Today is a special Saturday post. It was written by my friend Brooke who is 1/3 of the singing trio Mercy River. I’ve seen Mercy River’s career from the beginning (I even handled the marketing and design for their first CD release) and I thrill to see the milestones and success they’ve reached along the way. I love when my friends do great things. And … exciting news! … these three lovely ladies just released their third album, Higher.
In honor of the CD release, I asked Brooke to guest post and share with us what it means to her to “Live Higher.” What stands in the way of lifting our lives to the levels we hope for and dream of? What holds us back from living the lives God wants most for us? This is a topic I’m always thinking about so I’m excited to see what she has to say. (Oh and stay tuned at the bottom for a giveaway and the link to their music video.)Welcome Brookie!
First and foremost, we are HONORED to be a guest on this blog. Krista is one of our dearest forever friends, and between you and me, I’m sort of jealous of her writing abilities. But here we go!
So, you know how we all have our own little quirks? Well, here’s one of mine—I’m a planner. Spontaneity is not my forte. I don’t do well with surprises, no matter how fun or romantic they may be. i.e. Don’t take me on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Europe. I need at least a month to get the right wardrobe, research any and all tourist spots, and lose a couple pounds for all those tourist pictures. Also, I don’t want a surprise party. I would rather choose the restaurant, the guest list, and the after-dinner location. And I will do my OWN Christmas shopping, thank you very much.
So you can guess how I take it when my “life plan” doesn’t go as … planned. NOT well. And you would think I’d be used to it by now. Have you heard the saying, “Whenever you make a plan, God laughs”? This is extremely true in my life. I’ve made lots of plans, only to have them re-arranged, altered, and at times, completely cut short.
For example, there was the time I dreamed of being a basketball player like my sister and totally bombed at tryouts. Or the time I auditioned for the part of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz and instead was cast as the Wizard. (What? A BOY’S part??) There was also the time in high school, when I fell in love–only to have my heart broken. The college I didn’t get into. And the job I wasn’t chosen for. Or the years my husband and I suffered from infertility when I wanted nothing more than to be a mother.
These were all times in my life when I “wrestled” with the Lord. I wanted my life to go a certain way, and I experienced frustration (and to be honest, sometimes anger too) that there were detours off the path of my ideal life. But after each of these situations–and so many others–I could see, looking back, that once I surrendered my will to His, once I loosened my death-grip on “my way,” I felt free. Once I let go, I was lifted higher.
Our newest album was a huge “let go” experience all of us. Any feelings of pride were almost ripped from our hands. Ideas were thrown to the wayside to make room for whatever fit the budget and time frame. We held so tightly to our own dreams it was painful to turn them over to the Lord. But in the end, it turned out better than we hoped. He took something that seemed doomed for failure and turned it into not only a beautiful product, but a beautiful experience as well. In fact, we almost titled the album Let Go, but then changed it to Higher because ultimately, that’s where God takes us when we do let go.
Really, I think we’re the ones standing in our own way of rising higher. We each have things in our lives that we’re holding on to: Moments in our past. Pride. Childhood memories. Hurt. Shame. Regret. Anger. And sometimes, our own plans. But holding on to these things always prevents us from becoming something greater.
There’s a poem I heard a few years ago that put this in perspective for me:
Like children bring their broken toys
With tears, to us to mend,
I took my broken dreams to God
Because He was my friend.
But then, instead of leaving Him
In peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help
In ways that were my own.
At last I snatched them back and cried,
How could you be so slow?
My child, He said, what could I do?
You never did let go.
The Lord can’t “lift” until we LET him. And his wisdom, His knowledge, His vision all exceed our own. He knows how to create something beautiful in us. So. Let go of your broken plans, your detoured dreams, your pride, your insecurities, and anything else that is holding you down. And let Him lift you higher.
Thanks so much Brooke. I loved this. We’re cut from the same cloth, you and me. I’m a planner right down to my color-coded calendar. And I totally understand what you are saying—even though I’m not always good at it. My current life is so different from what I envisioned, dreamed, and planned for myself so many years ago. But how thankful I am that God sees the end from the beginning and knows what, ultimately, will help me grow the most. And how thankful I am that when it’s hard to “let go” (and it usually is) … he helps us with that too.
Now readers!: if you would like to win a copy of Mercy River‘s new album, Higher, just leave a comment below. You can also get extra entries for
Remember last weekend when I had a bunch of photo shoots and birthday parties and I didn’t know if I’d get to it all? Well. I did. I got to all of it. And it was such a great Saturday–a Saturday that ended with a house concert at cJane‘s, whose birthday happens to be exactly one week after mine. The Folka Dots played and I loved it. I really did. Live music + atmosphere = does it for me every time. (As did the platter of Brie slathered in something akin to honey and walnuts. I basically set up camp by the cheese and crackers, if you must know.)
They even sang Happy Birthday to us March babies (Mindy‘s birthday is smack dab in the middle of mine and Courtney’s. And don’t ask me who the girl on the far right is.) Mindy said, later in the evening, after the show had ended, and we settled in to visit, “I can spot a Pisces from anywhere.” And I would have to agree. Quite a dreamy breed, we are.
But before the night ended, the Dots sang this delicious tune, which Christopher luckily caught on camera, and which makes me want to run away with a farmer and buy a little cabin on the plains, and be his for always. Dreamy indeed.
It’s like I always say … you can never have enough books, flowers, or music. With that in mind, here are 10 new songs I downloaded for this month:
1. Song :: Girlfriend // Artist :: Phoenix // Album :: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix // Genre :: Alternative // Link to listen
2. Song :: Colorblind // Artist :: Egyptian // Album :: Egyptian — EP // Genre :: Pop // Link to listen
3. Song :: For Once in My Life // Artist :: Stevie Wonder // Album :: Stevie Wonder: The Definitive Collection // Genre :: R&B/Soul // Link to listen
4. Song :: Domino // Artist :: Jessie J // Album :: Domino — Single // Genre :: Pop // Link to listen
5. Song :: You // Artist :: Chris Young // Album :: Neon (Deluxe Edition) // Genre :: Country // Link to listen
6. Song :: Summertime // Artist :: The Sundays // Album :: Static & Silence // Genre :: Rock // Link to listen
7. Song :: Here’s Where the Story Ends // Artist :: The Sundays // Album :: Reading, Writing & Arithmetic // Genre :: Alternative // Link to listen
8. Song :: I Won’t Give Up // Artist :: Jason Mraz // Album :: I Won’t Give Up // Genre :: Pop // Link to listen
9. Song :: No One // Artist :: Whitney Myer // Album :: No One (The Voice Performance) // Genre :: R&B/Soul // Link to listen (The song alone is worth the watch, but Adam Levine’s face at 0:34 seconds in? Icing. on. the. cake. Yum-ma.)
10. Song :: Bloom // Artist :: The Paper Kites // Album :: Woodland — EP // Genre :: Singer/Songwriter // Link to listen
I’m on tour this week with Mindy. Jumping from city to city as we make our way through the Northwest.
We’re all packed into an RV. And by “we” I mean Mindy, her man, her baby, the band (who might be the funniest group of men I’ve been around in a long time), all our suitcases, all the instruments, all the set, all the merchandise, and all the sound equipment. And by RV I mean Le Chateau. At least that’s what it says on the outside.
And by Le Chateau I mean the Griswold Family Christmas Tour Bus, straight from 1980-something, complete with brown and yellow curtains.
It is awesome. No lie.
We hit Boise tonight. Twas a great show and a great crowd. And who knew downtown Boise was so cool? I have to hand it to you Idaho. I had no idea.
Now, it’s bedtime and I’m exhausted. Like I usually am when I produce a tour.
But let me share my favorite picture of the day …
I spent most of the drive mugging on this fella.
Needless to say, he’s scrumptious.
p.s. We head to Kennewick, WA tomorrow. If you’re in the area, come say hi!
I don’t know how we did it, but on Monday night we fit no less than 70 people in our living room for our first annual Christmas House Concert with indie-pop star Mindy Gledhill. I’m still reeling!
Frit and I were up past midnight two nights in a row decorating and baking and getting everything ready, and despite our bleary eyes, it was SO worth it. And even now … every time we walk in the living room, we smile–we still haven’t taken the decorations down. We love them too much.
Spencer Harrison (Mindy’s bass player) and Libbie Linton opened with some delicious tunes. (Check them out here, or here.) And I am, pleased to announce, that I am a new Libbie fan. And Spencer just might be the nicest guy with the greatest coiffure and coolest voice. Ever.
When Mindy took the stage it was like our whole house suddenly went electric. The walls were buzzing neon, I swear. It was palpable. And amazing. And so gosh darn fun! The kick of the bass drum pounded the opening beats of Whole Wide World (which, may I tell you, she dedicated to moi) and I wanted to jump up and down and dance and scream, “Do you feel that? In your gut? Do you feel that?” I’m weird, I know. But like I said. The house was electric and I was, in turn, electrified. Good live music gives me such a rush.
