it even came with a little booklet so you knew what language you were reading.  
  • "Tonic Sol-Fa 100% Pure Vocals" as been my go to weekend shirt since high school.  I just love a good ringer tee and one of my favorite colors is Orange.  I got to see Tonic Sol Fa live at an outdoor music fair with my Dad.  We got to meet the four guys in the group and he bought me this nifty t-shirt.   
Mary is our hostess for Mosaic Monday.
Each mosaic is unique and has it's own story to tell.


Quote of the Week "We get nearer to the Lord through...

"We get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps through any other thing except prayer." 

-- J. Reuben Clark Jr.


The Simple Woman's Daybook - Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Outside my window...The quiet darkness of night.

I am thinking...of moving in some new directions.  I am working on a list of things that I would really like to get accomplished and things that I know that I need to do in my life right now.  As well as thoughts of my upcoming money stretching grocery trip today and all the things that I need to get done to help life run more smoothly for my family.

I am thankful for...a mother that spoils me rotten when I need it the most.  I love you Mom!

I am wearing...my comfy pj's of course!

I am remembering...what it was life for me to be a younger me.  I am so proud of how far I have come in my life but I also realize how much farther I have to go to be who I am to be.
I am going...to Hy-Vee for some awesome coupon cost saving shopping.  I just love a good deal.  Don't let me forget to get my husband some new hair gel and shampoo.  Got to keep him handsome. 

I am currently reading...I think I picked up a copy of Lady's Home Journal this week.  I have a pile of reading material I would like to get through this weekend.  I also have several books on my Kindle that are on my list.   That is such a neat bit of technology.  I am enjoying the new word games I was able to download for free.  If you are a Kindle user check out Every Word and Shuffle Row.

I am hoping...for a relaxing holiday season in a new house with family and friends.  I miss entertaining and decorating for the holidays.

On my mind...How hard it can be to work with people sometimes.  I struggle with just wanting to keep the peace for the sake of the group or if I should be more vocal about my dislikes and demand better solutions.

Noticing that...A good hair cut and a little pampering can go a long way to helping a person feel better about things.  It had been so long since I got a hair cut.  I'm feeling snazzy now.

Pondering these words... 

“There is nothing in the world so much like prayer as music is.”            – William P. Merril

From the kitchen... Not a lot since I ate out last night at Buffalo Wild Wings.  Who knows what today brings in the kitchen.  I might break down and cook something.  I have quite a few choices I just have been a bit unmotivated lately. 

Around the house...Halloween will soon be here and there are pumpkins to carve and costumes to finish.  Madeline is going to be a witch this year and Oliver might be a pumpkin or Charlie Brown.  I can't decide.  We will see what we can put together. 

One of my favorite things...Cuddling my kids and having them fall asleep while we watch TV together. 

From my camera...Madi and Oli both playing in the leaves for the first time.  I'm not sure what Oli thinks of this new experience but Madi had an awesome time. 
Would you like to linger on the simple things...then join me and many others at "The Simple Woman's Daybook" in taking a little look into the day plans and thoughts of those who are focusing on simplicity...beauty of the 'everyday moments'. I will be posting a weekly update using this unique and simple format.

Video of the Week: "Be Thou My Vision" Jars of Clay

Well, I am writing this week's "Video of the Week" an hour into Thursday morning because the day ran away with me and now I can't sleep.  

"Be Thou My Vision" is one of my all time favorite hymns.  I have sung it more times than I can count.  My favorite way to present it is a cappella only singing the first and third verses.  So, I was pleasantly surprised to find a newer arrangement from the WOW Worship hits yellow book from 2003 by Jars of Clay while looking for some new music ideas for worship.  I love the simplicity of the accompaniment using piano and/or guitar with the sound staying pretty much the same either way.  The ending has been written for at least two independent voice parts but I am throwing around the idea of doing the entire piece as a solo and working the ending for one voice.  We will see how that works out but until then, enjoy "Be Thou My Vision" by Jars of Clay.   

Be Thou My Vision - Jars Of Clay


Quote of the Week: "The most valuable thing...

"The most valuable thing the Psalms do for me is to express the same delight in
God which made David dance."

-C.S. Lewis


Did You Know I Sing in a Band?

The view from my music stand on Sunday Morning.
Back in January of this year the music ministries of One Spirit United Methodist Church in Kansas City, MO embarked on a new journey with lots of changes.  We hired a new Director of Music Ministries and our contemporary service got a complete revamp.  We also had the unique opportunity to start an all new volunteer praise band from scratch.  Most of my music training has been on the classical end so I was excited to expand my skills and try out.

One Spirit UMC Praise Band in action.
Nine months later we have two guitarists, one bass player, two people that play keyboards and up to four singers.  Did I mention that we are looking for a skilled drummer?  Just thought I would put that out there.

Each week we prepare 5 - 6 songs for worship and have been working on music from a list of CCLI's top 100 most popular contemporary worship songs.  I have sight read and performed more new pieces in the last few months than I have in years.  It has kept me on my toes and has been great practice.  I usually sing melody vocals but occasionally get to switch things up and sing parts.  I also play some simple percussion as needed.  We practice on Wednesday nights at 6:30 PM right before Chancel Choir rehearsal which works well since most of us are members of the choir.  A few of us even play in the hand bell group.  We wear many musical hats. 

We all admit that we are still a work in progress but I am so proud of what we have accomplished in such a short time.  Each one of us strives to give our best each and every rehearsal and Sunday morning.  I couldn't ask for better people to work with.

One Spirit UMC Praise Band


Video of the Week: "Amazing Grace My Chains are Gone" Chris Tomlin

I have been singing "Amazing Grace My Chains are Gone" by Christ Tomlin for several months now and have been wondering what the inspiration had been for this song.  It is a fantastic pair up of the traditional "Amazing Grace" with a new more modern chorus mixed in between the verses.  We have shared it quite a few times in worship and it has become very popular.

So, I did a search and was pleasantly surprised to learn that the piece had been a part of the 2007 movie "Amazing Grace".  The film stars Ioan Gruffudd (Black Hawk Down), Albert Finney (Erin Brockovich), Romola Garai (Vanity Fair), Michael Gambon (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), Benedict Cumberbatch (Hawking), Rufus Sewell (Legend of Zorro), Ciaran Hinds (Rome) and introduces Youssou N'Dour.  It is based on the story of antislavery pioneer William Wilberforce and his struggle to end the slave trade in the British Empire in the 18th Century.

Here's the "Amazing Grace" movie trailer...

Doing this little bit of research and finding out more about this movie and the title song, "Amazing Grace My Chains are Gone" has added so much more meaning for me as a musician and singer when I am called upon to share this song with others.  I have been singing "Amazing Grace" for years but now have a new perspective on what that grace can really mean for someone.  Enjoy this week's "Video of the Week", Chris Tomlin's "Amazing Grace My Chains Are Gone".


The Simple Woman's Daybook - Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Outside my window... A lovely fall day. 

I am thinking...that I have accomplished quite a bit today.  I made the calls I needed to make.  I cleaned a few important places in the house that had been neglected and I spent quality time with my kids.  Dinner was made and our bed time ritual was accomplished.  

I am thankful for...the health of my children.  They are doing so well.

I am wearing...my Dr. Pepper t-shirt.  It's one of my faves

I am remembering...how little my babies were just a year or so ago.  I have been organizing my kids photos on facebook.  I can't believe I have a one year old and a four year old.  It's a trip.

I am going...to Target sometime this week.  I have been scouting out the deals and can't wait to go and stretch our dollar.  Coupons are awesome! 

I am currently reading...My new Rachel Ray magazine that came in the mail today as well as Family Circle.  And of course the ever popular RSS reader.  

I am hoping...for a great deal on our new digs.  We could sure use it right about now.

On my mind...(that is a loaded question)  Loosing weight, house hunting, organizing my clothing and stuff, child development and education, meal planning...(I could go on for awhile.)

Noticing that...I need to take better care of myself and start eating better and taking better care of my skin.  Sleeping more would also be good.

Pondering these words... "Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese." - G.K. Chesterton  I found this quote on Chris Rice's official website and just cracked up.  Ask me sometime why cheese is so funny to me.

From the kitchen... I have found a couple recipes online that I plan to try in the next few days: Fettuccine Alfredo, Pumpkin Pancakes and Candy Corn Cookies.  I am in the mood for some great fall cooking.  Last night I made veggie chili and it turned out lovely.  I ate leftovers for lunch today with lots of crackers and shredded cheese.  Dinner tonight was "beef" flavored TVP Stroganoff with egg noodles.  It was wonderful!    

Around the house...A constant state of flux.  

One of my favorite things...tonight's dinner.  I ate way to much of it but it was tasty and one of my favorite comfort foods.   

From my camera...The kids and I went walking to see all the new fall colors this past weekend.  Here are just a few of the pictures I took. 

Would you like to linger on the simple things...then join me and many others at "The Simple Woman's Daybook" in taking a little look into the day plans and thoughts of those who are focusing on simplicity...beauty of the 'everyday moments'. I will be posting a weekly update using this unique and simple format.


Quote of the Week "Let the word of Christ richly dwell..."

"Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." 

-Colossians 3:16,17


New Fall 2010 Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer's Guide

The process of buying a piano for your household can be time consuming, difficult, and confusing at times.  It's up there with buying a car or shopping around for the right insurance.  There are so many choices and it can be hard to know if you are making the right decision.  That's where the semiannual Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer's Guide can be a real life saver.   

So, the next time you are in the market for a new or used piano don't forget to check out the Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer's Guide.


Video of the Week: "I am Restless" by Audrey Assad

This song came at just the right time a couple weeks ago.  I was asked to sing a solo during worship last month and could not find a song to go with the pastor's sermon that week.  We were in week three of a sermon serious related to bones.  I was stumped.  I had found a couple ideas but I wasn't confident about them nor did I feel that I could convincingly share their message in worship.  I did have to pick by Thursday morning or our church administrative assistant was going to be calling me so I kept at it.

Thursday morning came and I still had no idea what I was going to do.  I sat down to do my usual email and rss reader reading and came across my Worship Together newsletter and was that ever an answer to prayer.  I was gifted with the free lead sheet download of Audrey Assad's new song "I am Restless".  It is based on these words from "The Confessions of Saint Augustine"

And I'm restless, I'm restless,
'til I rest in you, 'til I rest in you.

Not only did these words speak to me on a personal level but they fit beautifully into worship that Sunday.  I got more compliments on that song and I thank the Holy Spirit for making it come alive.
I am still working on getting a video recording of my performance so until then I wanted to share a live recording of Audrey Assad singing "I am Restless" from eXclaim! 2010 in Toledo, Ohio at the Monsignor Schmit CYO Athletic Complex.  Enjoy! 

Restless by Audrey Assad

  • Love the song as much as I do?  Download the lead sheet like I did at the Worship Together website here.
  • If you are interested in reading "The Confessions of Augustine:  An Electronic Edition" check out this website.


The Simple Woman's Daybook - Monday October 4th, 2010

For Today, Monday October 4th, 2010

Outside my window...I haven't left the house yet.  I'm not even out of my pj's.  I should get dressed and see the world today. 

I am thinking...I am making all things new! (My new mantra)  I also really enjoyed my time away with my husband last night.  We went out and got a bite to eat.  It was a good date night.  I'm still thinking about it. 

I am thankful for... The PBS Kids Sprout Channel.  I don't have to worry too much about the programing because I know it's all appropriate and stuff my kids love to watch.  It has helped me take a break every now and then and get some work done.  Thank you!  Thank you!   

From the kitchen...boiling pasta for lunch right now at Madi's request.  I have plans to make stuffed flounder for dinner either today or tomorrow.  Last week I got an amazing deal at Aldi's.  I found whole, frozen Maine lobsters for $6.99 each.  I couldn't pass that up.  I just have to decide when to serve that dinner.  It should be pretty yummy!

I am wearing...My favorite black drum-set music t-shirt.

I am creating...Quite a few updates on the web.  I finished some long overdue work on my Linked-in profile and was able to recommend the work of some of my colleagues and friends.  I also updated the Elliott Music Studio website just a tad.  I can't wait to be able to put a new address on there.  Soon I hope.  

I am going... to vacuum and organize today.  Lots of little projects going on right now.  I must make it to our storage shed today and get some fall clothing items for the kids and do some more paring down of household items.  

I am reading...Magazines!  I just love them.  I have a Real Simple magazine and a Better Homes and Gardens one that I am currently half finished with.  The ideas for fall are fantastic.  I'm a bit overwhelmed by all the things I want to do.   

I am hoping... that the last house we found will work for our family.  I just felt so comfortable there.  It felt like home to me.  

I am hearing...My children screeching and running around the house.  They get so excited.  It's noisy and fun around here today.

Around the house...more organizing and staying on top of the clutter.  So much stuff to keep together.  Paperwork to fill out for various things.    

One of my favorite things...Warm blankets and afghans.  I have been cuddling up with my sleepy son in the mornings wrapped up in warm blankets on the couch.  It is such a great time that I will miss when he is older.

A few plans for the rest of the week:  Meetings at church; Praise band and choir rehearsal; a piano lesson with Brady on Tuesday; I would like to find my crochet and start working on it again.  I have a couple things to finish.   

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing...Well, this is actually a video from TED that talks about our relationship with sound and how it affects us.  Enjoy!

Would you like to linger on the simple things...then join me and many others at "The Simple Woman's Daybook" in taking a little look into the day plans and thoughts of those who are focusing on simplicity...beauty of the 'everyday moments'. I will be posting a weekly update using this unique and simple format.


Quote of the Week "Did you know America ranks the lowest..."

"Did you know America ranks the lowest in education but the highest in drug use?  It's nice to be number one, but we can fix that.  All we need to do is start the war on education.  If it's anywhere near as successful as our war on drugs, in no time we'll all be hooked on phonics."
~Leighann Lord


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