New Release – Rest (Matthew 11:28-30)

Finding yourself weak and weary? Disheartened, fearful, or forgotten? Condemned, falsely accused, or persecuted?

I want to encourage you with a new song  released today called Rest, based on Matthew 11:28-30.

rest3

Rest is a worshipful, contemporary hymn straight out of the Scripture with a creative twist reminiscent of the 70’s. It is a collaboration between myself, and veteran Nashville songwriters, Joe Beck & Chaz Bosarge, inviting you to come and find the rest you need.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

We are sons and daughters of the King, holy vessels that are set apart. And even though the darkness deepens and casts it shadows…trust in Him. Come. Take His yoke upon you and learn from Him. He is gentle and lowly in heart. His yoke is easy and His burden light.

Find comfort and rest.

Blessings, Jen

Rest is available on iTunes and CD Baby, and will soon be out on all other digital distribution sites.

One Life – demo (official lyric video)

Friends, we are in desperate times as a church right now to be authentic, genuine followers of Christ. As a believer in America where we have so much free access to the Bible and so many opportunities to share Christ, we can easily grow complacent, while other members of the Body around the world have been driven underground and risk their lives to live out the Gospel.

I recently attended the screening of The Insanity of God, a new documentary coming out, to call us to consider the cost of following Jesus. It was humbling to say the least. Whether we are persecuted or not, we are all one Church, the Body of Christ.

The Gospel has always been free and sometimes we can think we should be silenced, because we don’t want to offend others, or we could risk losing friendships, family, or jobs. The Enemy of God rejoices in our silence and political correctness in regards to privatizing our faith. Complacency leads to apathy, which is not good for us as believers. It is time for us to wake-up and jump off our fence. It’s time to count the cost.

We are a privileged country and whether our rights remain or are taken away from us, the Gospel of Jesus is still free. The Church is thriving in China, North Korea, Russia and other Muslim countries. Persecution, as horrendous as it is, still will never separate us from Christ. In fact, it will make us stronger believers, refining us, making us bold witnesses for Jesus.

One Life is a song idea I had when I felt like I was growing complacent in my own life. I had let disappointment in the politics of church, sideline me at times. But somehow, I think none of that would matter if my focus truly remained in the right place: on Jesus.

I want to live every moment like it counts. I want to spread His love, because I know it is the only kind of love that breaks down all barriers. I want to sacrifice all that I have, because of the example that was shown to me: giving is what life is all about. Christ gave His life for me, so that I might live. What am I willing to give for Him?

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” Romans 1:15a

This song I am sharing with you is a co-write with my buddy, Scott Liebenow, from Chicago. We believe in this song so much that we wanted to make a demo of it and get it out there by way of a lyric video, so that the Church could be encouraged everywhere…right now. And we give it freely to you. We are honored to have another songwriting friend and demo vocalist here in Nashville, Amanda Kinner, sing on this…and her voice is just so heavenly.

Please help us out, by spreading this song to the farthest corners of the earth. We only have one life to live, one life to give and we need to offer it up to Him, so that the world will know how wonderful He is!

May God bless you wherever you are right now, and awaken your Spirit for His glory!

Love, Jen

Behind The Songs – A Still and Quiet Night

Christmas Single – A Still and Quiet Night

One of the biggest (and I think), most difficult places to show the love of Christ is to our spouse: in which we have many opportunities to practice grace, allowing iron to sharpen iron to mature and prepare us for future glory.

In marriage, many couples face an unintentional drift as they prepare for the Empty Nest. For many years the focus of the union has been on the children and as they prepare to leave, and once the children are out the door husbands and wives have to rediscover each other once more. There may have been preconceived ideas of what the latter years were going to look like and once we are there, we find it is nothing like we had dreamed out. We may question, who is this person I live with? And sadly, over 50% become divorced. They even have a term for this kind of divorce in these latter years: Gray Divorce.

But there are ways to be intentional to try and close the gap as you transition into the next phase of your marriage relationship and to inoculate it against the “D word”. It is an intentional turning into one another, finding things in common, appreciating new direction for one another, etc.  A Still and Quiet Night is not only a song of memories of the way things were when the children were little and growing up at home, but also an acknowledgement of the loss of our grown babies. Christmas seems to be the time, as it comes at the end of a calendar year, where we take more account of our lives. Where are we in life? What happened? Where did the years go? We miss our kids! Now it’s just us and we aren’t sure we like each other right now!

Questions like these, can take us on a journey at Christmas to learn how to create new memories of what love is about. Times change, children leave, traditions change, we are older, it’s quieter in the house, we are more gray, balding or wrinkled, finding ourselves more lonely…but love always remains if we invite it in.

