A cicada story

It’s hard to believe that we’re entering the merry month of June tomorrow. Anyone else with me? Seriously. That means it’s about to officially be summer. I feel like we just celebrated the New Year a few weeks ago.

At any rate, I’m happy to welcome June. We’ll celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary this month, visit my family, celebrate my sister’s birthday, and best of all, we’ll celebrate the demise of the cicadas! Well maybe not best of all, but it certainly is an important occassion. Speaking of cicadas, I have a fun story from this weekend to share. I’m hoping the humor will come through on the blog. We’ll see.

My college roommate Laura came to visit us this past weekend. I love seeing Laura. We’ve been friends since 7th grade, and without Laura, I would have been awfully lonely throughout junior high. I was painfully shy in 7th grade. Laura started calling me and asking me to hang out at the beginning of the year, and I used to come up with reasons why I couldn’t come over. Truth be told, I was frightened. But Laura continued to pursue me, and before long, we were best friends.

Back to the story…

Laura didn’t know what she was getting into when she decided to visit Nashville at the peak of our cicada invasion. We spent Saturday mostly outdoors at Musician’s Corner. The cicadas were annoying, but not unbearable. Every now and then they’d swoop in, but for the most part they actually seemed pretty calm. On Sunday we spent part of the afternoon sitting outside at my favorite coffee shop. Afterwards, we drove home. When we got home the cicadas in the tree near where we park our car were going crazy. We literally ran from the car to my apartment and thought we’d rid ourselves of all of the nasty creatures before we entered my apartment. Alas, it was not so.

About ten minutes after we’d entered the apartment we heard a loud chirping sound. Laura, Tyler, and I looked at each other and said, “It’s in here isn’t it.” We started looking through the pillows on the couch and in our bags. “I feel like the chirping was in my ear,” Laura said. We looked through her hair and on her back. We heard the chirping again. Laura started freaking out, “It’s definitely on me!” she screamed frantically. “I’m looking!” I responded. We kept shaking her clothes and hearing the chirping and then Tyler held up a blanket and ran away yelling, “Take off your clothes, I won’t look!”

Finally we found the cicada in Laura’s sweater. We took the entire sweater outside and shook it until the little guy flew away.

When I think about it now, all I can do is laugh. One little cicada had us completely freaking out. Kinda pathetic, huh? And the image of Tyler running away, holding up a blanket as a shield, yelling, “Take off your clothes, I won’t look!” Makes me giggle every time I think of it.

Oh cicadas, I do look forward to the end of your stay here in Nashville.

This afternoon we’re off to Seattle! I’m so excited! We’re playing shows in Olympia, WA and Silverton, OR this weekend. Check out the tour page for all of the details!

 

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Strawberry Peach Pie

I’m on a strawberry kick. Can you blame me? It’s strawberry season! I love it! We went to the farmer’s market on Tuesday and I picked up more strawberries, and a bunch of ripe, juicy peaches! Mmmmm…. Peaches are a favorite of mine. With fresh peaches and strawberries, I decided to bake a pie. I’m a sucker for pie.

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 cups sliced strawberries
3 cups sliced peaches

This is really, really easy. Mix all of the dry ingredients together, add the fruit, and finally, drizzle the lemon juice.  Scoop the mixture into a 9 inch pie pastry. I make the pie with a double crust. Put the second crust over the pie and then make three cuts in the pastry. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes to an hour. If the crust gets to dark, cover it with foil.

If you want to make your own pie crust, here’s my recipe. It makes two crusts:

2 1/4 cups four
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
5 tablespoons cold water

Mix the salt and flour together. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until it forms little crumbles. Add the water. Mix everything together. Divide the dough into two balls and roll them out.  I love this crust.

Enjoy!

Strawberry Muffins

The cicadas are officially in attack mode here in Nashville. Honestly, it’s been a little scary. Their cries have grown louder – almost deafening at times. And instead of just hanging out in the trees, they’ve taken to swarming all over the place. We park under a tree and have been running too our car and getting in as fast as possible, trying to keep the cicadas out. We’re not always successful.

