Friday, August 31, 2007

Things I Should Know

I know what they mean. But I didn't know their exact definitions or longer phrases. Good refresher for me. Maybe for you too!

a.m. = ante meridiem (before noon, of course)

p.m. = post meridiem (after noon, of course)

i.e. = id est (literally, that is; in other words)

e.g. = exempli gratia (literally, for the sake of example or example favor; for example)

A.C. = Ante Christum (before Christ)

A.D. = Anno Domini (in the year of our Lord)

D.G. = Dei gratia (by the grace of God)

etc. = Et caetera (and the rest; and so forth)

Ib. or Ibid. = Ibidem (in the same place)

i.q. = Idem quod (the same as)

l.c. = Loco citato (in the place cited)

R.I.P. = Requiescat in pace! (May he rest in peace!)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Meekly Wait and Murmur Not

"For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside Thee, what He hath prepared for him that waiteth for Him." Isaiah 64:4

"My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him." Psalm 62:5

"Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation." Psalm 62:1

"I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD." Genesis 49:18

"These wait all upon Thee; that Thou mayest give them their meat in due season. That Thou givest them they gather: Thou openest Thine hand, they are filled with good." Psalm 104:27, 28

"The LORD upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down. The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season." Psalm 145:14, 15

There are those times in life when I feel like all I'm doing is waiting. Sure, there are a ton of distractions along the way. But, mostly, I'm waiting. Waiting, waiting... and more waiting. Whether real or not, I feel balanced on a dropping off (or flying off) spot - toes gripping the edge - eyes peering out into the vast possibilities of life - waiting on God's big push. Or worse yet, more often, I feel as if I am still searching for those important spots - as if my life would be so much better if I could just find one. 'Why won't God lead me to it? Why won't he help me fly when I'm there? Why all of this waiting? What is the holdup?'

Some of you belong to an email list for church. A few years ago, a dear sister used to make posts regularly that were of great comfort to me, and there is one in particular to which I often return. One that includes some reminders for me which I always seem to need. Below are some excerpts from this post.

I have been much blessed in reading a biography of Lilias Trotter, written by Miriam Huffman Rockness, and I hope to post some excerpts from this book at some point. Lilias Trotter, born in London in 1853, into wealth, privilege and status in Victorian England, felt a call to serve God in places where the Gospel was unknown.

After sending the posts on "waiting on God" recently, I read the following [related] passage in this book this morning:

Lilias wrote in her diary (12 December 1922): "Time is nothing to God--nothing in its speeding, nothing in its halting--He is the God that inhabiteth eternity." And children of eternity "can afford to tarry His leisure no matter how short [their] time is."

"To Lilias this meant that even when there were no outward signs of encouragement, she would keep a listening heart tuned to her Father's voice, then faithfully do what He said. As she loved to say, "He knew what He would do." This meant complete rejoicing when His purpose was revealed in the proving of His promises. And it meant for the future that same waiting on God, content with simple obedience, understanding that the results of one's work on earth may be realized long after one's time on earth is finished.

"Over and over, throughout the pages of her diary, Lilias writes this faith refrain: "Blessed are all they that wait for Him." She firmly believed that time is nothing to God, nor to His children, "Les Enfants de l'Eternitie," the children of eternity.

May we be encouraged by the example of Lilias Trotter and other faithful saints, to "press on" in faithful obedience and trustful waiting concerning our Father's promises and commands...

"Show me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day." Psalm 25:4, 5

"And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him." Isaiah 30:18

"My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved."
Psalm 62:5, 6

"Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." Psalm 27:14

Old Rock House Was Rockin'!

Monday night, my friend Mike (otherwise known as mikee and mike3e here on the blogs), my friend Tony, and new friends Mike, Jamarcas, and Dustin (otherwise known as The 3rd Environment) played at the Old Rock House in St. Louis. A beautifully restored historic building near just south of downtown St. Louis, it was the perfect place to hear the guys play and sing their hearts out with kicking covers and soulful originals. I wish there were some way to let you have a listen, as there's just no way to describe their performance... except phenomenal. The band had a great time, and we listeners were given an outstanding treat. Can't wait for their next show!

Tony D on keys, Mike P on bass, Dustin busting out an awesome vibe solo, Jamarcas on drums, and the incredible horn players that joined in at the end of the gig.

