I hope I never lose my sense of wonder. If that makes me naive, then so be it.

Monday, 28 September 2009


A day at home. I knew I was missing it, but not so much as today, my first full day home in 9 days.

I cleaned my kitchen shelves. I did laundry and even folded it the same day. I helped M go through clothes to see what she'd outgrown (answer: plenty!). I talked to my kids and heard about A's plans to set a world record along with her buddy Snowman (what record? I asked. We're not sure yet, we have to find something. Maybe with marshmallows).

I sorted through piles of papers that had grown on our sideboard and were threatening mass anarchy. I also made a compilation video of recording guitars at the studio and starting planning another such one for vocal recording. Not so domestic, but still here at home. I listened to the leaves rustle in the wind, the rain that fell on the tin roof, and enjoyed the view of the trees with their changing leaves.

I made chicken noodle soup and blueberry cobbler from scratch for supper and was here to meet D when he got home.

It was so nice.

Tomorrow is home again, and a return to regular school activity. The evening will be spent at the studio, but for the day I'll be here and loving it.

Sunday, 27 September 2009


I am really, truly finished recording lead vocals. What a journey.

I learned new singing techniques, from mental preparation (such a huge part of it!) to physical positioning. I learned to go outside my little ideas of my vocal abilities. Sometimes I laughed at the results, but more often I learned I could do something new. I learned what some of my bad habits are and how to address them. Maria gave me so many tools, I'm still figuring out how to remember to use them all. My vocal delivery has changed already, yet the learning continues.

I learned a teensy bit about the recording process through watching Tim at work. I'll never listen to a CD with quite the same ears again. So may subtleties that the producer draws from the artist, that the recording engineer pulls together. Even a solo album is such a collaboration of creative effort.

I learned (well, affirmed) that I have an amazing husband and kids, who have lived in this chaos of my making in the most supportive ways imaginable. They've exemplified flexibility, grace, and caring.

I learned that internet networking has a reach I could never have attained otherwise. Amazing how far it's able to go.

I learned that there is still more to learn.

Where will it go from here?


Recorded two songs yesterday, and was worn out by it. The results were amazing, though, so a little fatigue is worth it.

The experience of recording 'We Hold On', written for Josh, six years to the day after the accident, was an emotional stretch I've not had to do for a long time. I wanted to get myself to the right place, remembering him and the day I heard. So I started with a few takes, thinking as I sang and in between. I found the place but ended one take almost in tears and had to stop before I could sing again. Just enough, but not too much, finding the balance was hard. Just singing it from that place was hard. Then ... we got it. The almost-perfect take emotionally and vocally. I had a sudden thought and asked Tim what time it was. 11:54. On Sept 26, 2003 at 7:54 Alaska time, we lost our Josh. And yeah, that's 11:54 EST. Call it fate, I call it providence. We did a couple more but that was 'the one'.

After listening through that one we tackled the title track, which went much better than I expected and had me drawing on all the vocal techniques I've been learning. I loved the results.

By 4:30 though, when we tried to get the last half song, I was done. We called the day and I'll finish it this morning. Speaking of which, time to go.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

six years

Can it really be? The calendar says so. 2003 seems such a long time ago and yet flashes of that day as as clear in my mind as if they just happened. Vignettes of shock?

I still miss him. I still get a catch in my throat thinking about him. I still get blindsided and cry.

Recording today. Of the 2 1/2 songs left to track, one is the one I wrote for him six years ago.

Friday, 25 September 2009

once more, with feeling. and again.

First, for the record: this is what I woke up to on the farm yesterday. Mmmm. Sunrise through the mist over the creek is lovely and worth being up early.

Ok. Yesterday felt a bit like a marathon. Well, except for the fact that I was able to do it and I didn't cross the finish line and throw up.

Maria and Tim and I were in studio from 1-6pm and tracked the lead vocal for "For His Praise". One song. How many takes? I have no idea. Getting just the right feel, finding my physical space and the right emotion, trying exercises that had me sounding and looking very silly but let me start finding vocal places I'd never
gone. I played with my voice for hours.

By the end of the day I was tired, but we had gotten it.
The dialogue was something like this:
Tim: "That was good, but try it again"
Me: (sings the whole song)
Tim: "Almost"
Me: (sings the whole song)
Tim: (doesn't say anything, just starts the song again)
Me: (laughs, sings it again)
Tim: "Okay, we got some good stuff in there. Again."
Me: (sings the whole song)
Tim: "That's it, girl! One more"
Me: "Who's the diva here?"
Tim: (laughs) "Here we go, once more" ... and so on.

It's funny, but with each push something new would come around. One line at the end we tried so many different
ways and times, but when we got it we knew it. Tim is so great at encouraging me while not letting me get complacent with what I'm putting out. I don't feel like
I'm failing, but I keep looking for the magic take. And Maria. Wow, wow. This lady is incredible, and has helped me break through some mental barriers that were holding my voice in one little place.

I'm booked for another 6-8 hours today. Some of the hardest songs are behind us. My lower side and back muscles were sore yesterday and I wondered what I'd lifted, then realized it's from singing so much.

I'm making something here. No, WE are making something here, me and Tim and Maria and the musicians. Something beyond me - beyond us - but not beyond God. I keep coming back to Eph 3:20, that he is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or even imagine. Ooh, yeah.

Thursday, 24 September 2009


M is a creative little girl. She's growing up fast, though. I always think that she has a bit of faeries in her, the way she flits about in her elfin ways.

She makes up words, the most famous in our family being 'Meekasodo', which quickly became our nickname for her and inspired a character in Seren's soon-to-be-published book (side note worth mentioning: Seren is a brilliant writer and her book is a gem. When it is published, buy a copy for every kid you know. Seriously.).

The latest one I heard: "flitterbits". Pardon me? I asked. With a grin, she repeated, "flitterbits!"

What's that mean? I pursued, expecting a vague answer. Without a pause: "Oh, that's what you call pieces of butterfly wings".

Of course.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009


Two days of piano, two days of vocals down. I'm exhausted. Oh, and a photo shoot in there, too. And planning and all that other fun stuff.

New laying hens arrive today, meat birds need to have their final trip scheduled. Life on the farm continues even when I'm in the thick of my music.

Vocals. Wow. Maria was in studio with me yesterday, and the on-site coaching was AMAZING. Some physical technique, some of the mental and emotional setup, and what a difference. I'll write more later, I'm still a little overwhelmed by what we were able to get yesterday. Lead vocals have been tracked for Lament, Imagine, Let it Go (lovin' it), and Only You. It sounds better than I thought possible.

Derek has been his usual awesome self, covering supper and coming home early from work to help with the kiddies. The girls are wonderful and understanding about going to people's houses. I do love my family.

Back at recording today, after the laundry and hens.

I keep thinking, this is all too big for me. It's little me, writing my songs in my living room or in the car or in a field. Just me, nothing outstanding. And here I want to put this out on the market, put on a concert, get people to listen to my little stories and thoughts. And I feel like I'm pushing too far. Then I remember that just about every song has the word 'beyond' or 'more' in it, and I think: It is too big for me. And that's what it's all about, isn't it?

Yes, it is.

Monday, 14 September 2009

diva ... or not

Perhaps it's supposed to feel more like work, and I do get worn out by it. But the studio with Peter, and Alex, and Tim, has just been so much fun that it doesn't seem like I should get to think of it that way.

Today was recording the final synth string parts for the last two songs. These were the trickiest of the songs for timing, so I needed to hear the clicking that keeps me on tempo loud and clear.

me: "can I have more click track?"
Tim, feigning impatience: "oh, you are so difficult! I suppose so"
me: "look, this is my one chance to be a diva and I have to make the most of it"

So now I am the diva. I really need to work on my attitude and make it more diva-ish.

Or, not.

Friday, 11 September 2009


Just when I think I have things figured out, they change. Yesterday turned out to not finish recording synth, so next Monday and Tuesday afternoons were booked. A call came later in the evening to tell us that a friend's mother had passed away and asked, could I play at the funeral on Tuesday afternoon? Up early this morning to rearrange studio time and child care, and now it's all day Monday at the studio, then playing at the funeral on Tuesday.

Thursday afternoon, my piano gets tuned and then wrapped up like a baby to keep everything in tune. Blankets over the windows and entryways to the room will keep temperature changes minimized.

Friday is the Richmond Fair. I'm not entering anything, but the girls are and we do need to take in the Midway, after all.

Saturday and Sunday the 19th and 20th I'm recording piano all day. Monday 21st to Sunday 27th is booked for vocals, both lead and backup, from 10-6 each day. Arranged for someone else to cover the music in church those two Sundays. Plan to pretty much not talk outside of recording time. Oh, what a quiet house it will be...

Master copy available on Oct 14th, duplicated and printed and ready for the launch concert on October 23rd. I have a due date for my baby. There's no room for delays, so we make sure to keep the schedule that's under our control and then hope and pray that all goes smoothly.

And somewhere in there the kids get taught school, I cut the grass and do laundry and those mom things I do.

Thursday, 10 September 2009


Tim and I sat down with calendars at the studio last night and looked at what's to come.

It's been nice knowing you.

Over the next three weeks I will be vanishing from society in general so we can get all the tracking done for our launch date. Phone calls to the piano tuner and the CD duplication house will confirm the dates, but two solid days of tracking piano followed by seven eight-hour booked days for vocals will ensure that I am utterly wiped out by the end of it.

And yet, I'm looking forward to immersing myself in music like this. I'm excited about the creativity that I know will accompany the fatigue, knowing that my mind often stretches when my body is tired.

After listening to tracks and making plans for the weeks of insanity, we decided to do a quick vocal re-take of 'Lament'. It was the first time Tim has heard me sing since vocal coaching. What a difference. After the first take, with him saying "wow! beautiful! the control is so much better! I am blown away!" and other such lovely things, I felt like a giddy little kid. The second take found even more in my performance as I tried playing around the notes and different approaches to phrasing.

It'll be a crazy few weeks. But oh, what a ride.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

social and busy

I was struck yesterday by the fact that we go out a lot more often now than we used to. Drinks and dinner for my birthday, last night a quick supper and a movie. All with amazing friends. The situation of "wow, I get to dress up!" is replaced by "what will I wear this time?" I was trying to figure out why, and decided that with the girls at that magical age where a babysitter does not have to be picked up, dropped off and paid, we've become much more flexible for date nights.

It's been fun. Though this week, with every evening being booked and most of them out, I find I'm looking forward to a quiet evening at home. I'm still me, I guess.

Last night's movie was 'Julie & Julia', which I thoroughly enjoyed and got me wanting to cook, cook, cook. That, and visit Paris again. Beautiful.

School has started again, the girls very keen and liking the new books. Extracurricular activities will be starting soon.

Recording seems to be in the homestretch, and what remains is pretty much my show. Keyboards, piano, and then vocals. I anticipate many tired evenings. Then it's out of my hands for mixing and engineering and all those magical things Tim will do, then mastering, and finally the duplication and printing. We met with Will of strivemind on Monday night to talk through the concept for the artwork and I'm liking it.

Vocal coaching with MH continues to blow me away. She keeps finding things that make it better, she keeps encouraging me and I keep learning.

What a funny time of my life this is.