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Running Down A Dream: December 2009

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Running Down A Dream: December 2009

Running Down A Dream

Thursday, December 31, 2009

I Played The Stone Pony Tonight!

Tonight was AWESOME.

I played fiddle for an incredibly talented and OH SO YOUNG (she's only 16!!!) artist named Corey Wagar.

Guess WHERE this was!?!?!?

The FIRST ever country show at the legendary Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ!!!!! (Which was SOLD OUT! Heck yeah!)

I have heard so much about this club... it's kind of like Tootsie's in the Rock N Roll world... Bruce Springsteen is known for jamming with the local musicians there... Jon Bon Jovi, Elvis Cotello, Joan Jett, Stevie Ray Vaughn... all kinds of cool people will grace the stage with their presence between gigs in New York and Philadelphia.

And I got to play at their first ever country show tonight!!! My friend, Gordon Brown, that I write with a lot, had put together the band for Corey. He knew James and I had planned on coming to the show. He sent me one of her songs today. I learned it, we hopped on the train, and I got to play it with them! They also brought me up for the encore... A little "Gunpowder and Lead" action :)

I think James must have captured this little clip of "Gunpwder and Lead" :) It isn't very long... but it gives you the idea.

It was so much fun! And Corey's song that I played with her "Me and My Girls" was so cute... and come to find out, she wrote it with Jamie O'Neal! I LOVE Jamie O'Neal! I was obsessed with "Shiver" in college. :)

Here's Gordon - my wonderful friend and co-writer

And of course Corey (Click her name to visit her myspace!)

I love this picture of Gordon and me... even though it's a bit dark :)

It was so cool to be a part of tonight. Corey is incredibly talented... and oh my word... she's only 16. I can't imagine where all she will go from here. So cool.

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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I love that enough people have tried to bathe in the public bathrooms
at Penn Station that they had to put up a sign NOT to. :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I'm Going To Update My Facebook "Favorite Movies" RIGHT NOW

You'd think if you went to New York City... all you'd want to do is run around all over the city. But when the windchill is 6° outside... it's not very enticing to "go for a walk"

And that is JUST FINE WITH US!!! James and I have been having so much fun doing... just about nothing.

It's so fun to act like you live in the city for just a bit - we went to the neighborhood Diner... The Comfort Diner for breakfast and then walked to the grocery store and the corner store. We've stayed in and watched movies the rest of the day. The view here is incredible. So it kinda makes "just watching movies" even more fun of an event than it normally is... which is saying a lot because we LOVE "just watching movies" :)

AND there's a CHIPOTLE 2 blocks away!!! We've been twice already. :)

I must say... out of everything we've watched so far... 500 Days of Summer still holds up. It is one of my favorite movies, ever. It is so incredibly well written. It got GREAT reviews. But of course some people have ripped it for being a bit too cliche, which I think is totally bogus. I love how NOT cliche it is. It says up front in the opening "Don't be fooled. This is NOT a love story" It's funny, reviews ripped certain lines of dialogue... but it's not supposed to be literal. I don't want to get into specifics because I don't want to ruin it for anyone that hasn't seen it yet. But I HIGHLY recommend it. :)

And Penelope was on tonight as well. That also stands up against all the rest. :) I feel pretty awesome since I have seen two of my favorite movies in 2 days!

Tomorrow is supposed to be a bit warmer... we're planning on getting out past our 5 block radius :)

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The View From Up Here

You know... Just one of the views from James' Mom's apartment in New

I <3 NY. We ordered sushi at 10:30 at night and had it delivered to
the apartment. So awesome. James and I have some sleep to catch up on.
Not doing a good job at that since it's already 4:30am, but we are all
backwards on our schedules! :) I love it. Night from the Big Apple!

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The More I Clean... The Messier It Gets...

I never intend on staying up all night before an early flight, but somehow it always happens :) We're leaving for NY in the morning. It's 3:45am and the shuttle is coming at 5am, so why sleep now, right? Cat nap for a minute or two maybe... we'll see.

We got home this evening LOOKING like Santa with our suitcases and bags-o-goodies :) But I had the strong need to purge before putting things away.

I only got the bathroom done.

But hey! That's at least something. I threw away all the out of date medicines and vitamins... and continued to fill my bag that will eventually go to Goodwill... got rid of any other unnecessary items. Then I cleaned that sucker like no one's business! WHEW that feels good.

But the bedroom only got messier as a result. Ughh. That's for when we return.

We're always coming home for a few days at a time... and I think stuff builds up even more than the average person. We put things down, and it's hard to get the gumption up to REALLY clean when you know you're not gonna be there more than a couple of days. But this is our home... even if it's only a few hours at a time :) So getting a little bit done here and there is better than nothing at all.

