“Where I Am” Review by Shawn McLaughlin of Christian Musician Magazine

christianmusiccoverYet another debut from an independent artist, WHERE I AM is the work of singer/songwriter, Jen Haugland. For a debut project, the songwriting is very strong as a clear lyrical voice is established. Haugland displays a good sense of melody and does not necessarily default to obvious chord voicing and progressions. I really like the aggressive guitar work on “Deep Into You” and the sense of gradual building to a climactic moment.

The band that Haugland and producer, Eric Copeland pull together, featuring some of Nashville’s premiere session musicians, is pretty great and Copeland sensitively brings out the best in the arrangements, which are subtle where they need to be and appropriately atmospheric or moody when the moment calls for it. “The Storm”, “Where I Am” and “So Hard to Find” (especially) employ some sophisticated musical backdrops (some nice jazzy bits) that really dress the songs appropriately in melancholy finery.

The 60’s pastiche of “Little Bit Crazy” draws inspiration from The Beatles and even recalls female artists like Sara Bareilles and Francesca Battistelli. The project really sounds warm (thanks to engineer, Ronnie Brookshire) as if it was mostly recorded with analog equipment. Part of that may be that there is precious little electronic influence on the album. There are occasional loops and such but it meshes pretty seamlessly with the acoustic elements.

This record has a real human sound that meshes well with the lyrics, too. Lyrically, WHERE I AM is clearly made for a “churched” audience so it should garner significant radio play. From a purely artistic point of view, putting aside the considerations of sales/audience/radio play, I would like to see a little more tension between the spirit and the flesh…….maybe see the process of struggle a little more, as Haugland does quite effectively with the song “Loved You Well.” Lyrics of encouragement and hope are that much more effective contrasted with the pathos of pain. I really DO appreciate the fact that Haugland doesn’t avoid the deeper, darker subjects that are a part of the life of us all, Christian or not. – Shawn McLaughlin

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Chasing Answers – Part II

…(This is a continuation of Chasing Answers Part I).

In the intensity of the “not knowing” waiting for test results on your health to come back can be so stressful. Even when you try to turn the anxious thoughts over every day, every moment. Like I mentioned in the previous post, Part I, worrying about it doesn’t add a single hour to your life, in fact it does just the opposite, robs you of enjoying the moment, being in the present, is physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausting, and weighs you down.

I didn’t realize how much my worry over what was going on in my body was weighing me down, until I received the phone call from the Hematologist/Oncologist to reassure me right after my CT scans on a Tuesday afternoon, that no other blood clots or major concerns showed up in them. The things that did show up were “unremarkable”. I was so relieved. I like being unremarkable in this instance. So grateful to the doctor for calling me. He wanted to reassure me so I wouldn’t worry until my follow-up appointment that Friday. Is that not the grace of God in a moment of need?

I felt a huge weight lift from my shoulders. As much as I thought I had been turning things over and letting go and trusting God, the worries were still heavy enough that I felt the release of them after the phone call. The tension in my body left and I breathed a big sigh of thankfulness.

On Friday the answers were vague. All the blood tests were with in normal ranges and negative for the things I was concerned about. Another huge relief, but yet no answers to why I clot except that I have a genetic predisposition for it. This in a sense is an answer. Ok, that’s it. I need to live with it. I was born with it. Accept it. Be diligent with my medication and my testing. Take my testing equipment with me whenever I travel. Doctor’s orders while on long road trips, especially as I was leaving for my tour, to get out of the car every two hours and move around for a few minutes. Inconvenient, since I like to get in the car and just drive, drive, drive…but I have to do it.

I am grateful to know that there are no more major concerns. I am content to know that I just clot and that is the worst of it (although I wish I didn’t). I am blessed with good doctors and medical care so that I can manage this medical condition and still do most the things I like to do, except play with sharp objects and do dangerous, adventurous activities (sometimes I still do, I’m just a little more cautious). :)

I honestly don’t think we will ever be immune to worry or anxieties in this world. But God has given us a remedy for it, to manage it well:

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phillipians 4:4-7, NIV)

1. He is near. That is reassuring.

2. Bring your worry to Him – pray and petition Him with it.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask Him for what you need. He longs to hear from you.

4. Rejoice that no matter what, He holds all your answers, hears your prayers, wants you to trust Him with whatever He thinks you can go through, because He is near and He will be with you.

5. Be thankful. You have a place to go to for everything you need, because of your salvation in Christ Jesus.

6. He will give you His perfect peace when nothing makes sense. His peace will keep you and help you to stay focused when the storms swirl around you.

7. Not knowing keeps you trusting in Him and challenges you to let go of your control issues of wanting to know and to accept His control and will for your life.

8. When you are anxious, you can be irritable with life and with others. If you practice continual turning over of your worry to Him, His peace that He gives to you will allow you to have more grace and to be gentle with others.

And don’t forget…you are here for a purpose, even to be a testimony through your trials. Don’t let them take you off course when you are anxious and afraid. He has conquered death. He holds you in the palm of His hand. He will never leave or forsake you!

I am not chasing my answers right now. I am accepting the unknown. I’ll journey with you in your unknowns as we keep plugging along! Don’t give up!

 

New Merch – Pacific NW Series Postcards

More new merchandise for Jen’s Where I Am Tour!

A package of 10 inspirational photographs taken by Jen of places in the Pacific Northwest of Washington State with 10 inspirational messages themed to each song on her new album, Where I Am. On the backside is a light grey scale watermark of Jen’s new album cover and website url to her music ministry that you can share along with a note of encouragement to a friend or family member. Envelopes are included.

The set will be available at ministry events for $7.00. Again, we will make these available on the website after the tour this summer!

Photos/Messages on individual cards:

1. The new Tacoma Narrow’s Bridge “Intentionally”. (Song: Intentionally)

2. No day in the PNW is complete without a rainy day. “even rainy days when I haven’t got the words to say” (Song: Where I Am)

3. Sunrise from the Washington State Bainbridge Island Ferry heading to Seattle. “I get a different view of my day…and I’m not the same.” (song: Little Bit Crazy)

4. Grand Ridge Hiking Trail from Deer Park to Obstruction Point, Olympic National Park. “Today…where yesterday and tomorrow meet.” (Song: The In-Between)

5. Mountain Wildflowers, Olympic National Park. “You’re not too small or insignificant. Cherished & Blessed” (Song: So Hard To Find)

6. Marymere Falls Trail, Olympic Peninsula. “As my struggles shape and redefine me… They’re drawing me so near.” (Song: Deep Into You)

7. Washington State Edmonds Ferry to Kingston. “He Reconciles”. (Song: Loved You Well)

8. Sunset view from The Olympic Discovery Trail in Sequim across the Straits of Juan de Fuca to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. “If we keep our minds on You, You’ll bring Your perfect peace.” (Song: Peace)

9. Sunset breaking through storm clouds on Bainbridge Island. “Your love calls us to Remain”. (Song: The Storm)

10. Bird nest found in a bush in Jen’s backyard. “Be still enough to see. #ForAllTheWays”. (Song: For All The Ways)

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Compelled to Go

I can’t believe I’m doing this! I must be crazy!? I am just a semi-retired counselor and a mom and a worship leader and older and … who am I? My family says, “Just a little bit crazy!” (pun intended, but it’s true, that’s what they are saying). Why am I so compelled to go out there and do this? To take these songs I have written out on the road and share them? In one sense it’s frightening. In another sense, exhilarating. I liken it to when I did my first triathalon. Once I finished it, the sense of accomplishment was so overwhelming in a good way. At that moment I felt like there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do, if I put my mind to it and God’s will is in it. I am a child of God and I love Him. I want to BE His will in my life. I find my salvation in Christ alone. This is what my blog ministry stands for: “No Longer Opposed”.

Paul said these words to Timothy as he started his ministry and it is this scripture that I will cling to as I am now embarking on this journey with my official Where I Am Tour. I am compelled to follow God’s will in my life for everything He has done for me, including creating me for His good pleasure. I would rather fear Him due to His awesomeness and greatness than to ever look around me and fear what others may think of me. I am on earth for God’s purposes, not my own. Please pray for me to keep this front and center and pray for me while I am on the road ’til I return home.

“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” (2 Timothy 1:6-14 ESV)

God has entrusted a calling to my heart. I don’t know why He has chosen me to go forward with this, in my fear of facing the giant world out there I say, “Lord, I am too small!” but I know he has equipped me. Therefore I say, “here I am God, send me!” I somehow find His favor by His grace… “Thank you, Jesus, for this opportunity to serve you and your kingdom. I know you go with me…before me, behind me and beside me. The battle is Yours and I will stand. I will be strong and courageous because Your Spirit lives in me and makes me strong and courageous. I will share the hope that is within me with others. May Your love abound more and more in my heart, so that I will learn to love your people the way You love them.” Amen

The Great Adventure has begun! I am so excited to see what God will have in store for me. I will be traveling for nearly 6 weeks without my family, but will be seeing many friends and extended family along the journey! Please, if you think of me, pray for my safety and for God to do His will through me at every stop I make! See you on the the road! And if I don’t see you, be sure to pick up the new CD “Where I Am” through my store here on the website and be refreshed and inspired!

Love and blessings!

~Jen

 

New Merch – Little Bit Crazy T-Shirt

Another new merch item is ready to travel on the Where I Am Tour with me! These awesome T-Shirts are just a “little bit crazy” with the infamous trombone from the solo in the middle of the song, Little Bit Crazy (hear the new song at http://JenHaugland.com/music ). Scripture verse reference: Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

The t-shirts come in L, XL & XXL and are made of a nice comfy soft pre-shrunk 65% polyester/35% cotton material. They are unisex with the men’s style in black with gold & white ink and the women’s heather grey with baby blue & pink ink.

They will be for sale at concerts for $20.

(We will make them available online after the tour.)

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New Merch – Don’t Cry Over Spilled Coffee

The new merchandise has rolled in for the Where I Am Tour! They are not available online yet, but after the tour we will work on that!

This is the new coffee mug:

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Don’t cry over spilled coffee…It’s still gonna be a good day!

For the crazy coffee drinker or tea drinker that wants to make fun of coffee drinkers: Don’t cry over spilled coffee…It’s still gonna be a good day! (Outside stain included so you can “get over it” quicker and carry on with the day!) P.S. Don’t forget to shrug your shoulders. #newsong #LittleBitCrazy #seriouscoffeemug #sorrycoffeenotincluded #changeyourperspective #jenhauglandmusic #jenhaugland #WhereIAm #Tour #newmerch Yes, I’m a #mentalhealth #counselor #singersongwriter #newalbum #WhereIAm #newmusic #Christian #contemporary