Saturday, December 31, 2016

~ Coming to The Faith Journals in 2017 ~

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~ Coming Soon to #TheFaithJournals ~
& Much More!!!!
~ Until The New Posts Hit the Blog Feel Free to do Some Catching Up on 2016 Posts. ~
~ Any Questions, Suggestions, Etc. Feel Free to Share in the Comment Section or DM Me. ~
~ Happy End of 2016!!!! IDK About You, but I'm Ready for a New Year!! ~
#TheFaithJournal#PastPosts #2016CatchUp #BlogedyBlogBlog #ComingSoon #2017 #NewYearNewPosts #StayTuned #NewMusicMonday #DiscountDiva #InstaBlogs #DIYs #Recipes #Coupons #RewardsPrograms #CustomerRewards #Points #Freebies #Discounts #PrePlanning #OnTheFly #JackDavis #KONALeashes #LibertyUniversity #ProudLUAlumni #MilkMustacheClothingCo #CoveyCreations #AnUnlikelyRunner #MoreMoreMuchMore

Thursday, December 29, 2016

~ Insta Blog ~ December 24th, 2016 ~ Christmas Cards ~

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When I Was Growing Up My Mamaw Always Sent A Ton of Christmas Cards. She Would Also Get A Ton in Return. As Time Has Gone On She Hasn't Been Able to Send Them & The Other Day She Told Me it Just Breaks Her Heart That She Doesn't Have the Energy to Do That Anymore. She Said She Had Always Loved Sending Christmas Cards & it Was Like Reaching Out & Giving That Person A Hug. I Agree. While I Do Not Send Nearly as Many as She Did, & I'm Sure I Miss People Every Year, Even w My On Going Lists, LoL! I Like to Think That I Have A Little Bit Picked Up Where Mamaw Has Had to Leave Off. ~ Thank You to Everyone That Have Sent A Card. I Know its Just Paper, but I Truly Appreciate Getting the Updates, Pictures & Love. My Mom Was Going Through My Cards & Asking Who Each Was From & I Loved How Many Times My Answer Was, "a former student", "one of my RA's" (cause yes, I still consider you apart of my team even now), & "Friend fr College". It Reaffirms for Me That God Has Been w Me All Along the Way & He Has Blessed Me W Beautiful, Thoughtful People in My Life at the Exact Times I've Needed Each of Them. He is a Caring, Relational God. I Truly Believe That All of Us Keeping Up W One Another,
Even if it is Just Once A Year, Pleases Him. Our Relational God Made Us Relational People, In His Image.

Love You All & Thank You Again for Thinking of Me!!!

~ New Music Monday ~ Christmas Break is a Good Time to Catch Up ~

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#NewMusicMonday is on Christmas Break, but You Can Catch Up On Posts fr 2016. You Can Also Preview My Guesses on Grammy Wins Before the Show Airs in February. I'd LOVE to Hear Who Would Like to See Take Home That Golden Megaphone Trophy. #TheFaithJournals are Very Proud to See Some of the Artists Highlighted in #NewMusicMonday be Nominated for the 2017 Grammys. We Shared @camcountry @spaceykacey @kipmooremusic @thecadillac3 @kelleighbannen @aubriesellers @ryanhurd @marenmorris @kelseaballerini @willienelsonofficial @dierksbentley & SO MANY Others in 2016 that it Might Be A Good Idea to Do A Little Reviewing Before We Hit the Ground Running in 2017 w New Tunes, New Tours & New Artists!!! Merry Christmas Break!!! Hope You're Enjoying Time w Fam, Friends and Killer Holiday Tunes.

~ Insta Blog ~ Motivation Monday ~ December 26th, 2016 ~ Set Yourself Free ~

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Motivation Monday ~ A New Year is Just A Days Away. Folks Are Already Planning Their Resolutions, Diets, & Other Varied Goals, Including Myself. I Don't Like to Call Them Resolutions. I Couldn't Exactly Tell You Why. I Call Mine a To~Do List for the Year. I Also Tell Myself That Its OK if I Don't Get Them All Marked Off. Somethings Make More Time Than Others. Whatever You Call Your Plans for A New Year or Even If You Hesitate to Even Consider What a New Year May Hold or Require of You Just Keep in Mind, He Already Knows. He Goes Before You. Fear is Useless When God Has Made Your Plans. Don't Fear A New Direction if He is the One Working the GPS.

Friday, December 23, 2016

~ Jack Davis ~ Angry Little Elf ~ Christmas 2016 ~

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Yeah, He's Pretty Mad About Being Put Into His Elf Shirt.

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A Little Holiday #ThrowBackThursday For Ya, on Friday. Jack Davis Was A Angry Little Elf When I Put These Awesome Elf Shoes on Him.
He Seriously Stood Like This, Refusing to Move, for Over Five Minutes.

~ Insta Blog ~ Discount Diva ~ Christmas 2016 Ibotta, Ebates & Aps ~ Last Minute Shopping ~

Christmas Shopping is About to Come to A End for 2016. I Hope That You Have Used @ibottaapp @ebatesshopping @target #Cartwheel @walmart #SavingsCatcher to Help Stretch Your Budget & Earn Some Rebates!!!! If Not & You'd Like to Know More About These Aps Head Over to #TheFaithJournals search bar and Type #DiscountDiva #Target #Walmart #Ebates or #iBotta for a List of Past Posts on These Aps & Why I Use Them. If You Sign Up for #Ebates or #ibotta via My Blog We Will Both Get A Bonus!!! But Don't Sign Up For Me, Sign Up For You. I Wouldn't Recommend Something I Haven't Tried or Do Not Use For Myself. I've Been a #Ebates Member for over 5 Years, #ibotta for Almost a Year, #TargetCartwheelAp for Over 5 Years & #WalmartSavingsCatcherAp for 2-3 Years. Just For Facts Sake. Any Questions Please Feel Free to Ask!!! Ya Never Know Who Else is Wondering the Same thing. Happy Christmas Shopping!!!

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~ My Current Earnings via the Ibotta Ap. ~

~ Discount Diva ~ Christmas 2016 ~ The Eleventh Hour of Gift Buying ~

(I apologize for the lack of photo's in this post.
The Faith Journals home base is having a few technical difficulties.)

Merry Christmas Eve, Eve!!!! Today I finally finished the Christmas to-do's that HAD to be done before Christmas. I still have holiday to-do's, but they can all wait until after the weekend. I wasn't sure if anyone was in the boat I was today in trying to get those few last minute things for under the tree, but I thought I would share some idea's for those of you that still need gift idea's, but have no time to wait on shipping, etc.

I shared in my previous Christmas 2016 Discount Diva posts several gifts that I received for my birthday and highly recommend for your Christmas gift giving. I do my best to not recommend anything that I haven't tried myself or know the business/owner personally. Both of the gifts previously suggested are subscription based services which is where I am going to suggest getting your last minute Christmas gifts. But first, to read my reviews on NETFLIX , Blue Apron, or for Magazine suggestions just click on the highlighted links or type "Netflix", "Blue Apron" or "Magazine" into the blogs search bar.