Mamma mentioned yesterday that she didn't feel as sad about Christmas being over as most years because there's so much to look forward to this year. I must agree. And THAT in of itself is an incredible feeling!!! To have so much to look forward to that you get giddy with anticipation. Life still happens all around us - the hardships and rough times. But there is so much goodness and excitement. And the good times become even MORE meaningful when things aren't always just fine and dandy.

So I am thankful at the end of this year. For ALL that has happened and all that is to come.

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Port Stovall

I was so excited, I forgot to take pictures today :) So this is from a couple of months ago when there were still leaves on the trees. My parents bought a lake house on the Tennessee River, and today was the first time that James and I got to go see it!

The lake house racked up this Christmas! :) So we had to take all the new goodies down and continue cleaning up.

It's so funny. My parents have pinched pennies my entire life. And I am so thankful because it has taught me a lot about spending money and making responsible financial decisions! And after years and years of not spending and saving... sending 4 kids to college... and finally retiring... they have been able to buy the most beautiful lake house. :) And the whole family will be able to enjoy it for vacations and eh em... of course... band retreats :)

So Merry Day after Christmas, from the Tennessee River!!!

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 2009 At The Stovall's

4 Generations of the girlies!

Sweet Cinnamon

NO WAY!!!!

Granny REALLY didn't think that picture looked like Mamma :)

John Rachel and sweet Abby's monster slippers

Joe, Tracy, McKinley, and Cameron

What do you think it is!?!?!

Tony and Ansley

Beautiful Bay

Awww Shelby

Mamma, Steph, Granny, and Cinnamon's nose

A Final Thought From Cameron


Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Guy Falls Down into A Hole

This evening I am reminded of an anecdote my pastor has shared with us at every Christmas Eve service the past few years.

It is a story that was on the West Wing and now because of my pastor's Christmas Eve sermon, I always think of it at this time of year. :)

This guy's walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can't get out.
A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, 'Hey you. Can you help me out?' The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on.
Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, 'Father, I'm down in this hole can you help me out?' The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on.
Then a friend walks by, 'Hey, Joe, it's me can you help me out?' And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, 'Are you stupid? Now we're both down here.' The friend says, 'Yeah, but I've been down here before and I know the way out.'"

Christmas time can be a wonderful, joyous occasion. It can be a time of heart ache when we lose those we love. But as a Christian, I believe that God sent his son to this earth to be our Savior. Jesus lived His life on this earth. "He's been down here before... and he knows the way out." He's our guide. In times of good and in times of sorrow.

I hope your prayers to Him or whoever you pray to are prayers of joy right now. But if they are not, know that you are not alone!

Merry Christmas.

Peace. Love. Fiddle.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Don't Eat Santa's Beard at the Nut Buffet

Mamma kept talking about a song that was stuck in her head and just HAD to listen to it. She kept saying "You know... the one where the little boy ATE Santa's beard."

"Ummm?? Did you say the little boy EATS Santa's beard? "

"Yes!!! That's what he says in the song!"

SO yeah... I couldn't WAIT to hear this song. It sounded awesome.
The best part was that she said it pretty nonchalantly... kind of like "You know, the one where he saw Mommy kissing Santa Clause"

She played it for me... It's a Beach Boys song called "Santa's Beard" And it really does sound like they say the little boy "ate his beard right on off of his chin" but it's "he yanked the beard right on off of his chin"

With roll dough up to my elbows, and flour on my face, we both stood in the kitchen and laughed and laughed.

My brother was ignoring us because he kept eating nuts in a basket that he said the squirrels would have spit out... but for some crazy reason he kept eating them. Mamma finally took them away from him and brought out every single stash of nuts she had in this house. He sat there and ate at his "nut buffet" all night.

I love Christmas :)

This was the best version of the song I could find on Youtube because it shows the lyrics... I have NO IDEA why it's pictures of the Jonas Brothers. But hey, 'why not' is the REAL question! :) Verse 2 at around 52 seconds is where you can find the lyrics in question :)

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Presents Have Over Taken the Tree!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Went to see AVATAR tonight.


I was a little worried that I would be disappointed... I mean, it's James Cameron. He's set quite a precedent for himself! (Terminator, Terminator 2, Titanic, etc) Titanic was the most expensive movie ever made at the time, and went on to become the highest grossing movie of all time. It came out when I was a freshman in high school. So yeah, I remember going with a huge group of girls and going crazy over that movie. And I actually loved Terminator 2 growing up. My older brother, John, thought it was awesome and I have fond memories of us watching it together.

Plus, I am an Entourage fan, and they make a big deal about James Cameron on there... and he is awesome as a guest star :)

So I just really didn't want to be disappointed. I knew it would be good... but once again, it is hyped for it's "break through technology" - 3D film making, and it is one of the most expensive movies ever made.

I thought it was incredible. James (as in my James... not Cameron) was a little disappointed in some of the plot movement - the extra dialogue to somewhat spoon-feed you (to make sure it is appealing to ALL audiences). But that didn't really bother me so much. It truly is beautiful. The Eden-like planet they create is gorgeous, and the indigenous people of Pandora, the Na'vi, have a beautiful awareness of energy and love of their land. Cameron's attention to detail is remarkable. The Na'vi are SO COOL looking (and they are HUGE)!

I just thought the whole premise of the Avatar Program was so fascinating. They create genetically engineered human-Na'vi hybrids. A human who shares genetic material with an avatar is mentally linked to it, allowing them to control it while their own body 'sleeps'.

And I must say... watching a movie in 3D rocks my world. I felt like I was back at Disney World watching the Michael Jackson movie :) It's a little more expensive... but if you have the chance, go see it in 3D. It is so worth it.

In case you haven't seen any - here's a preview.

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Hillbilly Christmas

I have been all in the holiday spirit today!!! James and I had breakfast with friends this morning, I went Christmas shopping all afternoon, I went to see my best friend, Miss Sarah Valley Rose perform at the Christmas show she is doing with Hillbilly Casino at the Opryland Hotel, and then I wrapped presents all night! WHEW!

The show was so cute at Opryland! Sarah and I performed int he Opryland Kid's Club show together ( you know, just a couple of years ago), and have been performing together ever since!!! It was so fun to see her do a show again. She is one big ball of energy!!! And she's an incredibly talented Christian Music Artist.

Tonight she told me that they are about to tear down the last standing building from the Opryland days. The administration building with the rehearsal halls and offices (along with the guard shack we always entered through) has continued to be an active part of Gaylord Entertainment... even though the theme park closed years ago. But alas, they are about to tear it down. I know it's just buildings... but it is hard to hear that. We spent SO much of our time there. We auditioned there, rehearsed for over 10 different shows there, I got ready for my senior prom there! I got ready for my Grand Ole Opry Performance there, my first fan letter EVER was sent there, and I even rehearsed there with my current band just a little over a year ago.

I still get teary eyed when I think about the Opryland Theme park being closed. It was home for years. I just can't believe I can't ever take my kids to ride the Wabash Cannonball or the Rocking Roller Coaster or the Grizzly River Rampage. I know I will always have the memories. And that is the most important part. But I sure do miss Opryland - just like so many do. It's where I did so much of my growing up. And it feels like they are tearing down a part of my home. (Big sigh)

But I sure am thankful for everything that Opryland gave me while I was there. It was a life changer. And who knew I would figure out at 10 what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. :)

Here's to wonderful memories.

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009


In the spirit of Christmas and worldliness...

ok. ok. Actually, because friends invited us...

I ventured into Shalimar tonight. :) I tried Indian food. James and I went with some friends who knew what to recommend. And everyone that I have ever heard talk about Indian food in this town has mentioned how great Shalimar is... and it is just a hop, skip, and a jump from our place.

It's completely unfair... but movies have never made trying Indian food an appealing thing to do. And that has really been my biggest point of reference. But stereotypically... if they want someone to get sick in a movie... they go to an Indian restaurant. That is so not the case!!! At least in my case!!! And I don't exactly have a stomach made of steel.

It was so fun to go with friends that knew what to order. We tried Samosas - which were little fried dumplings shaped like a pear, that had cute little umbrellas in them :) like a tropical drink. And then James and I both ordered the chicken tikka masala at varying degrees of hotness :)

I really expected to see a lot more exotic meats on the menu, but it was mostly white chicken breast that marinates in different spices overnight. And I'm not sure what I expected as far as the spices go - but I definitely would have expected something a bit more jolting and surprising to my palate. (Wow... I really don't know what I am talking about... I think I have watched too much Top Chef this year) The flavors were really good! And I am ready to go back any time :) (Who am I kidding? I have an entire box of left overs in my fridge)

Peace. Love. And Curried Fiddles.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009


It's always exciting to wake up to GOOD NEWS in the inbox!!!

This year I have been nominated by Campus Activities Magazine in TWO different categories :)

Best Female Performer
Best Music

Safety Suit has also been nominated in the best music categoryl!!! I love their song "Stay" that was out on the radio this year - it was actually up to #1 on VH1's countdown... And we are gonna have the chance to open for them some in the upcoming year.

It is such a freakin honor to be nominated in the same category as these guys.

I'm just so excited. I had to share. Thanks for everything, y'all. This has been one heck of a year... but this next one is already going great. And it hasn't even started yet. How's that for awesomeness?? :)

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

More Conveyor Belt Issues

I realize I am a bit crazy.