What greater time than at Christmas to reflect on the love that God has for us by sending Himself to us in the form of a baby, Jesus the Christ, Emmanuel, reconciling us to Himself. Christ reminds us of what love is and He brings His peace into our hearts through His Holy Spirit, giving us the ministry of reconciliation. It is the interpretation of this love, lived out in real life that finds us rediscovering each other in a new light; and therefore, making new memories for our future.
 
Production Notes:

IMG_9983
My producer Eric Copeland (Creative Soul Records) and I worked on this song as a co-write this last Summer of July 2014, as I was touring across the country with my new album project, Where I Am. We met up at Word Entertainment in one of the writing rooms and I shared my ideas of the first verse with him. He started to town on a melody idea for the arrangement and came up with a beautiful interlude of Silent Night, Holy Night in the middle of the song.

Eric didn’t know it, but Silent Night was one of the very first songs that my brother and I learned to sing in German for our German grandparents. We recorded it on a little tape recorder for our Oma and Opa when we were very young (possibly around 6 and 4) and when they received the cassette tape, they were overjoyed to hear their American grandchildren singing in their native tongue. So that is a very special part in the song for me, that holds wonderful memories of my own childhood and heritage.

We started the lyrics on the 2nd verse trying to be mindful of what it might look like to revive a marriage by bringing a little romance back into it at Christmastime. We finished up the second verse long distance and then sent it off for production. I love the creativity that all the players brought to this project and one of my most favorite parts in the song, is a bass part in “not a creature stirs or makes another sound”.

A Still and Quiet Night

Jen Haugland & Eric Copeland ©2014 Jen Haugland Music (ASCAP) & From the Moment Music (BMI)

V1

All the moments that we sit around the tree

Hold our memories of everything that used to be

To see our little ones their eyes so opened wide

As they stared at all the pretty bulbs so bright

 

PC

Oh where did the years go, now that they’ve all moved on

And it’s just the two of us in this big house all alone

 

Ch

Turn down the lights

Pull me closer to your side

We can make new memories

In a still and quiet night

Don’t be surprised

As I stare into your eyes

We can find ourselves in love

In a still and quiet night

 

V2

As we find ourselves here sitting by the fire

And an ember sparks a warmth of new desire

While the snow falls silent outside on the ground

Not a creature stirs or makes another sound

 

PC2

So this is our moment, now that they’ve all moved on

And it’s just the two of us in this big house all alone

 

Ch

Turn down the lights

Pull me closer to your side

We can make new memories

In a still and quiet night

Don’t be surprised

As I stare into your eyes

We can find ourselves in love

In a still and quiet night

 

Instrumental Interlude – Silent Night, Holy Night

 

PC2

So this is our moment, now that they’ve all moved on

And it’s just the two of us in this big house all alone

 

Ch

Turn down the lights

Pull me closer to your side

We can make new memories

In a still and quiet night

Don’t be surprised

As I stare into your eyes

We can find ourselves in love

In a still and quiet night

We can find ourselves in love

In a still and quiet night

 

*Honorable Mention, Cindy Wilt Colville Excellence in Songwriting Award – CMS NW 2014

 

Session Players (and, by the way, the guys behind Player A):

John Hammond (drums/percussion)

Gary Lunn (bass)

Mark Baldwin (guitar)

Eric Copeland (keys)

Ronnie Brookshire (Engineering & Mixing)

 

Behind The Songs – Loved You Well

Can’t think of a better way to welcome in a release of a new album than to end Behind The Songs with Loved You Well! Releasing here on the West Coast on CD Baby in less than 15 minutes! Already released on iTunes!!! Woo hoo!

Track 10. Loved You Well

1. Craig & Jen Wedding Day 1987This was both a painful song to write and a liberating, healing song to write. Let me expound…

After 13 years of marriage (married August 1, 1987) and 3 children: 12, 9 & 3, we were divorced. A few months later saw us far away in the high desert of Colorado Springs, CO trying to see if we could put the pieces back together again. We had everything to gain and nothing to lose, since we had already lost everything. Let me say, that God’s grace is sufficient. He is a VERY BIG God and can do anything, including reconciling broken marriages, first by reconciling the two to Himself, and then to each other. Which is what God did for my husband and me.

It was the hardest thing we have ever done to allow Him to work in our hearts and to learn how to die to ourselves, removing any sense of entitlement of “it’s not fair”. Likewise, the cross wasn’t fair. But He (Christ Jesus), willingly laid down His life for us and then gloriously raised it back up again. It really is the hardest thing to lay down your life for another human being when you have been treated in a way that is poor. But in our instance it was mutual. We both were horrible at loving each other unconditionally. We had so much to learn about what Christ did at the cross for us. What true love meant. I learned in our counseling (it was quite the epiphany, although seems like a “no-brainer”), that the same God that died for me, also died for my husband and all his sins and failures.