In Mike's own words: "Our band name, THE 3RD ENVIRONMENT, is derived from the concept of 'the third place' by sociologist Ray Oldenburg. The third place is not your home (first place), nor your work (second place), but it is a place of your choosing where you can relax, be yourself, and enjoy the company of friends in an atmosphere that suits you."

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Musical Gene-ius

Just reposting excerpts from a Yahoo news article.

Headline: One gene may be key to coveted perfect pitch
By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Musicians and singers work for years to develop their sense of pitch but few can name a musical note without a reference tone. U.S. researchers on Monday said one gene may be the key to that coveted ability.

Only 1 in 10,000 people have perfect or absolute pitch, the uncanny ability to name the note of just about any sound without the help of a reference tone.

Dr. Jane Gitschier's (University of California, San Francisco) study appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. She and colleagues analyzed the results of a three-year, Web-based survey and musical test that required participants to identify notes without the help of a reference tone. More than 2,200 people completed the 20-minute test.

"We noticed that pitch-naming ability was roughly an all-or-nothing phenomenon," she said.

That lead researchers to conclude that one gene, or perhaps a few, may be behind this talent.

Gitschier said those with perfect pitch were able to correctly identify both piano tones and pure computer-generated tones that were devoid of the distinctive sounds of any musical instrument.

She said people with perfect pitch were able to pick out the pure tones with ease. And they also tended to have had early musical training -- before the age of 7.

"We think it probably takes the two things," she said.

They also found that perfect pitch tends to deteriorate with age.

"As people get older, their perception goes sharp. If a note C is played, and they're 15, they will say it's a C. But if they're 50, they might say it's a C sharp."

"This can be very disconcerting for them," Gitschier said.

The most commonly misidentified note, based on the study, is a G sharp. That may be because G sharp is overshadowed by A, its neighbor on the scale, they said. A is often used by orchestras in the West as a tuning reference.

Gitschier said she and her colleagues were focusing on identifying the gene responsible for perfect pitch, which will involve gene mapping. Then they will try to figure out what is different in people with absolute pitch.

"We'll have to play it by ear, so to speak," she said.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Featured Items

Thankfully, the sale didn't start as early on Saturday as it did on Friday. Maybe the cloudy sky and sprinkles kept the shoppers away. But, we still needed an early start setting up because of the pouring rain from the night before. Everything needed to be uncovered or brought out from the basement. Posters needed to be re-posted. Brother Chris even drove around to tack up the drenched and drooping signs that were supposed to lead the drivers to my house. A few things had to be thrown away or thrown into the dryer because of the water, and a few new items were brought from the sellers' homes. It felt easier to get rid of the stuff as the weekend went on. Here are photos of just a couple of the tables near the end of the Saturday. As you can see from this glimpse, we still had quite a bit that didn't sell.

As promised, here are some of the absolutely gorgeous, completely stupendous, outstandingly fantastic items that we had a fun time featuring for our yard sale guests. I mean, who couldn't refuse these beauties?
Wooden Doll priced at 10 cents. With her 80s hairdo, rosy cheeks, and modest attire, she was well worth the steep price, but I would have given her away. However, it just didn't feel right to put her in the FREE box with the old maps, calendars, and Reader's Digests.
When the cards start streaming in at the holidays and you have no place to put your cards, you need this reindeer bin. We thought the buyers would fawn over him, but they only bucked at the price. Starting out at 75 cents and reduced to 50 cents, the guy still had no takers at a quarter.
What cat lover could refuse this purrrr-fectly delightful addition to their kitchen? (Apparently every single cat lover that attended our yard sale could!) This yellow and green feline paper towel holder was talked about and even picked up quite a few times, but I think they were laughing at her. Poor kitty. But, she's still smiling and doesn't seem to be hurt by the rejection.
A.... uh.... deer? This man-made creation is hard to understand or explain. A pair of eyes UNDER the nose? Say it ain't so! While this didn't sell, it was retrieved from the sale pile before we boxed things up. I think Lydia may have found it too difficult to part with this special guy.
This is the only "featured item" that actually sold - for the asking price of $1, no less. A kennel club certificate was included on the back of this long-haired dachshund portrait. While I don't remember his full registered name, we believe he was affectionately known as "Little Man." The name, birthdate, and date of death were handwritten in the certificate margins.

I admit it. Four of these five ridiculous items were actually mine. And, all four of them were obtained through the fun process of freecycling.

Have you ever freecycled? If you don't feel like having a yard sale but want to get rid of some stuff, you should check it out. The basics: You link yourself with a city or county. You list the stuff you want to get rid of. Everyone who wants it writes to you. You read through the emails and pick who gets it all for FREE. The winner comes to your place and picks all of it up at the designated time. Better yet, you can write in to the group and tell them if you are looking for anything. It's all free. The drawbacks? Every once in a while, in a group that includes something you really want, you end up with some extra stuff such as the funny items above. Many times, those items are then freecycled once again...and the process continues. It's amazing what is given away on freecycle... everything from washers and dryers, beds, and great living room furniture...down to trinkets, coupons, and craft materials. Anything that the owner doesn't want to deal with. It's just the recipients' responsibility to pick it up. I have learned this can be a great resource for a family in need while furnishing a home, a college student preparing a residence hall room or apartment, a young mother obtaining clothes for her children, or a hobbyist adding to his collection.

In all, after a lot of hard work these past few weeks, our homes are less cluttered, we earned a little money for our bills and for the church, and we had a ton of fun while hanging out in the backyard.

Tressa, all smiles, with a fancy shamrock headband and some fries during lunch. Abi and she were quite the little helpers!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Pet Peeves for a Nickel, Entire Box for 50 Cents

Today and tomorrow, some of the group is holding a yard sale - an event that has become an annual tradition. A lot of fun. Some hard work. A good way to get rid of a lot of STUFF that has accumulated throughout the year (or years.)

Of course, I am writing this on my lunch break... so I am here at work. But, Tracy, Lydia, Chris and Brother Bill are holding down the fort at my house where tables and tables of cheaply priced items are awaiting introductions to their new owners. Tomorrow is my assigned day, but I wish I were home joining in the fun today. Oh well. That is just the first of a few pet peeves that seem to return every year along with the yard sale event. Let's review a few others:

1) No matter how well I plan ahead, it always takes me much longer to sort and price things than I plan.
2) No matter how well I search, I still think of things the night before and morning of the yard sale that I should put out.
2a) I can think of at least 5 things right now that are in my house that should be out on the lawn.
3) No matter how big or bold or "fancy-fonted" you may print "NO EARLY SALES" in the newspaper ad, people always show up early.
4) There are some years - like this year - when people show up ESPECIALLY early. 6:50 a.m. anyone?
5) No matter how many times you explain to the people who are roaming around your backyard that you are not ready, the other yard sale staff members are not here yet, and there won't be any sales until 8 am, they continue to ask you if they can buy something early.
6) No matter how many times one yard sale staff member tells a particular gentleman that he can't buy his stuff before we're all ready to go, he goes to another staff member to ask.
7) I had to come to work. (It seemed worth mentioning again.)
8) I became so busy handling the prior pet peeves that I failed to take pictures of some of our "featured items" for the sale. (Thankfully, they are so ugly that they are likely to still be available when I return home this evening! Maybe you'll see some photos here on Monday.)

We priced our items very cheaply. CHEEEEEAAAAPPPP! And, after one phone call to the sale staff, it was reported that our junk is moving like hot cakes. GREAT! We're hoping for huge success in getting rid of our clutter, and from noon to 1 p.m. tomorrow, we're selling everything for half price. After that, who knows? The more we sell, the less we have to haul to Goodwill or back into our homes.

Monday, August 20, 2007

I'm Most Me When...

There are those times when I feel ALIVE. Totally here. Completely engaged in what I'm supposed to be doing. They are both the times when electricity is flowing through every cell of my body AND when I am feeling the most calm and at home within myself. Both elevated and grounded. Alive and jumpy. Yet secure in my shoes. Most ME, if you will. (I hope you will.)

Along the way, I've felt off kilter, out of the groove, lost. Some of those spans have turned into years. Life has brought ups and downs and alternate paths, and several of those paths have taken me away from the activities in which I feel most in tune. At the time, I felt I had to focus on what I thought absolutely had to be done. I became distracted.