If you are a Coca~Cola Coke Points or Kellogg's Family Rewards collector you can often find subscriptions to a variety of things in their merch shops online. Magazine Subscription, Netflix, Spotify, Blue Apron, gym membership, theme park season pass, concert tickets, gift certificates, Birch Box, Redbox codes, Shutterfly codes, a wine club, the list is seriously endless as far as subscription-esq services out there. One of the many things that make this kind of gift fun is that it is often a more than a one time deal. As in the receiver of the subscription will get several "gifts" or opportunities for use, through out a certain period of time. Many have options of 3 month, 6 month or 12 month subscriptions/memberships. With services such as Birch Box you get new products with every box so, it's like celebrating for months. Which I, personally, LOVE!!! Y'all know how I feel about mail, LOL!

Some of you may think that this is no fun because there is nothing to wrap, put under the tree and unwrap on Christmas morning, but you can actually get creative with that. Print out the confirmation page from your online order/reservation/ticket confirmation, etc. and place it in a box, picture frame, envelope, or even in an ornament for giving pizazz to the gifting method. One year my grandparents hid some of my presents around the house and I had to hunt for them. It was different and fun and given that Christmas' are a little different now that we are all getting older it is a memory I really appreciate having. Gift giving can be so much fun. I've said it before, I'll say it again, it really is about the thought for most folks and not the expense. One year, when 4 of my college besties and I lived in a house together we did the draw names method of gift giving. I mean, we all where either in school, working our first "real" jobs, or both so, even with 5 people splitting bills we lived on budgets. Drawing names made it super fun. We all got each other little stocking stuffers that weren't expensive and then the "main" gift for each person was from whomever drew your name. One of the roommates did the scavenger hunt with her gift. There where clues wrapped in boxes, stuffed in stockings, and around the house. Our house was two stories with a basement and attic so, it was a lot to run around, but we sure did run all over that house and it was a blast. I even have some of it on video. Again, none of us spent a lot of money, but that Christmas is another memory that I'm always going to cherish.

I know it is 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Eve and you may be feeling a little gift giving hopeless, but don't!!!! I hope this post helps get your last minute creative juices flowing. Merry Christmas and Happy Gift Giving!!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

~ New Music Monday ~ December 18th, 2016 ~ The 2016 New Music Monday Awards ~

It is cold, grey, and snow flurrying here today. It is definitely helping with my lack of Christmas spirit. I LOVE Christmas so, I just don't know what's been wrong with me. Anyway, this weather is helping to correct m'tude and I am grateful. I hope that you have all your Christmas shopping done, gifts wrapped, and goodies baked in preparation for the upcoming holiday week. For those of you looking for yet another distraction from your never ending holiday to~do list I will offer you this, the last #NewMusicMonday post of 2016. We will return January 9th, 2017 with more tunes, video's, concert reviews and basically all things music and maybe even a little more.

As we close out 2016 I thought I would do my own version of those awards shows I'm always making guesses on and criticizing. I mean, if you can't beat them....join them. So, here is the 2016 New Music Monday Awards via The Faith Journals.......

Maren Morris - "My Church"
fr "Hero"
CMA Performance 2016

Best New Artist ~ Maren Morris

Maren came out of the musical gate, swinging. "My Church", the first single off of her debut album, "Hero", made it to the top of most charts, has been multi nominated and is now a Grammy nominee for 2017. Morris won Best New Artist at this years CMA's held in November just after her stellar first CMA performance (vid above). What makes all of this so monumental is the fact that when Maren began work on "Hero" she was not signed to a major label, had no number one's, and was still just trying to make her own path in Nashville courtesy of time spent crashing on fellow Texan, Kacey Musgraves couch. Maren Morris has performed on a variety of late shows and just last weekend appeared for her first time as the Saturday Night Live musical guest. Maren held her own beside Alicia Keys on an episode of CMT's "Crossroads", one of my favorite episodes to date. I consider myself a rather harsh critic of "Crossroads". I'm not easily impressed by the pairings, but CMT totally got it right with this one. She opened for Keith Urban on his US leg of the "Ripcord" tour and in 2017 she will start her very first headlining tour. Maren Morris is on the up trajectory and I really do not see anything slowing her down any time soon. There were a lot of super contenders in my mind for Best New Artist of 2016, but for me, for New Music Monday, Maren is the clear winner.

Best Group ~ The Cadillac Three

Some of you may find this selection as a surprise considering the trio has zero nominations, little radio play, and only three, I think,  "official" singles released. What you might not know is they held their own in front of sold out crowds on their very first headlining tour in the UK. They opened for Kip Moore on the last US leg of the "Wild One's" tour, and spent a solid amount of dates opening for Florida Georgia Line on their "Dig Your Roots" Fall 2016 tour. TC3 will headline their own, "Black Roses" tour in 2017 with openers like Aubrie Sellars, which you are already aware the Faith Journals and New Music Monday are a huge fan of. TC3 also released their first full length album, "Bury Me in My Boots", lead vocals and writer, Jaren Jonhston also logged several number one's as co-write on other artists tunes, such as Jake Owen's, "American Love Song". Johnston resigned with his publishers Sony/ATV, he and his wife Evyn established their own publishing company, "Two Black Dogs", and announced that their first child is due in 2017. Other members of TC3 also announced some big news with engagements, etc. so, to say it's been a busy year for the trio is a huge understatement. I LOVE TC3's southern rock tunes and think it's just a matter of time before everyone falls in love with it. They are who they are and that is one of my favorite things about them. If you haven't, give The Cadillac Three a listen, a download, and head over to their socials to show them some social media love. #TheJaren in particular can be rather hilarious to follow.

The Cadillac Three @ Abbey Road Studio's
"Graffiti" fr "Bury Me in My Boots"
Brothers Osborne - "21 Summer"
fr "Pawn Shop"
Story Behind "21 Summer" by Vevo'
Best Duo ~ Brothers Osborne
Again, another category that I really went back and forth with. Two things pushed them to the top of my list, 1. Their winners speech at the 2016 CMA awards where they won Best Duo, finally taking out Florida Georgia Line who have won for several years in a row. The duo was so sure they wouldn't be winning that they did not hold back on the pre-show cocktails. They barely made it to the stage, not because of intoxication, well, maybe a little because of intoxication, but mainly out of shock. It was one of the most genuine speeches of the night. Brothers Osborne was one of two opening acts on Miranda Lambert's "Keeper of the Flame" tour this Summer and spent the Fall doing their own headlining shows, which is the 2nd thing to get them to the top spot on the New Music Monday Awards. Two of the brothers shows had ceilings collapse prior to show time in the last few weeks. The most recent had the band decided to take the party outside where they performed for their audience from the top of their bus. I mean, if that ain't bad A$$ I'm unsure what is. Music and fans first if ever I saw it. I think "21 Summer" is one of my favorite tracks from "Pawn Shop". I love hearing the stories behind music and how they get to be on an album. Hope you enjoy this quick tale as much as I do.
Best Male ~ Kip Moore
I'm not sure how you could be a regular follower of #NMM and not have seen this one coming. As with The Cadillac Three, Moore did not receive any award show noms in 2016 and his tunes did not get the radio play they so deserve. Despite the lack of "industry" success from "Wild Ones", Kip and The Slow Hearts consistently sold out shows all across the US as well as the UK. Winter 2016 saw the release of the second single off of Moore's sophomore album, "Wild One's", "Running for You". which also gave us the first full length video produced by long time Moore collaborator PJ Brown and Life in Rewind for the tune. The video was a beautiful visual offering for the tune. It spent weeks on video charts until early Fall. Moore spent Summer 2016 as an opener for Miranda Lambert on the "Keeper of the Flame" tour. The guys then headlined their own, "Me and My Kind Tour" taking along with them Jon Pardi, Lindsey Elle, Tyrone Golden, and a few others in select stops. Kip and the Slow Hearts had sold out performances in the Spring of 2016 on their UK leg of the "Wild One's" tour, Kip presented at the Aussie version of the CMA's/ACM's. Kip also taped an episode of "Front and Center" w PBS. Kip's charity "Kip Kids Fund" opened several skate parks in inner cities and continues to plan/aid/fundraise for future parks and other projects. Kip is a bit of a gym rat and healthy eater so one project he would like to see happen in the future is to provide better beverage options in schools where the meal a child receives there is more than likely the only solid meal that child might get in a day. He'd like to add healthy, vitamin rich juices to their options. Moore also lent his voice to  "Be The Change" (which can be viewed by clicking the highlight link or heading to KM's Social Media Pages), a video produced after several of the shootings that occurred in 2016. For me, this very well may be one of the most powerful things Moore chose to be apart of in 2016. Last but not least in 2016 Kip and The Slow Hearts released, "Underground", a five track EP that was recorded during the band's sound checks pre-show. He has mentioned in several interviews since it's release that he just wanted to do a little something for all those fans that continue to be faithful in showing up at shows, requesting the music, etc. 2017 already has a new single and album slated for release, but not until the guys get some much needed and well deserved rest over the holiday season and first few months of the new year.
Kip - "Hearts Desire"
Post Show ~ Back Ally Performance in Dublin