I'm just getting that out of the way right off the bat.

In one of the first blogs I ever posted - I mentioned my weird, idiosyncratic frustration about the conveyor belt at the grocery store. Even though it doesn't matter in the least... it really bothers me that all my stuff goes up to the front of the belt, while they are still checking out the next person. I find myself having to restrain from grabbing all my stuff and putting it back in front of me.

To view the original blog (it's really short) Click the link:
Conveyor Belt

I have something to add to this...

The person in front of me tonight was REALLY slow. I mean REALLY slow. Not an issue in the least... the issue for me was of course that all of my stuff was up front and I was way behind the grocery cart.

But as I put more stuff on the conveyor belt, it was all spread out, and scattered... not in a nice little grouping like it normally is.

Why this bothered me? I have NO idea. I am not a neat freak in the least. But I eventually had to move all my stuff up to the front just so that it was all together... the longer we stood there... the longer it bothered me. So finally I just put it all together. I felt so much better.

Yup. I'm a strange bird. But don't we all have these little weird things? The weirdest part is when it comes into my consciousness and I REALIZE how bothered I am by something that is completely and utterly ridiculous.

Peace. Love. Fiddle.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Stars of Bethlehem

I LOVE this picture!!! Look at Miguel's hair flying from the ROCK he brings. :)
This was in the article that came out in the Columbia paper today about the Blues benefit.

Ruthie and I wrote a great song today! That's always a good feeling :) It comes so easy writing with Ruth. If you haven't before, you should go check her out!
Ruth Collins
If you go to her page, listen to "Lottery"! That's one we wrote together :)

Tonight I went to see my brother, Joe, and his family in the Christmas Pageant going on at my church in Columbia. They all did such a good job!!! My brother was a Roman soldier... and he wasn't very happy about his man-dress. :) Cameron was an angel, McKinley was a shepherd, and Tracy was the Star of Bethlehem. Cameron was directing everyone fervently during "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" even though he was supposed to just stand with everyone else and sing it. It was pretty awesome.

This is my beautiful niece McKinley (the shortie) and her friend Katie who was also in the play!

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

That's a Lot of Presents

First of all, I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who came and participated in the Have A Blues Christmas Benefit Concert this past weekend. We raised $11,000 for the kids!!! That's a LOT of Christmas presents for children who wouldn't otherwise have them on Christmas morning. So THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!! The event keeps getting bigger and better. :)

Jenn Bostic and I wrote together today. It was so much fun getting to catch up with her and start creating with her. It was our first write... which is in many ways like a first date. It is a sort of getting-to-know-you period. You start to figure out stylistically what the other writer leans towards and where their tendencies are. It helps with the next time, so you have a better idea of what you're getting into! We got a really good start on a song. But of course, Jenn is going on the road until the day that we leave again in January. So we scheduled our next co-write for February. hehe :)

Tonight we watched Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Tour: 30 Days in 30 Nights. I hadn't heard about it, but one of our friends recommended it, and it was awesome. It doesn't just show the comedians performing... it focuses a lot more on the behind the scenes, their stories and backgrounds, and then integrates it their acts. It is a really great look into the world of comedians and how they deal with the same things that bands deal with - audiences that react strangely, personal feelings about performance - it's fun to see the parallels. :)

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Running Out of Eggs Is Awesome

You know when you run out of eggs and it's annoying cause you thought you had more?

That little event - running out of eggs - made me SO HAPPY TODAY!!!! Do you know how long it has been since we have run out of something because we ATE it all??? You know.... instead of throwing it out because we were only here long enough to eat a little bit and then it was out of date by the time we got back. Yeah. That feeling of not wasting our food was AWESOME.

I have spent the last few hours going through all my songwriting ideas I have jotted down, or memos I have recorded on my phone. I can't believe how many great ideas I have that are just sitting there!!! I really thought I would be able to write more on the road this year. But with everything going on, it just rarely happens. At least so far that has been the case. The addition of some of our new band members for next year may change all that! WOO HOO!!!

But I am pumped to get back into the swing of writing. My good friend Jenn Bostic and I are writing tomorrow. It is our first time writing together. She is an incredible singer and songwriter. When I was at Berklee - I was the "country" girl that sang all the country songs in the showcases. After I graduated - Jenn arrived and she was the token "country girl" :) So tomorrow... the "Berklee Country Girls" UNITE. Watch out.

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Have Some Pics of A Blues Christmas

I left my camera in the car last night among the craziness, so I had to wait until today to get the pics up online. (Sorry, Bay!)

I was SOOOOO excited because my awesome, rockstar of a niece, Bailey, got to come. She brought her friend, Blair, and they were there to support me during the show.
I have to brag on Bay for a sec. She just started taking guitar and after only 3 lessons, she can sing and play all of "Our Song" (by Taylor Swift) among other songs that she is teaching herself!!! It is so awesome!!! She's a natural. I can't wait to get her up on stage to play with me!
Bailey, Me, Blair, and my sister, Stephanie

We had so much fun last night!!! The bar gave the whole band some fancy, schmancy, rummy drinks. MMMMmmm. I didn't get very far with mine, but I think the boys made up for my lack of thirst. ;)

And Jenn got to come!!! Yay!!! Miguel and Jenn got a sitter so that she could come enjoy in the fun. AND my good friend, Jessie got to come, too. WOO HOO!

Last night was quite an event. It was SOOO good to play at home. We got to see some of our favorite people in the world!!

And Jessie got some pics of the jam that took place at the end of the night. It's become a staple of the "Have A Blues Christmas" Scott gets us up on stage to play with him and his band - here's a bunch of us just singing whatever he throws at us! It is so much fun to have to think on your feet and not know what's coming next (and make up lyrics if you don't know the song! HA!)

And here's Scott's beautiful wife, Buffy (in the middle)! And my beautiful sister-in-law, Tracy.


Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Whether On This Earth Or From Heaven Above

What an incredible night.

Tonight we played our annual Christmas benefit in Columbia. I haven't played in my hometown since last year at this same event. That's pretty hard to believe. We have had such a good, hard, crazy year. And being away from home so much was not fun. But it's what we needed to get us where we're going.

There was something different about playing on stage tonight. There was a new confidence. A new maturity. I could feel how far we've come during the show. And I was so proud that we have made it this far.

I cried on stage tonight for the first time in my life. Before I started "Angel" I told the audience how much this holiday season has pointed out what family means. And just mentioned how we need to spend as much time as possible with those we love. And then I introduced Granny and why I wrote the song.

During the last verse... when I came to the lines "Whether on this earth or from heaven above, you're my Angel, my Angel, you're my Angel, my Angel" I couldn't sing. I began to cry and I couldn't control it. I could see Grandpa's face watching over me , and the emotion just overtook me. It was pretty incredible. And even though I lost "the words"... that song has even more meaning now than when I wrote it.... which is saying a lot. I didn't actually think that was possible. But I've sung it for Miguel and his grandparents after they died. And then tonight, for the first time... Grandpa was hearing it from heaven. And I know that he's one of my Angels now.

So Merry Christmas everyone. Tonight I got to see so many wonderful friends and family. And tomorrow I will talk about it some more complete with pictures. :)

Go tell someone you love that you love them.

peace. love. fiddle.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Home Is Where The Heart Is

And that's exactly where we've been lately. James and I have so many wonderful homes. We have moved from our home in Iowa back to our home in Tennessee today.

The past week has been a tough one. But getting to spend it surrounded by family and love is what makes it a beautiful thing. I have so many memories that I will take with me forever of this last week and these holidays. Some are very painful. But most of them are filled with joy and laughter.

That's what this time of year is all about.

Merry Christmas.

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

5th Annual Blues Benefit Concert!!!

Tomorrow night!!!

Scott Holt and I in association with the Xtreme 4x4 Club in Columbia TN are Playing the "Have a Blues Christmas" Benefit for the 5th year in a row tomorrow night!!!

This year we have moved to a bigger location. Tix have always been sold out by now, but there are still some available cause we can fit so many more people!!!

Location: Sports Page

Downstairs "Reserve" are $50

General Admission Upstairs is $25

Call Keith Throneberry @ 931-446-3945 for Tix

All proceeds go to buy Christmas presents for underprivileged children. It has been such a successful event every year, and it just keeps growing!

Doors open at 5:30
Dishwater Blonde 6:00pm - 7:00
Natalie Stovall 7:30 - 8:45
Scott Holt 9:15 - 10:45
11:00 - til Jam!

If you've never seen Scott Holt before, you are in for QUITE a treat. He was on the road for years with Buddy Guy. And he is an incredible artist. He puts on a very high energy show that will NOT disappoint!!! So come rock out with us, do something good for the kids, and celebrate Christmas time!

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Let Her Rip.

Grandma unknowingly and quite hilariously found the "fart machine" that we gave Grandpa. We had given it to him right after his surgery in case he had trouble talking... he could still give the nurses a hard time... in true Grandpa Fashion.

She was trying to take a closer look at the temperature, and accidentally rest her hand on it... and RIIIIIIIIIP!! She spun around and just looked at us, FROZEN. Like, "What just happened?" And Troyt looked around because he thought someone in the room had ACTUALLY let one rip... and then the whole room burst out into laughter.