All of this cicada business has kept me indoors a little more than usual. One thing I did venture out for was strawberries. Mmmm…. it’s strawberry season. They’re sweet and juicy and plump, and best of all, cheap! I bought a ton of strawberries the other day. Yesterday morning I decided to make strawberry muffins. So so so good. Here’s the recipe:

1/4 cup oil (I used olive oil)
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup strawberries

I combined all of the wet and dry ingredients separately and then mixed them together. Simple as that. Then I baked them (it made about a dozen muffins) at 375 for about 15 minutes. Delicious.

Give it a try if you like.

Confession

Last night I was craving chocolate chip cookies. Well not the actually cookies, just the dough. Thing is, I baked chocolate chip cookies last Friday. And then on Saturday I made brownies. Now, to my credit, I took the cookies to a friend’s house for dinner, and I made the brownies for lunch at our church on Sunday. I did not eat them all by myself. However, I’d been telling myself that I would only bake twice a month. Two days in a row is just too much.

So last night, I wanted some cookie dough. One of my problems is that I always have all of the ingredients for cookies on hand. I should just stop buying chocolate chips all together. I spent about an hour debating whether or not to whip up a batch of cookies. Pathetic? Yes. About 9pm, I caved. I justified my decision by not actually baking the dough. I ate a spoonful, and then I stopped. Now I have a big container of cookie dough in my fridge calling to me. “Come eat me…all of me,” it’s saying.

I think I’ve got a bit of a situation on my hands.

Can anyone relate?

Through Your Eyes: Story Behind the Song

I’ve received quite a few emails asking about the meaning/message of Through Your Eyes. I thought I’d take a little time to explain here on the blog. When we decided to include Through Your Eyes on Faint Not, I thought we’d record it, put it out there, and never play it at shows. Turns out it’s one of our most requested songs. I think it’s because we can all relate to it on a certain level.

I wrote Through Your Eyes just over a year ago. At the time I was on an antiepileptic drug that I’d been taking for a couple years. For the most part the drug controlled my seizures, but it made me extremely tired. I kept taking it because I thought the benefit of having mostly controlled seizures outweighed the constant weariness. But I was wrong. Within a year and a half or so of starting the medication, I found myself in a pretty deep depression. It’s funny how it can creep up on you. First you find yourself sleeping a little longer than normal. Then you start avoiding your friends and coming up with excuses not to attend parties or social events. I began baking a lot. And eating a lot. I stopped writing and reading (two of my very favorite things!) and started watching a lot of TV. We moved to Nashville at the beginning of all of this. Not having many friends made it even easier to isolate myself.

Somehow, I thought I was fine. I think it’s because I didn’t actually feel much. I never felt very happy, but I didn’t feel sad much either. Every once in a while I’d break down, but I figured that was just a part of being me. I can be pretty emotional as it is.

Satan really used that time to mess with me. He told me I wasn’t good enough. That I didn’t deserve love. That Tyler shouldn’t love me. He said that my songs were meaningless because I was fake. That I wasn’t good at anything. That I didn’t need anybody….no one needed know about any of this.

And for a while I believed him. I didn’t talk to anyone about it because I didn’t think anyone cared. I was selfish and wouldn’t let anyone in, even if they tried.

Throughout all of this Tyler continued to love me. He prayed for me. He tried to understand. We moved in with our friends Mike and Erin in January of 2010 and Erin really pursued me and loved me. One day in April I decided to write. I decided to just be honest. Through Your Eyes was born. The line at the end, “I want to see myself through Your Eyes,” is a desperate cry to see myself as the Lord sees me: a beautiful daughter of the King. Redeemed. Loved. Forgiven. Sanctified. The list goes on.

Shortly after I wrote the song I decided I had to get off the medicine I was taking. I switched to a new drug early last fall and I feel so much better. AND I’ve only had one full blown seizure since then. It’s amazing. The Lord is amazing.

Back to why Through Your Eyes has been popular: We can all relate to this in some way or another. You don’t have to be in a deep depression to be doing battle with the enemy. We all fight. And we don’t talk about it enough. It’s difficult to be that vulnerable with each other. But talking about it makes us stronger. I really believe that.