Kacey Musgraves - "What Are You Doing New Years Eve"
fr "A Very Kacey Christmas"
Best Female ~ Kacey Musgraves
Musgraves toured all year as a headliner on her "Rhinestones Revue Tour" as well as an opener for the one and only King George Stait on several dates. Musgraves performed at several awards shows, was apart of multiple Dolly Parton Tributes, "Pageant Material" was a mutli nominated album with multiple number ones, memorable video's, and a stellar headlining tour supporting it in 2016. To end 2016 Musgraves and crew gave the FANTASTIC Holiday offering of "A Very Kacey Christmas". It seriously seems that EVERY artist released a Christmas album this year and while they are all "good" in their own rights, I truly feel Musgraves surpasses them all. I was anticipant since early Fall of this release and I was NOT disappointed. "A Very Kacey Christmas" is not the traditional set of songs that is heard on a majority of Christmas albums. She has several originals with the help of Willie Nelson and Leroy Prine. She also tackles a few well known tracks like, "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer", "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas", and the above video "What Are You Doing for New Years Eve". I think this may be the only "official" video from the project, in 2016 anyway. She is currently heading back home from the last dates of her "A Very Kacey Christmas Tour". At this point, for me, Kacey Musgraves can do little to no harm. I love her writing, her creativity, her personal style and the way in which she appears to carry herself in the industry. I think she is such a talent and I can't wait to hear what she has next for everyone.  
Best Album ~ Dierks Bentley "Black"
Dierks a little bit took over Country Music with the release of, "Black". He did a pop~up shop in Nashville, performed on several morning shows, several late night shows, co-hosted the ACM's with Luke Bryan, headlined his very own, "Somewhere on a Beach" tour with openers CAM and Randy Houser. He donated 100,000.00 to Dolly Parton's, "My People Fund" in response to the wild fires that destroyed the part of the Smokey Mountains in Gatlinburg, TN. He has already announced his 2017 headlining tour and will be taking Jon Pardi along with him as an opener. Dierks "Black" album is a bit of an ode to his wife who's maiden name is "Black". I suppose in line with that Bentley brought along several females as duet partners for the album. Bentley pre shared a variety of black and white video's setting up the songs that "Black" would have to offer. One of which was "Different for Girls" in which Dierks paired with Elle King. "Different for Girls" is multi-nominated and is currently nominated for a Grammy in 2017. The other is "I'll Be the Moon" featuring Maren Morris, my pic for Best New Artist of 2016. The song is thick, dark, and almost haunting in the helplessness one can feel when knowing they are second choice. It's beautiful. I can't wait to see all that Dierks offers in 2017.

Dierks Bentley - "Different for Girls"
Featuring Elle King
fr "Black"

CAM - "Mayday"
fr "Untamed"
Best Video of the Year ~ CAM ~ "Mayday"
CAM was on my Best New, Best Female, and Best Album lists, but I wanted to distribute the love and saved her for my Best Video pick of 2016. Cam channels Amelia Earhart in her girl power-iffic "Mayday" video. Cam is becoming a voice for females in music, especially in country music. She promotes fellow singers/writers with things like #WCW (woman crush Wednesday), she does a interactive chat with fans on Monday's via Facebook Live called, "Mayday Mondays". She is faithful in communicating with her fans via social media as well as at meet and greets. She toured this year with Dierks Bentley as well as headlined her own, very first tour in Fall of 2016. Cam also bought a home, adopted a second dog, and hell-o, got married this year!!! She is multi-nominated at the country awards shows as well as a 2016 Grammy nominee for "Burning House". I think that 2016 has shown us what Cam can do and I don't see her slowing down or falling  behind in 2017. "Mayday" is a clever video that only further visualizes and supports Cams representation of girl power and women in music. I selfishly hope that "Untamed" has at least one more single coming from it before CAM moves forward onto her next project, but I suppose only time will tell. Another reason I am a devoted CAM Fan is because much like Maren Morris, Cam began her project with no major label support. She started the writing, producing, recording of "Untamed" with a Kick Starter campaign. This kind of move encourages me, challenges me and is just flat out inspiring. It takes guts and Cam has them!!!!
Song of the Year ~ "My Church" by Maren Morris and busbee
Book ending the New Music Monday Awards with Maren Morris just feels proper considering we opened with Maren as the Best New Artist. I feel I distributed the love rather fairly so I have no qualms with circling back around to Maren. "My Church" has catapulted Maren to the top of Country charts. It has laid the ground work for everything she has done this year. Co-Written with busbee "My Church" was originally a song that was written as an offering for another artist. However, Morris was advised to keep it for herself as it's previewers could only hear her singing it the way it deserved. My guess, she is grateful for that advice and even more grateful for the strength to take it. I imagine it is extremely difficult as a writer/performer to decide which songs to keep back for yourself and which ones to turn in for other artists. As mentioned earlier, Morris will begin her first headlining tour in 2017. 2016 has seen two singles from "Hero" and I hope that 2017 will see several more. "Hero" is an amazing album and was on my list for Album of the year. Like Cam, Maren began "Hero" with out begin signed to a label. I just can't say enough how brave I find these women. Also, how jealous I am that they not only know their callings, but are gutsy enough to chase them despite how uphill they may seem. GIRL POWER TO THE MAX!!!!!!!!

Maren Morris - "My Church"
fr "Hero"
Whelp kiddies, that is it for New Music Monday in 2016. I am looking forward to the new music 2017 holds. Until then, as always, keep calling in, tweeting, instagraming, facebooking, snail mailing, texting, etc. your requests to your local radio and to video count downs. I've said it nearly every post and I'll say it again, each request/vote makes a difference. Ask Maren, CAM and the Brothers Osborne how those requests for their FRESHMAN releases changed their lives. They will each point back to the fans and how they fought for them with radio, downloaded their music, bought the CD's in store, and supported them by showing up to shows.
2016 proved to be a stellar year for Country Music across the board, not just in it's own genre. I also think it was an outstanding year for Women in Country Music. Aubrie Sellars, Mickey Guyton, Margot Price, Kacey, Maren, Cam, Kelsea, Carrie, Miranda, Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Kimberly Perry, Kelleigh Bannen, Maggie Rose, Caitlyn Smith,  Reba, Loretta, and Dolly are all amazing examples of the power of women in music, women in country music. The guys held their own too, lol!!

