Tag Archives: music

28 Days of LOVEliness: Why Marriage Matters

I wanted to start my series with what I think is the most important thing about love and marriage. This song encapsulates what I think is so important, and yet so beautiful about marriage. It’s a picture, a beautiful picture of a relationship with the Savior of the world. “We bear the light of the Son of Man . . .”

I hope that encourages you this month as you reflect on the meaning of love. It isn’t ultimately about us, so when your husband or your wife messes up or fails you, it doesn’t really matter because you aren’t the end goal. The end goal is giving the world a beautiful picture of Jesus. So . . . with that little reminder, I hope that you spend this month, and the rest of your life, “dancing through the minefields” with your love!

New Beginnings: Chasing Dreams! (and a Giveaway!!)

One thing that always seems to come up at New Year’s, at least for me is re-evaluating my dreams and having them reignited. I decided to interview Peter Hollens, who is a pop singer, songwriter, and producer. Peter’s specialty is A Cappella music, which if you have read this blog for long, you will have noticed that I am a big fan of! Peter’s music is always extremely well done and uses only the human voice. He currently has two cover CDs available for sale in his online store. I decided to ask Peter a few questions about how he has pursued his dreams and what advice he might have for others hoping to do the same. Read to the end to get the chance to win one of Peter’s CDs!

1. When did you first know you wanted to pursue singing? 

Probably back in High School when I first began singing and realized that it was helping me find my confidence and passion for life.  I really never felt alive until I started singing.

2. What kinds of musical activities were you involved in before you launched your own music career? 

Well from present to past . . . My wife and I sang for over four years as featured singers with Royal Caribbean in the production shows. Before that, I started my own business recording a cappella groups around the nation. I started a group from the University of Oregon with my friend Leo, called “On the Rocks” and  was lucky enough to sing on national television with them numerous times as their soloist on NBC’s “The Sing Off”

3. I first encountered your music when you sang on The Sing-Off with On the Rocks. What did you think about that experience, and how did it influence your career? 

It really helped push me to make my own music after so many loving fans requested more music from me!  I had never thought about doing my own music, or that people would be that interested in watching, listening and buying my music!

Sidenote: I just released physical CDs for the first time, and they ship internationally!

You can also by  single or album downloads through iTunes or my distributor (but I’d recommend going through my distributor, as iTunes takes a huge chunk of the money!)

4. What inspired you to pursue A Cappella music specifically? 

A Cappella Music has always moved me more than any other genre of music.  It’s unique, it’s raw and you can’t fake it.  It’s also such a great art to foster right now as the budgets in our school systems are being drained since it costs very little money for a school to support an a cappella group. Most of the time they can be self run, and require no instruments!

5. What were the best and worst things about launching your music career? 

Best things:  I get to inspire others and make others happy for a living.   I get to do what I love and share my gift with the world.  I could never think of anything else I would ever want to do.  I am so blessed.

Worst: Probably just not knowing if I can sustain my growth enough to continue making music for a living.

6. Where do you get your inspiration for which songs you choose to cover and also the music videos that you create? 

I think it’s all part of the process. It’s very hard to get away from the cover song top 40 routine, which many youtube musicians get forced to follow to find exposure and to pay the bills.   Sometimes I just hear a song and know that I adore it and want to cover it.  Other times, my supporters (which I call the #Hollensfamily – because I see them so much more as my family than my fans) recommend songs for me to do, and I LOVE making them happy and doing recommendations!

7. What is your favorite song that you have covered so far? 

Favorite songs:  Poor Wayfaring Stranger, Shenandoah, I Won’t Give Up, Skyrim, Misty Mountains — I adore songs that allow me to just flat out sing, and not copy another artist’s version.   Sometimes members of my creative team give me awesome ideas and suggestions as well.

8. What advice do you have for singers out there who have the dream of pursuing a music career? 

Just follow your heart, be yourself, and try to be unique.   Know that if you truly want to do this you will have to work your butt off to accomplish your goals.   Never stop singing – it’s so good for your soul, and it makes you happy.  Whatever you do, never ever stop.

9. What advice do you have in general for anyone pursuing their dreams, whether music-related or not? What characteristics do you think are important to be successful? 

First I would say just start…. whatever you want to do, stop talking about it, and thinking about doing it, but try it.  Start the process.  The worst thing that can happen is that it doesn’t work out, but never trying is just a travesty.  Never ever look back and say “I wish I had tried that”  DO IT!

As far as characteristics, you need to have passion, and drive, and set goals for yourself that are attainable … and keep on setting new ones when you reach your goals.  I could talk about this forever…  🙂


Thanks so much, Peter, for answering my questions! It was fun to get to know you a little more, and to hear your ideas about chasing dreams!! If you’d like to connect with Peter, you can find him on youtubetwitter,  and facebook!

Also, today I am going to be doing a giveaway of Peter’s first cover CD!! Here’s the deal. To enter, you have to leave a comment on this post telling me what dream you’re chasing this year. The contest will only be valid after 20 people have entered. You can only leave one comment, but you can earn extra chances by tweeting about the contest once a day, just click the link below to gather your entry points! The contest will close on January 31, 2013. Good luck!!

Rafflecopter Giveaway!!

9 Christmas Videos

I hope that these bring a smile to your face and remind of you of the meaning of Christmas! Some are fun, some are moving, some are fundamental to the season. (I may have shared some before, but I’ve deleted my previous posts, so there are here for you again, along with some new ones.)






4. This one made me cry . . . I miss America.


2. This whole album is great, especially for putting the big storyline of the Bible and Christmas to music.

1. Forgive me, but I share this one as often as possible.

Summer’s Here!!! Now what?

So, I can admit it up front, I’m weird. But, I also know that I’m not alone. I haven’t even been finished my school duties for more than a week yet, and I find myself feeling like a loser because I have free time! So, for any of those weirdos out there like me, you might be wondering what to do to help make your summer feel productive and beneficial, but still fun. I’ve found that setting some goals for myself, and constantly reminding myself that I can really use this time to do the things that I haven’t had time to do all year has been helpful. Here are a couple of things to use the time for now that you have it!

1. Read! Surprise!! You knew I would suggest this, didn’t you? Besides, I just gave you all a good list of books to start on for the summer!! Right now I’m reading Beyond The Summerland: Binding of the Blade Book 1.

2. Learn something new. Choose a language at livemocha, find a music class, look up tutorials on youtube . . . whatever it is, teach yourself something new this summer!! I will be working on my Turkish and maybe playing around with some guitar or something, whatever I can fit in with all of our travels.

3. Learn new things. Is this the same? No. It’s not, that’s why I wrote it as a separate point! Use this time in the summer to explore new topics. Broaden your knowledge by listening or watching new videos. I REALLY recommend TED Talks for this. Just go on and explore, find something you don’t know much about, and watch the video! I also recommend looking around iTunes U and finding some classes you’d be interested in listening in on.

4. Try some new recipes. I’ve been finding some new recipes on Pinterest recently, and trying a few out. I have more time to experiment and a bit more flexibility if things don’t work out. 🙂

5. Focus on things you’ve been meaning to. For me, this is fitness and cleaning!! It’s nice to have the time to look around on the internet or in books to find some inspiration and ideas for these areas of my life. What area is it for you?

6. Pick a DIY and do it! I love doing DIY projects. But, at this point in my life with limited resources and space, if I’m going to do a DIY project, it needs to be purposeful and cheap! So, I like to make it a challenge to find ways to do projects that are both smart and usable, and that I like. Here is one that I’m thinking of trying:

click to visit the blog

7. Walk. I’ve been really enjoying this part of summer (maybe it has something to do with the fact that my husband buys me ice cream when we go on walks!!) It has been really nice to just walk and talk and enjoy the warmer weather and all the people out and about.

8. Focus on people. I’m not always very good at this. But, now I have time to! So, I’m trying to get better at sitting and talking and enjoying the fact that I share this story of life with LOTS of other people that inhabit this world with me.

So . . . those are a few of my suggestions for how to make the most of your summer and enjoy the extra time. What are you going to be doing? How are you filling your time? Do you have a list of goals for the summer? Leave them in the comments below!!

Just Thankful

So yes, there have been adventures that could easily be accommodated here, but I’d like to just take tonight to say how thankful I am for my best friend. I listened to this song (again) tonight, and I am just so grateful that God has allowed us to learn how to love each other and be a picture of what He is doing in this world with His church.

I don’t deserve him, but I am so thankful for him.

CC22: Mışıl Mışıl Masallar

Okay, I know that I failed in my November attempt to blog about something that I was thankful for every day. So . . . part of me doesn’t want to commit to blogging every day until Christmas, but I watch youtube a lot, and there are a lot of people vlogging every day until Christmas, so it made me really want to try. Plus . . . I am only about 6 projects away from my semester break! Wahoo!!

So, not all of these posts will be necessarily Christmas related, but some of them will be. I realize that I missed December 1st, please forgive me. But, I blogged yesterday, and now here we go . . .

So, this morning Jeremy and I decided to practice some Turkish after reading Ephesians together, and we bought a children’s story book last year, but never had much success working through it. Well, we pulled it out this morning and read a story together with the help of our dictionary. It was encouraging to see the improvement from last year! Here’s a summary of the story, The Lion’s Palace:

Once there was a country full of happy animals with a lion king. Well, the lion had a son who wasn’t all that great, he was rather proud and boastful. When the lion king died, the young lion became king. He wanted to be the greatest king in the world, and he called the best “pure-brained” architects from other countries and had them come and build him a new palace. He wanted the palace to be better than any other palace in the world. After one year, the palace was finished and kings from all the other countries came to see it. Eventually, however, they got tired of looking at the palace and went back to their countries. Then, the young king’s country began to become poor because the lion had used all of the treasury on luxuries for himself. The people were not happy anymore. Then, the king’s wife (or daughter – there was some confusion on that) got sick. The lion king was very sad, and he called for anyone in the country who could help him to come and he would give them 1,000 varieties of gifts as a reward. An old camel in the desert heard of the problem and came to heal the princess/wife. He made her some mixed lamb stew with vegetables with herbs and gave her the medicine. This helped the princess/wife recover. The king wanted to give the camel gifts, but the camel told him that he didn’t want gifts, rather he wanted the lion king to be humble and just as his father was. The king realized his mistake and changed. He no longer boasted, but rather became humble and ruled like his father had before him.

poor princess

So, it was a great story. But, I have to say that there were a few things that must have gotten lost in translation. For example, we got confused when the kings came to see the palace and were walking around eating a variety of lamb stew with mixed vegetables. That just seemed a bit specific. The whole princess/wife thing threw us off for a bit. But, I think the winner of the whole story was when we found out that the princess was sick and had become a semi-solid molasses of boiled juice of grapes. No wonder there was a big reward!

On the technical side of things, I’ve recently heard some workshops on how translation can be extremely beneficial for language learning. So . . . perhaps you’ll be encountering some more interesting stories like this. But, I do promise that every day of my Christmas Countdown will not be language learning related!

Til tomorrow . . . some Christmas music for you . . . (this song always makes me think of my little sister, because this song is playing in the scene when Tim Allen and his son go to Denny’s for dinner on Christmas Eve and we used to watch that EVERY year!)