After many moves and unsettling experiences, I became tired of that routine. It doesn't even make sense. But, I've found many who are walking through life doing the same. Year after year. Decade after decade. Sometime this past year, I said "Enough is enough." It was time to return to some of the memories of the past. It was time to seek alternatives. It was time to become recommitted to what I know I should do, Must Do, JUST HAVE TO DO!

So, I have. And, I hope to continue.

I'm Most Me When I... (in no particular order)
*pray before bedtime.
*laugh out loud.
*create things with my own two hands.
*search the scriptures for an answer.
*help someone when they really need help.
*make a new friend.
*sing, sing, sing!
*fully accept a hug.
*plant flowers.
*talk to my brother.
*drive with the windows down.
*create a new work program or event from scratch.
*explore a new place.
*begin a hand-written letter.
*thumb through a dictionary.
*hold someone's hand.
*did I mention SING?

There are many more, and some are way too embarrassing to share here. When considering the topic, these are what just came to mind today. Some of them probably don't mean anything to anyone else in the grand scheme of things, but some of them feel as if they mean everything.

Are there activities that come to your mind? Instances where you feel like you're exactly where you should be... and that you should return to them as often as possible? Things you do when you're most YOU?

Friday, August 17, 2007

And One To Grow On!

If you read Lydia's post on Sweet Fellowship, then you know we were blessed this past weekend with a visit from two of the loveliest ladies in all of the land, Elizabeth and Karla. It was a great time of catching up, laughing, singing, talking about the blessings we share, and more laughing. We spent a good amount of time at a very unique book stand (boxes and boxes and boxes of books) at the mall after meeting for dinner at O'Charley's Friday night. I am so thankful for their friendship with our group of friends, and I've been on a high all week since their visit.
One of the highlights was the official kick-off of my big birthday week on Sunday evening. What birthday is complete without a confetti angelfood cake with confetti drizzle icing (just like Mom always used to make for me), a cookout with scrumptiuos food, beautiful harmonies while singing favorite hymns, even more "beautiful" singing while performing "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" in operatic form (birthday girl's choice), placemats folded into hats, and laughing with fantastic friends until everyone is crying? NONE! That's why our party was full of fun - and then some! Thank you, Corn Family, for your hospitality and the impromptu celebration that really made my week. FUN FUN FUN!
Some of the party goers: Isaac, Chris, Tasha, Bro. Jerry, Lydia, Krista, Elizabeth, and Karla.

Tasha's rueful look on her face is due to her roux becoming stuck, but the cheesey sauce turned out wonderfully!

Here, the delicious (and I mean DELICIOUS!) spread is being put on the table. After dinner, we sang and sang LOUDLY with all of our hearts and voices, but Oreo seemed bored to death.

It's been a pretty fantastic week with all sorts of adventures which I will try to share soon. But, today promises to be an even better day... while reminiscing on the past, taking stock of the present, and looking toward the future. Yes, friends, "I'm hopeful for the future!" :) Despite a few minor setbacks, this past year has been a wonderful one full of God's blessings, and I pray this coming year will be even better. So, I'm celebrating today! (And, even if you're miles away and not with me today, feel free to do a little celebrating on your own. There's so much for which to be thankful.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Nashville Trip: Friday

Finally, we're nearing the end of our trip. While I am glad these posts will be over after today, I was very sad on this day while in Nashville - as I knew the trip was almost over...and we'd all soon be returning to our daily routines.

Early that morning, we set out for the beautiful Belle Meade Plantation. Currently a 30 acre farm, it was once a 5400 acre horse farm which bred the ancestors of today's racing champs. The mansion, built in 1853, was the home of the Harding-Jackson family, and our tour guide was excellent! It was once again a terribly hot day, so we enjoyed the relaxing, informative tour inside the large home before we continued our walking tour on the grounds. If you would like more information about the family and the property, see this link.

We then headed on to the Parthenon. Nashville's full size replica of the original Parthenon was constructed to celebrate Tennessee's Centennial Exposition in 1897. Today, it serves as an art museum and houses the Parthenon's centerpiece: Athena Parthenos.

