Put it in the universe.

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I was going to wait until tomorrow to jump back up on the blogging horse, but then something happened in the car today that reminded me of happy times, prompting me to start early.

So here I am.

You are likely wondering why these pictures are leading this post, right? Or not….but I’m going to tell you anyway.

The first thing to know (if you don’t already) is I put the ‘fan’ in FANactic when it comes to all things associated with the Dave Matthews Band. I’ve been a stalker fan since they’ve been a band (1991), and have attended an obscene number of shows. There are some very uncanny coincidences associated with my love for all things DMB.

~~ Dave and I were both born on January 9th, although he is 5 years my senior.

~~ He has a song titled “Dancing Nancies” which I used to think was about me, until I read somewhere that it’s about male transvestites in the Red Light District in Amsterdam.

~~ His charity organization is called “The Bama Rags Foundation”. I’m from Alabama, but he is not.

~~ My first choice for college was a small, private liberal arts college in Virginia called Sweet Briar College. I applied and got in, but couldn’t afford to go, and instead accepted a scholarship to the University of Alabama. Dave met his wife at Sweet Briar College.

~~ I haven’t missed a tour since they started doing them, and often attend concerts alone if The Man is busy and I can’t find a running mate.

~~ When I turned 30, I said to The Man, “On my 35th birthday, if we have more money than we know what to do with, will you please hire Dave to play at ‘our’ party?”  He said, “Of course, Baby Girl.”  **Side note: I did end up meeting Dave, but it wasn’t because The Man hired him, and he wasn’t playing at our birthday party…lol. Through a strange twist of fate, a dear friend was able to hook me up with a gig working as an extra on the single episode of “House” Dave played a role on, and ironically enough…we taped the day after I turned 35. I made sure to introduce myself, even at the risk of being tossed off the set. He knew exactly who I was (apparently he’d been told I would be there?) and wished me a happy belated birthday.

Anyway, the pics above were from the 2nd crazy coincidental meeting we had. Below are a few facts leading up to these photos:

1. These pics were taken in 2007, on Sugar Bean’s 8th Birthday at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine, CA.

2. About 3 weeks before these were snapped, a publicist friend of mine who knows of my obsession, called and said he was having brunch with another friend who used to be Dave’s publicist, and wondered which show in LA I was attending on that tour, in case she still had connections and could set up a meet and greet. I told him the show in Irvine, because Sugar Bean was going with me as her birthday present. Unfortunately, he called a few days later and said she no longer had an “in”. No worries.

3. Exactly 2 days before the concert, while I was in hellish traffic on the 405, my cell phone rang. I answered, and a girl named Lauren said she was calling from “The Warehouse” (the official DMB fan club…which I am a member of) and wondered if I was attending the show in Irvine later that week. I told her I was planning on it, and then she asked if I would like to meet Dave before the show. I think I muttered something to the effect of “Oh holy hell…did Alfred put you up to this?”  She said she didn’t know an Alfred, but my name had been randomly selected by the fan club as the winner of a pre-concert “meet & greet”…for reals. I continued to grill her, until I was satisfied I wasn’t being Punk’d, and promptly wet my pants, grinning from ear to ear all the way home. YES. THAT REALLY HAPPENED.

4. I took that t-shirt away from her once we got home and promptly stored it in an air-tight container. It’s never been washed and she will only get it back at my death.

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How about that grin???

Proof positive that it pays to put things into the universe if you REALLY want them to happen, huh?

Now…why am I telling you all this? Because I want to. And because it’s relevant to the happy time I was reminded of today in the car.

Each time I gave birth, I was listening to music through headphones. Guess what artist was playing? If you answered “Dave Matthews” you win a gold star! Now, in fairness to each individual life I brought into the world and because each of the The Beans has her own unique personality. Despite the fact, I didn’t know what each bundle of joy would be like once she was born, I chose a different song for each one, and put that on repeat until they entered the world. They all know what their song is, both by name and when they hear it, as well as what their sisters’ songs are. Call me crazy, but it’s an important detail in my estimation.

Sugar Bean’s song is ‘Jimi Thing’, Butter Bean’s is ‘Trippin Billies’ and Sweet Pea’s is ‘Rapunzel’. Of course these are also 3 of my all-time faves, hence why I chose them 🙂

Anyway, today when I picked Butter Bean and Sweet Pea up from school, ‘Jimi Thing’ was playing on the stereo, and was quickly identified by Butter Bean as Sugar Bean’s song. Oh, and if you are wondering if I’m “that mom” who rocks out with the windows down while in carpool line….I TOTALLY AM. Wouldn’t have it any other way. But I digress. Back to the conversation that ensued:

BB: This is SB’s song!!

