Spent a beautiful southern California Memorial Day with family and friends for a picnic and swim party. There was good food and good company. At 3:00pm I reminded everyone present to take a moment to remember those who sacrificed their lives for this country because that's what Memorial Day is about.
I came home to find a song to commemorate the day and found this article about two Army Rangers who wrote this touching song and just released the video for Memorial Day.
Heard these lovely ladies on the radio tonight as I drove home from rehearsals in LA. Doing a little murder mystery dinner show at a small club in North Hollywood. They were in need of an actress when the original performer fell ill. I got to step in and am having fun with this small group. Excited to be "performing in L.A." And NO, there was no pretension in that... ok, so maybe a little... a lot.
But back to the music. I heard this trio on the radio and was drawn in by their harmonies. Came home to look them up and found some AMAZING music! The harmonies just kill me! Seriously, I had a hard time choosing which song to share, but this is their most recent and I thought it a good first choice. They're on tour right now, but, much to my dismay, nowhere near L.A! Somebody, please fix this!
In the meantime, I'm gonna share more by these sisters. They are so good!
Robert Elllis visited NPR Music's office for a Tiny Desk Concert. So glad he did. His new album, Robert Ellis, releases June 3. I know I've shared "Drivin'" previously, but this version is stripped down and, again, I'm floored by the guitar work.
You get three songs today, to make up for not posting while I was visiting with family...
My dad's been gone almost nine months. Hard to believe at times... For his memorial, I created a video montage of family photos and music to celebrate his memory and our history. I hope to go back to tweak a few places and tighten it up and share it one day. One day. I want to be able to play it for my grandchildren so they'll have an idea of the man he was and the legacy that they now continue. People tell me time and time again, they all look like me. It's the Carmona genes...
I posted a song by this artist earlier this year after my granddaughter was born. It was a perfect discovery and spoke to my heart at that emotional time.
Discovered this video on NPR this evening and heard it speaking to my heart as well. I loved the video and found the music, as it builds, overwhelming. The transition just sucks you in. I realized I had to share this one as well.
Gregory Alan Isakov's music fascinates me.
I caught this video a few days ago and thought it worth sharing. It's another visually stunning video, mournfully beautiful... And the words... heartbreaking.
But if we're strong enough
To let it in
We're strong enough
To let it go
Of course, there's a part of me thinking that it's representative of me mourning my beautiful hair. Long story. Let it all go...
I attend the 5:30 PM Saturday evening service at Grace Baptist Church here in Santa Clarita. It's a more relaxed service, and by relaxed I mean I can wear jeans and maybe go without makeup. The worship is led by strong vocals accompanied by guitar and drums followed by an exciting time in the Word. I love this service.
One of the hard things about leaving Modesto was that I was leaving a church that I had come to love. I loved the preaching. I loved the worship. I loved the fellowship. I loved this people of God. It was community for me and I was moving away from it. I was forlorn to say the least.
As I settled in here in my new home, I attended a couple of churches here in Santa Clarita. I prayed to find that church where I could commit to fellowship and community, where I could be used to build up the body, but nothing...quite...clicked. I finally decided to attend Grace and found that this was where God was calling me. They actually have a process for becoming a member. It's called Journey to Grace and I'm taking those steps and am excited about the journey.
I still miss my old church, but it's not because I don't have here what I had there. God is seeing to that. Maybe 'miss' isn't the right word. What I mean is that it was a defining time for me because it helped me see through all my misconceptions of what being a Christian meant. I was focused for so many years on being a GOOD Christian that I lost sight of Christ, you might say. So much of what I was doing was about me and trying to be a better person, a better Christian. And I was failing miserably. My hope was fixed on my efforts.
Redeemer pointed me back to Christ. It helped me see the Gospel anew for what it was. It was about God and His Glory and about Christ and the Good News that He had come to take our sin upon Himself allowing us to come before a holy God clothed in His righteousness. It was about finding my acceptance, my security, my purpose, and value and significance in Christ. I realized I don't have to transform myself. He is doing the transforming. My hope isn't in my efforts, but in His work and His acceptance of me.
So that's just a smidgen of what Redeemer Church has meant to me. I'm forever grateful for that family of crazy believers who loved on me and refreshed and helped this pilgrim along the way.
And now I'm here... in Santa Clarita... at Grace Baptist. And my hope is in Christ.
We sang this at church last night.
Heard Passenger on the radio this afternoon. I couldn't catch the song, but I knew his voice. Hadn't heard him in a while, so looked him up and found this video that was taped earlier this year. Glad I did. It makes me want to smile and cry at the same time. The music is so lovely and then you listen to the words and your heart breaks. And the harmonies.
You need to hear it and Michael did say to share it...
Went to dinner with my daughter and her family tonight and wound up taking the three boys to get ice cream while mama and dada finished their dinner in peace.
The two older boys chose what they wanted. I got a small scoop of vanilla for the two-year-old (yeah, it's plain...too bad, so sad!) and a vanilla shake for myself (ditto what I said previously).
We sat there talking about this and that and I don't remember how the conversation got to how old I was but Maseo, who had done a report on Sitting Bull and knew he died around the age of 59 said he wanted me to live longer. Uriah said he wanted me to become old like Papa, who died at 92. I laughed at my beautiful boys. They want their Gaga to stick around...
I heard this song on the way home after dropping them off at their home and realized it was a new song by Mumford & Sons. As I listen to it now while I'm writing this, I'm reminded of the conversation with my boys. I don't know if I'll have the time with them as my dad had with his grandchildren. I will have time with them, by God's grace.
One of the things that I miss being here and not there (here being southern California and there being... well, everywhere else, it seems) is the rainy season. Seriously, the rainy season here is a week, maybe... and not even a straight week. It's made up of a day here and a day there that totals a week, but not a solid week. Sigh.
I miss the rain. I miss the cold cloudy, blustery days that I found... everywhere else but here. Now, there are blustery days here, don't get me wrong. I've been quite fascinated, if that's the right word, by the Santa Ana winds that blow through here, scared even when a strong gust almost knocks me over as I'm walking along on the sidewalks at work.
All that aside, I have enjoyed the last few days of relatively mild weather with cool mornings and not-too-hot afternoons. I switched my set of CDs on my player and have been enjoying listening to them in the evening as I write or on a Saturday as I putter around the apartment, cleaning, doing laundry, generally straightening up from the previous week. I like to think I'm settling in here in So Cal. I keep meaning to do some exploring and I know I will, eventually. In the meantime, I am enjoying being close to my daughter and grandbabies and being able to help when she needs. Of course, that will change once I start auditioning again...
In the meantime, here's one of the songs from one of the CDs in my player.
Heard this song and knew I needed to share it today. Today was Mother's Day and I had the privilege of going and spending time with some other moms for a single mother's day luncheon that was hosted by my daughter's pastor's wife. I was there as a storyteller, sharing a storytime with the younger children. I loved being there, visiting with other women, talking and sharing life with them.
I'm a single mother myself, having raised a daughter pretty much by myself for most of her life. By God's Grace, shown through friends and family, I have been able to raise up a beautiful young woman who now has a family of her own.
Jesus was the son of a single mother...of sorts. Joseph married her, but you have to know there were whispers about the timing of Jesus' birth. He then died a most scandal-ridden death, death on a cross. Scandal at his birth and scandal at his death.
And yet, both speak of great Grace, that reached down into the muck and the mire of humanity with hope and love. That hope and love reached a most muck-covered and mire-blemished young woman and raised her up, not by her efforts, but completely by God's scandalous Grace. And I stand because of Him, and I praise Him for that scandalous Grace.
Ok, so... I went looking for a song that would help celebrate Mother's Day... But then I found this article about Keith Urban... Those eyes...! They literally sucked me in and I had to read the article and I had to share this song.
Now, remember. I don't like country, but I really like Keith Urban. I love his music and he's not at all hard on the eyes; quite lovely, in fact. And his music, though it may be classified as country... seriously, it's so much more.
And now that I think about it, this might be a nice Mother's Day present after all. Happy Mother's Day!
Mark the date and time!
Rhett, the youngest grandson, the 2-year-old, the one who used to treat me like the babysitter when I showed up at his home because he knew it meant mama was leaving and then would run screaming to his mama... Rhett is asleep in the next room, here at Gaga's house! Of course, it took his older brother, Maseo, spending the night at Gaga's to get him to consider it, but he's here. And he's asleep in the next room and Gaga is a happy Gaga.
Of course that leads up to this song because I just caught up with this week's episode of Grey's Anatomy and the custody battle between Arizona and Callie and it's hard. My heart hurts for little Sofia. My heart hurts for them all.
And then I think of my baby boys in the next room and I cry tears of gratefulness and then I pray for them and their mama and dada. I love my babies, all of them. And I am grateful that I can be called a mom and Gaga. I am truly blessed this Mother's Day and I pray you are blessed this Mother's Day as well.
All we need, all we need is hope.
And we will rise.
Steve Martin has written a musical. Ok, so he did it with Edie Brickell. Still, I am again amazed at this man's breadth of creativity. I fell in love with his comedy years ago watching his stand-up routines and then his skits on SNL.
I fell in love with his movies. L.A. Story remains one of my MOST favorite movies with it's hilarious parody of southern California. Now that I live here, I get to witness it first-hand and I love the movie all the more.
I then got to fall in love with his forays into bluegrass. The man plays banjo, and I mean he plays it. Then I heard he'd written a musical with Edie Brickell. They produced an album together in 2013 and that somehow has led to them creating this musical, Bright Star.
This song is from that musical, having been assembled into an original Broadway cast recording. I love this video. Hannah Elless, who is in the Broadway production, is truly a one-woman band.
5/3/16 UPDATE: Bright Star received FIVE Tony nominations today, for Best Musical, Best Book, Best Original Score (the cast recording was just released last week), Best Actress for Carmen Cusak and Best Orchestrations for August Eriksmoen. - KPBS.org
Running errands with my middle grandson in the car the other day. I was flipping through radio stations and came upon this song and Uriah said he liked this song, so I left it on and turned it up. Suddenly, he's singing along with the chorus. I almost started to laugh, but I caught myself in time, because he was quite serious in his singing. It was really cute listening to him singing along with the song. He's seven, by the way...
I asked him how he knew the song and he heard it from his older brother. Maseo's eight.
My babies are growing up!!
Ok, so some...well, everybody would call this a love song, a wedding song even. I call it a love song, too... but the person to whom I'm singing it... well, she's just a little bundle of sunshine and joy, and her name is Charis Marie, and she's my beautiful brand-new granddaughter. Yeah, she's three weeks old now, but she's still so tiny and smells so wonderfully and snuggles so peacefully on my chest when I hold her. And I get to hold her. And I get to love her. And my heart is almost bursting as I think of it.
Two years ago, I shared another love song, a wedding song even, that I heard on the way down to meet my youngest grandson when he was born. My heart broke when I heard it and I knew it would be our song, Rhett's and mine. Oh, I hear you laughing, but yes, I will play that song when he gets older and I will tell him...that it is OUR song. And I will dare to dream that I will hear it played at his wedding.
But today's song is for Charis. And when she gets older I will tell her this is OUR song. And I will again dare to dream that I will hear this song played at her wedding. A Gaga can dream can't she...
But I pray, too. I pray for their future spouses just as I prayed for my own daughter's future spouse when she was but a little girl. And my heart bursts with joy when I see how God answered those prayers.
Gonna be this way for a while... He was another icon who, though he didn't occupy the forefront of my memory, skirted the sidelines, influencing by his presence...in the shadows...
“Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night, sweet prince;
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. ”
Another icon has fallen. Another sad day filled with reminiscences. Found this song, a tribute to another fallen icon and was completely thrashed by the beauty of Prince's skill with a guitar. Thought it fitting to memorialize this great artist.
"Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night, sweet Prince; And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest."
It's 4.7 miles from my house to my daughter's house. Have been there every evening after work the past couple of weeks as she recovers from a C-Section and now pneumonia. Yeah, not sure where THAT came from, but she's pretty wiped. So I pick up around the house, do dishes, laundry, bathe babies, whatever is needed to help daddy keep the household of six functioning while momma gets back on her feet.
The drive home is when I can catch new stuff on the radio... sometimes. Some nights it's just noise.
Other nights, I get lucky. Tonight was a good night. I heard a song I liked and thought worth sharing here.
The glory of God is shining through the Bible.The Spirit of God enlightens the eyes of our heart. And in one self-authenticating sight, our mind is sure, and our heart is satisfied. Justified certainty and solid joy meet in the peculiar glory of God. --A Peculiar Glory by John Piper
Heard this on the radio as I was driving home from Mandy's tonight. It's a Friday night after a long busy week which followed another busy, busy week since the birth of my beautiful granddaughter. Not that I haven't loved EVERY minute holding her and helping my daughter with my grandsons and the housework. I love my beautiful daughter and I love helping her however I can, changing diapers, bathing babies, doing laundry or dishes.
Nevertheless, I'm tired. Was happy to be driving home on this Friday night to unwind, wind down, have a glass of wine. Heard this song and I liked the beat. Don't recall hearing it before, and thought it worth sharing. Friday night rocks, on the way home to my comfy bed...
NPR Music delivered again. Looking for a song to share tonight and scrolled through the "Songs We Love" section of the website. Came across this artist and saw that he was from Houston. Well.. since he was from Texas... and being as I'm from Texas... I figured I should give a listen.
Literally got goosebumps with the guitar opening... and then he started singing...
His latest album drops June 3. Must need hear more.
I heard this song on the radio this evening. Hadn't shared anything from Ed Sheeran of late, so I looked for a video of this song. Glad I did, because it seems pretty relevant, considering all my reminiscences of late; looking at and wondering about all my babies, where this life will lead them, their steps, their adventures. So glad to be part of that journey, to help them along the way.
"This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." - Acts 4:11-12
What a week it has been. Seeing and holding my newborn granddaughter and watching my one and only girl holding her has been a breathtaking highlight. Hearing that Merle Haggard had passed this week as well has provided quite the counterpoint. Maybe it's because my daddy is gone and he and I both loved Merle Haggard and I realize my baby granddaughter will never get to know her Papa... I have to admit the loss of Merle has been hard. Legends have passed in the forms of my daddy and Merle. An era is fast disappearing. I guess staring mortality in the face does this to you. I miss my daddy. I'm so grateful for my baby girl's baby girl.
My second born grandson was so excited that she had dark hair like him. She resembles him the most of my grandchildren, a more petite version. My dad would have been so excited to know about her and meet her. I remember him talking about Maseo and Uriah. He said Maseo was the white boy, with his blue eyes and blond hair and Uriah was the Mexican, with his dark hair and brown eyes. He was fascinated by the combination. He was so surprised by Rhett, blond CURLY hair and brown eyes. This little brunette girl would have made him laugh. We don't yet know her eye color...
Thinking about you this week, Dad...
Leave it to a car commercial to trigger memories and thoughts about life and its cycle now that my baby granddaughter has been born. I was beyond thrilled when each of my boys were born, but a girl... say it with me, paradigm shift. I gotta get used to pink again, and frills and bows and accessories.
I never knew my grandparents. I was so fortunate that my daughter knew my parents and even more fortunate and grateful that they invested so much of themselves into her life. And now, I hope that I can be half the grandma to this baby girl that my mom was to my own daughter...
And the cycle of life continues.
We lost a great one today. I've shared before that country music was the music of my childhood. Merle Haggard was one of the icons of that childhood. His influence on me continued long after I left country music behind. He was an outlaw.
I also shared about going to see him with my parents at the Saddle Rack in San Jose and the wonderful memory that it was.
I used this song as part of my dad's memorial video. He loved Merle Haggard and he loved this song and listening to it reminds me of him these days. I miss my dad.
I love this version. Rest in peace, Merle.