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

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

Creatures Cafe – New Program Day and Time

More Airtime for Deep Into You

“Deep Into You” from the Where I Am album, continues to get live air time on WWIP 89.1 FM in Virginia Beach, VA on the former Creatures Cafe Radio Show. They now have a new program name, day and time slot! But you can still catch them online if you don’t live in the area!

90indie Minutes Radio Show

Wednesdays 8-9:30 ET

See the promo video (see if you can find me in there!):

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So Hard To Find – Debuting on Women of Substance Radio

Women of Substance Radio is debuting my song, So Hard To Find, from my album “Where I Am” this whole week (1/5/15). Here is the WOS Playlist so you know when to listen in! Be sure to vote a “thumbs up” when you hear it! I am #9 out of 17 on the list.

Listen here: Women of Substance Radio

Showtime: 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT

Chasing Answers – Part I

Maybe some might think this is a little personal to share, but I am going to err on the side of sharing it in the hope that it might bring encouragement to someone else out there who is dealing with the unknowns of medical health issues. It’s my reality of “where I am” (yes, and a pun intended on the words with the new album title) and with an upcoming tour, something I have to deal with diligently.

10 years ago, when I was 36 I had my first TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack). It caused blindness, like a vertical shade going across my right eye for about 10 seconds and then I experienced some droopiness on the left-side of my face and then left-sided weakness in my arm down to my hand the next day. My doctor put me on warfarin, an anti-coagulant, right away. We searched and found the answer to it via a TEE (Trans Esophageal Echocardiogram): a finger like blood clot attached along the inside wall of the left atrial appendage of my heart happily fluttering back and forth. Culprit.

About a year later my body finally broke down the clot and I had another episode. This time a small stroke. Again left-sided weakness. Apparently what was left of the clot dislodged. A follow-up TEE showed it was gone. After that first TIA my doctor sent me to specialists and we ruled out many things. The Hematologist could not figure out why I was clotting. All the tests he ran were negative. He said since there was no reason why I should be clotting, I could come off the warfarin. I didn’t feel comfortable with that and did not want to experience the effects of another stroke. So I stayed on the warfarin, and I am glad I did, in hindsight.

Fast forward through 10 years of all the hassles of bleeding, blood coagulation testing, and beautiful bruises…

I had just returned from my last trip to Nashville the beginning of May. I woke up one morning and had what seemed like another episode of a TIA. It didn’t quite feel the same, as I had swelling, redness and numbness on the left side of my face, but then I had the left-sided weakness and numbness in my arm and hand with some tingling in my fingers. That part was similar. I monitored the symptoms all day and when they weren’t resolving, I decided to go to the clinic, but they immediately sent me to the ER due to my stroke history.

I was mad. I didn’t want to go to the ER and make a big deal about this. More blood tests, an MRI and a CT scan with contrast revealed a left Cerebral Venous Sinus thrombosis in the back of my head, but the blood was still managing to flow through the clot. My INR had gotten low while I was traveling and had probably been non-therapeutic for two weeks. Maybe enough time to form and throw a clot, but it didn’t make sense because it would be traveling the other direction in my system. They also noted stenosis in a vertebral artery. Most likely unrelated? How could I still be clotting after 10 years of being on an anti-coagulant. I confess, I am scared.

A lot of other health signs and symptoms I have had over the past decade have made me wonder if it isn’t something more, or different, causing the clots. I have dealt with shingles, joint pain, fatigue, alopecea areata, asthma, allergies, swelling in my face and hands, Rosacia and strokes with this blood clotting issue. I personally think it’s something systemic with my auto-immune system. But I’m not a doctor. And they don’t seem to like it when I look up my symptoms and play doctor. But hey, I am an intelligent woman and a counselor. I love research and getting down to the bottom of things. I am also a “need to know” kind of person. If  I know what I am dealing with, I can some how “control” it and figure out how to manage it better. Ha! God has reminded me, I am human and He is God.

But here’s the thing: as I go through all the questions “why” again, after so many years on the warfarin and start to see the specialists again: neurologist, hematologist, etc., I find myself being obsessed with chasing down the answers. I don’t have the answers. I want the answers. I am tired of dealing with this “unknown” in my life. I have music to share and my stories. I have been dealing with the unknowns fairly well with my music ministry and enjoying the great adventure of the unknown of where God is taking me with it, but it is very hard for me to consider this unknown, when my physical body and health are under attack. To call it a great adventure? I don’t know, maybe in time I will? Certainly, I am assured of where my adventure ends and that will be a glorious day. But until then? Quite possibly, this is another story I take with me to my concerts.

I’ve had to adjust my life to a chronic blood clotting disorder, most the time taking it for granted, because I’ve had it for so long and have just adapted to the daily routine. But now, once again I am very much aware of how vulnerable I am, and how fragile life is. I can get blood clots even while on my anti-coagulant. That is NOT a comforting thought to me. I am going to have to make more adjustments in my life that will be “inconvenient”.

I’ve always known that at any point God could require my life. Every breath I take has always been a gift from Him while on this earth. I’ve known this ever since I born pre-mature at 29 weeks gestation. I stopped breathing and was down to 2 lbs 12 oz and turning blue. My doctor resuscitated me and I know it was the breath of God that he breathed back into me. I am here for His purpose and His pleasure. So I know that at any moment, He could take that breath away. Or, I could live with a paralysis or be incapacitated somewhere in my body, stroke-related, and be unable to do the things I enjoy doing right now: singing, speaking, playing piano, hugging, walking, driving, feeding myself, putting clothes on, thinking clearly…the list could be unending. I think too much.

Testing continues. Next, rare blood tests, CT scan with contrast of my body from chest to pelvis. Looking for clots or something else. “Don’t freak that you are seeing a Hematologist that also carries the title of Oncologist”. Still chasing the answers. But today’s answer is “not yet”. I think, today, I will reflect on His goodness instead. Because it’s the one thing I do have control over, and putting one step in front of the other. I need Him, every hour, every day.

TodayNotecard1

Olympic National Park

“Cast your burden on the Lord,
and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22, ESV

So I think I will call this blog “Part I” and make it an ongoing series until I have the answers (or am content to leave things unanswered). Anyone relate or care to join me in this journey?

I wrote a song on my new album I just released that applies to this so well. I wrote it in regards to following the path of “unknowns” as a believer. Maybe this will resonate in your heart as it does in mine.

May God bless you, be with you, and comfort you in your “in-betweens”.

“You will meet me in the in-between
Where I’m not sure of many things
But your love and your grace
And how they carry me to this place.

You will meet me in the in-between
Where yesterday and tomorrow meet
Oh speak to me, speak to me, You speak to me
In the in-between.”

Continue on to Chasing Answers – Part II

New Music Video-Deep Into You-Live at Watershed Recording

Released my new music video today with Creative Soul Records for Deep Into You. It was a fun and mellow acoustic set with Dave Cleveland and Mark Burchfield at Mark’s Watershed Recording Studio, Nashville, TN. I was so honored to have the two of them play for me. Dave was instrumental (ha, no pun intended) in pulling the whole thing off! Thanks Dave! This is the first video of a series of 3. Two more will be released in the near future! 😉

Read the story behind the song at: Behind The Songs – Deep Into You

Blessings & Enjoy!