And then Grandma said "Well, Grandpa had some sounds of his own." And then she just kept pressing all the different fart noises and saying, "Oh. Hm." afterwards, which only made the laughter increase. It was classic.

Grandpa is even passing gas down from above. Who knew.

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Snowed In

We are SNOWED IN in Iowa right now!!!

We woke up to a winter wonderland. The snow hasn't stopped coming down, and the wind is FIERCE! It blows the snow all over the place, and there was a huge drift right outside of Grandma's door that made it hard to stomp our way inside!!!

It is currently 3 degrees... don't even want to know what that is with the wind chill!!! The roads are frozen solid. Our plan was to leave tomorrow, but we're not sure how good of an idea that will be. We'll have to see what everything looks like when we get up in the morning. :)

Hope everyone is warm and safe and cozy tonight. I never get tired of the snow. I like that you really can't go anywhere. I always wanted to know that feeling in Tennessee, but I never got it until I moved to Boston... and then acquired a family from Iowa! :)

Peace. Love. and Snowy Fiddles.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's All About The Small Things

Grandpa Dick Gholson was buried today in a plaid shirt with suspenders. It was perfect.

And it sure feels like he's already pulling strings from above. As we left Grandma's house to go to the hotel, right at about midnight, the roads were COVERED. The snow has been coming down on and off since last night. And by tonight, it is just nasty road-wise. We were just pulling out of the neighborhood, and a semi was sitting on the hill... the man driving was waving his arms out the window. We barely saw him, and stopped after we had passed... well... and slid a little as we stopped.
James got out of the car to see what he needed.

He was lost and had no idea how to find where he was going. We didn't know either, but James took the time to look up the address on his phone, and after a while, they both got it figured out. They even figured out the best way for him to turn around and get back going the right direction.

It would have been easy to say, "Sorry man. We're not from here. We have no idea where that is." The snow was pouring, it was pitch black, and we were ready to get back to the hotel.

But Grandpa would have NEVER left him sitting there. Grandpa was always the first to help. Talk about a man with a strong sense of community. It's something that we could all use more of in our lives. If there was a chance to help out a friend, a neighbor, or a stranger, he was the first in line. He probably would have even cleared a path for the trucker... knowing him.

Even though that is a very small thing... it wasn't a big deal at all... it was very powerful to already have an opportunity to carry on his legacy the same day he was buried, immediately as we left Grandma's. And the fact that it was a small thing - well he's a man that understood that life is ALL ABOUT the small things.

There have been so many moments that have happened since he passed that have felt like he had a hand in. And even the way he has been acting the last few months as we all look back on our last conversations with him. It's like he knew. And whether he was just preparing because of the surgery or he actually had a sense of his time on earth being finished... who knows. But he certainly spent a lot of time and energy the last few months making sure he had all his loose were ends tied up.

We all love him so much. And the stories and poems and letters that his children, grandchildren, and friends shared today were just perfect. He was so loved and he loved so much. What a beautiful family he has raised and grandfathered and great grandfathered.

Today he was buried with the SOIL... NOT DIRT... THE SOIL from his own farm.

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A "Dance In The Rain" Kind of Guy

What a day.

We all went to the family visitation this morning. And I know this may sound strange, but it's nice to me that Grandpa doesn't REALLY look like Grandpa. He's not here any more. His earthly body, while one of our most precious possessions... if you can call it that... has become like his watch given to James. Or his ring given Jena. It's just one of the most precious things we remember about him. For so long, that body has been everything we've associated with Grandpa. But the Grandpa we've always known is now completely free, and probably a fantastic jig dancer in heaven. :)

It's so hard. It's so hard to know we can't hear him tell his stories anymore. Now it's up to us to retell them as best we can. James mentioned "He was such a 'dance in the rain' kind of guy". And I can't think of a better nutshell description for him. Tonight was truly a testament to how much he was put on this earth to inspire, teach, love, and bring joy. The chapel was FLOODED with what seemed to be everyone from this county and all the neighboring counties. And Grandpa has passed on the torch to Grandma who is now THE CHAMPION. She was incredible to watch and be around this entire day. She is so strong. So loving. And so at peace. I hope to know that kind of strength one day.

We all have such a unique purpose on this earth. It sucks for all of us here that Grandpa had fulfilled his earthly duties. So we cry. A lot. And laugh. A lot. We all could have had a lot more Grandpa Dick in our lives.

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Superstitious Much?

We made it back to Iowa safely tonight. I was so pumped for the first 6 hours of the drive - it was FLYING by. Not having the trailer allows me to use this revolutionary thing called... CRUISE CONTROL. It's amazing what a difference that makes - my back doesn't hurt, and we can actually drive the speed limit the whole time. What a concept! Well... until it started snowing. As SOON as we crossed into Missouri, the snow started to fall. BIG SURPRISE. Missouri is NOT our lucky state. I'm not one to be superstitious... but it's pretty unbelievably consistent.