Kelsea Ballerini - "Yeah Boy"
fr "For the First time"
Coming in just under the 2016 wire is Kelsea Ballerini's fourth and final single from her debut album, "For the First Time". "Yeah Boy" is already out to radio and this week Ballerini shared the official video for the track. Bright, upbeat, wearing a jumper, per usual, this video is very much Ballernini's personality in my opinion. She is currently finishing up her first headlining tour and will be joining Thomas Rett in 2017 as an opener. She is working on her second album which has no current release date. Kelsea broke records in 2016 becoming the first female artist to have her first three singles off of their debut album go to number one. She toured with Billy Currington, Rascal Flats, performed at the awards shows and was apart of Billboards Women in Music celebration. Ballerini, like Morris received her first Grammy nomination and will be representing country music at the 2017 ceremony. I'm throwing in this bonus as a little musical stocking stuffer.  

There are so many artists that we have gotten to share in 2016 with you. Sturgill, Stapleton, Dolly, Loretta, LBT, Jake Owen, Maddie and Tae, just to name a small few. It was seriously so difficult to break things down to one in each category. I love music and I know that many of you do as well. I appreciate your comments, likes, reposts, and just your taking time to read my thoughts in general. Hopefully you agree with my picks for the New Music Monday Awards 2016, if not, there's always next year. LOL!!
To Catch Up on 2016 #NewMusicMonday Posts or Just for Reminiscing's Sake, Simply Type, "New Music Monday" into the Blogs Search Bar and a List Should Pull Up for You to Cruise. Any Questions, Problems, Suggestions, or Requests Please Feel Free to DM Me on Social Media or Leave a Comment in the Comment Section Below.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !!!!!
2017 is Gonna Rock!!!!


~ Insta Blog ~ December 12th, 2016 ~ Cast Your Anxiety on Him ~

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~ Pic fr Jesus Calling - Regram ~

Unless You Have Experienced True Anxiety for Yourself it Really Just Seems Like Another Word that is Over Used. Anyone Who Has in the Past or Currently Does, Struggle w Anxiety Based Issues Knows There is No Way to Understand How Difficult the Application of this Verse Can Be Until You've Felt that Weight in Your Chest, White Noise in Your Mind & General Numbing All Over. It Isn't That One Doesn...'t Want to Give It Up. It Isn't That They Haven't Tried. It Is No Reflection on Their Quiet Time, Prayer Life or General Relationship w The Lord. Somethings We Have to Give Over to Him Every Day. Other Things it is More Like Every Hour & Thats Where I'm Currently @ When it Comes to My Anxiety. Just to be 100% on the Real. One Moment I Feel Completely in Control, Trusting the Lord, & at Complete Peace that Even My Mistakes Can Be Used For His Glory & Thats What its All For Anyway. Another Moment I am Questioning Everything I've Ever Known. I Doubt Myself, My Callings & My God. That is One of the Many Ways Anxiety Works. It is Anything, but Consistent in its Ways. Its Like Living Every Moment w Someone Walking Behind You w a Gun in the Small of Your Back. You Know That @ Any Moment the Trigger Could Get Pulled w No Warning or Warranted Cause & In a Second You Will Be Brought to Your Knees. I Do NOT Know How Folks w/o Jesus Our Savior Walk Through This Life. I NEED Him Every Single Day. Anxiety Riddled or At Complete Peace. Its Hard for Folks That Have Known Me For Years to Understand or Grasp That I Struggle w Anxiety & Thats OK. I'm Not Asking Anyone to Understand Those Inner Workings. I'm Just Asking That One Would Understand Everyone, Including Myself, Are Doing the Very Best That They Can, For Who They Are @ the Moment. Lets Hand Out Grace w Our Holiday Greetings this Year.

~ Insta Blog ~ December 13th, 2016 ~ Pursue Peace ~

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What Calms You? What Gives You Rest? What Makes You Confident in Who You Are, How You Handle Life, & Those in It?! Sometimes Peace isn't a Given. Sometimes Peace Has to be Pursued. Chased After. And I Think Thats OK. Anything Worth Having Requires a Bit of Pursuit. 

~ Insta Blog ~ December 17th, 2016 ~ "First Things First, I'm the Realest" ~

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~ Me Trying to Finish Christmas To~Do's ~
As Iggy Azalea Would Say, "First Things First, I'm the Realest". As I Mentioned Before, I Have Two Personal Styles, Homeless or Over Done. Yesterday Was Homeless. One of the Many Reasons I Relocated to My Home Town was to Be Available for My Grandparents. Yesterday That Meant Running to Get Them Lunch on the Fly. Sunglasses, Sweats, Wet Hair in a Pony, Flops & Lip Gloss Tends to be My Uniform More Often Than Anything Else.

Yes, I Love Getting Dolled Up. No, I Do Not Want to Blind People w My Appearance When Make-Up-Less. I Wear the Over Sized Shades. I Wear Them for Your Safety Not Mine, LOL!! And Yes, I Enjoy a Compliment on My Appearance as Much as the Next Gal. But I Post This b/c it is Freeing to Not Give a Crap.

Anyone Who is Gonna be Apart of Your Life in a Real Way is Going to Eventually See You Make-Up-Less, See You When You're Sick, See You When You Only Manage to Line One Eye & Anyone Else Who Might Have Something to Say Shouldn't Really Matter to You.

You Be You, Love!!! Glam, Dialed Back, Organic, Somewhere in the Middle, Whoever You Are Let No One Make You Feel Bad for Being True to You. How's the Saying Go? "Those Who Mind Don't Matter, And Those Who Matter, Don't Mind.". This World is Filled w Distractions Meant to Keep Us Down. I Hope This Encourages You to Let Appearance Be One Less Distraction or Weight on Your Shoulders. 

Both Pics Were Taken Outside. Neither Pic Has a Filter or Edit. Just to Break it Down For Ya.

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~ Insta Blog ~ December 18th, 2016 ~ Smokey Mountain Social ~

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I Have Added A Lot of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, & Sevierville Socials to My Follows. Its One of the Many Ways You Can Show Your Support to the Mountains & Keep Up with Re-Openings, Special Events, Etc. as They Begin to Heal, Recover, & For Some, Start Over Completely. Including the Animals. I Recently Read That the Wild Life is Slowly, but Surely Reappearing & Doing Their Own Research of the Land. I Also Read That is a Good Thing as Animals are at Their Core, Instinctual. They Knew to Leave When the Fires Got Out of Control & They Know When its Time for Them to Come Back Home.

One Pet Animal Story I Read was of a Pet Pig. The Family Had to Evacuate w/o Her, I Don't Recall the Exact Why, Like They Couldn't Find Her or What. Anyway, Once They Were Allowed Back on Their Property There She Was. She Had Buried Herself in the Mud to Protect Herself from the Fire. What a Smart Girl!!!!! She Has a Few Burns, but Nothing Like They Expected. She's Been Seen by a Vet & Is Recovering, Happily, w Her Owners/Family.

I LOVE This Pic Posted Saturday Night. I LOVE How This Guy Has His Hands Folded!! Seems to Be Doing Some Severe Observing & Thinking.

~ Check Out Who I'm Following From the Smokey Mountains & Give Them a Follow. ~

Saturday, December 10, 2016

~ New Music Monday ~ December 12th, 2016 ~ Grammy Noms 2017 ~

Last week the Recording Academy announced their 2017 Grammy nominations. Per usual, there are some surprises, some expected, and some WTF??!! Leading the pack this year is none other than Queen Bey, Beyoncé with what I think is 9 noms. Also, representing particularly strong this year is the country music genre. Whether you agree or disagree with the actual nominee's I think it is UHHHMAAAYYYZZZINNNGGG that country is repping so strong at an all genre awards show.

Below is the list of noms and my ideals on winners in the categories I actually listen to. I didn't comment on categories I know nothing about. You're welcome. I look forward to watching in February to see how close I am. I feel like I should maybe start betting on these awards shows. Performers have not been announced yet so, look for that #NewMusicMonday post in 2017.

Record Of The Year ~
Hello - Adele - I think that to expect anyone other than Adele to Win this One is Delusional.
Formation - Beyoncé
7 Years - Lukas Graham
Work - Rihanna featuring Drake
Stressed Out - 21 Pilots

Album of the Year ~
25 - Adele
Lemonade - Beyoncé
Purpose - Justin Bieber
Views - Drake
A Sailor's Guide to Earth - Sturgill Simpson

This is a solid category, I mean, if you ignore the Justin Bieber nod. I LOVE that Sturgill Simpson is on this list. You can check #NewMusicMonday #PastPosts to listen to some of the songs from his latest and nominated, "A Sailor's Guide to Earth". I would love to say that because he is the underdog he has a solid chance of winning, but with Adele and Beyoncé as competitors I really do not know. Also, this nomination further shows the distance between radio, artists, fans, and the industry.

Song of the Year ~
Formation - Beyoncé
Hello - Adele
I Took a Pill in Ibiza - Mike Posner
Love Yourself - Beiber
7 Years - Lukas Graham

I read that Beyoncé pushed the release of "Lemonade" out of respect to Adele's "25". I'm unsure if this is some unspoken musical heavy weight rule or if it is just how Queen Bey rules. Either way, I like this idea and the kind of unspoken respect that it allures to. Adele killed nearly every record and chart with the release of "Hello". I really think she is going to be difficult to beat, even for Queen Bey.

Best New Artist  ~
Kelsea Ballerini
The Chainsmokers
Chance the Rapper
Maren Morris
Anderson Paak

Can I just say that I LOVEEEEE that this category has TWO, New, Country genre, females representing. I see none of the male crooners that seem to saturate the waves represented here and no disrespect, but I seriously love it!!!! GIRL POWER!!!! I think that both Kelsea and Maren are solid competition in this category, but Kelsea has a bit more notoriety in the pop community given her connections to T. Swift. She has also collaborated with several other pop artists such as Nick Jonas. Maren won this category last month at the CMA's so, who knows??!! By the time the Grammy's air she will have performed on Saturday Night Live, finished as opener on Keith Urbans American leg of the Ripcord tour and begun her own headlining tour. I would like to see Maren win, but I would be alright with Kelsea winning as well.

Best Pop Solo Performance ~
Hello - Adele
Hold Up - Beyoncé
Love Yourself - Bieber
Piece By Piece - Kelly Clarkson as Performed on AI
Dangerous Woman - Ariana Grande

Again, I think Adele is nearly impossible to beat even with Beyoncé as her competition.

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance ~
Closer - The Chainsmokers Feat. Halsey
7 Years - Lukas Graham
Work - Rhiana feat. Drake
Cheap Thrills - Sia Feat. Sean Paul
Stressed Out - 21 Pilots

Closer is basically EVERYWHERE!!!! Everyone is covering it. The radio doesn't stop playing it. I think it's a obvious winner.

Best Pop Vocal Album ~
25 - Adele
Purpose - Bieber
Dangerous Woman - Ariana Grande
Confident - Demi Lovato
This is Acting - Sia

Best Rock Performance ~
Joe (Live from Austin City Limits) - Alabama Shakes
Don't Hurt Yourself - Beyoncé feat. Jack White
Blackstar - David Bowie
The Sound of Silence (Live on Conan) - Disturbed
Heathens - 21 Pilots

I LOVE Jack White so, I would kind of like for him and B to win, but I also adore "Heathens". I'm torn. I'm unsure either of my preferences matter seeing as Bowie is in this category. Often when a star passes they win sorda as a last respects kind of thing. Besides it's Bowie, he is real competition no matter the category.

Best Country Solo Performance ~
Love Can Go to Hell - Brandy Clark
Vice - Miranda Lambert
My Church - Maren Morris
Church Bells - Carrie Underwood
Blue Ain't Your Color - Keith Urban

I am GIDDY that this category is dominated by females!!! Take that country boys club!! No disrespect to Keith. He is always a promoter of female country artists, but I just adore that he is the only male in this category. I also LOVE that Brandy Clark, another radio absent, Country Award Show MIA artist, and here she sits, for the SECOND time, Grammy nominated. I think if any of these folks win I will be alright with it, but I fear that simply out of pop culture, Miranda or Carrie may win. I don't mind their winning. They both have put out great singles in 2016, but I hate the thought that they might win simply due to exposure in the over all music community. Brandy and Maren, at this point, are more known to just their genre.

Best Country Duo/Group Performance ~
Different for Girls - Dierks Bentley feat. Elle King
21 Summer - Brothers Osborne
Setting the World on Fire - Kenny Chesney & Pink
Jolene - Pentatonix Feat. Dolly Parton
Think of You - Chris Young Feat. Cassadee Pope

Again, my fear is that due simply to exposure, that Kenny and Pink will win this category. I like the song. It isn't my favorite. I like both artists, but the collab just feels like an attention getter for me. It was added to the album late which pushed back it's release date getting it even more attention. Then it was the second single released from Chesney's newest album, "Noise". My heart would like to see Brothers Osborne win, but I think that considering their chart success Chris Young and Cassadee Pope have a stellar chance. This all assuming that notoriety doesn't choose the winner.

Best Country Song ~
Blue Aint Your Color
Die A Happy Man
Humble and Kind
My Church

Die A Happy Man, by Thomas Rett has taken country genre award shows so, it is possible it could take a all genre show like the Grammy's. Humble and Kind won at the CMA's so ya never know, Lori McKenna and Tim McGraw could take it here as well. Again, for the one thousandth time I point back to the idea of non genre specific popularity making Keith, Miranda and Carrie top contenders. I would pass right out if Maren, who in this category would be considered an underdog, won this. "My Church" has swept air waves and folks that didn't consider themselves country music fans prior to it are now tuning into country because of it. We shall see.

Best Country Album ~
Big Day in a Small Town - Brandy Clark
Full Circle - Loretta Lynn
Hero - Maren Morris
A Sailor's Guide to Earth - Sturgill Simpson
Ripcord - Keith Urban'

I REPEAT!!!! I LOVE THAT BRANDY CLARK AND STURGILL SIMPSON are in this category. AGAIN I say, this just goes to show that radio air play and country genre specific awards shows, do not have any play or prediction powers when it comes to the music community over all. This is Brandy's second year of being nominated for her own work and I think it'd be great if she won. I adore Loretta and she for sure would deserve the award. If Sturgill won this would be a big ol' middle finger to many in the country community who have shunned him or turned their noses up. He is not "new" country, but he isn't exactly "traditional" either. With influences like the Hag and covering tunes by Nirvana he is going to be a difficult one to pigeon hole. He is currently on a sold out headlining tour and I will be anxious to see if he even appears at the actual ceremony. I can see him staying on the road or at home. Again, we shall see. Also, as I said earlier, by the time for voting comes around Maren will have appeared on Saturday Night Live and will be out on her own headlining tour. Both of those things could shift her in popular public opinion.

Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song ~
Trust in You - Lauren Daigle
Priceless - For King & Country
King of the World - Natalie Grant
Thy Will - Hillary Scott & The Scott Family
Chain Breaker - Zach Williams

I think that Hillary Scott and The Scott Family are going to win both categories that they are nominated in. "Thy Will", is an amazing song and it has taken the Lady Antebellum vocalist into a new genre along with her family. Daughter of Linda Davis who famously sang with Reba on "Does He Love You" in the country genre. Linda has been singing gospel/Christian music for years so I can see this familial collaboration getting them a win.

Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media ~
Amy - Various Artist
Miles Ahead - Miles Davis & Various Artists
Straight Outta Compton - Various Artists
Suicide Squad (Collector's Edition) - Various Artists
Vinyl: The Essentials Season 1 - Various Artists

Movie soundtrack, I have loved the Suicide Squad soundtrack from the first note. I think it is a solid compellation and holds it own against bio pic sound tracks like Amy and Miles.

Best Song Written for Visual Media ~
Can't Stop the Feeling fr Trolls
Heathens fr Suicide Squad
Just Like Fire fr Alice Through the Looking Glass
Purple Lamborghini fr Suicide Squad
Try Everything - Zootopia
The Veil - Snowden

Single from a movie, Justin Timberlakes "Can't Stop the Felling" from Trolls was kind of a Summer hit from the get. It's up beat. It's this Summer's version of Pharrell Williams, "Happy". But again, I point back to Suicide Squad's, "Heathens". I LOVE IT!!! Perhaps because all my friends are heathens??!!! LOL!! Just kidding....sorda.

For a Full List of 2017 Nominee's click HERE.

To See if I Should Become an Awards Show Gambler Follow Me on Facebook on February 12th, 2017 for Play by Play on the 59th Annual Grammy's Ceremony. Yes, most people do live streams via Twitter, but I can only pretend to care about so many things at one time and I chose Instagram, Facebook and m'blog!!! I'm sure you understand.

~ Insta Blog ~ Motivation Monday ~ December 5th, 2016 ~ Sparkly Aunt Stacie ~

One of My Most Favorite Nick Names, and I Have a Few, is "Aunt Stacie". I'm So Grateful the Lord Sent Me the Friends He Has. Grateful That They Allow Me to be Aunt Stacie to Their Littles. I Genuinely Love Each One of Them & How Different They All Are From One Another. I Find Myself Praying for Them Often and Am So Proud When I See their Little Individuality. We are at a Place Now Where They Are Becoming these Little Adults. It's Amazing to Me to Watch Them Grow, Learn, and Decide Who They Wanna Be. Seeing This in My Mail The Other Morning Totally Made My Day. I, Out Loud, Said "Yeah!!!" When Pulling it Out of The Mail Box and Seeing it Addressed to Aunt Stacie, Lol!!!

Growing Up I Often Wished/Prayed for Siblings, but That Wasn't the Lords Plans. Not at Least in the Way One Might Think. He Has Given Me More "Siblings" Than I Ever Dreamed by Way of Friendships. That's One of the Many, Amazing, Wonderful Things About Our Savior, He ALWAYS Hears Our Prayers and While it May Take Time and They May Not Get Answered Exactly as You Imagined, He Does ALWAYS Answer Our Prayers.

Happy Motivation Monday Loves!!! Keep Your Eyes, Mind and Heart Opened to the Varied Ways in Which the Lord May be Answering Your Prayers. Also, There is Good News and Their is Bad News.

Good News: My Glitter Stash has Been Properly Restocked Thanks to One of My Most Favorite Tribes, #TheSalyers.

Bad News: My Glitter Stash has Been Properly Restocked. Consider Yourself Warned, Lol!!!

Thank You Salyers' For Thinking of Me & Accepting/Fueling My Love of Sparkle!!!

~ Insta Blog ~ December 7th, 2016 ~ Starting Over ~


~ Family Property in Tennessee ~

~ And Just Like That, The Leaves Had All Fallen, to Remind Us What Starting Over Looks Like. ~

~ Even Jack Davis gets a little pensive once the leaves have all fallen. ~


~ Insta Blog ~ December 9th, 2016 ~ All That I Am ~


Sunday, December 4, 2016

~ New Music Monday ~ December 5th, 2016 ~ "Home Sweet Home to Me" ~

Tennessee Vols Fight Song

I've started this post at least a dozen different times in my head. Even now, I have stared at that first sentence for a solid ten minutes. There is so much on my heart and mind after these last few weeks. Well, actually after this entire year. Has the world always been this grey or is it my age showing that I am more aware? Bus accidents, shootings, bombings, flight high jacking's,  kamikaze drivers in Paris, tornado's, earth quakes, & wild fires. It feels like the list is never ending. This #NewMusicMonday is gonna be different than past posts. I plan on sharing some Tennessee specific tunes with you as well as a few stories that I've read/heard over the last few days. I think that music is powerful. It can heal, encourage, and uplift. Music is our prayer when words have escaped us. It soundtracks our memories and lulls our babies to sleep. I can think of no better way to celebrate my home state of Tennessee than by sharing a few Tennessee tunes in this weeks #NewMusicMonday. Before you say anything, yes, these tunes may have a little dust on them, but they still are some of my favorites and always come to mind when thinking about the Volunteer state.

In the last two weeks there has been a bus accident in Chattanooga that claimed several young lives and leaving so many others wounded. There was a tornado near Athens that demolished homes, churches, schools and businesses. Monday there was a wild fire in Sevierville that as of last reports has taken at least 13 lives, destroyed several hundred businesses/buildings/homes, forcing somewhere in the 15,000+ to evacuate, and leaving people not only with out their family, a home, or any of their possessions, but also unemployed all in one night. There has been video's shared of people trying to escape the mountain that will give you nightmares for weeks. I have read more than one story on people who perished in the fire because they couldn't get out in time. A mother and her two daughters, a reverend, a family in the Smokie's on vacation that lost both parents and leaving the three sons in the hospital in different levels of ICU, and locals that called Gatlinburg home. I'm not sure any "category" of people was left untouched. My mind cannot begin to fathom what some may have felt that night as they had to make the choice to try and leave or have no choice in being forced to stay. I am sure we will be hearing some of these stories as folks get back to their properties and begin assessing what happened to their specific spaces. The Mayor lost his home and his business yet he was out with the people of his city mourning, hearing their stories and just letting them see him and know he is there for them. I heard it said by Governor Haslam in a radio press conference on Friday that the city Mayor had shared with him that his first priority was the people of the city, behind that his personal loss. I find that amazing, encouraging and inspiring. That is leadership at its finest.