Me: Yes…it is 🙂

SP: What’s my song again?

BB: Rapunzel

SP: Right! Now what is that song about? Princess Rapunzel, or another Rapunzel?

BB: Mama, what’s it about?

Me: Oh…I’m sure it’s about Princess Rapunzel (smiling devilishly).

Thank God they didn’t inquire about the meaning behind ‘Jimi Thing’, right? 

 

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GRACE UNPLUGGED

Every so often, I’m invited to cool events as the result of my incessant over-sharing here  at a calibama state of mind. Some are blogger networking soireés, others are invitations to be part of the audience for a talk show, and others are opportunities to attend private screenings of great films before they are released.  That’s what happened last week, and the film sent such a positive message, I want to tell y’all about it so you won’t miss it once it opens in theaters this Friday!

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**A talented young singer and aspiring songwriter’s Christian faith and family ties are tested when she defies her worship-pastor father and pursues pop-music stardom in GRACE UNPLUGGED, a moving and inspiring new film that explores the true meaning of success.

Grace Trey has just turned 18 and aspires to do more than sing in her church’s worship band, which is led by her father, Johnny Trey, a one-time pop star who gave up his life in secular music when he became a Christian. Grace longs to escape his shadow and make a name for herself singing songs about something other than God, but Johnny warns her that fame is not as glamorous as it looks and reminds her that serving and worshipping God with the talent she’s been given is a far more worthwhile goal.

When Johnny’s former manager, Frank “Mossy” Mostin shows up 20 years after the two parted ways to offer him another shot at the big time, Johnny declines the opportunity. But Grace takes it – without telling her parents. She records a cover version of her father’s old Top 10 hit, runs away to Los Angeles and, under Mossy’s guidance, begins to taste the kind of success she’s always dreamed of, landing on the charts herself, attracting the attention of the entertainment press, even dating a popular TV star.  But with each rung of the ladder she climbs, Grace feels pressure to compromise her Christian values, and her relationship with her parents gets further strained. Even as plans move forward for her to record a follow-up album, Grace learns not everyone who says they’re on her side really is. The one exception is Quentin, an intern at her record company and a fellow Christian who urges Grace to reassess her choices and put God first again in her life. Will everything she experiences lead her to reject her faith … or …rediscover it?

 

Ironically, the screening was scheduled for last Wednesday evening, which happened to be not only the eve of Sugar Bean’s 14th birthday, but also the night she attends her beloved youth group meeting at our church. And as much as I adore attending a private screening (and even more so the party that usually follows) I must admit, when Sugar Bean opted to attend youth group instead of the movie, I smiled a bit. Okay, a lot. Because raising a teenage daughter in LA is really tough, and there is always a moment of pride when you are presented with unequivocal evidence your angel has her priorities aligned properly: God, Family, and Fun. In. That. Order.

Our very important scheduling conflict did not, however, mean all was lost. Thanks to the miracle of modern technology, and a great girl named Briana at Grace Hill Media, who hooked me up with a digital link, and provided me with log-in credentials…we were able to enjoy the film from the comfort of our own home, snuggled up together in our jammies. And it’s such an amazing, feel good family flick, that was an outstanding way to experience it. Quality mother/daughter bonding time is always sheer perfection! And the icing? The film is partly set in Birmingham, Alabama, which is not far from where I grew up, so I recognized the scenery. That’s always fun!

Anyway, the film itself is just the kind of movie I love to show The Beans. It’s packed with teenage angst, disobedience and rebellion. Wait…what?! Did I just say that? Yes. Yes I did. It’s incredibly relatable, and the rebellion is dealt with sensibly; emphasizing faith, family and the importance of remembering your roots, following your beliefs, maintaining strong morals, and trusting God to lead you along the path to where you belong. It’s packed with teachable moments. Yes, it’s a Christian film. But it’s much much more than that, so don’t shy away from seeing it, even if your spirituality and faith is rooted elsewhere. Because with all the horrifying images and behavior exhibited these days by the very pop stars whom our youth once viewed as ‘role models’, this movie is a gust of fresh, clean air our children can breathe in and be inspired by. The character of Grace Trey is just the kind of girl anyone would be overjoyed to have as a daughter, and fortunately….I’m pretty sure I’m raising three of her, with help from positive works of cinematic brilliance like GRACE UNPLUGGED. 

