Life and Music Happens

I know you all haven’t heard from me in awhile, but I’m still around. This last year has been a year of pain and healing from a herniated disc with sciatica, relationships, and a recent huge career move, which was an arduous process in and of itself, while still working on new music projects.

If you have enjoyed my music and message I put out there, then I hope you’ll be excited to know that I have a new single that will be released soon, “Near”, and also a personal worship EP, “Sacred Space”, that includes a re-mix of Rest (sung by me), and three other new songs.

Near is about how God is near to the broken-hearted. Life happens and some things are just beyond what you ever thought you could go through or handle. When your spirit is crushed and you feel all hope is gone, He can give you just enough to go one breath farther.

I’m excited about Sacred Space because it’s a project compiled of songs from my time of co-writing with other talented Songwriters while I was living in Franklin, TN last year (2016).
You will enjoy the soft, inspirational and worshipful vocals as usual, along with some awesome instrumentals by amazingly talented Nashville session players, that will transport you to a higher place…a Sacred Space!

Stay tuned!

Blessings, Jen

New Video Release – For All The Ways

Proud to release this tender video about terminal illness, love and courage, life and death…and an eternal hope in what is on the other side. Cherish every moment you have in life, it is shorter than we think.

This music video reflects and is dedicated to the life of Christina (Ahmann) Nevill who bravely fought a Level 3 malignancy tumor in her brain. Throughout the process of 6 years from the time of diagnosis, she had 2 surgeries and treatments, was married and then she and her husband chose to have a baby even though knowing the tumor could return. The tumor did return. Baby Isaiah was delivered early, so that she could still have a chance to treat it a 3rd time. The tumors metastasized and under Hospice care in her home, at 31 years old, Christina left this earth to be with Jesus, leaving behind an amazing husband of 1-1/2 years and a beautiful, joyful baby boy that was only 8 months old.

Life is about cherishing every moment we have. Christina lived this fully through her strong faith, valiantly facing her fears head on to find her peace with Christ Jesus. You can read more about Christina’s story through her blog (ChristinaAhmann.com) and the rest of the story through her mom’s blog (JoDeeAhmann.blogspot.com). Both blog sites are listed at the end of the video as well.

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

For All The Ways

For All The Ways

Remain Broken

I’ve blogged on this before, yet I know it is not near enough.

I have been on a quest to find something rare during my time and stay in Franklin, TN this time: brokenness. Why search for it, you ask? You know how people say “Don’t pray for patience” or “Watch what you pray for”? Well, I really don’t care what other people say. I pray for brokenness in the same way as patience. It really ought to be something that exists on a daily basis. I need to keep it front and center.

Brokenness has been underrated since the beginning of the fall of mankind. My pride in doing things on my own stinks and humility is always where God wants me.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17

“Broken” Hebrew shabar (Strong’s: H7665) appears 793 times in the Old Testament and in this particular scripture verse, the verb is considered a passive tense verb, although I believe it is in a simple form that remains active in the English. It can be a past, present and future form of being (someone please correct me if I am wrong).

In it’s Nephal tense it means:

1. to be broken, be maimed, be crippled, be wrecked

2. to be broken, to be crushed (figuratively)

My mind instantly goes to Jacob (Genesis 32:22-32); to the place where he wrestled with the Angel of the Lord (a Christophony). Jacob wouldn’t stop wrestling with God until He knew he had His blessing. The manifestation of God pulls Jacob’s hip out of socket and gives him a new name, Israel, so that he would remember that He saw God face to face, and that his life was delivered by Him. And then He blessed him.

Remain Broken BlogOh, how many times I know I wrestle with God and ask Him to bless my life at the same time. I too, have seen His goodness, “face to face”, in His word and in observing His active deliverance in my own life. I bear the scars of my rebellion and wrestling with Him. Yet, in His mercy and grace He has allowed me to persevere. And it is His hope that I have, evidenced by His Holy Spirit in me, that His love is poured out in my heart (Romans 5:3-5). It is His finished work at the cross that I have accepted in my life. This is my blessing: that Jesus has delivered me and I will live forever with Him. I am sealed for the day of redemption. He has not left or forsaken me, even though I feel alone many times. Brokenness hurts, but it doesn’t mean I am without hope. Brokenness is a sign of strength and humility. It is a sign that God is at work in me.

I want to remain broken, so I remain in Him. And one day, like Jacob, I will joyfully receive a new name and see the promise of His blessing.