We were back on that same stretch of highway again tonight where our wreck with the semi happened. UGhh... I was having to go between 35-45 on the interstate because I couldn't see the lines. The snow was covering everything, and it was coming down pretty hard for the last 4 hours. It doesn't scare me normally... but being in that same spot... well... every time a semi passed me, my whole body would tense up.

But we're here now. Safely. Thank goodness. We'll be spending the day with family and friends during visitation tomorrow. It's gonna be a full day of celebrating Grandpa and everything he means to all of us. There's never a shortage of Dick stories. Believe me :)

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's Never Enough

The day looks different through the eyes of "loss."

Losing Grandpa has, in one day, brought even MORE to our attention, the importance of family. Every moment we can spend with those we love. And keeping ourselves healthy in EVERY WAY POSSIBLE.

We joined the gym this morning. Some of that was pure coincidence. It has been something we have gone back and forth on - cost versus our limited time in town. But going for a run had an extra weight of importance today...

And tonight I spent time with my parents, my sister, my brother-in-law, and 2 of my nieces. Shelby - one of my beautiful nieces - is our little gymnast. Tonight she was in the state gymnastics meet at David Lipscomb - RIGHT in my neighborhood!!! She did SUCH a great job, and I was so proud to watch her compete tonight.

Here's my Champion!!!!! You're looking at one of the top 10 year old gymnasts in the state of Tennessee!!!

(We had our celebration dinner at Pei Wei.)

And sweet little Ansley - one of my other nieces- sat in my lap the WHOLE gym meet. We got a lot of good hang out time packed in tonight. I know WAY more about Strawberry Shortcake and her adventures now :) (And I thought I already knew a lot about her!)

No matter how much time we get to spend with those we love... it's never enough. And that's something that death points out in a pretty harsh way. But I am so thankful for all the time I have ALREADY had with those I love. And I will continue to cherish every moment as much as possible.

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

We Lost One of the All Time Greats.

Our loss is heaven's gain this evening.

Grandpa Dick made everyone feel special. Even the waitress that never knew his name in a random coffee shop. And for the first time in my life, I have had a Grandfather... a void that was quickly filled from the moment I met him. Way before James and I ever started dating.

It's hard to know what to say. But now I can picture the face of one of my guardian angels. We all wish we had him around longer.

For every tear shed for Grandpa Dick, there are a thousand angels rejoicing. I am so thankful to have been blessed to be a part of this family. The family that he and Grandma started together. "All because two people fell in love"

I guess he's getting to finish that jig he started right as he went into the operating room a little sooner that we had all expected.

To quote James: "We lost one of the all-time kick-ass Grandpas tonight"

It's true.

Peace. Love. And Heavenly Fiddles.

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Cheap Trick

We went to see Cheap Trick at the Ryman Auditorium tonight!!! Paul (my manager) bought tix for James, Ben, and me as an early Christmas present. And Cheap Trick is one of his favorite bands, so he wanted us to experience the almighty Cheap Trick for ourselves :)

It was SOOOO MUCH FUN!!!! They are incredible live. And dude. Robin Zander?!?!? Good Lord. If I have half of his voice when I am over 50, I will be good to go!!! The bass player was playing a 12 string bass. Ummm... NEVER seen that before. But it was really cool.

These guys KNOW how to put on a show. They are rockers in the true sense - as in, you don't feel like they are trying to rock. They just do. And the audience was pretty impressive. It was packed with session players, artists in town and even LARRY DAVID! Hilarious! No idea what he is doing in Nashville, but I saw him... didn't think it was actually him... because, well, why would he be in Nashville??

Man, I really loved that 12 string bass. It was such a cool sound. And he had the most gorgeous finish on it - very sparkly - and has given me inspiration for my next fiddle finish. :)

Yeah. So tonight rocked. It was a great way to kick off our marathon of being at home! Grandpa walked 4 times today, and his chest tubes came out. So YAY for that!!! Progress there :)

And welcome to the new blog followers! I see there are a few newbies to the list :) I'll try not to let you down. I may not be on the road the next few weeks, but I have no doubts there will be plenty of adventures to share :)

Night all.

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Grandpa is a Champion

First things first.

Grandpa is doing SOOO well. I want to thank everyone on here that has sent us well wishes and prayers. I am truly amazed at what can be done these days. He went into surgery yesterday. The doctors took out his esophagus (because of cancer cells) and then stretched his stomach up... so the stomach becomes the esophagus AND the stomach. So it's kind-of like getting your esophagus out and your stomach stapled all at once :) We're gonna miss that big belly of his :)

But the surgery went wonderfully and now the long road of recovery has begun. We were there with him this morning for his first "walk" after surgery. Whew. What an ordeal. But he did so well. And he looked right at home with his army of ladies fussing over him :) There were 2 nurses and a doctor and Grandma all with him. Tamara, James, and I stayed in the room and cheered him back to his finish line. :) And I dropped off a pie for the nurses before we left to give them even MORE incentive to fuss over him :)

Things worked out perfectly for James and me to be in Iowa. We are so grateful we could be there with the family for the surgery. Tamara (James' ma) is a doctor, and she is able to stay for the next couple of weeks to help out. Again - SOOOO great she can be there. It's such a comfort to everyone.

So keep the prayers coming!!! We want to get the tubes out and the pain away!!! But Grandpa has already been giving the nurses a hard time... so we know he's gonna be ok :)

James and I worked on the set lists for next year for about 7 hours in the car tonight. It was pretty awesome. We have so many ideas and plans. It doesn't seem like you could talk about set lists for 7 hours straight.... oh but you can! We talked about everything from order... to song selection... to seamless transitions... to optional versions. It's pretty amazing what all you have to consider when it comes to the set list. It's time to breath some new life into the show. And we're very excited to do it!!! Can you tell??

We're home now. We're sleeping in our own bed tonight. Cinnamon is a very happy little pup.

Love you Grandpa!!!

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Careful Where You Pee

We're staying at Aunt Deana's tonight in the primo spot of the
house... The Man Cave!! :) I don't think I'll have any problems
following the visual instructions in the bathroom. Do you?

Aunt Deana and Uncle Tim are so sweet to let us stay here. We didn't
know we were staying tonight, so it was extremely last minute. But
it's the perfect end to a very long and stressful day. Grandpa's
surgery went very well, but keep those prayers coming. He's got a lot
of recovery ahead.

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

Music To My Ears

I have been listening to so much great new music lately and it makes me HAPPY.

Recently I have bought:

Kings of Leon: Only By The Night
Miranda Lambert: Revolution
Carrie Underwood: Play On
John Mayer: Battle Studies
Norah Jones: The Fall

I draw so much inspiration from listening to music... so it's funny that I find myself NOT listening to music that often. I think it's just life on the road. (And part of it was the switching of computers... I kept putting off transferring all my music because it was such a pain... pitiful, right?) But I find that when I am listening to music, I am happier in general. I am more creative and more inspired. So that needs to happen more. I am making a conscious effort to listen to more music this year.

I was surprised at how much I LOVE the Kings of Leon cd. I love "Use Somebody" and it was hard not to hear that song everywhere you go for a while there. But I heard a lot of people talking about how "it's nothing like their old stuff" and kind of bad mouthing them for changing up their style a bit. I want to listen to their older stuff, too, but I LOVE their cd. It's different and the lead singer's voice is just awesome.

Miranda is just ridiculous. She's the all around package. And I love how she's so much more raucous and raw emotionally than other country girls. She's such a great writer and her lyrics always surprise me. And every time I see her on a show singing live, I am so impressed with how much she's grown as an artist.

Carrie's cd didn't hit me the way her last two have on the first listen through. I was surprised. And with someone like Carrie Underwood, her cd's are much more a "collection of great songs" rather than every song making sense with each other like some albums. It's just a different approach. (As say, from Kings of Leon) But I love both extremes. The cd is really growing on me, and I feel like she is really maturing as an artist... with her choice of songs. And even as a writer. She is co-writing a LOT more of her material than she ever has before, which is just cool.

John Mayer. Never get tired of him. Ever. His lyrics just kill me every time. He has such a beautiful way with words. And I love hearing what he is gonna do next. Sometimes I almost think he's too smart musically... there's about 3 moments on the cd where he goes a little too "Berklee" for me. But at the same time, that's why I love him. He's truly an artist, and is always gonna do what he feels is right... even if it wouldn't have been my choice. :)

Norah Jones: what a surprise!!! Her new cd has SUCH a different sound from her last 3. And I was not at all expecting it! This is the one I haven't REALLY listened to yet. I have heard it a couple of times, but not when I could pay attention like I wanted. But I can't wait to dive into this one. It's so fun and flirty and a little more rawkin than she's been before.

So I guess this turned into a mini "CD review" which was not my intention.

Before I sign off... I have to tell you... Cinnamon keeps scaring herself from eh em... "letting em rip" :) She keeps looking back at her butt... running away and then looking at me, like "What is happening to me??" It's been going on the entire time I have been writing this blog... Poor thing. I don't know what she ate. But it's pretty funny.

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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