Starring AJ Michalka, James Denton, Kevin Pollack, Shawnee Smith, Michael Welch, and Jamie Grace, GRACE UNPLUGGED arrives in theaters October 4 from Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions. Inspired by a true story, GRACE UNPLUGGED is directed by Brad J. Silverman and produced by Russ Rice, the team behind NO GREATER LOVE.

AJ with Dad Performing In Church[1]

Grace Piano & Guitar[2]

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You can visit the official website, view the trailer and follow the journey of this film by clicking the links below:

Website: www.graceunplugged.com

Official Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0zIUGjIR1Q

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/GraceUnplugged

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/GraceMovie

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**Denotes synopsis provided by Grace Hill Media. All images provided by Grace Hill Media, with permission from Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions.

The opinions stated here are entirely mine, and mine alone, and I did not receive any monetary compensation in exchange for my review. 

Dedicated to the writers/bloggers of tomorrow…

oops.THAT Word.

 

To be fair, it was only the ‘ess-word’.  I mean, it’s not like I flashed the EFF or SEE words. And it was a total accident that, of course, caused an eruption of hearty laughter….in Sugar Bean’s 7th grade, Advanced English class last Thursday.

You see, after Sugar Bean oh so proudly told her teacher that I write a blog, she began following, and then asked me to come and speak about the benefits of good grammar skills in everyday life, the advantages of having an English degree, and the blessing that came from writing my thoughts down right here and having them turn into a job. That pays. A little 🙂

Anyway, I was delighted to go in and speak to the students. I’ve never been asked to do such a thing. Of course, that could be because I’ve only had a blog for a little over a year, and it’s hardly proper for the under 12 crowd, don’t ya think? So I prepared ahead of time, decided the key points to talk about, and then chose 3 posts to read aloud. Sugar Bean helped in the selection process. If you would like to read the selected posts. They are here, here and here. I had planned to read this one also, but got completely flustered after “Cold Turkey” popped up onscreen while I was searching for “Good Morning, Radio Listeners”. (wtf is that about?) I had all the selected posts pulled up in different tabs on my laptop, so I could easily navigate from piece to piece, but God decided to laugh at my technical preparedness, and throw me out of sync. In other words, I couldn’t project the screen of my laptop onto the wall of the classroom. Not for lack of trying though! Luckily, my blog isn’t blocked on the school’s server (although I’d throw down a heavy bet in Vegas it is now) and we were able to use Mrs.W’s computer. Short on time, and not really remembering how to open a new window on a PC, I decided the best way to find each post quickly was to simply search. BAD IDEA. After reading the first post, I typed in the keywords for the next one into the SEARCH BOX, and was taken to a post accompanied by an image with a caption containing the ‘ESS’ word. Oh, and the background was bright yellow, as not to be missed.  Of course, the projector was working very well that day.  GO ME, right? 

Fortunately, the class was only exposed to it long enough to read it, and react with roars of laughter. Once I realized it was there, I scrolled down and pulled it from view. Then I scrolled back up by accident 2 or 3 more times, inciting more hysterics. So, I’m oh for three now.

Oh well. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Or at least that’s what Mama always said 🙂

All in all, it was a very good day. I never lost their attention, and believe they genuinely enjoyed what I had to say. The word on the street is they told Sugar Bean I was pretty, and thought I was younger than I am. That’s ALWAYS a plus! They may have even learned a thing or two, who knows? A couple of the students had questions, and although I didn’t have time to discuss them in class, I want to now.

The first question is: “Do you blog everyday?” 

The obvious answer to this is NO. However, I do write everyday. I keep a journal in my purse, and I am constantly jotting things down in it for publication later. At any given moment, my brain has 8 gazillion thoughts running through it and it’s necessary to record the ones that shine. Or else they will be gone forever…lol. I want to blog everyday, eventually. But honestly, if I put down ALL my thoughts and adventures here….someone would show up at my door and fit me for a nice jacket and room with padded walls. So I’ll just stick to publishing the important stuff. For now. 

The other question is: “Do you want to write a book one day?” 