Yes, it is very good to be broken; to have my life utterly wrecked, so that I do not rely on my own strength to do things. He will be the One that delivers me every time (past, present and future) from my self…so that I will remember what He has done for me. So that I will remember what I have overcome.

He builds my character. Refines me. And He is making me ready to see Him one day, when I am welcomed home.

Reference:

Hebrew Tenses – Help :: Help Tutorials :: Hebrew Verb Tenses.

http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H7665&t=ESV

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Psa&c=51&t=KJV&p=0#s=t_conc_529017

Nashville Rescue Mission

Here it is, Feb 17, 2015, and while I am experiencing an ice storm and frigid temps in Nashville, TN, my son is back home mowing the lawn in 60 degree weather in the Pacific Northwest and my husband says the trees are starting to bud out. Such timing. Actually, I really do think it was excellent timing, because God’s timing is always perfect. He is always on time with His answers.

Tonight I was booked for the Nashville Rescue Mission at the Women’s Campus. My sister came down by bus from Indiana to help me with the ministry event. I thought it would be a great opportunity to “break her in” to helping me with setup and seeing what I do, as she will be assisting me more often during events that I need to travel to. We have the same dad (we joke, my sister from another mother) but we never grew up together, so it was also a test of living together for a short week to see how well we could work with each other for the sake of my music ministry when I need to tour. It’s a great fit and we got to know each other more, growing closer than we ever have before. It brings tears to my eyes even as I write this, as to how intentional God has been to bring things around full circle in my life, including bringing us two girls together for such a time as this in our lives. Okay, back to my night…

The contact person I was to have for tonight, and who was to help me with the sound check, didn’t show up to work today, due to the bad weather. In fact, the mission didn’t even think I would come, since the roads have been so bad. But we surprised them! I told Amber (my sister) earlier in the day, “you know, all those women are there. It’s not like they have anywhere else they can go. They have to be there and they need to be encouraged. So we need to be there.” Earlier in the news that morning, the Rescue Mission was interviewed and they said they were trying to make sure not a single homeless person would be turned away, even if it meant they had to sleep in a chair or on the floor. So if the city of Nashville could go around attempting to bring in any homeless person they could find, I could surely trek in to the Rescue Mission to give the women a warm night of fellowship. It’s quite a small sacrifice for me compared to the sacrifices they have lived through.

Since I didn’t know how to run the sound system at the center and no one was there who could operate it, I made a quick run back to the apartment, leaving Amber at the Rescue Mission to continue with setup. I got back just in time to set up my system and we started 5 minutes behind schedule (lesson learned: always have my sound system with me regardless). Not bad considering that the employees thought that they were on their own that night. They were so relieved to know that I came despite the weather. I was just overjoyed that I could be there to serve. My vehicle was so dependable and handled so well on the roads, that it just wasn’t a concern of mine at all to drive in the weather.

I can’t begin to tell you (although I’ll try) how amazing and humbling it is to reach out in love and minister to the broken and homeless women and children who are so hungry (literally, emotionally and spiritually). I always pray that I can be a blessing to the hearts I am ministering to, but they too, bless mine. As I looked around the room while singing my songs, sharing my stories and scriptures of truth, I tried to be intentional to look at each and every woman and child in that room. Every single one of them mattered to God, and so they needed to matter to me. I wanted to convey that deeply to them. They were so present listening, soaking up the words, message and music. Some with heads bowed, some weeping quietly, some looking very hard and worn down by life, and some holding their children, cuddling them in their laps. I couldn’t imagine all that they had been through to be at this point of “in-between” in their lives. I thought how easily a circumstance could change in my own life, and I could be right there alongside them. This was their home. And I was invited to come into it and bring them a message of hope and healing with my music ministry. I don’t think there could be a greater honor anywhere on this earth than to have been with these women tonight. We talked, we laughed, we related. We sang, we clapped, we praised and prayed.

With all of the little glitches that came up for that night, we ended up having a packed house, thanks to the cold and icy weather. We had to rely on God for the details with getting me back and forth safely, with the additional equipment. I needed my sister there desperately to help get everything set up, so I could even go back and get the PA system (and she did great). Yes, God was in this place tonight. He knew who needed to be there and He somehow counted someone like me, worthy enough to reach out and touch the hearts of these women with my music ministry. He is so very good!

It’s times like these, where I wish I was independently wealthy, or had a huge financial backer so I could dedicate more of my life to going around to places like this, playing and ministering to these brave and broken women. My music, personal testimonies and experience as a mental health counselor fit the perfect niche for this need and I love it! I loved being able to love on these women and children tonight. They are not insignificant or too small in God’s eyes. They are not alone. They are found in Christ. They are cherished and blessed, and so are we!