Fires, tornado's, loss of possessions, homes, cars, jobs, pets, and the death family/friends. We live in a 24 hour news cycle that is unavoidable so, these stories are nearly unavoidable. You can go to bed at 10 p.m. with up to the moment information and wake at 3 a.m. check the internet and find even newer information. It's kind of overwhelming the speed in which some information is flowing and yet, some are still searching for their loved ones or details on their property with no word. All of these events are traumatic and heavy enough all on their own, but combined together and adding in the holiday season, it feels so much heavier. While 13 is too many to have lost in this wild fire, I am grateful that it was only 13. Considering an evacuation of that magnitude and it really is a miracle that the death toll isn't in the thousands. I'm grateful that businesses have already mentioned rebuilding and reopening. I am grateful that the Mayor has set a goal to reopen downtown Gatlinburg potentially this week. I am grateful that so many have the ability to look forward after this horrific event.

Amy Grant - "Tender Tennessee Christmas"
I know this is a waaaaaaaayyyyyyy back cut of this song, but I felt
we could all use a little nostalgia..

All of this planning, mourning, looking forward, healing and you know what I have not heard??!! Not one report of looting. Not a single shot fired at an officer of the law, EMS crews, Fire Fighters or any other officials out in the thick of it. No one has reported of anyone being shot, simply for doing their job, i.e. a officer of the law, fire fighter, or nurse, doing those jobs in the midst of what I can only imagine Armageddon might look like. I've seen no protests blocking road ways because someone unexpectedly and traumatically lost a loved one. No signs with angry words blaming management because an entire business is burned to the ground and it's staff is now unemployed. No blaming. No hating. No violence. I've heard story after story of people going the extra mile to not just save themselves, but anyone else around them that they could. Emergency crews going on foot to area's that the trucks couldn't make it to in order to lead folks to safety. Just yesterday I read of one group of fire men who had walked to a set of cars that had gotten trapped by the fires and down tree's. Their trucks couldn't make it up so they got out and walked. They knew from dispatch that there were people in the cars and that they had to be saved. The people in the cars remained on the phone with 911 dispatch stating that they "knew" this was it for them. They had all confidence that these were their last moments on Earth. Then in the smoke that I can only assume was as thick as potato soup, they see the flash lights heading their way and the reflective gear signaling to them that help was indeed with in arms reach. They began yelling to dispatch, "We see you!! We see your light!!". These fire fighters got out of their trucks and walked to the cars. They got the senior citizens out of their cars, even carrying their pets for them so that they could better handle the walk back to safety. How? How I ask you does anyone read/hear/see these stories and not have a feeling that swells from deep in side them with Tennessee pride??!!! With just freakin' pride in humanity!! There is so much in the news about people abandoning children, shooting parents, stealing from friends, if we linger on it too much it would be so easy to think that is a proper depiction of the world we are living in and the people we are living with. But I read stories like the one I shared a few sentences back and I am reassured that humanity is not all lost.

Speaking of Tennessee pride, Tennessee's own Dolly Parton has already committed to helping the families that lost everything. She not only is donating funds from her companies, but has created a "My People" fund so that others can donate to help these folks out. She is preparing a telethon as well with all proceeds' reportedly going to the people who survived the fire. Dolly has always been a proud Tennessean, very vocal about where she grew up and her love for the Smokey mountains. She has always been one of my hero's, but this just kinda propels her to that unreachable status that no one else will ever reach on my list of hero's. She is a Tennessee girl. She is from the mountains that burned for hours this week. A friend and I were texting about the awesomeness that is Dolly. You see some folks gain success and fame and their home towns never see them again. Not Dolly. She knows where she is from and she will always represent her home state proudly.

With the bus crash that happened about two weeks ago in Chattanooga I have heard stories of locals taking children to the hospital in their own personal cars because there were so many that needed transport. I heard that nearly 800 family members and loved ones waited in the hospital lobby while school staff helped to identify the smaller children who couldn't give important information like their address, phone number, parents first name, beyond, "Mom" or "Dad". They also had an impossible task of identifying those that had passed so that their families could be brought in to confirm identity.

Dolly Parton - "My Tennessee Mountain Home"

I know that everyone handles loss and tragedy differently. Some people are their best in a emergency situation while others fall completely apart. I know that not everyone expresses their emotions in the healthiest of ways. I know these things. I also know that loss is hard no matter how it happens. I know I haven't walked a mile in most people's shoes, but I can't help, but have to ask the question, "When faced with tragedy, why, WHY, doesn't the entire country react in the way Tennesseans have?". I know there are still many stories to be told from all the tragedy that has occurred. I'm sure as folks begin to recover and even look back, there will be some stories that include missteps. But, in the face of tragedy, unexplainable fear, loss that most of us are never going to be able to imagine, people have made the choice to come together and help distribute the weight of this load. Fire fighters from other counties came to Sevierville to aid in the fire fighting, rescuing, and basically anything else that has needed to be done. Volunteers from all over have been helping with clean up, checking on displaced animals, handing out water, etc. One of the outlet malls in Sevierville has announced that they are donating $50,000 in gift cards to the families devastated by the fire. My point in comparing traumatic events? Simply this, offering a helping hand, asking, "how can I help you through this?", seems to be proving much more fruitful than responding with hate and violence. Maybe I am just that naïve?!

Picture Circulating Social Media
Original Source Currently Unknown
by The Faith Journals

The Osborne Brothers (not to be confused w Brothers Osborne)
"Rocky Top"
After all of this, I know that it is going to take everyone time to recover. The loss is unimaginable. The rebuilding of the tourist town is going to take time. The choices people have to make in rebuilding or leaving and starting over has to be so painful. The families and teachers of the children from the bus accident have to say good-bye far sooner than ever anticipated aren't going to fall back into routine quickly or easily. There will also be aftermath. For the bus accident their will possibly be a trial for the driver. Punishment handed down to him to somewhat pay for his reported careless actions. As investigators make their way through out Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge their may end up being a person(s) who caused the wild fire. If so, there will be punishment and I have no clue how there would be anything less that a dozen or so charges placed on the arsonist, if such exists. The bus accident scene may be cleaned up now and the fires may have went out, but the dealings of these losses is far from over.
My prayer is that Tennessee would be an example to the rest of the U.S. on how to handle pain, trauma, loss, and devastation. That other cities, counties and states would see the team mentality of the fire fighters, for example, who traveled from other cities to help fight this fire. I pray that other people who are still reeling from a tragedy or a loss are inspired by what they hear/read/see of Tennesseans in this aftermath.
I LOVE my home state. I have had the opportunity to travel to some different places and while they each have had their varied allures, nothing ever feels as good as home. I have ALWAYS been proud to be a Tennessee Volunteer, but never more so than NOW!! My prayers are with everyone from the bus crash, tornados and wild fires. I hope these tunes encourage and remind you today that it is great to be a Tennessee Vol!!!

~ Insta Blog ~ December 2nd, 2016 ~ Christmas Decorations Gained Over Time ~


Sometimes Holiday Decor is About Resourcefulness, Reusing, & Just Being OK W/ Things Not Always Looking Like A Pinterest Pic or the Pic You Had in Your Mind. Some of These Decorations Are Gifts fr Christmas Past. The Nativity, As I Shared Before, was Made by Two of My Besties & Was A Gift. The Teddy Bear Wreath is Sixteen Years Old!!! My First Off Campus Roomie & I Got it to Go On Our First Off Campus Apartment Door. The Snow Man Door Hanger is from Last Year & the @dollargeneral. I Think it Cost $4.00.  The Door Mat is fr @biglots & is Heavy Enough to Hopefully Stay in its Place. It Isn't Unusual for My Neighbors to See Me Chasing Down My Door Mats b/c of Wind. Lol!!! The Ribbons on the Porch are fr the #DollarTree. I Would Love to Put a Little Tree on Either Side of the Front Door, but That Will Just Have to Wait for Another Christmas.