Athena was considered the "Goddess of Wisdom" and "Benevolent Protector of Athens". Historians and sculptor Alan LeQuire studied every document and description they could find about the original to try to make an extremely accurate reproduction. In May of 1990, Athena Parthenos was unveiled, and here she is. And, she likes to wear sandals, also!!! She stands approximately 41 feet, 10 inches high, and that makes her the current largest indoor scultpure in the Western world. The figure she is holding in her right hand represents Nike, the "goddess of victory", who stands 6 feet, 4 inches high.

We looked at Athena and thought, "What a striking piece of art and sculpture!" It is "interesting" (for lack of a better term)and sad that individuals would once seek out Athena for answers and understanding - instead of seeking our true and living God, creator of all.

While everyone else went back to the resort to take a little rest, I went exploring through the area near our hotel. And, what did I find? Cooter's, a museum and gift shop dedicated to the Dukes of Hazzard. I saw a few General Lees, Daisy's Jeep Dixie, and Rosco P. Coltrane's police car. I also saw TONS of Dukes memorabilia created through the years. Games, dishes, tents, cars, clothes, costumes.... you name it, they had it! All of it brought back funny memories of us youngin's when we'd repeatedly yell out "Do the Dukes! Do the Dukes!" to my dad and my uncle. Each would rev up the engines in their cars to entertain Aaron and our cousin Chris, both big Dukes of Hazzard fans. Here is a photo of Mom and Dad posing outside the store the next day when I took them to see the displays.

That night, we headed to the GRAND FINALE of our trip, the Grand Ole Opry radio show inside the Grand Ole Opry House. A very nice man agreed to take our family picture before we entered the auditorium.

We were sad that we'd barely miss Vince Gill (who was performing at both shows the very next night), but we were excited to hear Diamond Rio (a band we heard at our very own Canton High School immediately before they released their first big hit and became famous.) Porter Wagoner was the host of the first half hour, and it was fun to see his new sparkly purple suit. We sat up in the mezzanine and had a great time listening to the music. It was overwhelming to imagine what it would be like to sing from that stage (or the Ryman) someday and be heard on the Grand Ole Opry radio show. So many stars through the years! And, what a dream come true it would be!

I had a wonderful time on this trip, and I cannot wait to return to Nashville. Thanks for reading the posts and helping me reminisce about the vacation with my family.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Nashville Trip: Thursday

On Thursday, we continued our vacation with a driving trip to Lynchburg, TN and took a tour of a distillery. Here is my brother with a particular Mr. Daniel. Our family has taken several food and beverage manufacturing tours in the past, and it was especially interesting how this company took care of the smallest details. Here are a few photos from the grounds, the very hot stills building, the corn mash, and the drip-by-drip charcoal filtering process. We were even able to see the bottling, labeling and packaging lines.

Lynchburg was a beautiful little town. We parked in the small downtown area and visited some of the shops around the square. We also visited the Tennessee Walking Horse Museum (Ketra's favorite! OK, that was a joke.) And, we had a great lunch at the BBQ Caboose Cafe. The "Old Time Country Radio Show" is broadcast from the restaurant every Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. central time on 1580 AM, and the dining room is filled with pictures from various country stars who have visited. We enjoyed some DELICIOUS food... jumbalaya, chicken salad, sweet tea.... even some hot-out-of-the-oven pecan pie. MMMMMmmmmmmMMMM! We received a warm welcome and some genuine southern hospitality from the nice ladies there, and if I ever return, I'll be sure to include a visit to the BBQ Caboose in my trip.

Next, we drove through some beautiful countryside on the way to Columbia, TN to see President James Polk's home. I learned that the country accomplished quite a lot during his presidency: the U.S. acquired over 800,000 square miles of land and extended to the Pacific Ocean; the Naval Academy, the Washington Monument and the Smithsonian Institute were established; and the first postal stamp was issued... among many other events. I was reminded that President Polk died three months after leaving office, and I learned that he was baptized in that time. Very interesting!

We then continued back north on route 31 and saw several antebellum homes along the way to Franklin, TN. We arrived after most of the shops and businesses were closed, but I would like to return someday to visit the nearby plantations and farms.

That evening, we set out to hear some music, and we landed at the famed Station Inn. After our eyes got adjusted to the dark setting, we enjoyed looking around the place and seeing the performance posters. Here's one for the Darlings from the Andy Griffith Show (otherwise and originally known as the Dillards) which we appreciated very much.