A cloud of witnesses rejoiced along with our children and parents. We were re-married on August 16, 2000, making every wrong right, and our lives became sold out to Christ as a result. Our children made strong commitments to Christ and to purity, including our daughters who made vows to remain pure until marriage; they saved their first kiss for the altar with their husbands and greatly honored their father and me (their brother is following in their footsteps).

6. Restored Haugland Family 2000

Reconciled and re-married, August 16, 2000.

I realize that not every relationship can turn around and find a place of reconciliation like ours did. That is the reality of a fallen world. But God takes us where we are at, even when we fail and the other person gives up or we give up. Sometimes the damage is too great. It takes both partners to be willing to work through their pain and come back together again. This is what we chose, and our lives were never the same again, nor our children’s lives and we have no regrets when we have seen the outcomes.

On August 16, 2000 we re-married each other and it’s been another 13 and 1/2 years. It will be 27 years this August (we still count all the years), but the kids like to celebrate the first anniversary because then it means that they count. Craig and I like to celebrate the second one because it was the one we worked the hardest for. To simplify things, we celebrate from August 1 – August 16! 🙂

Here we are now, still plugging along. I’d like to say it get’s easier, sometimes it does, but other times, it gets just as challenging as we face milestones such as job changes, retirement, marrying off adult children and becoming empty nesters. Even stepping out in faith with this music ministry has been a great challenge to us. I know that the Enemy of God does not want to see us be successful for the Kingdom. So we dig our heels in a little deeper, cling on to our faith a bit tighter and try to trust Him through all the unknowns. He doesn’t guarantee that there will be no pain (in fact, He assures it) but He guarantees that He will never leave us and that He will carry us through the hard times…if we let Him.

What might it look like if we learned to love each other well? Not just our spouses, but even our family members, friends and then our enemies (those who are set against us). Will people that watch us, know that we are Christians because we choose to love each other well to the finish, or do we end up like those who have no hope? Where is our hope? Is our God big enough for us?

Finish well by loving well, if you are able…

Last - Haugland Family EP Release Party 2012

Haugland Family – Jen’s Your Love Comes After Me EP Release Party 2012

Loved You Well

©2013 Jen Haugland and Eric Copeland
Jen Haugland Music (ASCAP)/From The Moment Music (BMI)

V1
When I fail to hear you speak
And I grow tired when things look bleak
Too careless with words

Swallow pride and lay down my life
It’s such a painful sacrifice
But He said He was enough

Ch
If I loved you with a heart
Loved you with some grace
Loved you ‘til the end of days
What a finish
And loved you when it’s hard
Even with our scars
Because we’re both created
In His image

Then I’ll know I loved you well
Oh I’ll know I loved you well
Yeah I’ll know I loved you well
Oh I’ll know I loved you well

V2
There’s no guarantee we’ll last
As we struggle with the past
The lines have been drawn

I have bought the lie and found
There’s a truth that brings me ‘round
That He reconciles

Ch

Session Players
Mark Baldwin (guitar)
Gary Lunn (bass)
Eric Copeland (keys)
Brian Green (orchestration)

Behind The Songs – Intentionally

2 days left (sort of)… !!!

Track 9. Intentionally

It’s a good thing you can’t see me right now, because I am starting to cry as I write about this one. I am not sure if it’s because I know my CD is releasing in less the 48 hours or because of this song that I am going to tell you about.

I hope my son doesn’t read this…(jk)

Actually, this song was inspired by my wonderful son, Nathanael. He, like you and me, was born wonderful in God’s image. I always longed for a son and God gave us one on our last try! We call him our love child! We didn’t know it when he was born or when he was younger, but Nate is on the Autism Spectrum and was diagnosed later in life (6th grade) with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, NOS. Basically, Asperger’s type.

When we didn’t know for sure what was going on with him, he struggled to find his meaning and purpose in his identity. He LOVED Jesus at a very early age and accepted him when he was only 4 years old and baptized soon after. He loves to have deep theological discussions about his faith and God. But he also knew there was something different about himself. He thought he was stupid. He couldn’t have been further from the truth. He started being bullied in elementary school and middle school. In first grade we took him to Children’s Hospital in Seattle and they knew he had some type of cognitive impairment but they just

Nate when he was in 5th grade

Nate when he was in 5th grade

couldn’t put their finger on it. Nate also struggled with a developmental vision issue where he couldn’t see things in stereo if his eyes or brain were fatigued, and was also diagnosed with strabismus. He had balance and coordination issues and just wasn’t your athletic kiddo, no matter how much we had hoped. He was very down on himself and would get very depressed and angry.

I missed it as a therapist when he was little, but had started putting all the pieces together and by the time he was in 6th grade, we pursued the evaluation. Sure enough, the diagnosis was confirmed. It was hard to diagnose it though, because with our parenting abilities, we were able to extinguish some of the behaviors he had that would have been more identifiable in assessment (the eye contact, biting on the arm, banging of the head on the wall, rocking, etc.). It wasn’t until we had the firm diagnosis that he began to understand more about himself and actually how intelligent he really was! And it was at this time that we were able to help affirm him even more about who he was (and is) in Christ.

One day Nate and I were driving home from my picking him up from school. The leaves were turning their fall colors and he said something really profound. It was at that moment, I was inspired with these words. I said to him, “Nate, do you know that God made you intentionally and that He has a purpose for your life? He knew you were going to have Autism and that you needed parents like your dad and I to help you get everything you need to be successful in this world.”

Nate had been resentful from some of the ABA tutoring we had put him through the couple of years earlier, but at this time he told me how much he had appreciated all that we were doing. He spoke of insights he had about himself and how he noticed similar behaviors in other kids that he met, that were like him. I was so amazed at what he was learning. He was finally getting it. He was learning that he was just fine the way he was. He was becoming resilient in his identity.

After finishing the song (Nate had heard portions of it with me writing it here at home) and getting the ruff track back from Nashville, I asked him if he was ready to hear it. Of course, he was. We laid on the floor in the Great Room here and stared up at the ceiling while I played the track on the Bose speakers for him. After we listened to the song, he said, “Mom, that’s me!” I looked over at him and said, “Yes, Nate, that is you! And God made you so wonderful!”

This song is general enough in the lyrics to speak to anyone who has a developmental, mental, emotional or physical disability. For those who are broken-hearted, who feel worthless and believe that no one loves them. God loves you so VERY much! He gave you His Son, Jesus, so that you can become whole in Him. No one can take away who you are in Christ. He loves you just as you are. You have meaning and purpose and He wants to reveal that to you. Don’t ever give up. Don’t throw your life away or try to end it. You are a great treasure! Do not seek the praise of man or let others determine your worth, instead, believe what God says about who you are. You are fearfully and wonderfully made! He knew you before He knitted you in your mother’s womb. He created you in His image and of all of His creations in nature (which He said were GOOD), He said you are VERY GOOD! Read about yourself in Psalm 139!

Ask Him into your heart today, by asking for forgiveness. Let Him show you how much He loves you. You are not your disability or your past. You are beautiful…a precious child of God.

9. Intentionally
©2013 Jen Haugland
Jen Haugland Music (ASCAP)

V1
What’s the matter on your heart
A little trouble in your soul?
I’d like to draw it out of you
And be there to help you sort it out

PC
I know He loves you so and I’m hoping you will know
Nothing ever happens by chance

Ch
For you were made so intentionally
There’s purpose in your life, ev’ry detail’s in His hands
With all the beauty of your intricacies
Nothing’s ever wasted, I know He understands
Because He made you so intentionally

V2
If you could step outside yourself
And get another point of view
See the precious child of God
That I see in you

PC
I know He loves you so and I’m hoping you will know
Nothing ever happens by chance

Ch

Bridge
Every hurt that you have been through, all the things you know you did were wrong
Can bring you one step closer to where you belong

Ch

Blair Masters

Blair Masters

Mark Baldwin & Gary Lunn

Mark Baldwin & Gary Lunn

Session Players

Mark Baldwin (guitar)
Gary Lunn (bass)
Blair Masters (keys)
Ken Lewis (drums)

Behind The Songs – Peace

Okay, getting seriously excited here…3 more days!!! Counting down to the release, this Tuesday, May 6th!!!

Track 8. Peace

When I first brought my song ideas to Eric, this was the very first song that I showed him that he liked immediately. I already had the first verse written. This is the one song on the album that was specifically written to reflect a specific scripture (not that the others haven’t been themed off of scriptures).

“You will keep in perfect peace, Him whose mind is stayed on you.” Isaiah 26:3

I love this scripture, because it is so reassuring to me in my mind that when things are crazy and chaotic around me, as long as my mind is focused on Christ and not the extraneous things happening around me, everything will be just fine. And it really is a peaceful “letting go” feeling. I thought of the things that make me peaceful inside: being in nature, playing my piano, and reading my Bible. There are others, but these are probably the most significant.

I live in such a beautiful place of the Pacific Northwest and out in the country, so that when it’s dark out at night, I can look up at the sky and see the stars and how beautifully they light up the sky. They make the expanse look so big and it is not difficult to imagine God’s greatness and His glory. It reminds me that He is in control of the universe, and everything that happens on this planet is in the palm of His hands.