Here is my latest lyric video that speaks to this exact message, So Hard To Find. We are all in this together. We are all equal in God’s eyes and dearly loved.

So Hard To Find

So Hard To Find – NRT January 2015 NoiseTrade Sampler

MORE FREE MUSIC!

NRToaster: A Jan 2015 NoiseTrade Sampler From NewReleaseTuesday.com

NRToaster - January 2015 NoiseTrade New Music Sampler

My song “So Hard To Find” from my Where I Am album is in the January 2015 NoiseTrade New Music Sampler from New Release Tuesday!

Enjoy!  – Jen

P.S. And if you would like to learn about what was behind the song, read up right here!

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)

 

Frequency.FM Interview – A Still and Quiet Night

Last week I had an enjoyable Skype interview with Joe Brookhouse of Frequency.FM to talk about my new Christmas single, A Still and Quiet Night. I like to think of the meaning of Christmas as being an outpouring of God’s heart and love to us by sending us His Son, Jesus, God incarnate: to reconcile us to Himself and to one another by showing us what it means to love one another well, while we are here on this earth.

Here is the link to the podcast, article and additional links. Please share it with as many people as you can! You just never know when someone really needs to hear something that will really touch them. We also thought we were just a little funny in the interview…you might chuckle once or twice. Maybe. 😉

Frequency-Banner Frequency.FM Amp’d Interview – Jen Haugland

“Turning in” an Answer to Gray Divorce

Well, I sat down to write a simple FB post and share an article a friend had posted and found myself getting pulled in. So, here is a second blog this week, because I am on a roll.

So, as I mentioned, a friend of mine just posted this article and it is another great example on how to safeguard your marriage and is a follow-up to my blog on Gray Divorce this last week. In this article, research was done on observing newly married couples to see if there was a way they related that made their marriages more effective and if so what were those ways. They discovered it reflected the concept of being intentional to “turn in” towards your spouse vs. “turning away”. This is done through acts of kindness, respect, thinking from a positive perspective towards your spouse’s intention, and constructive responding.

While this article and research focused on the younger newlyweds up to several years into the marriage, this was also what the research at Bowling Green University (What is this Gray Divorce?) in Ohio had found for couples in their latter years of marriage; there needed to be that intentional “turning in” towards one another to counteract the drifting (even if it is unintentional) that can occur before couples hit the Empty Nest Stage, due to the focus they have placed on their children for so many years. This neglect of nurturing the marriage can lead to what the researchers call “Gray Divorce”.

It should come as no surprise that love and choice fit right into this as we consider our walk as Christians. And we have access to the greatest love of all found in God’s display of love for us in choosing to send His only Son, Jesus, to die for us and our sins so that we could become reconciled to Him. Jesus intentionally submitted His will for the will of the Father’s. It did not come easy to Him – He sweat blood over it as He asked that the cup might pass. But then He said, “Your will be done” and He submitted to the Father by choice. We have to be intentional to choose this kind of love in our lives as well; to die to ourselves for God’s will in our own lives that we might reflect this true and sacrificial love to our spouse. It’s painful to do. I know. My husband and I have practiced it in a very real and hard way coming back from divorcing one another. And we have had to be intentional to also do it in the silly little every day things or whenever something crucial comes up. Our Empty Nest is fast approaching. Marriage is hard, but rewarding when you can break through the pain and hurt and see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s harder to make something work than to give up. We are all running a race and we need to keep focused and stay the course, focusing on what is ahead, not looking back.

They will know we are Christians by our love. When we love our spouses well, God will be able to do His work in our spouse’s life and as well, He accomplishes His work through us. Marriage is a refinement of iron sharpening iron. When we remove ourselves and our agendas from the equation of trying to tell our spouse what they should do differently or how they have wronged us, we open the vertical communication between our spouse and God. Quite possibly it could cause your spouse and you to be reconciled to one another as your hearts grow in understanding of the reconciliation you have with God through your Savior. It really boils down to how big you believe your God is in your life (and of course both partners have to be willing to be open to see that).

Here is the link to the article about turning in (a very good read): Science Says Lasting Relationships Come Down To 2 Basic Traits.

In minutes (it’s almost midnight), my song, A Still and Quiet Night, will be released and it supports this turning in to one another. Reflections at Christmastime can find us missing the past when our children were little. But we can build new memories in the “here and now” moments with what remains…”faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:3)

A Still and Quiet Night - Cover