OMG, yes. That’s a dream of mine, and honestly, I didn’t know it was a dream until I started writing. That’s years down the road though…I think. I’ve got so much more living and learning and storytelling left to do, right here on this blog before I have enough to make a whole book worth reading. As I discussed with the class, my soul-sister whom I’ve never met (but will very soon), Glennon Doyle Melton–the genius behind Momastery–has written a book. Due for release  to the public on April 2nd. In a magical moment 2 weeks ago, I was contacted by TLC Book Tours about posting a review of her book, Carry On, Warrior, here on my blog. After I peed my pants, I enthusiastically accepted. The book arrived a few days ago….

It's REALLY here!

It’s REALLY here!

And I’m reading it…right now.

Thanks again, to Mrs.W, for making me feel like a ROCKSTAR by asking me to visit my Sugar Bean’s class. And thanks to the class for laughing at the inappropriate image your eyes were drawn to. That totally turned the day into a post 🙂

 

 

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Here I go…dreaming again.

Found this image on www.annawrites.com. Isn’t it cool?

Welcome to Episode 2 of “Theme Thursday” where talented ladies (and a guy too!) join forces to bombard you with more entertaining, random thoughts.  This week we are pondering a ‘what if’ scenario of sorts, discussing the topic of…

                                              MY DREAM JOB

This post may come as a complete shock to some, because my dream job is vastly different from the 20 or so I juggle on a daily basis within the realm of the hardest one I’ve ever held…motherhood.  What? You thought my career aspirations evaporated the moment The Oldest Girl came squirming out of my hoo-ha? Uhh….no. While it’s true that I do love it, and I wouldn’t trade anything for my precious girls, motherhood was not my idea of the perfect career path when it happened all of a sudden. Yes. I said it….all of a sudden. Celebrity style. Cart before the horse. You get the point, right?

Anyway….

Now you are probably wondering what in the holy hell it is that I would rather be doing. First you should know that I am a performer at heart, have a passion for entertaining, and believe there simply is no better high than getting up on stage and delivering a flawless work of cinematic or theatrical genius that leaves the audience feeling as though you changed their lives. I scholar-shipped my way through college, and graduated with degrees in Dance and English (shocker, right?). Then moved to Los Angeles, promptly after graduation….following a dream boy. All this being said…there are a couple of jobs I covet. To be fair though, I’m going to break them into two categories: Pre-children and Post-children. Because of course, not all jobs are conducive to family life.

The job I would love to bring home the bacon with if I didn’t have The Girls is forensic investigator/medical examiner. Yep. Working with crime and dead people. I’ve always been fascinated with medicine, and anyone that knows me agrees…if you need dirt on someone, I’m better than the freaking FBI and CIA combined at finding it. And I won’t elaborate the diabolic mind I possess when coming up with ingenious ways to use it against them. Funny…my tweenager probably thinks she’ll be able to get away with shit someday. This makes me smile. Because not only is she wrong, she no doubt is grossly underestimating how creative punishment will be for trying 🙂 But I’m getting off track here. I genuinely LOVE solving problems. My brain is creative and logical, but I think outside the box too. However, I don’t have much tolerance for bullshit and defiance, which would make working with live patients quite difficult….because they talk back, and often don’t follow orders. Kind of like children. So there. Oh, and you should know….when The Middle Girl was 5 months old, I decided to take a CSI course at one of the UC campuses. Aced it.

As for the job I would like to have need now that I have reproduced…that would be:

HEIRESS TO A FORTUNE

Because let’s face it….it takes a village and a bulging wallet to raise kids these days, and this mama needs a full-on staff of professionals to take care of everything else so she can blog, Facebook and Tweet attend to the young ‘uns properly. Not to mention the joy it would bring me to be able to grab the family and take to the road following the Dave Matthews Band, camping out along the way like a tribe of hippies. You may be laughing, but you secretly agree. Maybe your DMB is some other band, but come on, you know it would be crazy fun. Admit it. I’ll keep it between us….Promise.

All kidding aside though, I have a pretty good gig and wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’m a wife, a mommy, a sister, a friend, a voice-over actress, an artist and a volunteer. Oh, and literally at the end of the day.….I write, and it entertains people. When I opened the time capsule I put together my senior year in high school at my 10 year reunion…um ten years ago….I hadn’t said anything about my future self being a writer. But sometimes the best things in life are its surprises 🙂

Now, if I can just figure out how to monetize all that in a big way…..

Okay, now you know my dream jobs. Go find out what my bloggy family has to say about theirs: