So excited to share with you my new release, Near. Near is a slow, but upbeat and positive, contemporary Christian, acoustic-pop song, co-written by myself & and prolific Nashville songwriter, Joe Beck.
The song is about how God is near to the brokenhearted, even when we face things out of left field in which we have no control over. It doesn’t matter how far away you feel or go from God, He is always guiding you…forever holding you. His love gives you enough strength to pull yourself together and go one breath farther, because He is always near.
Get the digital download of the single now through:
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!
I’m excited to get back out and start booking again this year. I will be performing at the North Hill Cafe in Edgewood, WA tomorrow night (4/28 @ 7 p) and would love to see you there if you live nearby!
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!
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.
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”.
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. 😉
In 1990, 1 in 10 marriages in the over 50 year old Empty Nester category ended in divorce. In 2009 the numbers more than doubled to 1 in 4 (Statistics U.S. Census Bureau). This alarming trend has been steadily increasing during the past two decades that sociologists have been tracking it and they have now termed it “Gray Divorce” (see the March 2012 white paper, “The Gray Divorce Revolution,” and current stats collected by researchers at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio). Surprisingly, infidelity was not the main reason why these older generations divorce, but rather a growing apart from one another, because the earlier years have been so focused around the children. And, as the culture of the individualist, self-seeking, Baby Boomers come to the forefront in their retirement years after launching their families, they continue to be the trend setters for future generations.
This gray divorce “revolution” is coming down the pike to us as younger married generations. How, as married Christians, do we safeguard against this growing trend while we still have our children in the home, before they launch? We can’t say this won’t happen to us. We live in this culture and we should be in the world but not of it. It would be ignorant to bury our heads in the sand. We need to be intentional. Current studies show that in order to support marriage in these latter years, prevention is the best intervention and an intentional “turning towards” your spouse in support of him or her as being pivotal. To keep this current upward trend of gray divorce in the Baby Boomer generation from happening, some Boomers have come up with new definitions of how to stay together and make it work, even unconventional ways of making it work. Can we say this is right or wrong?
While the Bible gives us many passages in how to love one another well, as a husband and wife, it doesn’t really paint a picture of how that looks in “real-life practice”. Hold on a second, I know some of your alarm bells might be going of, but don’t worry. I want to be careful in how I say that, because yes, there are ways we can objectively observe how a couple loves one another, but how that gets lived out logistically is another factor. Like the example of one couple in the article which I have included at the end of this blog, they actually bought another home for the wife to live in 5 miles down the road from their main home in order to stay married. They still spend time together on dates and such, but they have also given each other space and somehow they have found a way to make it work.
This seems very unconventional to me (call me old-fashioned). And yes, I believe there is selfishness involved, but I also see sacrifice in the big picture. The spouse, or husband in this example, showed grace and was willing to keep the marriage together by allowing for his wife to have the space she needed which actually encouraged more emotional closeness. The wife sacrificed by staying committed to her husband and the marriage by not seeking out another relationship and continues to come to the main home to spend time together.
But should we condemn them for finding an alternative solution to divorce? We want them to stay married, right? We know Christ is the answer. Can we look deeper at the big picture? Maybe in another 10-20 years they will be back under the same roof again as a result? Who can know? Certainly God knows. This couple will define the answer for us in time. But one thing is for sure, they are doing what it takes to survive. We don’t know all that they have been through with each other. They are keeping their marriage alive instead of giving up on one another. Its not how we think of traditional marriage. This is a marriage that either didn’t prepare ahead of time as the Empty Nest stage approached or were taken aback by the emotional toll the Empty Nest brought them (or most likely both).
Now, how will you keep your marriage alive? Other suggestions to support marriage in the latter years besides the turning towards your spouse include: allow the grieving of the children leaving the nest; discuss together how much you miss your children. Find new things to come together on such as a hobby or interest. Support one another in your dreams now that it is just the two of you. Most importantly, keep your faith in Christ alive. There are many more options to explore and I haven’t included them all here. But by blogging this, I wanted to raise the level of awareness, because, for me, hitting the Empty Nest is at my front door. We already have the signs and symptoms and ramifications of not being as intentional as we could have been. In all the years that we have been married and had our good times and bad, seeing through the lens more clearly now, these upcoming years are the hardest we have ever faced. As believers, though, my husband and I hold on to the hope that lives within us and cling to our faith in God that we can find new memories to keep our marriage alive: to allow an ember to spark a flame of new desire for one another. This is our moment to turn towards one another, again, like we have done so many times before.
This Christmas, I want to share with you a song that I wrote for the Empty Nesters, the Baby Boomers, and future marriages that have yet to hit the Empty Nest Syndrome. This phase of life and this generation, I think, get left out of real life Christmas songs. Yes, the coming of Christ is the reason for why we celebrate Christmas. Without Him we would not know love. He is Love. And God came to earth to show us what love looked like with skin on. We are real people with real hurts. We grieve one another in relationship. We grow apart unless we are intentional to turn towards each other and be selfless. We need a song to encourage us to stay together, to find a way to keep marriage alive. What better time than at Christmastime as we reflect on how much God loves us by sending His one and only Son; especially during the holidays, when life can be hardest and we miss our kids so much that we start to wonder what else there is to life. Consider the courage it takes to stay together…to find a way back to loving one another this Christmas. Even if it looks unconventional, for the sake of our future generations.
A Still and Quiet Night, Single co-written by Jen Haugland & Eric Copeland and Produced by Creative Soul Records, Nashville, TN. Releasing November 11, 2014.You are going to love it! Stay Tuned…until then, here is a teaser promo:
There is no way that I could re-cap every detail from the tour, but I thought I would at least share some thoughts and pictures from my time out there on the road. To say the least…it was WONDERFUL! And God led me every step of the way, keeping me safe.
I drove my Toyota Prius, loaded down with all my gear, merchandise and necessities for 5 weeks, out of the driveway from my home in the great Pacific NW of WA through ID, MT, WY, CO, KS, MO, TN, up to VA, (where I hit 4000 miles) back around through PA, IN, IL, IA, NE, CO, WY, MO, ID & WA again. 7,537.5 miles RT! Awesome gas mileage!
I did a Creative Soul TourShare with fellow roster artist of Creative Soul Records, Skylar Kaylyn. Skylar and I did a fun co-concert where we shared stories and songs back and forth at her home church of Wheatland Bible in Wheatland, WY. It was there that I was introduced to Choe Hays, a promoter from Cheyenne, who came to the concert to support Skylar and hear me as well. I was really blessed by meeting Choe. We talked afterwards and Choe said he would like to help promote me in the central states and Wyoming and we kept in touch on the tour so we could line some events up at the end if I can back through Wyoming. Wheatland Bible Pastor Jason Iacovetto and his wife Anita were such gracious hosts to allow me to stay in their home while they were gone. Anita shared her coffee with me and I helped take care of their fur and feathered family members while they traveled to a wedding back in Pullman, WA (small world, as I graduated from Washington State University in Pullman many years ago and we knew some of the same people!).
After hitting the road from Wyoming, I found out that my songwriting coach, Songwriter Champion Cindy Wilt Colville, was in Hospice care with stage IV lung cancer and not expected to live much longer. It was a shock to learn of it. Very few people knew. I had planned on being in Nashville for some co-writing with my producer the second week of July and I was hoping to share the new CD release with her and had invited her to my house concert in Mt. Juliet. She was very instrumental in a couple of the songs on the project: The In-Between and Intentionally. But it all made sense to me then, why I didn’t hear back from her. My goal was to try and get to Nashville in time to see her once more and say goodbye.
I made a few contacts for radio while I was on tour and sent CD’s off to Ron Corino, Bethel College Radio, KBCU 88.1 FM North Newton, KS; Arthur Payne of KBAT Christian Radio (online), Kansas City, MO; Creatures Cafe Radio Program (live and online), WWIP 89.1 The Word in Praise, Chesapeake & Virginia Beach, VA; and by the end of the tour Christian Originals Radio (online), Seattle, WA.
Stayed a couple of nights with an old girlfriend, Kim, from Port Townsend High School (WA) where I moved my senior year of high school. We hit the Chihuly Exhibit at Denver Botanic Gardens the first day. The next morning for breakfast, I reconnected with an old friend, Phil, from Valparaiso (IN) where I grew up. We have known each other since 3rd grade. I found out my friend Phil has a major in marketing from both his undergrad and grad schools and wants to help an old friend out with her marketing and getting events booked. Yea! Thanks Phil! I gave him a bunch of marketing materials and hit the road for Springfield, MO.
Being a tourist: A weak moment with Superman. He and I discussed taking on the world together and saving it from all the bad guys…
Then I had the longest drive of my trip to Springfield, MO to stay with another girlfriend, Mindy, from my hometown here in Sequim, WA. She and her husband Steve and daughter Charissa are some pretty big fans of mine and Mindy is the president of my fan club (which right now still seems to be an honorary title as I haven’t give her any work yet, but it sounds good)! Mindy is a believer and huge fan of my music. She has listened to my songs from the beginning when they first start out as ideas and then to the end when they are published. She and Steve approached the pastor of their church, Redeemer Lutheran, and asked if he would have me come play at their church. As a 5 year old, little Miss Charissa had both my EP Your Love Comes After me and CD Where I Am, completely memorized. So very precious!
My tour extended over the 4th of July holiday where I had about a week of time with the Moser’s before the Redeemer Lutheran event, so I was able to enjoy the 4th with them and then Mindy helped with a booking at an Assisted Living Center. It was great being at a good ‘ole Midwest 4th of July. So much fun. We watched the parade and enjoyed the fireworks at the Trail of Tears Park. I was so thankful to be with such loving friends who hosted me, even AFTER just moving into their new home!
Creekside at Elfindale Assisted Living, Springfield, MO
It was such a joy to play for the residents of Creekside Assisted Living! They were so warm and welcoming of me and one sweet older man wanted to make sure he could buy one of my CD’s. I tried to give it to him for free, but he insisted on giving me every dollar he had left in his pocket. He came up short and I told him I was running a special that day and sold him the CD for $5 off! 😉
Redeemer Lutheran, Springfield, MO
After the 4th, I had a planning meeting with the pastor early in the week to prepare for Friday’s Prayer and Praise night. I placed
another order of t-shirts that arrived just in time for the concert. Thankfully the t-shirts were made just outside of Springfield so I was able to pick them up in their shop right there in town.
Another great friend from my old high school in Port Townsend, Shawn, lived just east of Springfield and was willing to help me with my Merch and help promote the concert in her community and church. She was the boss of my merch table! Thanks Shawn, you ROCK!
Well, it is an understatement to say that the night of prayer and praise at Redeemer Lutheran was an incredible and powerful night to see the Holy Spirit at work. There is such beauty of joining with a current ministry for the sake of the gospel and growth of God’s people. I love that it is not about me when I am up there in front ministering, but about meeting God where He is at, joining Him at His work. Treasures in heaven.
Mt. Juliet & Nashville, TN
On Monday July 14, I had a songwriting session in one of the writing rooms at Word Entertainment with my producer, Eric Copeland of Creative Soul Records. We co-wrote a beautiful Christmas song that is currently being mixed right now by Ronnie Brookshire. I can’t wait for you to hear it! It’s a beautiful love song…and that’s all I am going to say about it for now…
On Tuesday night I had another Creative Soul TourShare event, a House Concert with Creative Soul Artist Zach Allen in Mt. Juliet. We did a live stream on U-Stream which worked out pretty well. We even had a couple of fans tune in! Zach’s family was so generous to let me stay in their home during this trip and I really enjoyed being a part of the family and listening to their daily devotions at the breakfast table. Tina is a fantastic cook and host! Zach even showed me how to change my strings on my guitar (yes, I am still learning).
While with Zach’s family, they introduced me to Melinda Chaney. Zach was going to be playing at an outdoor concert in the park in Stevenson, AL, with Melinda, Friday, July 18. I was fortunate to get invited as well to play with them. So that was in the books.
Until later…Cindy Wilt Colville…Songwriter Champion
Printed in the program for Cindy’s funeral: “I received Christ Jesus, June 12th, 4 days after and from my birthday. I will try to serve him the rest of my life. Romans 10:13 Cindy Lea Wilt” – handwritten on the inside flap of Cindy’s Bible, given to her by her mother and father on Easter Sunday, April 10, 1966.
Cindy did just that. She has set quite an example for those of us who knew here and loved her. On Wednesday, July 16, many came together for the most beautiful funeral ceremony for Cindy Wilt Colville, mentor and Champion of Songwriters. About 12 out of 22 of us songwriters from Cindy’s 1st Songwriting Intensive Retreat 2012, were present and filled the whole 3rd row. It was nice to reconnect, but bittersweet as we reflected on Cindy. But because of Cindy, all of our lives have been changed, our songwriting skills have grown and we have made lasting friendships that continue to this day. We miss you Cindy.
Friday, July 18 in the morning it started raining and by noon it was determined that the concert in Stevenson, AL was needing to be canceled. Not about to let a good opportunity go to waste, Melinda and I still decided to meet with each other as I headed out to GA and we met off an exit just before Chattanooga. There inside a Wendy’s, we blessed one another with our stories and swapped CD’s. We are looking forward to future opportunities to get to play together.
Peachtree City, GA
Because of the extra days in Nashville with Cindy’s funeral, I was pressed for time and debated how the rest of the tour should go with my driving schedule. I still needed to connect with my family in GA plus try and meet a connection in VA. I decided to push it and do it all. I went to Peachtree City, GA to spend a day with my grandma. I gave my MeMe her own private house concert the next day, while my family went out with friends to a movie. I set up all the equipment in my aunt’s living room and played for her just like the old days when I was growing up. She used to always come to my recitals. It was such a special moment to see her tapping her feet and hands to the rhythms there in my aunt’s living room as I played the songs off the new album to her. A moment with her I will never forget. (Note to self: make sure the keys are turned way down before you first start playing them. My 92 year-old Grandma still has a great startle response).
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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