We were there on a special night when the participants of a local bluegrass music camp were featured. So, after the instructors played and sang, it was time for the Nashcamp students to strut their stuff. Our family had a great time listening to the beginners (many of whom played their very first solos that week and whom were playing in front of an audience for their very first time) and the extremely accomplished musicians. While this isn't the best picture of the event, I think it captured the spirit of the night. Right away, I thought of some friends who would have tons of fun at Nashcamp, and I walked away with an extra bounce in my step. It had been a wonderful week of hearing live music, and it would be capped off the next evening with a visit to the Grand Ole Opry.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Nashville Trip: Wednesday

On Wednesday, it was time for us to really focus on the MUSIC part of MUSIC CITY. So, we headed to 3 landmarks within the downtown area. First we toured historic RCA Studio B where Elvis, Porter Wagoner, Dolly Parton, Everly Brothers, Jim Reeves, Floyd Cramer, Roy Orbison, and so many others recorded their records. The pictures don't show much, but the feeling of just being where all those stars have been, seeing the piano that was played on all of those records, the old mics and lights,.... well, it was something!

Aaron was able to show us some examples of the machines he worked on when he was studying studio recording up in Chicago, and our magnificent tour guide played some tapes of the stars when they were trying to record their albums. Our family thoroughly enjoyed it.

We then headed back to the Country Music Hall of Fame. There we saw many of the outfits worn by the stars, hundreds of gold records, the Ray Charles exhibit, the actual Hall of Fame, and a few stars' cars. Below, Dad stands by Elvis' automobile.

Interesting Fact O' The Day:
The famous flashy suits worn by Porter Wagoner, Hank Williams, Roy Rogers, Elvis and the like are "Nudie Suits", but the name is nothing to be embarrassed about! That's because the original designer to create the rhinestone covered and elaborate costumes (below, left) was Nudie Cohn. The Ukranian-American designer was born with the name Nuta Kotlyarenko. We saw the suits all over Nashville, and now other designers continue on with his tradition. Below (right) are some of Porter Wagoner's newer suits.

We then ate a barbecue lunch and headed up the street to the former Grand Ole Opry home, the Ryman Auditorium. It was first opened as the Union Gospel Tabernacle in 1892. After the death of its builder in 1904, it was named the Ryman Auditorium after him. It was also the home of the Trevecca Nazarene University. It then became the location for the Grand Ole Opry radio broadcasts from 1943 through 1974 and has had the greats in music perform from its stage. The view from the stage and from the balcony were both magnificent! Can you imagine what it would be like to perform here? Oh, if those walls could talk!!!

We took the backstage tour to see the dressing rooms and learn about the individuals who helped to start the Grand Ole Opry shows at the Ryman. The Grand Ole Opry was moved to the Grand Ole Opry House in 1974, and the Ryman mostly set empty until renovation started in 1994. Today, it is a museum in addition to a venue where performances are held once again. In fact, most of the Grand Ole Opry shows are held at the Ryman during the winter months. In 2001, the Ryman was named a national historic landmark and is in the national register of historic places. Because of its original pew seating and place in music history, the building is referred to as the "Mother Church of Country Music." It is also known as the home of bluegrass!

For many years, I've dreamed of going to Nashville to visit these places. Because I enjoy writing songs, I have also wanted to visit the Bluebird Cafe. Well, all of these hopes came to fruition in one day!

For over twenty years, the Bluebird Cafe has featured up-and-coming songwriters... about 2500 songwriters per year, in fact. And some of the songs debuted during the "in the round" performances and showcases end up on the radio a few years later sung by stars. Garth Brooks, Kathy Mattea, and Dierks Bentley are just a few that have credited the Bluebird experience with helping their careers. A small, crowded club whose owners insist that everyone remain quiet during the performances, the Bluebird was a wonderful place to visit. We heard some great talent in a night that was hosted by ASCAP and bought a few CDs. Here are the ASCAP host, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Alyssa Bonagura, Jill Paquette, and Jonathan Kingham. You may know Carolyn Dawn Johnson from her hit "Complicated". Or, you may have seen her credited as the writer of Chely Wright's "Single White Female" or so many other hits. I was happy to hear that CDJ will be performing at our very own Illinois State Fair next Friday, August 17. YIPPPEEE!

It was a wonderful day in Nashville... one that will remain in my memory for many years to come.