Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Back in time

I was out and about today after having lunch with my friend Andria (or Andira... hi!), and while wasting time before visiting my mom at her office, I decided to visit the local Family Christian Store. Why? Well, FCS was my first job, and one that I was at for several years.

As I walked in today, it was very, very different. When I worked there, there was life in the store. There was an air of excitement when you walked in, and also a sense of ownership with each employee. We took care of the store and made sure that everyone that came in had the best experience possible. Granted, we didn't always succeed, but we sure did try. But today, it was pretty dead. I think part of it is the way the store is laid out now and the marketing tools they are using. When I worked in the music department of the store, I took pride in knowing about the artists and the various styles of music. If someone came in with a question like, "My son likes Emenim, but I want him listening to Christian music. What would you recommend?", I was happy to assist them. Usually, I knew who to recommend. (My picks? T-Bone & KJ-52.) I loved being able to help people out and put music in their hands that they enjoyed. I especially enjoyed helping the parents as they looked for alternative music for their kids. Today, while I was visiting the store, a mom came in with a question like that for one of the workers. After listening to the clerk's recommendations, I slighly scooted over to the hard rock section, held up an Underoath CD and said, "I think your son might like this." And was I right? yup. :)

I secretly miss that. I don't know if I'd ever work retail again, but working at FCS was a joy of mine. I learned a lot there about people, and also how much crap there is in the Christian marketplace today. :) I guess it is just sad to see something you loved so much fall by the wayside. But at least they are still there...pressing on.

Personal Trainer: Part 1

It dawned on me the other day that one session with my personal trainer costs $20 more than just one MONTH of my gym membership. How does that work??

I met with my PT, Garrett, on the Monday before Christmas. We worked through the plan that Stephanie (hi!!) wrote out for me, which he made a couple of tweaks too. The tweaks being the number of sets he wants me doing, amount of weight to use, etc. Needless to say, it kicked my butt, and my thighs hurt for 2 days. But that's a good thing I guess. We were going to meet on Christmas Eve, but I had a last minute schedule change, so we have rescheduled for next Monday.

I really like the idea of having a personal trainer, but it is an expense that I can't really afford on a regular basis. I read a quote from the guy trainer on the Biggest Loser that a big trend this coming year will be people taking more group classes due to the affordability vs. personal training. I can totally see that. I haven't taken a group class yet, but I think I'm going to try one out when we get back next week. Of course, this coming few weeks are probably going to be NUTS with all the people joining gyms with their New Year's resolutions.

I need to whip myself into shape b/c the cruise is a month away!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Me and the Gym

Well, as I chronicled on here, I joined the gym on December 1. Since then, I've worked out about 4 times/week, except this past week b/c I was sick. I've really enjoyed working out! It has been a great stress reliever, and I just feel better all around. Since not being able to work out this week, I've noticed a HUGE difference in how I feel, eating habits, sleeping habits, etc.

One of my college buddies (Hi Steph!) has been kind enough to write me an exercise plan out. I'm meeting with a personal trainer, Garrett, tomorrow morning & Wednesday morning to go over the plan, and for him to show me how to use the weight machines. He's also going to give me a few tips on working out on the road when I don't have access to the machines. I did NOT join the YMCA, so I don't have access to several gyms when I'm on the road. But really? Why would I do that? Half the time, I would be at a hotel that has a fitness room or at someone's house that has stuff I could use. Just saying...

My parents bought a Wii b/c my mom wanted Wii Fit, so while we're at their house for Christmas/New Year's, I'm going to try that out. I'll let you know how that turns out. :)

So, I guess I'm going to blog more regularly about my fitness journey. Several people have expressed interest in following me on this journey and cheering me on, and I'll definitely need as much encouragement as I can get!! (As if the monthly gym fee wasn't enough encouragement to be at the gym!! ha!)

So...here goes nothing! :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I should be relaxing...

Well, since I've been sick for the past couple days, I have not made it to the gym. I know...I know. And what's weird, is that I can tell a difference in my eating habits on these days that I haven't gone. So, yeah, once my energy level is back up, I will totally be hitting the gym. But until then, I will be at home and watching movies.

Which brings me to this month's post about movies I've seen recently:

Well, I had actually wanted to see this purely for the fact that Hugh Jackman is in it. But when I heard it was 3 hours, I was like, "Umm...I'll wait." This past weekend I was visiting my g'ma in East TN, and she said, "Do you want to go see 'Australia'? So, of course I said yes b/c that meant I didn't have to pay for it. :)
Overall, it was a good movie. There were times however when I felt that I was watching the same movie directed by 2 different directors. And the scene where Hugh Jackman dumps a bucket of water on himself should've been sexy, but it came across as cheesy. But maybe that was just me. :)
So, my opinion? Wait for the DVD release.

Okay, so when I saw this in the theater, this mom and her mom(in-law) brought the grandkids all under the age of 6. These kids don't need to be at a PG-13 movie. Common sense people!! Anyway...I had never seen the musical, so I really didn't know what to expect. But I really did like the movie! However, I did rent it last night, and liked it a LOT better the 2nd time around. Probably b/c I was more familiar with the plot line at this point, so I wasn't like, "What in the world?" Definitely one to see. And the folks in the UK LOVE this film.

Jet-Li & Jackie Chan. Cute, funny, campy...twist at end. Worth the rent if you just want mindless entertainment one evening.

I was definitely curious about this film b/c of all the "Gordon Gecko" references that were being made with the econonmy. Quite frankly, it was hard to follow. I had to keep asking Kyle what was going on. So...eh...once was enough.

Heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking. Matt Damon gives an incredible performance of a very tortured soul...a man who never made his own decisions in life. The film was a bit long, but probably worth seeing at least once.

I had high hopes for this one since I knew Sarah Jessica Parker had been in the Broadway production. This time, her character was played by Tracey Ullman, the Queen by Carol Burnett, and Lady Larkin by Zooey Deschanel. I was very disappointed. I fast forwarded through most of it just to get to the ending. So, for me, it's a definite pass.

Jack Black voices the lead, "Po", a panda whose "father" is a goose/duck that owns a noodle restaurant. There were some funny parts, but it just didn't hold my interest all that well. Definitely good for kids b/c of the animation and jokes. Just not my cup of tea. But it is worth seeing at least once.

I had heard about this adaptation of one of the lesser known Jane Austen novels, so I thought I'd check it out. The story of a young girl who is given the opportunity to be a part of a society she would've never dreamed of lets her imagination get the best of her. It is a good story, but I definitely like how Mirimax/Focus Pictures has been adapting the Jane Austen books. But this Masterpiecet Theater adaptation works well....though somewhat cheesy at times. Very BBCish. But if you are a die hard Jane Austen fan, it is totally worth seeeing.

George Clooney (le sigh), Renee Zellwegger, & John Krasinski (The Office) were incredible. This movie is TOTALLY worth checking out. It's very funny, and very much in the style of "A League of Their Own". The physical comedy, the one-liners, and more are just delivered awesome. I hate that this movie didn't do better at the box office, but it is really really good. It had me and Kyle laughing a LOT. George Clooney is very much his trademark swave self in this film, but with a quirky charm that adds a lot. GO RENT THIS!!

We honestly haven't watched/rented as many films recently b/c we finally gave in and got DVR. We spend most of our TV time watching programs that we recorded. OH, and if you missed it, totally keep your eyes peeled for the PBS documentary about the Royal Family & Buckingham Palace. I think it's a 5 or 6 part series, and it is totally worth watching. Absolutely fascinating!

So that's it for now! Happy watching!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


What a Day That Will Be
Words & Music by: Jim Hill

There is coming a day when no heartaches shall come
No more clouds in the sky, no more tears to dim the eye.
All is peace forevermore on that happy golden shore,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

There'll be no sorrow there, no more burdens to bear,
No more sickness, no pain, no more parting over there;
And forever I will be with the One who died for me,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be.
What a day, glorious day that will be!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Great Personal Trainer Debate

With joining the gym, you are granted a free meeting and fitness assessment with one of the gym's personal trainers. I ended up meeting with a guy named Garrett, who is a really nice guy. He actually trains one of the guys from Selah, so that was a nice...if somewhat of a longshot...connection. Plus, we have similar backgrounds in that we have struggled with our weight during most of our life, including middle/high school.

Basically, he said that he'd like to meet with me for five (5) sessions to go over weight training with me so that I could incorporate that into my daily/weekly routine with the cardio to burn the maximum amount of fat. We would meet on Monday (1) & Wednesday (2), where he would show me the routine, go through it with me, and help me with all the machines, etc. etc. I would Friday to try it myself. We would then come back together the following Monday (3) & Wednesday (4) to try it again. Then, on Friday, I would try it myself...again. That next Monday (5) would then be the last session I have with him.

The entire time he was talking to me about this, the number one question in my head was, "How much is this going to cost?" Well, it's $325 for the 5 sessions....all due up front. Now, I technically have the money now, but I was hoping to use that on Christmas gifts for our families.

I'm just torn. I want to do this weight-loss thing the right way in the beginning, and not half-way. I want it to stick this time and maximize the outcome. I want and need a routine if this is going to work. I can't really put this off until January or February, it is something I need to do now. I just wish it didn't cost so much, or that there was at least a payment plan option.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I have JOINED the gym

I passed a church the other day and their sign basically read: "God Can Give Us A New Beginning And A New Ending". Isn't that a wonderful thing to hear? That we can totally let the past go, and start over again? That's where I'm at.

After getting back from England, I finally got to the point where I needed to be mentally to get back in shape, lose weight, and just feel better about myself. It has been a long time coming, but I am finally there...as in there mentally...no where near being in shape yet. LOL In my last semester at ASU, I took a swimming class for my last gym credit, and after that, I was in the best shape of my life. I felt good and I looked good. When I moved to Nashville, I joined the Y to keep my fitness level up. I did pretty good, until I met my husband. LOL I started gaining weight pretty fast b/c we were going out to eat all the time and not exercising. Once we set a wedding date, that did change. We were running almost every night, I was doing a workout with my "Buff Brides" book, and hitting the elliptical machine every other day. By the time the wedding rolled around, I felt good about myself again! I could look in a mirror and like what I was seeing.

However, I will say this...if you have never been overweight, then you may not get how hard it becomes and the temptations that come at you once you lose a lot of weight. I know that might sound weird, but I've been chunky my whole life. Boys were never all that interested in me in high school, and college was a bit different...but still. Once I lost the weight and was down to my lowest size, I began to get a lot of attention. Honestly, it was a bit uncomfortable. I didn't know how to react. I would get all these cat calls from men as I drove by or even just walked by. And that weirded me out. And I began making not-so-great decisions with my dating life. Thankfully, God brought Kyle along and you know the rest of that story. :)

After we got married, I began to gain a few pounds, but not too much. I became comfortable around Kyle and he love(d) me for what I looked like, no matter what. But in 2005, my world turned upside down. I had three (yes...THREE) car accidents in a period of 4 months (none of which were my fault), the pastor of the church I was working at left, my boss (the minister of music) went on sabbatical, only to turn in his resignation after it was over, and I was just plain miserable. I had grown to dislike my job, I had gotten out of my routine, and things were just messed up. Thus, the weight gain began at a faster rate.

So, now, I'm at a place that all the weight I worked so hard to lose over a period of time has all come back. Now granted, I don't necessarily blame it on circumstances b/c it is my responsibility to take care of my body, but that time in my life was definitely a crux for everything.

However, there are things in life that I want to do, and in order to do so, I need to be healthy. There is the possibility of children in the future, and if I am still this overweight, I could develop gestational diabetes. Plus, my dad had a heart attack back in 2007, so it has become increasingly apparent that heart disease runs in my family. And my husband said to me that he wants as much time with me as possible, so I want to make sure that I get the most of out the life that I have been given. By continuing to be overweight, I'm shortening the time that I have here on earth.

Though none of this may make too much sense, it is where I'm at. I'm ready for a New Beginning and a New Ending. I'm ready to take our life and my career to the next level. I'm ready for a change, and I am free to do so. I know that this road is going to be an uphill battle, but I know that I can do this only by Christ's strength that He provides. This isn't just about me...this is about my marriage, our future children, and all that is to come.

So, join me on this journey if you will in prayer b/c I'm going to need all I can get!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I'm joining a gym

Yes, you read right. I am joining a gym. I haven't been an active member of a gym since 2003, so I think it's about high time that I got started back.

And ya know what? I'm really very excited about it! Some people may think I'm crazy, but I truly am looking forward to it. I have been "gym shopping" since September, and I have finally found one that I think is where I need to be.

I will be chronicling my story here, and so with that, I promise more of a back story tomorrow. :) I'm way to tired to write something that would be at the very least coherent. :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"Ask of Me" goes #1!!

Hey all from the UK!

Just wanted to drop a quick email to let you know something that I just found out! While I have been here in the UK, "Ask of Me" went NUMBER ONE on the ShineFM chart last week!! *jumping up and down* You can visit the website to check it out for yourself: http://www.shinefm.org.uk/. (Just scroll down a little and you'll see it.)

Things are going quite well here in jolly England. Mike Rayson & I are already talking about a return trip to the UK in May 2009, which we hope to go to Northern Ireland as well during that time. (hint, hint!) I'll be sure to keep you posted on those plans.

God is doing a great work here in the UK, but there are so many hurting people here. The media and gov't have become very sympathetic to the Muslim culture here. Many of the Christian churches are beginning to band together like never before to reach out to their communities, and I do believe that they are making an impact. There is a definite hunger and a need here for God like no other. For example, where the US has a ton of Christian radio stations everywhere you look, England has only TWO Christian radio stations for the entire country! But those are popular. In fact, Mike Rayson & I will be interviewed this Saturday morning, October 25, on Premiere's Big Breakfast Show w/ Tony & Lizzie. We are very excited about this opportunity to share our faith and personal testimonies to a large listening audience. I'd tell you to listen in online, but I dobut any of you would want to get up at 2 AM CST or 3 AM EST to listen. :)

This evening, we are in Gornal, and tomorrow evening we are in Stoke-on-Trent. Friday finds us back in Tunbridge Wells, Saturday in Huntington, Sunday AM in Potters Bar, and Sunday PM in Westminster at the Central Methodist Hall. Yeah...um..the Central Methodist Hall is DIRECTLY across the street from Westminster Abby & Parliment. How neat is that?!

Blessings to all of you, and if you need to know how to make a proper cup of tea, let me know! I've learned how! HA!

Monday, October 13, 2008

UK Tour Update!

Hello all!

We arrived safely in the UK bright and early Thursday morning. And let me just say that the jet lag is an absolute BEAR to deal with. I have never been so tired in my life. I'm sure it would've helped if I had slept on the plane, but that just wasn't happening. We were forced to stay up all day on Thursday, and as soon as my head hit the pillow that evening, I was out. The past couple of days have been better, but today (Sunday) was a little bit more difficult. Thank goodness for power naps!

England is absolutely lovely, and so are the people. There is an incredible move of the Holy Spirit sweeping through this country and the churches. England (and especially London) is in a lot of turmoil with racial issues and various things, but the Christians are completely on fire and wanting to reach their community, city, and the world beyond. Very encouraging!

We had our first concert last night at the Hornchurch Methodist Church, which is on the south edge of London. Small but appreciative and very receptive crowd. I also took part at their Sunday morning service today, and the crowd was very cool. They had a special guest praise band in, Re-Gen, and the leader was American! LOL But the theme was about worship and laying ourselves down to be used by God to go out into the world. That when the question is asked by God, "Whom shall I send?", our reply should be that of Isaiah, "Here I am Lord. Send me!"

I did my first solo concert this evening at Pembry Baptist Church, and it was amazing!! Great group of people in a cafe style setting, and we just had an amazing time worshiping. They were very receptive to the songs and the message. They want to have me back the next time we come to the UK! (Looks like that may be sometime next year!)

We have a few days off now before the next whirlwind of events. Tomorrow we are headed to downtown London to do some sight seeing, and meet up with my baby sister, Bethany, who is living in London for the fall semester. FREE tour guide!!

Thank you again for your prayers! God is doing a great work! Please continue to keep us all in prayer: me, Kyle, and Mike Rayson (the artist we manage from Australia). Especially keep Mike in your prayers as he acts as our tour guide and chauffeur while he is also preaching and performing. And pray for my parents, Bert & Joan, as they head over here to meet up with us later this week!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Little people, BIG World

Hello. My name is Tara Jackson, and I am a Southern Gospel artist. And most of you in the world, have no idea who I am.

And I'm totally cool with that.

It hit me the other day how small our individual worlds are, but how BIG the real world is. Make sense? Living here in Nashville it is very easy to get caught up in the industry of it all. Everyone is trying to impress someone who is trying to impress the next person up and so on and so forth. Think about it...in my genre of music, the big dogs are The Hoppers, Bill Gaither, The Booth Brothers, etc. There is an "all powerful" board of NQC (National Quartet Convention) that decides who goes on the sought after main stage. There are websites posting the press releases of the various artists within the genre. But...outside of our little world...no one has a clue who any of us are. Someone could see Bill Gaither walking around some airport (though I doubt that happens much anymore b/c he has his own plane) and would have no clue who he is. They wouldn't know that he wrote "He Touched Me" or "Because He Lives".

But the thing is is that the same can be said of almost any industry. The tech industry looks at Steve Jobs & Bill Gates as gods. The comic book industry (ComiCon anyone?) looks to the creators of X-Men, Spiderman, Superman, etc. as industry leaders. I went to visit a friend at the bluegrass convention in downtown earlier this week, and I walked in not knowing a soul in there. Yet, when I walked up to meet him, there was a crowd around some guy and a girl having a mandolin jam session. People were enthralled. They were taking pictures, video, and practically drooling. And I was standing there with absolutely no idea who any of these people were. But to the people at this convention, it was a BIG deal. And it's the same way at GMA week...or CRS...or whatever major convention is taking place.

Within any industry, there are people that are higher up on the chain than others. But what I think we (and many times, those people) forget is that we all still put our pants on the same way. And many of those people that are in those higher positions in their industry now, had to start out at the very bottom to get where they are today.

I don't know if any of this makes sense. I just felt like lately that God has been reminding me to not get ahead of myself. And if my talent is not immediately recognized, respected, or revered by people in higher positions, that it is totally fine. They aren't God. I feel like we all get caught up in a "who's who" game, trying to impress the ones that we feel need impressing. We unintentionally give people power due to the "need" to impress them. It's just like it was in high school. There were the popular kids, and if you weren't in that click, you tried desperately to fit in.

Really and truly, I'm just here to do what God wants me to do. If my ministry soars to the heights of massive crowds and spotlights and stages, hit singles, awards...then so be it. But if God has me fly under the radar, that's totally cool too! I know that I am somebody to my God and Creator. I don't have to try hard to impress Him to get ahead. He loves me just the way I am, quirks and all.

(Hope this post makes sense. I was typing as the thoughts came, so it's not like I thought this out in advance. Just something that's been on my heart & mind recently.)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Interview w/ Rob Patz @ NQC 2008

Hey all!

My good buddy, Rob Patz, of SGMRadio.com & the top-rated Southern Styles Show interviewed me at this year's NQC. Check it out! We had fun. :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

96.3 JACK FM's Ordinary Listener of the Week

So, lately, I've been listening to a radio station here in Nashville mainly b/c I can't get Solid Gospel in my car to hear my song on the radio. :) But I love JACK FM and the mix of songs that they play. It's great driving music! Well, I visited their website and signed up to be their "Ordinary Listener of the Week". Basically, I got to do voice over work for them on commercials. It was a lot of fun! They posted bloopers from my session on YouTube, and I'm posting it here, as well as the answers to their survey, for your enjoyment. :)

Survey Answers: http://963jackfm.com/Article.asp?id=433094&spid=9018
Tara Jackson

NAME: Tara Jackson

NICKNAME: Teera, TJack, TJ, Dork, Ta-ra-ra-boom-ti-ay (that's from my sisters)

WHAT'S YOUR JOB: Full-time Southern Gospel solo artist / artist manager / booking agent for indie SG & CCM artists



TURN ONS: Beautiful eyes & smile - good sense of humor.

TURN OFFS: Back hair & bad breath - bad sense of humor.

WHAT'S YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT THIS WEEK: Well, if I'm going to be perfectly honest, it was singing in a showcase this weekend while extremely sick and under a lot of medication. Winning said showcase, and advancing to the mainstage to sing in front of several thousand people who gave me a couple of standing ovations. I gained a lot of new fans and earned the respect of some huge power players in the SG world. And I feel good about not passing out in the midst of all of that. :)

WHAT IS THE LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED: on DVD - Minority Report; in theatre - Batman (IMAX!!!)

Chick-fil-a's Polynesian Sauce

PEOPLE SAY I AM MOST LIKELY TO: Be famous. At least, that's what they voted me as in high school. Seriously...that was my superlative. I was voted Most Talented, but some girl got all up in arms about it b/c she wanted it, so they created a sub category. Geez. High school politics.


LOL My husband has said that I have Charlize Theron's eyes, but as far as resembling someone...ummm...a white Jennifer Hudson? I have no earthly idea.

Since we're in Music City, what was the name of your first band? If you weren't in a band, just make up a name.
I'm Not That Witty (made up name)

EXCUSE FOR LISTENING: I misplaced my Journey CD and since I'm too cheap to buy a new one, I listen to Jack FM to hear them for free. :)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Gatlinburg Gathering 2008

Okay, I've started 2 different blogs in the past couple of weeks, and I have failed to finish them in one sitting. I WILL finish THIS blog in one sitting, so help me! Even with the tension headache I have right now. Papa John is fixing dinner tonight, and I don't want to hear any protests. :)

So, Gatlinburg Gathering 2008 was this past weekend...Labor Day weekend. This is the weekend that every Tom, Dick, & Harry, plus their cousins, and their cousins' friends descend upon Eastern TN for vacation and buying loads of air brushed craptasticalness. (I totally just made that word up, but I'm going to stick with it.) I was not in G'burg for the craptasticalness. No no...I was there to sing good ol' Gospel music. G'burg Gathering is a 3 day SoGospel festival comprised of some of the top acts in SoGospel like ME (ha ha), Karen Peck & New River, the Booth Brothers, The Hoppers, Kirk Talley, the Talley Trio, etc. There are concerts each evening, plus an "Up & Coming Artist Showcase" that takes place each afternoon, which was what yours truly was on.

BUT I was sick as a DOG. I had to get a steroid shot on Thursday prior to going b/c I felt this sickness coming on in a bad way. I'm so glad I did get the shot b/c the sinus infection could have been a lot worse. Singing when you're stopped up with snot is not good at all. So, I was in (legal) drug induced haze all weekend. Yippie! I stayed at my booth on Friday & Saturday afternoon for the showcases w/ Encounter & Sunday Edition, but when the Mainstage concerts started, I headed back to G'ma's house in Sevierville. (Side note: G'ma lives at a retirement village in S'ville, which is where we stay when we go visit her. Yes...an apartment in a retirement village. Hey...it's clean, it's free, and that's all that matters. :))

Now, with these showcases, one artist (soloist or group) is selected based upon audience response to sing on the mainstage that evening. I'll be honest with you...I didn't think my chances were that great, and here's why. I am a female soloist. (I know...duh...right?) It is difficult for me to go up against trios and quartets when they can do the different harmonies and all that fun stuff that audiences eat up. However, this year, I took a different approach with my set. It was the "I really don't care this year" approach. :) I did "Searchin'", "God's Got a Word for You", and "Preach the Word". "Searchin'" is the song that the Talley Trio made famous and I sing it at the Bridge all the time. "Preach the Word" was a recent single for Gold City, and I happen to just really love the song. So I figured, why not? Well, I think I'm going to take the "I don't really care this year" approach to everything else b/c IT WORKS!! I was chosen on Sunday afternoon to move on to mainstage that night!! YIPPIE!! Plus, Kirk Talley co-hosted the showcase, so we got to sing "Oh Lamb of Calvary" together.

So after that really cool thing, I was DRAINED. My energy level was about at zero, and I had to go belt out "Preach the Word" again in front of 3,000+ people. Folks, I'm here to tell you that none of what happened this weekend was b/c of anything I did. It was ALL God. It always IS all God. There was no way with me being as sick as I was that I should've done as well as I did, but God was like, "Here it is Tara. Let me show you what I can do."

So, 4 hours after being selected from the showcase to sing on the mainstage, it was time for me to belt it out again. I went up on stage, started singing, and my mouth went as dry as a desert. It was AWFUL (I wasn't awful...being dry mouth was awful), but only by God's strength did I belt out the song, and got a standing ovation!

As I turned to walk off stage, Kirk Talley came running up and grabbed me. He started dragging me back to the center to the stage and said, "We're doing the duet!" Then he hollared to the sound guy, "Hit the track!! Hit the track!!" And I'm like, "I need WATER!!" So, this made for a very entertaining interlude for the audience. The track started, I got my water, and off we went singing "Oh Lamb of Calvary" again. And we rocked it. It was GREAT! We both just have so much fun singing that together.

So after we finished, all the other artists came on stage for an "all skate" round of singing. But what was just so very cool is as every one of them came on the stage...The Booth Brothers, Karen Peck, Triumphant Quartet...they each looked at me and said, "Who are you?" "Where have you been hiding?" and "Holy cow, you were incredible!" Now please understand that I do not say this to stroke my ego or pat myself on the back. These are artists that I highly respect b/c they are at the top of our genre, so to have those kind of comments was just unreal. And as I stood there on stage with all of them and the Wilmington Celebration Choir, I just took it all in. I thanked God a thousand times over for this amazing event. It just finally felt like I had earned the respect that I had wanted. I'm not saying that everything I do is so that I can earn the good opinion and favor of other artists. That isn't it at all. But it feels good to earn the respect of those you respect highly and those that God places in your path to help further your career and ministry along. I hope that makes sense. And can I just give a special shout out to Kirk? The man is amazing and has done so much to help me. He's the biggest dork ever, but we love him for it. :)

And what was the best was having my family there to share in this entire experience. My parents, Kyle (my babykins!!), G'ma Scott, Aunt & Uncle Ron...they were all there. This thing is not at all about just me. My family has supported me from the start, and we are all in this together. So this was as much their victory as it was/is mine. :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My baby is an awesome soccer coach!! Congrats to my hubby, Kyle, and the 2000 HFC Hurricanes for being the tourney CHAMPS this past weekend in Smyrna!! WAY TO GO!!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Revelation Song

We're singing this song in church this Sunday. It is a gorgeous song with a powerful, yet incredible simple, message.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Latest movie list

Okay, so while we were in Paris, TX, we saw THREE movies for $15...TOTAL. You read that right...$15 for THREE NEWLY RELEASED MOVIES. Their matinées tickets were only $2.50/person. AWESOME!

So, this is what we've seen recently:

Actually, it wasn't half bad. Kinda slow in the beginning, but definitely picked up the pace in the middle. Not a LOT of cursing, but enough to get annoying. However, worth seeing, but maybe wait for the DVD.

A great and FUN adventure for everyone. Now, we didn't get to see it in 3-D, but if we would have experienced that, I think it would have made it even better. I enjoyed the movie. It was pretty fast paced, so there wasn't a lot of wondering where it was going. This is great for kids.

Wall-E, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. If I could've hugged this cartoon robot after the movie, I would have. THIS WAS ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC AND ADORABLE!! Absolutely BRILLIANT film. Pixar really outdid itself. AMAZING...YOU MUST GO SEE THIS!!

DVD Rentals:
Definitely, Maybe
Honestly, when I watched it, I kept getting interrupted. However, it was a beautiful, funny, heart wrenching story. Ryan Reynolds is a great actor and can absolutely break your heart just by changing the expression on his face. Good date night movie.

Fool's Gold
Cute, funny. Worth renting.

VERY good. I had to watch it 2 times while we had it. Beautifully acted and brilliantly cast. PERFECT.

Cute kids film. Cool special effects. Heart-breaking at the end, but otherwise good.

College Road Trip
Donny Osmond TOTALLY steals the show in this movie. Honestly, if it wasn't for him popping in every now and then, I'm not sure if the movie would've been as funny. The last scene is HILARIOUS! Kyle was about to cry he was laughing so hard! I know that my dad will enjoy this film. :)

Sydney White
I LOVED this movie! Amanda Bynes is great as a "Snow White" type, and her 7 Dorks are great! Prince Charming ain't half bad either! I really want to buy this film b/c it's just a feel good funny film.

Pretty fast paced, but quite honestly, Hayden Christensen just can't act. There is just no getting around that. But the movie is good if you like action.

Home for the Holidays
This is an older film with Holly Hunter and Robert Downey, Jr., who was strung out the entire time they were filming. I think that for us, it was just a tad bit crass. Pretty good story, but just not my kind of film. I like Robert Downey much better sober and in Iron Man. :)

I've gone DIGITAL!

Well, I have finally come out of the darkness and into the light...partially. My album is now available digitally! Yippie!

Go ahead and visit myMyspage Page to start buying and downloading tracks from my album. :)

At some point, this program will allow you to buy the physical album, or a combination of a physical/digital. Not sure when this will happen, but sometime soon! Very exciting stuff!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Arkansas doesn't like my ankle

As you know, we got back home from TX yesterday. It is a LONG trip from Paris, TX to Nashville, TN, and there are always many potty breaks.

I have NEVER been a big fan of the rest areas in Arkansas. They are old, run down, prison like facilities...except the one in Texarkana...that one is nice. Anyway, the other ones just are blah. And as of yesterday afternoon, my dislike of them has gained new fervor.

I twisted my ankle at a AR rest stop. :-p I was on the way back to the car, trying to avoid a woman who was about to side swipe me with her cigarette. When I went to step around, I stepped off the concrete and into unimaginable pain. It hurt so bad that I was unable to move for a few seconds. Poor Kyle had to endure me writhing in pain and pinching the fool out of him. And yes, the tears fell...hard. I was sobbing by the time I hobbled back to the car. I cried mostly out of pain, but also embarrassment. Don't you just HATE when you trip or fall in front of people? (I did that in college a lot. I would just be walking along, and then BOOM! I would trip over my own feet and land on concrete...or ice...depending on the season.)

Well, there were no ice packs available, so I propped my foot up on the dashboard and held a bottle of cold water against it. And whimpered. I called my mom today to whine about it, and like any great mother, she was extremely sympathetic. :) Awww...moms. Gotta love them.

And now, just typing about it is making it hurt more. Guess I need to go prop and ice again. :) I promise to write about the other subject matters soon!! :)

Some commercials ROCK!

I almost fell out of my chair laughing at this one:

And then this one is for my friend Allison and her dog, Sebastian:


Monday, July 14, 2008

More to come...

We just got back from TX less than 3 hours ago, and I have a TON that I want to write about. I think it'll come in multiple entries though, so bear with me. :) I'll try not to overload the system.

Subject matter: Path of Happiness or Path of Joy: What will be your legacy?, Visiting Daley Plaza (aka place where Pres. Kennedy was shot), I Love Paris (TX), Movies You MUST see, and probably more. Who knows. I made those notes mainly for myself b/c it's late, and I don't want to forget what I want to write about.

And with that, GOOD NIGHT! :)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Blast from the Past

I love being reminded of things I once loved (or even still do) as a child. One of my absolute favorite videos to watch as a kid was the Psalty Kids Praise 5 "Psalty's Camping Adventure" video. Psalty rocked my world and my younger sisters' world.

A couple months ago, a friend of mine sent me the link to a blog that is a toungue-in-cheek look at the crazy things that we Christians like, are obsessed with, or anything that has to do with stale cookies and red fake kool-aid at VBS. :) The blog is Stuff Christians Like. Read it and God will love you for it. :)

One of the posts last month was on Psalty, and I was ELATED. What came after that was even better. Saddleback Church had Psalty do a comeback performance at their recent worship conference!!

Watch the videos below, and see if you don't act like a 10 yr. old all over again!

Psalty's Comeback Performance

Awww...I <3 Psalty. :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I think I'm in Love


I heart Crocs!

I saw the above link in Marie Clarie yesterday while waiting to get our oil changed, and I turned to Kyle and said, "I want THIS for our wedding anniversary!!"

"I'm in love, I'm in love, I'm in love, I'm in love, I'm in love with a wonderful SHOE!"

Monday, July 7, 2008

Metal Fatigue

We were on our way to Columbia this afternoon to have lunch with some folks, but got stuck in traffic due to a fallen interstate sign. Apparently it fell due to "metal fatigue". Here's a conversation that took place btw me and Kyle:

Me: Well, apparently, they are saying it feel due to metal fatigue.

Kyle: What? The sign doesn't have feelings.

Me: ::laughs:: METAL fatigue, dear...not mental.

Kyle: Oh.

LOL LOL Aww...communication in marriage is so important. LOL

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fleeced by the Movie Theatre

Kyle and I decided to take a break from the constant drilling today and take in a couple of movies at the theater. Now, when you go early in the day, it's supposed to be "cheaper", right? Right. How is $6.50/ticket a bargain?! It cost us $26 to see 2 movies! And then prior to the movie starting, we had to endure 6 commercials BEFORE THE PREVIEWS!! Why are we being charged MORE to see a movie, when they are obviously making more money by having commercials AND charging a gazillion dollars for popcorn, drinks, and candy?

But I digress...

We went to see two movies, and here are my thoughts:

Get Smart
VERY funny! This will be bought when the DVD comes out. Steve Carrell (sp?) did a fabulous job, and the nods to Don Adams from the original TV series were brilliant! Anne Hathaway did a great job as Agent 99, and the on-screen chemistry with Steve was great! Very cute! Some of it may not be terribly appropriate for younger kids, but those over 15 or so should be fine.

When we walked out of the movie, I looked at my husband and said, "You are so dead after making me see this." He truly thought that it was going to be some sort of super hero movie, but I say nay nay. While the storyline and premise were actually pretty good, the execution (no pun intended) of the movie was less than fabulous. There was way too much violence and dropping of the f-bomb for my taste. I had my eyes covered for a good portion of the movie b/c it was just too much.

So yeah, I'm totally making him watch "Fool's Gold" tonight.

Featured Reader on Pop Candy!

One of my favorite blogs that I enjoy reading is the "Pop Candy" blog on USAToday.com. Each day, Whitney Matheson posts a featured reader of the day from a pool of folks that have submitted answers to questions, etc. Well, today is MY DAY!! How cool is that?!?

You can check the blog out here: http://blogs.usatoday.com/popcandy/2008/07/pop-forum-tal-2.html#more

I'm seriously freaking out b/c this is so cool!!

(And I'm totally about to go light some fireworks across the street so they'll stop the drilling. This is INSANE!)

Monday, June 30, 2008

Ha ha...just kidding

The drilling continues...

ARG! I tell you what...this is craziness! They blasted last week, yet they continue to drill on!! WILL IT EVER END?!?

In other news, our downstairs neighbors moved out, so we turned our surround system subwoofer level up to the highest it could go and watched "Batman Begins". Oh yeah...it was SWEET! My husband was like, "THAT is what a movie should sound like on this system!" He'll have to enjoy it while we can. We'll probably have new neighbors in a few weeks. This is his small way of rebelling. :) ha!

We had a great time in Ozark, AL at the Klondyke Gospel Music Center (again) this past Friday evening. I was there 2 weeks ago, and at that time, another artist canceled for the June 27th spot, we we volunteered Allison. Since her hubby was up in Canada for a wedding, we took her down there. She did a great job, and we had a lot of fun with Ron Jeffers afterwards at the Waffle King. But oh how I WISH Alabama was a non-smoking state. We are so spoiled now in TN.

I sang at Lewisburg Chapel UMC & Cornersville UMC yesterday morning. Yes, two churches in one morning. Both concerts went really well, and I think it is going to become an annual event, which is really exciting! Hopefully, they'll also have a potluck each time too! :) Man...church potlucks ROCK! And who knew that there was such a wide variety of deviled eggs?

Kyle and I played Wii for the first time last night with our friends/neighbors, Ben & Amanda. (Backstory: Amanada and I went to App together, and then roomed with each other when we moved to Nashvegas to do our internships. She and her hubby recently moved back to Nashville and now live in our complex. Yay!) I wish I had video of Kyle playing tennis. It. Was. Priceless. The last Wii game we did was boxing, and it was a WORKOUT! My arm hurt afterwards, but thankfully, it wasn't prolonged pain. I'm sure we'll have many more nights of Wii with Ben & Amanda. :) Yay!

I basically took today off, and LOVED it. I needed a day like today. Our lives have been so crazy/hectic, that I felt like I couldn't breathe. Thank you, Lord, for days off. Even when you work from home, it can be stressful. Sometimes having the office right in your house isn't all that it is cracked up to be. Separating home from work can be a challenge, but I'm learning how to balance the two.

Speaking of, it is time to go to bed! I want to read a little bit more of "Surprise Me" before getting some shut-eye. I'll have to post about that book once I finish reading it. It's a pretty cool, yet extremely simple, concept. Just praying out loud each day, "Surprise Me, God."

Anyhoo, more later! :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"Boom, Boom, Boom" coming to an end

Well, after a few weeks of this drilling into rock going on across the street, I took it upon myself to call Harding Academy and find out if there was any relief in sight. Turns out, THERE IS!!

On Thursday of this week, they are going to do surveys for minor blasting which will (hopefully) take place next week sometime. Apparently, they weren't expecting all the rock that they hit after the initial dig. So, the current drilling that is going on was not a part of the original plan. To expedite the process (and b/c it's cheaper), they will do minor blasting, which means that the 6:30 AM unwanted wake-up call will quickly come to an end! I think we might have a party to celebrate!

And I guess I should hold out a little bit longer before going to the store to purchase ear plugs. I was seriously contemplating buying a sleeping mask and ear plugs at some point this week. 'Course, I might still buy the sleeping mask for our trek back to Ozark, AL this Friday.

Thank goodness for a light at the end of the tunnel!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Machines Next Door go "Boom, Boom, Boom"

You know that song, "The wheels on the bus go round and round...round and round...the wheels on the bus go round and round, all the way through town"?

Well, I think that tune fits to the song I just made up: "The machines next door go boom, boom, boom...boom, boom, boom...boom, boom, boom...the machines next door go boom boom boom...all through the DAY!"

I don't think I've been able to comfortably sleep past 7 AM in almost a month now since they have been drilling through ROCK. Across the street, they are building the new athletic fields for Harding Academy, one of the private schools here in Nashville. (Now, if you google that, you can find out where I live...no stalking please.) It is about to drive me up the wall. However, I don't think I can complain as much as the people actually living literally next to it all.

Oh well. I needed to get up early anyway to get some errands done. But after reading a blog earlier today, I felt compelled to leave you all with bit of happiness...or at least, it is happiness to ME. Just remember, Don't Stop Believin!

(Yes, I totally own Journey's Greatest Hits DVD. IT ROCKS MY WORLD!)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

After having 3 car accidents back-to-back-to-back in 2005, I got off of my exercise and diet routine. This means, that my weight has ballooned significantly. And today, I'm starting Weight Watchers again. Not necessarily going to the meetings, but I'm going to keep track of my daily points. I'm just tired of not feeling good, looking at pictures of me when I was thinner, and seeing cute clothes that I can't fit into. Plus, being on stage and in the spotlight does a number on me as well. I mean, I've got a couple of killer outfits, but I want to feel better. I don't want to look in the mirror and frown.

Plus, there is an incredible jacket at Cache that I really want to get for our trip to England in October. And since they don't make it in XL, I need to get it in a L. Plus, by then, it'll be on clearance. I ain't about to pay $228 for one piece of clothing. The only time I've spent more than that on anything was my wedding dress.

So, hold me to it b/c it ain't going to be easy!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Sleepless in Nashvegas

For the past few nights, I have yet to get more than 4.5 - 5 hours of sleep. If I do, I end up waking up around 4am-ish, and then possibly going back to bed at 8 AM and sleeping for a couple more hours (or until my phone starts ringing). Quite frankly, it is a bit annoying. Plus, my dad ALWAYS told me that if I did not get enough sleep that I would end up getting sick. So yeah, now I'm just waiting for a lovely cold to take up residence in my body. :-p I would LOVE to sleep through the night, but I'm not sure what needs to happen to make that a reality. Maybe I just need to go sit in the sun for an hour. I've been told that if you don't get enough melatonin (which is nutrient from the sun), then that could attribute to sleepless nights. Maybe I'll just buy a bottle of a natural supplement. And I'm going to try and start exercising more, so hopefully, that'll help as well.

On to other news...

UPDATE ON COMCAST: So, nothing has really changed. We did receive an email from a Comcast rep about our service (after he was alerted to my blog!), but I'm not sure if there is anything he can really do for us. We had a friend basically give us an older television he had since he switched all his TVs to flat screens. (Gee...that must've been sooooo hard.) So, now we have a TV for watching movies, and a TV for watching cable. Ghetto anyone? I mean, at this point, when we go to other people's houses that have more than basic basic cable, we drool. We're like, "Let's watch the Discovery Channel! Oh, is Paula Dean on? What about the SCI-FI channel??" I know...it's sad. :) One day, when we can get a flat screen AND DVR, life will be even better...entertainment wise. LOL

We're still using Blockbuster Online, which we love. In fact, I just got done watching the movie "Once", which won an Oscar for Best Original Song. The music is absolutely beautiful and raw and satisfying. But I know Kyle wouldn't be that into it. However, I think the soundtrack is probably a must have. So here's a run down of movies we've seen lately (rental and theatre):

- Robert Downey Jr. is HOT, and is BRILLIANT as Tony Stark. LOVED this movie!
CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN - I actually enjoyed this one. It was pretty late when we saw it (10:15 PM showing), but it held my attention the majority of the time. Great effects!
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS - predictable, but cute.
MISS PETIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY - very cute, funny, touching...looking forward to the DVD
YEAR OF THE DOG (rental) - umm...PASS.
CATCH AND RELEASE - umm...PASS again. This movie was so disjointed, and I just couldn't get into it.
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN - Tom Hanks is brilliant, and it was cool to see Amy Adams in one of her earlier movies. She's got a great career ahead of her.
27 DRESSES - Loved it! And the first dress she's wearing in the movie, is the dress we wore at my sister's recent wedding! Score ONE for David's Bridal!
PLEASANTVILLE - Kyle had talked about this movie, but I had never seen it all the way through. I really enjoyed it, though it was all there morally speaking.
THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN - we stopped the movie about 30 minutes into it. It was just too much foul and suggestive language. Basically unnecessary, and a disappointment.
P.S. I LOVE YOU - OHMIGOODNESS...I bawled my eyes out! GREAT movie!
THE GOLDEN COMPASS - Not sure what all the fuss was about, but it was a pretty good movie. I just hope they make a sequel b/c it leaves you hanging. I read that the plan was to do a sequel, but since the domestic returns weren't high enough, they're thinking of passing on it.

So that's it for now. I'm probably going to go watch some more movies. I haven't watched Hairspray in a while! :)

Friday, May 9, 2008

CD Release Concert - Nashvegas!

(Again, I know I'm late on this entry. Please forgive me!!!)

On Friday, May 2, I had my FIRST EVER CD release party! Yippie! Kent & Candy Christmas graciously hosted the event at the Bridge Ministry warehouse. Since we have been attending church at The Resting Place, which meets in the warehouse, it just made sense to do the concert there. Plus, those that showed up who aren't terribly familiar with the Bridge Ministry, it gave them a glimpse inside, which I thought was really cool. (Below is a pic of what it looks like.)

Well, of course, my CD Release Party would not be complete without Tornado Watches/Warnings going out around the time of the start of the concert. Oh yes...drama all around folks. But thankfully, that didn't deter too many people. A lot of my great friends were there, and I am so thankful for that. I thoroughly enjoyed the concert myself (which is a good thing...ha!), and was so thankful for the fellowship. The Galloways and Chris Unthank joined me on "God's Got a Word for You" (the next radio single) and "Testify", which was a special treat to have them up there with me. I ended up not doing "Pray for America" which helped me to relax a bit more, so I have a feeling I'll do the same set in Boone. "Pray for America" is one of my favorite songs to do, BUT to replicate it live as it is on the album is going to take some more work on my part.

So, one CD release concert down, one more to go! And I am totally looking forward to the one in Boone and showing everyone the KILLER poncho I got at Chico's for a STEAL! Love it! :)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My first CD Review!

Adam Edwards at www.southerngospelcritique.com has given me my very FIRST CD review, and it is a great one! 4.5 out of 5 stars!

Be sure to check it out!

(Another post to come later...)

Oh, and if you have not heard the song, "Preach the Word", by Gold City, you are missing something. Go to: http://www.myspace.com/goldcityqt and listen now. It will touch your heart. I've heard them do it twice live, and I about fall apart each time.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Singing in the Sun 2008

So I am WAY behind on posting about this, but I've just been so busy since we got back from Myrtle Beach. In fact, I should probably be headed to bed now, but I'm going to type this entry instead. You're welcome.

Singing in the Sun was, for the most part, a very enjoyable time. I'll be honest with you...I was starting to dread going down to Myrtle Beach, but once we got there, I was more than happy. I would have to say that it helps to know people with a condo right on the beach that we can stay with. That doesn't hurt one bit. :) The weather was great, the water temperature was PERFECT, and the company was fabulous.

Wednesday was our load-in day and the first day of concerts. The Perry's and the Booth Brothers were all excellent, but why wouldn't they be? (I absolutely LOVE The Perry's new album.) The Crist Family did a great job as well. I really like the choral ensemble kind of music that they are able to do. Many of the group members switch between parts, which is a mark of great talent for sure!

Thursday was also a great night of talent with notable performers being Ivan Parker and the Talley Trio. I must share a most amazing story about what happened on Thursday night. My husband, Kyle, and I walked into the auditorium as Ivan was leading the congregation/audience in a "How Great is Our God / How Great Thou Art" medley, and you could just sense the presence of the Holy Spirit. Totally amazing. After the medley, Ivan went into a beautiful rendition of his signature song, "Midnight Cry". After finishing "Midnight Cry" and the audience was on their feet, a man was at the side of the stage waving Ivan down. Ivan went over to the man, and then after a couple of minutes turned to the audience and asked if there was a physician in the house. There was a woman have some difficulty, and needed immediate medical attention. A doctor found their way over to her, and as that all was taking place, Ivan began to lead everyone in prayer for this woman. After he said, "Amen", he began leading everyone in "Amazing Grace". To hear 3,000+ voices lifted up in song was just a gorgeous sound. As he continued to lead them, the Talleys walked up onto stage and helped lead the last verse. Then, they immediately went into "The Healer". The electricity in the air was undeniable and quite evident on everyone's face. While they were singing, the medics came and started to take care of the woman. They had her out in the lobby and closed the doors so that the audience would not be distracted. Later on, we heard that while in the lobby, the woman began to slip into a coma. Several people circled around her and began to pray for her and lay hands on her. She came to, and within the next hour was back in the auditorium enjoying the rest of the music! AMAZING!! And this whole event was a testimony to the power of prayer within the Body of Christ. Just so cool to be there and witness that amazing event.

Friday was the day that I sang on the Regional Artist showcase. I did not "advance" to the Main Stage, but I was quite alright with that. More times than not, groups will advance to the Main Stage spot, and quite frankly, I cannot sing 3 and 4 part harmony by myself. :) Plus, everyone else pulled out old songs and didn't do much new material. I did all new material b/c it is what is on my album. But no worries. People enjoyed it and were blessed by it. That's all that matters.

Saturday was a relaxing day with a morning at the beach. HAPPY DAY! We frolicked (I just wanted to use that word) in the water and just enjoyed the last moments of peace before the evening. The Shaffers sang on Saturday night. They are one of my favorite groups in SG right now. Cassie is such an amazing singer and musician, and totally rocks. Her testimony is pretty incredible, and when she sings, you can just feel the anointing upon her. LOVE THEM!! Gold City sang, and WOW WOW WOW WOW! "Preach the Cross" is such a moving song. I remember the first time I heard it on the radio, I thought a woman was singing it! Umm...not so much as it turns out! :) I will say this...the media that went along with "Preach the Word" wasn't that great and terribly distracting. But I am a media snob and thinks that everyone should hire the pros at MediaShout (www.mediashout.com) to handle the media...not the cameras...the added videos and pictures.

The time finally came Saturday night for us to pack up, and it was CRAZY in the exhibit hall as everyone started tearing down and packing up. Kirk Talley came by to see us, and it was so awesome to visit with him! Love him! Everyone should go buy his new album, "Beyond Words". Kirk and I sang his duet, "Oh Lamb of Calvary" at Gatlinburg Gathering last year. (I'm secretly hoping we can do it again this year b/c it is just so much fun to sing with him!)

We headed back to Nashvegas on Sunday morning, WHICH also happened to be my 27th birthday. I turned 27 on the 27th. Once in a lifetime, folks! And I spent the entire day in the car. :-p We actually did stop in Sevierville and had dinner with my G'ma Scott at Tony Gore's Smoky Mountain BBQ. If you have not been there, GO NOW! Your taste buds will thank you!

That wraps it up. There are other things that went on in the week, but those were the highlights. Of course, other highlights were seeing our friends! It is always a joy to see loved ones!

I'll post tomorrow or Monday about my CD release concert!

Monday, April 7, 2008

It's the simple things, really...

Can I just tell you how much I love "Enchanted"? And Amy Adams is just fabulous. LOVE her!

That's all for now. :)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Movie, anyone?

Due to our "beef" with Comcast, we have watched a LOT of movies lately on DVD. I am so thankful for our Blockbuster Online subscription. After having it for a little over a year now, I'm not sure how we ever did without it. Here's a list of movies I've / we've seen lately:

Suburban Girl (Alec Baldwin dating a Twentysomething yr. old...awkward but touching)
Scoop (HUGH JACKMAN...HELLO?!? Need I say more? *le sigh*)
Vanity Fair (Reese Witherspoon...it was okay.)
Shopgirl (Steve Martin dating a Twentysomething...AWKWARD and NOT Touching)
Beyond the Sea (Kevin Spacey - soooo good)
I Am Legend (the ending sucked)
Enchanted (Love! Love! Love! WILL BUY!)
Dan in Real Life (Love!! Steve Carrell is soooo good...must own)
Michael Clayton (George Clooney *le sigh*, but interesting)
Gracie (once was enough)
Death at a Funeral (HILAIRIOUS, but a bit crude at times)
Spanglish (Adam Sandler is lovely)
Reign Over Me (have the box of tissue standing by)
The Kingdom (Kyle watched that without me...thank goodness)
School for Scoundrels (funny...at brief times)
Becoming Jane (eh...)
DOA: Dead or Alive (based on the videogame)
1408 (don't bother)
My Super Ex-Girlfriend (alright)
Waitress (not my cup of tea)
Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken (classic!)
Miss Potter (very touching...tear jerker)

The majority of these films made me cry at least once, if not more.

We borrowed Memoirs of a Geisha from Kyle's folks, and wow...so beautiful and good! I need to watch The Notebook again b/c that is just a classic.

I wish I had a ton of money to just go out and buy all these great movies! I'm looking forward to renting Juno and seeing if that is as good as everyone says.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Change will do you good

I don't like change.

But then, who does? (Well, my friend Audrey does. She's constantly changing her hair, furniture placement, etc.)

The "ah ha!" moment about change hit me last night while at the Bridge. Whomever set up the chairs that are behind the mics for the praise team, set them up at an angle...not in straight line. THIS bothered me immensely, so I put the chairs the way that they normally are. And Scharlene said to me, "Everything in its place!" And I responded, "I don't like change." Eh?

How could I not like change? I remember being in high school wanting to go to college. I was in college wanting to come to Nashville. I'm in Nashville wanting to travel more. How could I not like change when I chase after it for so long?

But we're in for a lot of changes here soon, so I guess I'd better get used to it!

Of course, all the changes are good, and I will not complain. I think I just get annoyed when a routine gets messed up, but don't most people? ha ha!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

National Anthem marathon and then some

Lots of crazy, but good stuff, going on!

The master for my album is DONE! The artwork will be finished this week, and then we'll be going to print! YEE HAW!! I have to say that I am extremely proud and thrilled with this album. I got the almost final mixes last weekend, so I put them in iTunes with the rest of my songs. I just love it! We have the right order of songs, the message of each song is just so powerful, and the music just rocks (in a good Southern Gospel way...ha!). I just keep listening to it and thinking that the time is finally upon us when this is going to happen. Absolutely crazy! I might try to plan a CD release concert in Nashville, but haven't really made any final plans. We shall see. I had thought about having it at the warehouse, but there isn't a ton of parking. However, there is a good amount of parking around and across the street. That could be kinda cool. *Makes mental note to ask Candy about it tomorrow.*

Over this past week, I have sung the National Anthem THREE times. That has to be some kind of record for me. LOL I sang it last Saturday for the AppState vs. WCU game (ASU WON!). Then Tuesday night, I got a call from my fabulous photographer, Kim Lancaster, asking if I would be interested in singing at Lipscomb on Wednesday morning. Well, why not? So I did, and then they asked me to come back and do it last night for the Belmont vs. ETSU game. I love singing the National Anthem even though it is one of THE hardest songs for any vocalist to do. I sing it pretty straight with a couple of short runs in it, but nothing fancy. It's a beautiful song with a powerful message, so it doesn't need a bunch of "stuff" to make it sound good. It was pretty cool to hear my name announced as "Christian Recording Artist, Tara Jackson". :) (Did I mention that Vince Gill was standing 10 ft. away from me as I was singing last night?) Below is a video of me singing on Wednesday at the opening game of the Atlantic Sun Conference:

I sang in Lexington, NC, last Sunday night. Lots of fun and even premiered a new song from the album! The crowd was small, but I think we still all had a good time. My whole family was there, including Grandma Scott. My good friend, Jeremy, came as well. Hopefully, we'll get to go back another time after the album is out!

My youngest sister (I have 2), Bethany, came to Nashvegas for a couple of days with 3 of her college buddies. They were on Spring Break and wanted to do something other than go to the beach. We had a blast with them! We drove them around downtown, and even spotted Bucky Covington in a pick-up truck! (The picture we have to prove it looks like a paparazzi shot and needs a circle and arrow drawn on it.) Kyle, my brave husband, took them over to Opry Mills and the Opryland Hotel while I was at the Bridge on Tuesday. On Wednesday night, I took them down to the Wildhorse so they could dance and stuff. Then we took them over to the ever popular Sunset Grill. No celebrity sightings that night though.

Though this week has been an absolute whirlwind, it has been a week full of blessings. God has done so much for us and continually shows how amazing He is, in the good times and the bad. He also continues to show us that no matter what, He will be there for us. God is so good!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Videos from Bridge Christmas Dinner

On December 23, 2007, almost 200 homeless people attended a special formal sit-down dinner for them at Christ Worship Center in White House, TN. They ate amazing food prepared by Tony Gore & The Galloways, and ate off the best China and drank from crystal stemware. It was a treat indeed!

I was not able to be there b/c we went home to NC for Christmas, BUT someone has posted a couple of short videos from that evening so you can get a small taste of all that happened. There were several folks that got saved and a few of them even got baptized that night! (The white boy singing with some SOUL is the one and only, Mr. Aaron Crisler.)



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Homeless 2

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day Musings

Ah...Valentine's Day. Hallmark's way of making you buy a card and flowers to tell people you care about them JUST TODAY b/c they don't think you do it any other day during the year. :-p

I enjoy Valentine's Day...I do. But there feels like there is this pressure to do something out of the ordinary, and I always mess it up. Our first Valentine's Day as a married couple, I made dinner and set the table with our best china. (Which, consequently enough, is the last time we have used our China...dinner party anyone?) That year, I decided to try my hand at making mashed potatoes, but wanted to be healthy, so I used skim canned milk. The mashed potatoes ended up being mush with butter. So, the past 2 years, we just went out to eat.

This year...I tried to be adventurous again. I was going to make this Dark Molten Chocolate Cake:

But I reversed the amounts of 2 ingredients in the recipe, and they came out looking like this:

And they tasted awful. And I was upset b/c I had all the ingredients here at the house and didn't have to go buy a single one. Oh well....chalk it up to experience. Now I know to use 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and 1/2 cup flour NOT the other way around.

I did have to go to the grocery store at the last minute to buy a card b/c I felt the e-card I sent Kyle wasn't sufficient enough. :) As I walked down the card aisle, I was almost run down by men trying to get to the "Wife" section of the Valentine's Day cards. Men were running through the store from the floral department to the card department trying to get everything done before they went home from work. It was pretty amusing! And what's funny is that when the men saw one another in the card aisle, they just looked up at each other, nodded knowingly, and kept browsing through cards. It was if they understood the "rules" of this yearly ritual. Pretty funny stuff!

Now, my husband, who is the best man in the world, bought me very overpriced flowers. But he continues to remind me that HE picked the flowers out and made it very personal, that it wasn't one of these pre-arranged flower thing that the florist makes and you just point at the picture. So, here are some pics:

And yes, that is our lovely washing machine that they are sitting on. LOL

Here's the card that came with the flowers:

Can we say, "AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!" I choked up, and then went and playfully slapped him for making me cry. :)

Monday, February 11, 2008

What a weekend!

Kyle and I arrived back in Nashville last night after a whirlwind trip up to Edinburgh, IN. I sang yesterday morning at Who So Ever Will Community Church in Edinburgh, and I had an absolute blast! The church is beautifully decorated, and it makes you feel as if you have entered into someone's home. Just so inviting and peaceful. The church has their own praise team which opened the service up. Granted, I had never heard the songs they were singing before, but I caught on real quick. It was great country gospel P/W, and I LOVED it! The Spirit was alive and well. There were stories of healing, salvation, miracles, and other amazing things that God had done. Truth be told, all the songs I sang yesterday morning were set-up prior to me getting on the stage! LOL I didn't have to do much after that!

This past Friday, we FINISHED MY VOCALS ON THE ALBUM!!! WOO!! Only one song is left to have BGV's added to it. SO exciting! The Galloways and Chris Unthank came in on Thursday evening to add BGV's to my two Chris Binion tunes, "Testify" and "God's Got a Word". They sound AMAZING. I'm pretty sure that this album has at least 4-5 radio releases, which is very exciting. We wanted to get a long life out of this album anyway since it had been such a long time coming. I feel so blessed that God gave us such amazing songs. I do know that as soon as the album is released, a radio station in Australia wants to play "Ask of Me". How cool is that?!? :)

I have my photo shoot next Monday, so that is exciting. I've been looking over pictures to give Kim an idea of what I *think* I want the photos to look like. I want contemporary classic. Make sense? :)

And I still have not decided upon a title for the album. It might end up being self-titled, but who knows? I guess if it is meant to have a title, God will hit me with one. Divine inspiration, please.

Back to work for now!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Well, it is 2:00 AM, and we just got home from the studio about 20 minutes ago. I'M TIRED. And why am I writing an entry at 2:00 AM? Ummm...b/c I'm still awake?

My friend Jonathan came in today to play on a last minute add to the album. (I'm not telling you what song.) And then I went and laid down the vocals. Doing a song that you have done for 8 years the same way, and then having to go in and change it in a matter of hours is not an easy task. The song is going to turn out gorgeous, and I'm sure I'm going to be happy with it. It just was a long and tiresome road getting there.

We get back to work at 6:00 PM tonight, and then more on Wednesday evening. The first round of BGV's come in on Thursday, and not sure when the next round hits.

Can someone Tivo "American Idol" for me??

Saturday, February 2, 2008

I want to be a Snowbird

Well, as most of you probably gathered by now, Kyle and I were in FL for 8 fabulous days. :) From the pictures I posted on facebook and myspace, you would think we were down there on vacation. Truth is, for 5 out of the 8 days, I was singing my heart out.

First Alliance Church in Port Charlotte, FL, brought me down to be their guest worship leader for their Celebrate Recovery program and for their 3 Sunday AM worship services. How they found out about me was really cool. One of their church members and CR leaders is David Kingsbury, and he is a former student of Hebron Colony. Apparently, while he was up at Hebron, I came and sang. (I think it was the week prior to my dad's heart attack. Crazy how that's like a marker, but it is.) He went back down to FL and he told his worship leader that they had to have me. And so, there ya go.

I had an absolute blast. Leading worship backed with a live band and vocalists was freakin' awesome! I want to do it EVERY week! And for the first time in a very long time, I had my confidence back. And it was also really cool to go in to a place where I had been talked up a bit, and then blow them out of the water. :) I had a 3 hour rehearsal on Tuesday night for the Friday PM service, my first trip to DISNEYWORLD on Wednesday, another 3 hour rehearsal on Thursday PM for Sunday AM services, lead worship on Friday PM followed by a 45 minute concert in the cafe, went jet skiing on Saturday, then lead worship for 3 (technically 2) AM services. (I sang the special music during the 8 AM service, but lead worship for the 9:15 & 10:45 AM services.)

In October '07, they kicked off their "Celebrate Recovery" program, which was started originally at Rick Warren's church out in CA. Celebrate Recovery is basically a time that those coming out of addiction, or even still suffering with it, can come as they are and be a part of worship, small groups, and then a great fellowship. It is the coolest thing. It's like a combination of the Bridge and Hebron Colony. My heart was broken at hearing some of the stories of the people that attended the service that night, but my heart rejoiced in knowing that God was working on them in mighty, mighty ways. (Seriously, some of the testimonies would make your jaw drop, but I won't go into detail on this. Just ask me some time, and I'll be glad to share them with you.) The night that I was there leading worship, they recorded their highest attendance EVER with 196 people present! That's so awesome! To be such a young program and to already be that successful...well, that's just God moving and working among a willing people. Too, too cool.

And of course, Sunday morning ROCKED. Well, except the having to get up at 6 AM part to get ready and start warming up. Having to sing "Redeemer" at 7:45 AM is not for the faint of heart. And then, I had to sing it like 4 or 5 more times within a 3 hour block. Lord only knows how many times I had to sing "Redeemer" during rehearsals and warm-ups. I can sing that song in my sleep now. But man...having a live band backing you...there ain't nothing like it. It is so freeing! I'm just going to have to take it down a slight notch when I do some other churches that aren't so "casual" in their worship style. :) I'll have to pull out more of the soaring ballad, Sandi Patty type stuff. ;)

They are wanting me to come back later this year, so I hope that comes together. The people were awesome, and Kyle and I fell in love with FL. We're really missing it especially went temps are dropping below the freezing mark. I mean, I was on a JET SKI last week going 40mph across the water and looking at dolphins swimming alongside us. HELLO?!? Who can't get addicted to that?? I want my own jet ski. :) We did not see any manatee while we were there, but we'll see some the next trip. Gotta save some stuff. I totally want to go back to Disneyworld though. I have to see Mickey Mouse again. And plus, we want to go to MGM as well. But dude...those are NOT cheap tickets. However, our tickets were paid for through the kindness of someone in FL. They wanted me to go to Disneyworld since I had never been, so they made sure we would be reimbursed for our tickets. :)

I had lots of people come up to me after the services and concerts and they all said very nice things. You know the typical, "wow! what a voice!" or "God has certainly blessed you!" or "You sang that better than Nicole Mullen!" or "I hope I can sing like that in Heaven!" or "Do you give voice lessons?" (The answer to that is "no".) But one lady came up to me and took me by the hand, looked right at me and said, "Yes, you are talented. Yes, you do have a great voice. But the most important thing was that when you were singing up there, I saw Jesus. You allowed yourself to be His instrument and speak through you." I was speechless, and I choked up. That is what I pray every time I go up on stage or whatever. I never want it to be about me. I really and truly do want it to be Jesus that they see up there. Yes, the attention is great and hearing my voice come through the sound system (especially a really good one) is awesome. I won't deny that. But if after a service someone can come and tell me that they saw Jesus and were ministered to, then that is what it is all about. I can sign as many autographs as the next person; sell more albums than anyone else; but unless God has spoken to them...unless I have let myself be the willing instrument...then it is all in vain. There are hurting people in and outside of the church that need to hear the message of hope that only Christ can bring to them. I want to be that willing instrument that He uses. Truly, this gift is his and not mine. He could take it away from me in an instant and it would be no more. But while I have it, I want it to be used for His glory.

So, that's Florida in a nutshell. And oh...they have GREAT fish sandwiches. ;)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Disney World...FINALLY!!

I am 26 years old. Yes, I just told my age, but I have a reason for doing that.

Many years ago when the Disney Channel first started and they had original programming like the "new" Mickey Mouse Club, Kids Inc., and various other programs, I was GLUED to that channel. My favorite part was when they would show old documentaries hosted by Walt Disney himself talking about the behind the scenes stuff that was really cool. There were shows about Disney World and Disneyland being built; the process behind "Sleeping Beauty"; behind the scenes about The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and It's a Small World rides, and much much more.

During that time, my family started a change jar that we would drop our loose change into that would be our savings to take a family trip to Disney World. As the years went by, the amount of change in the jar grew and grew, but so did we. I graduated high school, went off to college, got married, etc. My sisters are now both grown, with my middle sister, Ashley, getting married in the Spring. Bethany, the youngest, is going to England this coming summer/fall to study abroad. And yet...no family trip to Disney World every transpired. Mom and Dad had been before they had kids (smart idea, actually). Ashley got to go with a friend who lives in Orlando. Bethany has been to Downtown Disney, but not the Magic Kingdom. And the closest I ever got was the Tampa or Jacksonville, FL, airport.

That is...until last Wednesday, January 23, 2008....a day that will live in infamy.

First Alliance Church in Port Charlotte, FL, brought me down to be the guest worship leader for their Celebrate Recovery program as well as their 3 AM worship services. On our way there, our plane landed in Orlando to let people off before taking off again to deliver us to our final destination. I jokingly told the guy that picked us up at the airport that the Orlando airport was the closest I had been to Disney World. The next day, he insisted that we go on our day off.

Well...we went. :) And I am soooooooooo glad that we did. What an AMAZING experience. I mean, I know it's a theme park and all, but it is DISNEY WORLD! MICKEY MOUSE LIVES THERE!! This had been something I had been looking forward to doing ever since I can remember, and now...now the time had finally come. I honestly had no idea what to do with myself when we got there. I just stood there for a few minutes taking it all in. It was all so very surreal. And to be perfectly honest? I cried....several times. I cried as we pulled into the parking lot. I cried as we boarded the monorail. I cried as we entered the gates onto Main Street USA. I cried after we met Minnie Mouse. And I cried as we watched the fireworks over Cinderella's castle at the end of the day.

It was so cool, and I cannot wait to go back. Here are some pictures from our time there:

And the change jar? It is still sitting on daddy's dresser. :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wee Mee

I love this icon I recently created:

"It's me, it's me, it's absolutely me." - from HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Latest obesessions...or maybe not

One of the (many) Christmas gifts my husband and I received was the "Shake & Shimy" special edition of "Hairspray". Currently, we are OBSESSED with this movie! The music is great, the dancing is spectacular, and John Travolta as Edna Turnblad cannot be missed!

I've always been a huge fan of musicals. In high school, I had a chance to go to NYC and see a few Broadway shows. I had the chance to see Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," which was so cool. I think I saw it right before John Stamos (Uncle Jesse from "Full House") took over the role of J. Peirpont. I also saw "The Phantom of the Opera," "Miss Saigon," and "The King and I" with Lou Diamond Phillips.

I honestly don't remember too much from the plays themselves b/c the trips went by so fast. You know how those high school trips go...you get shuffled around from place to place like a herd of cattle. Our choral director, Mrs. Riggs, wore a bright pink raincoat so we could always spot her at the head of the herd.

We also went to Chicago at one point to compete in some choral festival. We had the chance to also sing the National Anthem at a Chicago White Sox game. Honestly, singing the National Anthem was the most exciting part of the game. I was ready to fall asleep at one point. I think after that we went to some Renaissance restaurant. Kinda like a Dixie Stampede but ...OH...Medieval Times. That's what it was. Yeah, not terribly entertaining either. I think I was just drained of any energy at that point. I do remember, however, going to visit the fountain that is at the beginning of "Married With Children". That was a gorgeous work of art, and the squirrels around the fountain didn't hesitate a bit to come up to you wanting food.

Ah...high school trips. And we sold cheesecakes to get there. Cheesecakes. Wow. I'm surprised I like to eat cheesecake now. HA! I believe the most popular were the Black Forest and Marble Swirl cheesecakes. (Okay, folks, I'm really going deep into the past here. I haven't thought about some of this in a looooooooooooong while.)

Onto other obsessions...

Basically, right now, Kyle (my husband) and I are relegated to only watching movies or Fox or PBS (who else loves Antiques Roadshow?!). Our lovely cable company decided to cut off our cable/internet one day w/o having the courtesy to call us. Why did they cut if off you ask? Well...apparently the tuner on our TV is broken, which is causing the analog and digital signals to cross thus disrupting the signals of other cable customers in our building. For example, you know that whole "ghosting effect" when you have a pic on your TV and it's doubled? Well, apparently, that's our fault. :-p So someone else in our building was having "issues" with their cable, called the cable company, the tech traced the "problem" back to our line, and then just cut us off. Yup...that's right. CUT US OFF. No note, no courtesy call...nothing...nada...zilch. So, for THREE days we were without cable or internet until one of the lovely techs could come by and tell us what was wrong. He comes in after looking at the box outside and says, "You were cut off." And I'm like, "Excuse me?" "You were cut off." "So, was someone going to call and tell us this? Did this other tech not know how to knock or leave a note?" "Well, ma'am, I'm sure he tried to knock on the door and you just weren't home." (At this point, I'm ready to throw him out the window, but I kept my cool because it wasn't his fault.)

So, basically, the tech told us that we either need to get the TV tuner fixed or buy a new TV. Okay...like we have $400-$500 to just drop on a new TV just to have cable. Are you kidding me? So right now we have two channels that come in on our antenna: FOX and PBS. I'm so thankful we get FOX b/c I could NOT do w/o American Idol.

So that's life...or something like it.