So anyway. Mindy sang songs from Anchor and Winter Moon and Frit and I danced in our seats the whole time. Side note: When Mindy sang the Beach Boys’ “Little Saint Nick” Frit dared me to run wildly through the crowd (run run reindeer, run run reindeer, you can hear it right? And see it?). She said she’d pay me $40 if I did, and I even got her up to $70 by the end of the exchange. But I just couldn’t do it. I was too shy. (Right.) Now I’m thinking I was crazy not to take that dare. It was my concert afterall, right?
So anyway. As if being able to hostess the event wasn’t enough, Mindy invited me up to sing the finale song with her. … One of my finest moments, I’m sure.
This next photo cracks me up every time. Apparently, I was really getting into it. And now I know … I SOO do not sing with a pretty face like Mindy does!
The only thing I’m kicking myself over, besides not taking Frit’s dare, is that I don’t have more pictures. I guess I was just too hopped up on electricity and meeting everyone that this is all the documentation I have. But I so wish I had taken a crowd picture so you could actually see all 70 people in our living room. I’m amazed that we actually pulled that off. But as Frit reminded me, I can fit anything into any space. And it’s true. I can.
So thanks everyone for coming! It was one of the highlights of my year to put this show on and meet so many of you. And just so you know … we’re addicted to house concerts now. So stay tuned for more dates and more artists in the future.
p.s. the morning after the concert, we had to be at Channel 2 and Channel 4 bright and early for some media spots I booked for Mindy and her puppet friends to publicize the rest of the tour. Check out the ABC segment here: (Buzzy Snowman kills me!)
And because I was so happy that the babysister and her lovely ladies came … one more picture:
This morning I woke up so happy. So totally happy.
So I got out of bed, went to see if Frit was awake, (she was), and told her I was making a Starbucks run (in my jams & slippers, bedhead and all) to get us some necessary deliciousness to start this cold Saturday off right–a caramel apple spice for her and a hazelnut steamer for me.
When I got in the car and turned the ignition, the very first thing I heard were the very first notes of the awesomeness that is Wham!’s Christmas hit, “Last Christmas.”
This, only made me more happy. If that was even possible.
And now, I’m sharing that fantastic-ness with you.
Trust me. It will make you happy.
One of the best things about this song is that just when you think it should be over, there’s still four more chorus to go! And as for the video … I don’t even know where to begin … classic and awesome all rolled up in some seriously styled hair.
After bedhead and Starbucks, the rest of the afternoon included a new washing machine, a lot of photo shoot editing, and a matinee showing of The Muppets (GO see it!).
P.S. There’s just one week and a day until the Mindy Gledhill concert AT MY HOUSE! Have you gotten your tickets yet? CLICK HERE. They’re only $10/person until Dec. 12, and $15 the night of.
Quite honestly, there was more pie per capita than Thanksgiving turkey. But by golly, come Friday morning, I was sure glad to be greeted by a gratuitous slice of leftover pecan for breakfast. Fav.o.rite.
After morning pie (akin to morning to prayer), we traipsed up the mountainside, like we do every year, looking for the perfect tree. Oddly (gratefully) it wasn’t very cold with only a light, snowy mist in the air.
We weaved in and out of the firs and evergreens, up this way and then back that way, when quite fortuitously, and rather quickly (compared to years past), we found her. The perfect mix of whimsy, fullness, and Charlie Brown.
And just like that, Christmas had begun. Hip! Hip!
In honor of the newly opened yuletide season, I wanted to share the music video debut of “Winter Moon” by my friend, indie-singer/songwriter Mindy Gledhill. She just released a Christmas album, of the same title, and I’m in love love love with the whole darn thing. The collection, to me, is reminiscent of simple Christmases, dreamy and playful, with hints of delightful quirkiness. Her rendition of “Christmas Waltz” (Track 2) is hands down, my new favorite Christmas song. I had it on repeat for, oh, 2 hours or so last night. So I am quite confident when I say that I think this should be your 2011 Christmas CD purchase.
Find the album here (hard copy, on sale for $11.24 today) and here (iTunes, $9.99).
And if getting to share the music video wasn’t exciting enough! I have a copy of Winter Moon to giveaway to one of my readers! Just leave a comment below telling me your Christmas wish and I’ll randomly draw the winner next Friday night. ***This GIVEAWAY has ended: The winner is Brenda Taylor! Congrats Brenda!
Oh, but there’s more! I’m hosting a private house concert featuring Mindy and her stellar band (who are flying in all the way from LA for the show!) on Monday, December 12 at 8:00 p.m. You’re coming right?! The artist donation fee is $10 until December 12, or $15 at the door.
I’m over-the-Winter-Moon excited about this concert and am already scheming-dreaming the decorations and refreshments! Oh, how I hope you can come. If you have any questions, send me an email.
Now without further adieu, may I present Mindy Gledhill (+ a few surprise guests) singing the title track of her new album “Winter Moon” …