The first time we played Through Your Eyes I felt like I was standing up in front of a bunch of people completely naked. It was terrifying. As we’ve continued to play it, it’s become very liberating. It’s also opened the door for conversation before and after the show.

I hope this helps you understand the song a bit better. Thanks to all who have asked about it.

-Jenny

Raspberry brownies

I haven’t posted about food in a while. I think it’s time. Tyler and I were in Delaware for mother’s day, so we celebrated with his mom. We made pasta primavera and a spinach salad with goat cheese and strawberries. Tyler made a special balsamic dressing. It was delightful. But the best part of the meal was the dessert…

Tyler asked for brownies. I thought brownie sundaes would be lovely. I also wanted some raspberries. So I made raspberry brownies and topped them with vanilla ice cream and homemade whipped cream. Oh my goodness. I think that the raspberries really helped make the brownies moist. With summer berry season approaching, I think I’ll make these often. I took my go-to brownie recipe and added raspberries. Here’s the recipe:

2 sticks butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cups cocoa
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
carton raspberries (whatever the standard size that you get at the grocery store is)

Beat the eggs until they’re light and fluffy. Add the sugars and the butter.  Add the rest of the ingredients – the raspberries last. Mix everything up and pour the batter into and 8 inch square pan. Bake at 300 for 45 minutes or until it’s done. I think I baked mine for a little longer last time. I like gooey brownies so I probably under cook them a little.

Friends, they were so good. And so simple. Mmmmm….

Some tour highlights

Well friends, the spring tour is officially over. We haven’t made it back to Nashville yet, but we’ve played all of the shows we’re going to play on the road. We do have a show in Nashville on May 14th, and we’ll head to Seattle and Portland at the end of May and into June, but for now, we’re done. Here are some highlights from the shows:

From Feb 26th – March 11th, our good friends Ben & Emily Roberts from Carolina Story joined us on the road. Playing with them was awesome. Seriously. We joked that we should form a super group and play together all the time. All of the shows with them were super fun. Here are a few stand out moments:

– A choir of little boys joined us on stage for Love’s Gonna Last somewhere in Arkansas. All of the towns in Arkansas sort of run together for me. I think that every one of those boys had 5 cookies before the show and they sat in the front row. We called them up for the song and they had a blast practically screaming “love is gonna last” with me.

-Learning about squirrel eatin’, frog giggin’, and noodlin’ somewhere in Arkansas.

– At our show in Mena, AR an older couple held hands during As Long As Our Hearts Are Beating. It was beautiful.

– Carrolton, TX was just fun. The crowd was so enthusiastic. It was one of those nights that just stands out as being an all around good time.

– The packed house at the Keller, TX show and the birthday present Tyler and I received from a total stranger. Really touching.

After March 11th, we continued the tour, just the two of us. More highlights:

– Receiving a Dundee at the Waco, TX house show and realizing that the host and I went to the same high school and that his younger brother was in my circle of friends.

– Everyone singing along to every single song at the Abilene, TX house show. It was like having a choir singing with us. Beautiful. And hearing everyone sing “I want to see myself through your eyes” just about brought me to tears. And hearing everyone belt Mac’s part on Carry Me while I sang, “I’m always weak, but you are strong,” was incredible. We worshiped together.

– Playing a few acoustic songs for a circle of new friends after the show ended in Normal, IL

– Making a video recording of Stop Staring At Me for some friends of a guy who attended the Naperville, IL show. Apparently they look young too!

– Chicago. Incredible. Words cannot express how much fun that show was.

– A breakfast complete with bacon, chocolate chip pancakes, and strawberries with new friends in Columbus, OH.

– Seeing old friends in Starkville, MS and making new ones. Bartering CDs for artwork.

– Windy Gap family camp. Speaks for itself.

– Dinner with new friends in Greenville, NC.

– A sweet gift of a pound of Starbucks coffee from a stranger who knows that I love it in Wilmington, DE.

– Celebrating our new friend Eileen’s birthday and hearing her story in Columbia, MD.

– The show at UD was amazing: a new friend played glock with us on Faint Not; we received a gift of gourmet cupcakes; surprised a girl’s big (Greek Life) by calling her up stage and giving her a gift from her little. And there were Deltones (my a’cappella group from college) there. I love Deltones.

– We were able to see so many friends in D.C. I joined one of my best friends for prayer at the International Justice Mission. We stayed with some sweet friends. More Deltones came to the show! A high school friend from MS was there. A junior high friend from DE was there. It was lovely.

– We played The Sound of Silence at the Kennett Flash. I tried desperately to remember all of the words and only messed up one lyric!

– The show at Burlap & Bean was sold out. We didn’t know what to expect. We were blown away.

– The folks at Grace Church in Dover, DE (a church my family attended when I was in kindergarten – second grade and then again from 7th to 9th grade) put together a little slide show of pictures of me from when we were there. Embarrassing? Yes. Wonderful? Yes. They also played clips of the band I sang with in junior high. Oh my. Thankfully one of the other members was at the show, so I didn’t feel so alone.

– The all girl piano + 5 vocals + banjo band was so unique, and so cool in Wenham. I didn’t think it would work. But it did. And there was brie. As Tyler’s mom says in her North Jersey accent, “It’s not a party without brie.”

– Old friends came to the show in NYC, including more Deltones! We love you so!

That about wraps it up. What a tour.

Photo Update!

We’re driving to north Jersey from the Boston area and I thought I’d post a few photos from our MD/DE/PA/MA shows. This tour has seriously been amazing. Thank you so much for coming out and supporting us at the shows. We play our last show on Thursday at the Living Room in NYC. Our set is as 8pm.

So here we go….

4/21 Newark, DE, The Scrounge at UD! I had my hair cut that morning and the guy who does it decided to style it for the show. It was amazing. As you’ll see from the rest of the photos, it never looks this good!

4/22 Frederick, MD, House Show

4/23 Columbia, MD, House Show

A new friend played glock for us on “Deepest Parts of Me”

Something funny happened?

No photos from our radio interviews on the 24th and 25th. Sadness. I wish we’d remembered to take some at WXPN in Philly. Alas…

4/27 Clarksville, MD, The Gathering Place

Lovely openers Jon & Carrie with their son, Zander. He stood up on stage and pretended to play a guitar hero guitar for their entire set.

Here I am channeling Ricky Bobby. Seriously.

Photos from Ebenezer’s on 4/28 are hiding from me. They are somewhere.

A couple shots from backstage at the NBC 10! Show in Philly on 4/29

The green room:

We couldn’t resist getting a photo with these two on their big day…

No photos from the Flash that night. Sadness.

4/30, Newtown Square, PA, Burlap & Bean:

And again…we forgot to take photos in Dover on Sunday.

Last night in Wenham, MA!

pickin’ and  singin’

This morning in Manchester, MA. So much beauty.

Can you tell we’re getting tired?

There you have it. Again, thanks for coming out. If we haven’t made it out to see you yet, hopefully we will in the future!

NBC 10! Show & other things

Hello!

I write to you from the lovely Wilmington, DE. The flowers are in bloom, birds are singing; it’s official: spring has sprung. Yes, I am cheesy.

Our shows in this area have been amazing. Seriously. We never know what to expect when we play in our hometown. Friday night at the Kennett Flash was so fun. It’s a good thing the audience was lively because we were exhausted. We played in D.C. on Thursday night and had to be up to head to Philly at 7:00 Friday morning. 7:00 is pretty early for us. Especially when going to bed at 1:30 that morning. We played the NBC 10! Show (the local morning show) in Philly Friday morning and it was awesome. Make up can do amazing things for a girl that early in the morning. We played This Is Just So Beautiful. When the show was over we made our way back to Wilmington and took a nap.

I woke up feeling groggy and spent most of the set up time at The Flash praying for strength. God is good and I felt great during the show. The amount of energy we get from playing music is amazing. I’m so thankful for it.

Last night we played with a local band called Clive at Burlap & Bean in Newtown Square, PA. Again, the show exceeded our expectations! It was so good to see so many new faces. What a lovely night.

This evening we’re in Dover, DE at Grace Church! It’s an early show at 6:30p and the lovely Audrey Moore will open.

I leave you with the video from the 10! Show: