Precious’ First Guitar Lesson


Jason is very protective of his guitars. Normally he wouldn’t allow a child to touch them but he made an except for a particular chubby handed baby girl when we did the photography for his Acoustic Lullabies album cover.

Now, she’s eager to get her hands on it again. This time she’s studying how Jason plays. Precious loves music. If she hears Jason playing she’ll crawl across the room as fast as she can, climb up his legs (sometimes pulling leg hair—ouch!) and try to get to the guitar.

Her daddy sweetly lets her touch and pluck the strings, trying to figure out how they make the lovely sounds they make while he plays.

Freight Train


Happy Independence Day! I LOVELOVELOVE fireworks so this is one of my favorite holidays. I’m optimistic that we can keep Precious up late enough and that she’ll be entertained and not terrified by all the colorful explosions.

Here’s a little musical morsel to celebrate the 4th of July. My handsome husband Jason Ahlbrandt playing “Freight Train” (Tommy Emmanuel’s arrangement):

Acoustic Lullabies


The CDs have finally arrived! Jason’s brand new instrumental guitar album, Acoustic Lullabies, was released last week. But, since he was on the road, he had them shipped to Arkansas. Now that he’s back I finally have a physical copy in my possession! Actually, we have hundreds of them. Which brings me to…

Acoustic Lullabies is on sale now at!

We’re selling physical CDs for just $10 with free shipping. That’s the same price as a digital download on iTunes or CD Baby. Amazon appears to be selling it for a dollar less…$8.99. Gotta love Amazon! But I know you want to see the lovely package design in person, right?

Those are Precious’ chubby little hands (and drops of drool if you look closely…) on her daddy’s guitar. There is a picture of her watching Jason play on the back and some more photos and a sweet album dedication to her on the inside of the CD package. You’ll have to buy it to see for yourself. 😉

I Told You She’s Precious


Thanksgiving 2011. I can’t think of a better time to share the sweet face of our little Precious girl. Getting full custody of her last week was an unexpected gift and wonderful blessing. God is so good!

Jason has been working on an acoustic guitar lullabies album to be dedicated to our sweet daughter. The whole album should be done in early 2012 but since we suddenly need to come up with several thousand dollars for a private adoption attorney to settle all this mess, Jason has decided to release one song early as an adoption fundraiser. The first song is “Hush Little Baby.” I know I’m biased but it’s a truly beautiful, layered finger-style guitar rendition. Think Phil Keaggy, Tommy Emmanuel, Chet Atkins style. I can’t wait to hear the rest!

Click here to make a minimum donation of $1 and I will email an mp3 of the song, “Hush Little Baby” by Jason Ahlbrandt within 3 business days. It’ll be well worth your dollar, I promise. (Of course, if you’re motivated to give more than a dollar, that would be tremendously appreciated!) Thank you for your help!

Weekend in the Smokies


Sorry for disappearing for a few days. Plates are spinning around here. Still. (And Merry-Go-Rounds.) Instead of formulating a thoughtful blog post, here is a recap of our weekend. Thursday afternoon Jason and Precious picked me up from work, we dropped off Lucy at his parent’s house, and we headed over to Pigeon Forge, TN where we stayed until Sunday night. Jason was playing a marathon weekend with Guy Penrod at Dollywood—3 concerts a day for 3 days in a row—and all the wives and children came along. There were 6 families in our party; 12 adults and 18 kids…most of which are Guy’s. They are such a fun and sweet bunch of people. Precious was definitely the center of attention through most of the weekend with everyone oohing and ahhing about how beautiful and easy-going she is. Seriously, she was a travel champ! One of Guy’s sons said, “I hope I have a baby just like her when I’m older” and insisted that she was THE most beautiful baby in the world. Another one of his boys said, “I can’t wait until I have my own baby someday,” while he was feeding her a bottle for me. She got so much love this weekend.

We also ate lot of good food. Uncle Guy got to snuggle Precious to sleep before the food came out at Cracker Barrel one night.

The shows at Dollywood were fun. Precious and I watched about half of them. Sometimes she watched, sometimes she slept on my lap, and sometimes she napped down in the dressing room.

We watched one of the shows from backstage while she was sleeping in a Moby wrap.

Speaking of Moby wrap, Jason was talked into trying it on while we were walking around going on rides. We got a pretty cute family picture of the three of us… I wish I could show you the whole picture. Maybe someday.

Speaking of someday… please continue praying about Precious’ situation. We are still uncertain about whether or not we will be given the first choice of adoption for her. There is someone else in the picture who is not legally kin but has a relationship with two of Precious’ half siblings. We’re basically competing with her—which is awkward—and we won’t know more until we have another team meeting and then ultimately a judge makes a decision…in a couple months? Then the earliest the adoption would be finalized would be in March or April. Either way she will be going to a good place but we’re crazy about her and would hate to let her go. Not without a fight, you can be sure.

Pages and Tracks


I don’t usually post on media but I thought I’d share some new music and books I’ve been enjoying lately.

A friend loaned me her borrowed copy of Our Own: Adopting and Parenting the Older Child by Trish Maskew. It’s a little ahead of the game for us but I’ve found a lot of interesting information on culture issues with kids from different races and ethnic backgrounds and behavior issues with kids who are dealing with trauma, grief, loss, insecurity, anger, fear, etc.

Jason and I are Tina Fey fans so he knew I’d love the Bossypants book he got me for my birthday. I started reading it immediately and couldn’t help laughing out loud a few times. She’s smart, funny, successful and so is the book. I like it. Jason isn’t great at surprises. He asked me, “What is it that you hate about hardbacks again?” That kind of gave it away since I had mentioned I’d like her book. It’s only available in hardback. (It’s because they hurt more when they hit my face, in case you were wondering. I often read until I fall asleep.)

On the road earlier this year Jason had the honor of spending an evening with author Andy Andrews. We weren’t familiar with his books before but Andy generously loaded Jason up with books and DVDs. We both absolutely loved The Noticer. It’s a charming true story all about perspective. It was totally a life changer for us. Andy gave Jason this one free but I think we’ve bought 4 or 5 copies to give to friends. Everyone should read this one.

Last week, I told you about Matt Hammitt (of Sanctus Real)’s song “All of Me”. I got an advance copy of the album Every Falling Tear that I’ve been wearing out. Musically speaking it’s not what I typically love but I was totally sold on the stories. (Releases 09-13-11)

With an iTunes birthday gift from my brother, I got Marc Broussard’s new self-titled album. I’ve been a Marc Broussard fan for years but this is the first album I’ve bought since Carencro. I love this one. Again, it’s the stories. The songs are very real and story like. But with this one, I love the music, too. I found this interview while I was trying to figure out if he and his wife had split up (based on a couple of the songs.)

In recent months I’ve become an Adele fan. I usually prefer male vocalists (I don’t know why) so this is new for me. I bought both of her albums, 19 and 21, and I’ve been playing these over and over again too.

And, full disclosure, I’ve also been collecting kids books. I got a bunch of great ones from friends but recently added a few more classics from a used bookstore. Mostly Dr. Seuss and an old Shel Silverstein poetry book. I can’t resist reading the Dr. Seuss books. Aloud. Alone. In the kids room. They’re just so fun to read and I can’t believe how well I remember the illustrations from my childhood. Thank you, Dad and Mom for reading me lots of Dr. Seuss books.

CCM – April 2010


Remember when I took a short leave from my blog a few weeks ago? Here’s one of the projects that was eating up a lot of my time.

This is one of the magazines I design at my day job, CCM. The cool thing about it – it’s all digital. It looks like a magazine on screen but it is interactive with videos and audio and links throughout.

Do you read any digital magazines? If so, which?

(If you go to the link, you’ll have to log in with your e-mail address. This is just a one time thing. Everafter it connects you automatically. The e-mails you’ll get notify of when the new issues are available.)

Weekend Update – part 1


Friday night Laren Brumley played at the Curb Cafe. She’s a super talented singer/songwriter and I’m honored to consider her a great friend of mine and one of the most interesting people I know.

Seriously, check out her music. Her voice is amazing and totally not what you’d expect by looking at her! Laren’s style sounds a bit like Alicia Keys, Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse. You can find her on myspace, facebook and iTunes.

Jason’s band Waterside backed her up. And then the guys played their own set.

Good music and a good time!

Heard any good new music lately?

Waking Up


My husband is a professional musician so in his circles of influence he’s always discovering new music and graciously sharing it with me. Yay! … or is it me stealing it out of his iTunes library?

Regardless of how it was acquired, I am listening to some new music from One Republic today and LOVING it! Their newish album Waking Up is only $7.99. It’s kind of a funky neo-soul rock and very creative. That’s the best this non-musician can describe it!

But don’t take my word for it, have a listen:

One Republic – All the Right Moves

I already loved the song but I was really pleasantly surprised by the beautiful video! Sound quality is poo-poo though.

One Republic – Everybody Loves Me

Not actually a music video but you can listen at least. Sound quality much better.

A Perfectly Lovely Weekend


This past weekend was so wonderful! It started Friday when Jason met me at work with Chick-fil-A for lunch (including chocolate milkshakes.) Then we got on the road towards Valhermoso, Alabama where J was playing guitar in the worship band with our pastor Lindell Cooley at an outdoor festival. Besides the damp chilliness as it got dark, the night was perfect: two hours of worship and dancing and celebrating God, getting to hang out with 2 of my sweet friends and their adorable kiddos, watching our pastor get completely undignified jumping around the stage dancing and worshipping, and ending the night with fireworks! I love fireworks. Here are a few pictures I didn’t take:


Jason and I absolutely adore that little girl (and her parents are pretty amazing, too)! Getting to hold her always makes our days.


Her mama adores her too.


This sweet little boy is going to be a big brother this spring! I love this kid and his mama, too.


Our husbands, our pastor, and the rest of the band picking out some songs for the night (not that Lindell ever sticks to the setlist!).

Saturday, after sleeping in late, J got together with his bro to work on some recording stuff and us ladies went shopping. Found some great deals at the thrift stores and Macy’s. Had my first real fruit slush from Sonic (Half-price happy hour between 2-4pm – seriously?! My drink cost $0.50! Hello mid-century prices!!)

Later that night we went to PM for sushi with friends and then downtown Nashville to the art crawl. We ended a lovely Saturday falling asleep on the couch in front of Seinfeld in a “Roma-coma”. (Drifting into a peaceful rest after gorging yourself on Roma pizza!)

Sunday after church we had lunch at the brand-new abode of some dear friends; overate and then relaxed on the couch on a peaceful rainy afternoon.

I seriously can’t imagine a more perfect weekend. I am so thankful for our friends, for our church and our pastor, for our family. We don’t normally have a weekend that includes just about EVERYTHING we love: worship, friends, BBQ, music, fireworks, friends, art, sushi, “sleepovers”, church, friends, resting. Ahhh. Thank you Lord!