My Point? Not Everything Has to Happen All @ Once. I Love that I Still Have that First Off Campus Apartment Wreath fr Sixteen Years Ago!!! I Love That w $2 I Can Make My Porch Look Like its Held Up by Candy Canes. Take Your Time. Enjoy the Building of Memories that Comes w Making, Purchasing, Reusing & Receiving Decor Throughout Your Journey. I Can Promise You'll Get More fr it All Through the Years Than if You Had Purchased it All at Once.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

~ New Music Monday ~ Writers Wednesday ~ Mark Lowry ~ November 30th, 2016 ~

This week #WritersWednesday got away from me as I was working on Christmas cards. I love sending and getting Christmas cards so, I tend to take my time in writing in, addressing them, and really just making a day of it. We've been praying for rain and yesterday the Heavens opened up. It was the perfect day for my Christmas card project. Between the peppermint coffee, twinkly lights from my Christmas tree and the sweet sound of rain I was in pure BLISS!!!! All that to say, this months Writers Wednesday got pushed. So it is technical Writers Wednesday....on Thursday, this go 'round.

It is officially Christmas season. People are putting up their tree's, cyber Monday shopping, baking, and all of those other fun to-do's that come with the holiday season. I find it only appropriate that this months #WritersWednesday focus on a writer of a Christmas song. The is one of my very FAVORITE Christmas song EVER!!! From the moment I heard it, years and years ago, it hit me in a way that other Christmas songs do not.

Pentatonix - "Mary Did You Know?"
"Mary Did You Know", sends chills down my spine nearly every time I hear it. Last year or perhaps it's been several years ago, the acappella super group, Pentatonix gave a rendition of the tune that I think is one of the best out there. Nearly everyone who has done a Christmas album, concert or performed for a Christmas special have performed "Mary Did You Know?". Some people know and others might not that "Mary Did You Know" was written by Christian comedian and Gaither Vocal Band Member, Mark Lowry. Originally recorded by Christian music artist, Michael English in 1996 "Mary..." landed at number 6 on the Christian music charts. It has sense been recorded several times by Mr. Lowry himself, the Gaither Vocal Band, country artist Wynonna and Kenny Rogers sang it as a duet, Brett Eldridge most recently recorded it for the CD, "Nashville Christmas", Cee Lo and so many more the list would take days. The desire that so many have had to record it only confirms to me that I am not the only one who has felt something spiritual when hearing the songs lyrics.
Mark Lowry - "Mary Did You Know?"
Live in Henderson, TN
 "Mary Did You Know", Lyrics ~
[Verse 1]Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would someday walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would save our sons and daughters?

[Verse 2]Did you know that your baby boy
Has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered
Will soon deliver you
Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?

[Verse 3]Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Will calm a storm with his hand?

[Verse 4]Did you know that your baby boy
Has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby
You have kissed the face of God

Mary, did you know?

[Verse 5]The blind will see, the deaf will hear
The dead will live again
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak
The praises of the Lamb

[Verse 6]
Mary did you know that your baby boy
Is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy
Will one day rule the nations?

[Verse 7]
Did you know that your baby boy
Is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding
Is the great I am
Mary, did you know?
I'm a visual person. I put things together by looking at the picture not reading the instructions. I hear a song and immediately begin thinking of what the video might look like. The imagery I get when going over the lyrics of this song often brings me to tears. I try to imagine how Mary must have felt in the long nine months in which she carried our Savior. There had to be times of loneliness, insecurity, doubt, and anxiety. I mean, who was she that people would believe she was spoken to by an angel or that she would be chosen to carry the Messiah??!! I'm sure she asked herself those same questions. I think about Joseph and the faith he had to have to stay with Mary and to defender her when people questioned her virtue, vision, and pregnancy. You know folks where talking. This is the kind of thing gossip magazines are made for these days, but back then I'm sure it was all whispers in the street and side glances. It couldn't have been easy for Mary and Joseph's families either.
I think the lyrics to "Mary...." is a perfect example of the conversation so many have wanted to have with her. It's filled with questions that I bet she will be asked 100 times when we all get to Heaven. The power of the lyrics of this song is almost overwhelming for me. I was running errands a few days ago listening to my "Nashville Christmas" CD when Brett Eldridge's version of the tune came on. It had been cloudy and the sun was peaking through the clouds like beautiful spot lights. It is that somewhat typical picture that one might imagine when thinking of Heaven. White fluffy clouds that we walk on with lights of gold beaming through to the world below. I got caught up in the lyrics of the song, Brett's amazing delivery of it, and that sight of the light beaming through the clouds and I got tears in my eyes. I can't even help it. I somehow have become a crier. I thanked the Lord for the reminder via that sight, via that song and stopped holding up traffic and went about my way.
Mark Lowry will always be known for a great many things. His humor, the way he communicates with such large crowds and yet still makes every person feel like he is speaking to only them. When listening to Lowry's comedy I often find myself wondering how he gets away with some of it. But always being grateful that he can because it is almost always right on point. LOL!! "Mary Did You Know", is consider one of the top 100 Christmas songs of all time. I think it is a honor that it will not soon lose. Along with Mark's academic, professional and ministry achievements I know that his name will always be associated with "Mary....". I would think he has to be proud of this. And if he isn't I know that his Mother was!!

I am an Alumni from Mr. Lowry's alma mater, his mother, Bev Lowry was a professor and frequent guest vocalist for convocation services. As the coordinator for some of these services I had the opportunity to speak with Mrs. Lowry on multiple occasions. She was a hoot and half and oh so proud of her family. As certain as I was that this tune would be sung every Christmas season either at chapel or church I was equally as certain that we would hear Mrs. Lowry share that her son wrote it. It was as expected as twinkly lights and Christmas cookies. But it is something I actually look back on with affection. I like the traditions or habits we form for times like holidays. For a long time hearing this song sung by a Lowry and hearing the story of it's being written was one of mine. Actually, it still is. Just has a different vocalist on it now a days.
I know some people are tired of it. Some people have never even heard it yet. Others, like myself, have it on the list of things they look forward to during the Christmas season. Wherever you may fall on the performances of "Mary Did You Know" I would hope that you take the time to read the lyrics this Christmas season and spend a little time in meditation about Mary, Joseph, their families, and of course our Savior, Jesus Christ.
One of my favorite verses is, "Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new? This child that you've delivered, Will soon deliver you. Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?". Again, I go back to what Mary had to have had going through her mind for those nine months. I can't even begin to grasp it all. I however am forever grateful for her obedience, faith, and the risk she took in following the calling of the Lord on her life. There is no way the years leading up to her engagement to Joseph and then with her pregnancy with Jesus that she could have known what the Lord might use her for. Amazing how one persons obedience can change so many other peoples lives. What a challenging thought.

Kathy Mattea - "Mary Did You Know"
Lord ~ Thank you for allowing Mary the strength, peace, grace and wisdom needed to follow after Your callings on her life. Thank you for allowing Joseph the strength, peace, wisdom and faith to stand beside her on what would end up being the purpose of their lives. So heavy!!! Thank You Lord for this song that we can be reminded of all You have done, of what You can do, and what it means to follow after the callings You place on each of our lives. Thank You for Your Son, the ultimate gift of the Christmas season.