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. 

Friend Movement

Sugar Bean and me being interviewed for the Friend Movement.

Sugar Bean and me being interviewed for Friend Movement.

Listen, y’all.

I am so ecstatic I can hardly contain myself. That’s what happens when I am passionate about something. Giggly, gushing, passion….that’s what is brewing up in here. Downright magical, I tell ya!!

Why, you ask? Well, it’s been a little while since I’ve been involved in something bigger than me and my little tribe, that really had potential to make a difference. There was this, but again, it was 2 years ago. And as much as I would have loved to repeat that massive relief effort again for the people of Oklahoma recently, it just wasn’t possible. All my ducks were scattered, and it takes a pond full. No excuse, I know, but at least I’m honest about my abilities, right?

Anyway, I am happy to say, I am once again putting whatever muscle I have  (or can beg, borrow, or steal) behind a very worthy cause. What I’m talking about is FRIEND MOVEMENTan anti-bullying campaign created to help show positive anti-bully images through art and media. Images of people of all ages, race, gender, sexuality, and spirituality that invoke inspiration & conversation. Friend Movement  inspires people to prevent bullying by enabling them to be a better friend.

What could be better than that?!! 

Especially with all the heart-breaking stories of children, tweens, teens…even adults, pushed to their limits under the pressure of bullies of all shapes and sizes, often driving them to commit the unthinkable act of suicide. It has to stop, people. It just has to stop! So I’m trying to help make that happen by raising awareness and letting people know that bullying is NOT okay. It affects people deeply, and the damage words and actions cause once they’ve been unleashed, can rarely–if ever– be completely reversed.

Just ask my Sugar Bean. She was bullied starting in Kindergarten, and continuing until she was in the 3rd grade. So this is an issue that hits not close to home, but at home. And if I can spare any mama out there the heartache I experienced watching my baby come home from school day after day…sobbing…then I want to do just that. Starting with my continued support of this campaign.

The photo/video campaign “The New F Word”  is officially launching in June, and here’s what it’s all about:

FATTY, FAGGOT, FREAK … WE DON’T THINK SO.

HOW ABOUT FRIEND.

The New F Word is a grass-roots photo campaign and documentary film that aims to encourage the use of the word FRIEND to project inner strength and confidence. The concept by Elliot Dal Pra London & Ronnie Kroell was taken to a whole new level when Bianca Kosoy, famed branding creative genius, helped shape the campaign by giving it the edginess for which she is known. Add celebrity photographer and co-creator Ryan Forbes to the mix, and you have quite the creative team; bullying beware.

 I urge you to visit their website, ‘Like’ their Facebook page, Follow them on Twitter, and give if you can. Your support could change the life of someone who desperately needs just a glimmer of positivity to help them down off the ledge and into a place of healing!  

Friend Movement pic

 

That’s all for now, but check back for more information about (and photos from) our shoot with the Friend Movement team! We had such an amazing time, and I can’t wait to share all the details. Oh, and I’ll be hosting a giveaway in association with this fantastic cause as well, so stay tuned 🙂

 

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And the winner is……

If you’ve followed all the magical madness happening here at A Calibama State of Mind, chances are you’ve read my last blog post. You know, the one where I reviewed the much-anticipated book, “Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed” by Glennon Doyle Melton. If you didn’t read it, I urge you to, and if you did….and followed the instructions to qualify for the giveaway….then you’ll want to pay close attention to THIS POST because there is an important announcement at the end 🙂

I had exactly 7 entries.

And in the spirit of one of the Momastery mantras…LOVE WINS….I decided the only fair way to choose the winner would be by placing all the names in a container and having Sugar Bean draw a random one from the bunch. Just so happened, we had the MOST PERFECT of containers for the drawing:

Sugar Bean's Valentine Box from preschool

Sugar Bean’s Valentine Box from preschool

Of course there is a story behind it. With me…there is always a story. Y’all know that. When Sugar Bean was in preschool, she needed something to put her Valentines in, and only having one child then, I had lots of time for crafty stuff, like making Valentine boxes. This started off as a plain, brown cardboard heart box from Pearl Arts & Crafts, I believe. You know, a random item that served a seasonal purpose. Lots of heart stickers, puffy paint (I wrote her name on the other side), about a pint of sparkle Modge Podge and a few pieces of hemp string later….it became what is now one of her most prized possessions. She has used it for her Valentine’s every year. Seriously. That makes it 10 years old, because she was 3 when I carefully put it together. And because she has taken such amazing care of it….it’s in pristine condition. 

So, what better place to choose the winner of this book, I ask you…than straight from a treasured heart?

Here we go…..

The names are in!!

The names are in!!

After this, she shook the box a lot, to make sure and mix them up. I took a photo of that, but it just looked like she was having a seizure, so I left it out of the post. LOL.

Next, she reached in and chose a name, modeling as she went along, like one of the girls on The Price Is Right. What a ham!!

Choosing a winner

Choosing a winner

So without further adieu…..the lucky winner is:

CONGRATS!!!!

CONGRATS!!!!

 

TAWNI SMITH

You are now the lucky owner of a copy of a book that I guarantee you will not be able to put down, and will read over and over!! I will contact you shortly, via email, so I can pass along your shipping information to TLC Book Tours, and you can receive your copy ASAP. Congrats, and thanks for participating!!!

 

 What an honor it was to be part of this book tour. I can’t thank those who made it possible nearly enough. Seriously. 

 

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THANKS SO MUCH…Y’ALL ROCK!

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