I also LOVE the sound of a river as it flows steadily by, watching the beautiful patterns as it swirls around the rocks. Then I close my eyes and just listen to the path it travels, while the bed of rocks lightly tap each other creating it’s own rhythmic time signature. It is so calming and tranquil for me. Top it off with a quiet, gentle breeze on a summer day and I am a happy girl!

Eric took the melody that I had for the song and made it more ambient and peaceful with the arrangement. It really is a peaceful song to listen to. A way to help you let go and just focus on Him. The song was passed around from player to player to add their parts. Again, I just let them have the freedom to do what they do best. I pray this song brings you a peace that passes all understanding through challenging and stressful times. BREATHE and KEEP YOUR FOCUS! (That is just as much for me as it is for you!) 😉

Session players
Mark Baldwin (guitar)
Gary Lunn (bass)
Eric Copeland (keys)
Brian Fullen (drums)


8. Peace
©2013 Jen Haugland and Eric Copeland
Jen Haugland Music (ASCAP)/From The Moment Music (BMI)

V1
Peace, a starry night
A river flowing
It calms my mind
Like waters deep
Your word is settled in my heart

V2
Peace, it’s unconfined
Beyond our knowledge
Seems hard to find
Amidst our chaos
You came to save us for all times

Ch
You hold this fragile world in the palm of Your hand
You make the waters still and bring a quiet breeze
We can never know all that You have planned
If we keep our minds on You, You’ll bring Your perfect peace

V1 & V2

Ch

You hold this fragile world in the palm of Your hand
You make the waters still and bring a quiet breeze
We can never know all that You have planned
If we keep our minds on You, You’ll bring Your perfect, holy, awesome
If we keep our minds on You, You’ll bring Your perfect peace

IMG_0124

My Producer, Eric Copeland and me at Dark Horse Recording, Franklin, TN, where I tracked my vocals October 2013.

Behind The Songs – So Hard To Find

4 more days until the release!

Track 7: So Hard To Find

With my background in mental health, my producer and I wanted to write a song that reflected how I work with people as a counselor with those who struggle in their lives: the ones who feel like they must be hard to find because they are too small, or hidden out of sight. With God however, they are never hidden out of sight, never too small, and never insignificant.

I think about children that are kidnapped and pulled into the sex trafficking, children that are abused, and adults who are hiding from past woundedness. So much about counseling is about building a trusting relationship with the client so that you can “hold their hand” (figuratively) and walk side by side with them, as they explore more about who they are and take risks to makes changes in their lives.

Eric came up with the arrangement for this song and I really love the jazziness of it. About 22 years ago I worked as a co-host of a smooth jazz show called A.M. Jazz with a friend in Farmington, NM. It was there that I really fell in love with this genre, so it has been really nice to get to explore that more with a producer that has that bent and for this song. I love it! Definitely takes me back to those days.

Ronnie Studio rsz

Ronnie Brookshire (Grammy winning engineer)

A little bit of humor here… as Ronnie Brookshire was mixing the project, it was at this time that my grandpa died and I was really having a hard time with the loss. Ronnie would provide some comic relief after finishing mixes. He sent me an email after mixing So Hard To Find, and said “What if you change the last line of your lyric from, ‘I will find you’, to ‘I will hunt you down?’ I don’t know, just an idea.” I was really thankful for the good laugh. It makes me think of counseling in a whole new light. Well, again, I digress…

But, the point is, you can be found. You are important. You are significant. There isn’t anywhere you can hide from God’s presence. He is always here. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. Such a comforting assurance when you feel alone!

7. So Hard To Find
©2013 Jen Haugland and Eric Copeland
Jen Haugland Music (ASCAP)/From The Moment Music (BMI)

V1
Where are you
I’m searching
What to do
With this yearning

PC
You’re not too small
Or insignificant

Ch
You’re so hard to find
Hidden out of sight
So hard to find
Lost in your disguise
But if you hear My voice
And find a way to where I am
I’ll hold your hand

V2
There’s a place
Of acceptance
Where you’re embraced
Cherished and blessed

PC
You’re not alone
Or undetectable

Ch

Bridge
I will find you, don’t give up yet
Someone’s looking, don’t forget that
You are here
And I am near you

PC
Look for the light
It’s searching for you

Ch
So hard to find
Hidden out of sight
So hard to find
Lost in your disguise
But if you hear My voice
And find a way to where I am
I’ll hold your hand

If you hear My voice
And find a way to where I am
I’ll hold your hand
I will hold your hand
I will find you

Image

Session Players
Mark Baldwin (guitar)
Danny O’Lannerghty (bass)
Eric Copeland (keys)
Blair Masters (keys)
Steve Brewster (drums)

Brian Green (orchestration)

Ronnie Brookshire (engineer)
Brewbeat, Franklin, TN

 

Behind The Songs – For All The Ways

5 more days!

Track 6. For All The Ways

©2013 Jen Haugland
Jen Haugland Music (ASCAP)

I had just sat down at the keys to pout. I had sent a song to my producer and he told me he didn’t like it. It was still fairly early,  pacific coast time and it was a beautiful summer morning. My window was down half way here in the Great Room, the sun was shining and a light breeze was blowing through. I was bummed that I wasn’t coming up with a good song worth pursuing. I complained to God. Then I sat there in silence.

All of the sudden, I heard a bird sing through my window. It was profound and hit me like a ton of bricks:

V1

Little bird that sings outside my window, a melody to brighten up my day. You were sent from Heaven just so I’d know, I was on His heart in special ways.

Ch

For all the ways the wind blows, to carry on your song…nothing is more precious than, to know where I belong.

I started to think about Christina Nevill. She had married a young man that was in the same youth group that my daughters had attended when they were growing up. My daughters’ husbands were also really good friends with him, too. Then I learned from the kids that Doug was marrying this Christina and that she had a history of brain tumors and had been treated for them. After they married, they decided to be brave. They decided to face life head on and have a baby. Christina was now pregnant and I am not sure when it happened, but sometime in there, she found out the tumor returned, but now there was more than one. The baby would have to be delivered early, so that she could face treatment again. So Isaiah was born prematurely.

One of my daughters told me that Christina had a blog that she was keeping updated with her faith journey as she faced having the brain tumors. Christina faced fear head on and was very honest in her blogs. After her surgery and treatments, the tumors didn’t go away. I started reading her blogs around this same time and saw the pictures that were posted when baby Isaiah was born. I was so amazed and profoundly touched in my heart by Christina’s blogs. I would cry as I read some of them. I wanted to find a strength in myself like I saw in her. I tried to put myself in her shoes, so to speak. I imagined she was living every moment in the moment with her new baby. Christina had an unknown number of days left with her newborn son, her loving, self-sacrificing husband, and her family and friends. But they were not unknown to God.

That morning as I sat there at the piano bench, listening to the bird singing through my window, I heard the message loud and clear. And a new song was taking shape at my keyboard:

V2

Tiny hand that wraps around my finger, bright and wondrous eyes that stare at me. Curious thoughts of life that lilt and linger…you were woven intricate and free.

Ch

For all the ways the wind blows to carry on your song, nothing is more precious than to know where I belong. For all the ways you touch me, so innocent and true, nothing is more precious than to be right here with you.

Why can’t we see this? There is nothing more important in life than people. We are the only ones of His creation that are made in His image. People matter to God. He died for us. I had a neighbor who put a reminder in his cell phone that said, people are more important. It was his way of keeping things in perspective, whenever someone had a need. I like that. Christina knew what was important. She knew she would be meeting Jesus very soon. Her priorities were set in the correct order.

Bridge

Life is so much simpler when we’re still enough to see and cherish tiny moments for all the ways they’re meant to be…

On June 13, 2013, Christina surrendered her life here on this earth, according to her mom, what she referred to as being “swallowed up by life” to be with her Savior. 2 Corinthians 5:4  “For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” (quote from JoDee Ahmann’s blog, Christina’s mom).

V3

You were sent from Heaven just so I’d know, I was on Your heart in special ways…

Ch

For all the ways the wind blows, to carry on Your song, nothing is more precious than to know where I belong…For all the ways You touch me, so innocent and true, nothing is more precious than to be right here with you.

Session Players
Mark Baldwin (guitar)
Mark Hill (bass)
Jeff Roach (keys)
Ken Lewis (drums)
Steve Dady (engineer)
Sunset Blvd Studios, Brentwood, TN

 

I was so blessed and honored that Christina was able to hear a scratch demo of For All The Ways around the end of April 2013, just weeks before she passed. Both she and her husband Doug loved the song and they were honored that I wrote it for them. I asked them if they would mind if I dedicated it to them and baby Isaiah. They gave me their blessing and said they hoped it would bring God glory. So here it is. I pray this song brings glory to God, the Sustainer of all life who created us for His own pleasure.

By they way, this is Isaiah. Yep, he really is bigger than life itself! ;p

IMG_6995

I finally met him this Easter weekend at his grandma JoJo’s house. I shared the finished album and song with JoDee. It was a very special day for me. I got to observe Isaiah watch videos of his mommy singing to him. He LOVES watching his mommy. He is growing up knowing how much he is loved by her. God has big plans for Isaiah and Doug. Just like God has big plans for you and me.

Isaiah has the bravest and most loving parents in the whole world. They looked beyond fear and trusted in God’s good plan for their lives. The story may not have ended the way we think it should have, but it was perfect in God’s eyes. The grave is not the end for us. Hallelujah!

You can find Christina’s blog here. Her mom, JoDee’s blog will soon be embedded into Christina’s blog. Reading both of them, you get an incredible story of this amazing woman of God and how she overcame her fears for the sake of her testimony, which lives on today through the blog, her family, her friends, her husband and her son.

Behind The Songs – The Storm

6 more days…

Track 5. The Storm/Track 11. The Storm (Instrumental)

This is my absolute most favorite song on the whole album. I love the minor keys, because whenever I am moody or depressed, I can play them and they take me to deep places where I feel so connected in my soul. I feel the deepest, dream the deepest and imagine far away places that will take me to where Jesus is one day. I love to brood in the minor keys. Have I depressed you yet? Fortunately for you, my producer put in a bright and beautiful major chorus while I took care of the moody minor verses.

I think a lot about how many distractions there are in this world. Including this darn thing that is sitting on my lap that I am typing onto to share my thoughts and helps me create so many cool things musically. It also helps me to network with the social media for the ministry and stay in touch with family and friends that I feel supported by. But I feel like it is a “necessary evil” to have to work the social media so much with it.  Yet, I know it’s usefulness far outweighs it’s negative aspects and especially if kept in check. So it’s a love-hate relationship. But I digress.

It wasn’t called The Storm to begin with, but “the storm” was in the lyric. For the longest time while we were working on the song it was just something we referred to as major-minor because it switched back and forth between the two. In the theme of the verses, I likened all of our busy-ness and usage of electronic devices, etc., to noise and a storm that keep us distracted from hearing God’s voice in our lives. And I wonder if I, also, am just too distracted by these things that interfere with my relationship with Him.

I think, with the pace of technology and having to keep up with the networking and social media for business, plus all the other things we do with our families and the church, friends (the list goes on), we are kept deluded from what is really going on all around us. We are too busy. I am too busy. Life is too crazy. At some point we need to stop and say, “Enough!” for the sake of being still and knowing He is God.

So the sun comes out and it get’s our attention from all the distractions, the mundane, and the lies that we have to keep up with the Jones’ or that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. We feel the warmth and then we hear His voice speak to us again (not because we couldn’t hear it before, it was always there), but because of all the busy-ness that was distracting us from hearing it. And He asks us to remain in Him as He remains in us so we can experience His joy and His peace through the chaos.

I told Eric that I had this really cool motif that I would love to be able to use in a song and that I thought it would be cool in this song, but it was in 3/4 time and the verses and chorus were in 4/4. Eric dumped it (pun intended) right in the middle on the song and “voila!” we had ourselves a storm. Crazy cool! And that is how the title came to be. Eric was the creative brains behind the arrangement and composition. It is an incredible true co-write and we are very proud of it!

We tracked the song at Steve Brewster’s Brewbeat Studio, and again, I just allowed the Holy Spirit to move through these talented and skilled players to see what they could come up with. They were SO inspired during this song. It is so incredible to listen to it. I can hear this in a concert hall one day with an orchestra…I hope! And I really think this belongs on film, T.V., or other type media. You’ll think the same when you hear it. So because of that, I really wanted to add an instrumental version of it at the end of the album to enjoy.

So sit back and enjoy the storm. You might see me out in it! Either let yourself get drenched and dry off again in the sunshine afterwards, or make sure you have an umbrella!

Image
5. The Storm
©2013 Jen Haugland and Eric Copeland
Jen Haugland Music (ASCAP)/From The Moment Music (BMI)

V1
Darkness surrounds our days, when all we want to see is You
Can we see through the storm
Chatter consumes our lives, while we’re listening for Your voice
Will we hear through all the noise

Ch
Then the sun pierces through the clouds
We feel the warmth, and hear Your voice speak out loud
Then Your love, calls us to remain
The clamor fades, and it’s peaceful again

V2
Invade our insanity, where we confuse what’s right and wrong
Lift these lies, we’ve strung along
At this brink of reality, where we dimly catch a view
Skies will clear, reveal Your truth

Ch

(Instrumental)

V3
When the darkness settles in and tries to take us off course
We’ll lift our heads, to You our strength and source

Ch

Skies will clear, reveal Your truth

 

Session Players
Mark Baldwin (guitar)
Danny O’Lannerghty (bass)
Eric Copeland (keys)
Blair Masters (keys)
Steve Brewster (drums)

Brian Green (orchestration)

Ronnie Brookshire (engineer)
Brewbeat, Franklin, TN

 

Behind The Songs – A Little Bit Crazy

7 more days!!!

Track 4. Little Bit Crazy

I remember writing this song so well. It often happens in the morning, as I am still half asleep and starting to wake up. If it’s really quiet in the house, I start to hear a melody in my head. If I don’t get out of bed right then and there to go jot it down, I will fall back to sleep and lose it. So, I stumble out of bed with this unsung melody going through my mind. It was a bouncy tune, like a Francesca Battistelli song. Problem was, I was in the habit of writing slower songs, so it was really stretching me to get out of my box and try to think while it was too early in the morning. So I quickly jotted down the thoughts from my head onto a piece of paper and played out a scratch melody idea on the piano, then recorded it onto my iPhone (my usual M.O.). Then I went back to the bedroom and crawled back into bed.

I continued to work on the song. I wanted it to be fun and about this crazy life of being a Christian, where it seems like we are salmon swimming up the river against the stream (how ’bout that Pacific Northwest analogy?). Seriously, it’s pretty crazy as a believer, living in a world where right is wrong and left is right (so to speak). We literally have to go against the grain of popular culture to take a stand for what we believe in. But it’s okay, because it strengthens us. And one day we will reach our  goal.

So here is the life lesson in the song. I used to get mad at myself when I would spill my coffee in the mornings, when heading out the door to go to work or run errands. I started thinking about it more and more and realized, it was more often a given fact, that I would spill my coffee. Was I really going to let spilled coffee on my clothes ruin my whole day when it just started? My attitude needed to change. How ridiculous. After all, didn’t God create me to live a victorious life, not to be defeated by a measly 8 oz. cup of black java that I chose to do balancing antics with? I started to change my perspective and tune about it. I shrugged my shoulders one day after spilling all over myself, and just decided to accept it. Life was going to be okay! I even started to tell myself after a good spill, “it’s going to be a good day!” And there you have it. It’s important to not let the little things of life get the best of you. The big things either, for that matter. I now laugh at spilled coffee!

SongwritingSessionWithEricDarkHorseIt was a writing day at Dark Horse in May 2013 with my Producer Eric Copeland. We were digging through all of my song ideas. I finally, kind of reluctantly, pulled out this last idea of the day. I told Eric he probably wasn’t going to like it. I think it was reverse psychology. He really did like it! And he came up with a nice peppy arrangement idea to go with my melody and lyrics. It was very fun to see it come to life with the ideas swimming.

Mark Baldwin & Gary Lunn

Mark Baldwin & Gary Lunn

It was a song that was not produced in studio, but was passed around from session player to session player in their home studios, so they had a lot of time to get into the song. In fact, by the time Mark Baldwin (guitar) got done with it he told my producer, “Little Bit Crazy is a little bit whacked!” It was so awesome, the effects he put on it. I swear I think I can hear a Galactica space ship battle in it…it’s so cool! Then Tigger and Roo come bouncing around through there. Yeah, my imagination loves this song. Gary Lunn’s bass dances all around there. I love to dance around to it! We also had a feel for some Sergeant Pepper’s in there, so we got the idea for the brass in the middle. Seems like it’s just one big parade…going silly in the wrong direction.

Barry Green

Barry Green

 

Little Bit Crazy

©2013 Jen Haugland and Eric Copeland
Jen Haugland Music (ASCAP)/From The Moment Music (BMI)

 

V1
Such a sleepy head
When I stumble out of bed
You plant a song that’s right there on my tongue
Need to get it all down
Before I’m losing the sound
That is humming from a melody unsung

Ch
Life’s a little bit crazy, but I know
It moves me to worship You more
Just a little bit crazy against the flow
But You’re all I’m longing for

V2
Running out the door
With the coffee I poured
Gotta get all these errands out of the way
Then I take a big sip
And it spills from my lips
And I shrug cause it’s still gonna be a good day

Chorus

Bridge
I get a different view of my day, I’m not the same
Moving in rhythm with a sway, and I’ve gotta say
It’s a little bit crazy
Yeah

(Instrumental)

Life’s a little bit crazy
Just a little bit crazy
Hey…

Ch
Just a little bit crazy, but I know
It moves me to worship You more
Just a little bit crazy against the flow
But You’re all I’m longing for

Life’s a little bit crazy, but I know
It moves me to worship You more
Just a little bit crazy against the flow
But You’re all I’m longing for

 

Session Players:

Eric Copeland (keys)

Steve Baldwin (guitar)

Gary Lunn (bass)

Ken Lewis (drums)

Barry Green (trombone)