When I was in third grade, I wanted to play the drums. My parents wouldn’t let me because I “was a girl.” Instead, I learned the guitar and I have never regretted it. I still want to learn drums, but the guitar is much easier to carry wherever I go. I love the informal setting of a jam session or around the campfire. I have played in a few church groups and a Celtic-Christian band called Grace’s Kitchen. I started learning chords to a few folk songs, then switched to a teacher who was in a rock band who taught me a bit more about chord theory and different types of strumming; then I created my own style. I grew up reading music and when I lost my eyesight and couldn’t read the printed page anymore, I was forced to learn to play more by ear—to hear the chords and to learn a bit more about the theory of playing the guitar—so I could continue doing what I loved.
Growing up, my guitar went on every vacation and camping trip, and was at every family holiday. It was as much a part of me as paper and pen and a book were so I could have something to read or something on which to write. When I was a teenager and beyond (for about 20 years), I was part of church folk groups and choirs or whatever they were called, as a guitar player and a singer. Often I was the solo guitarist. Vocally, I sing best with a group or creating the harmonies as that seems to come naturally to me.
Also as a teenager in those folk groups, I was introduced to sign language because someone was interpreting the church service and I asked her to teach me. I then joined a group that performed sign to taped music. That became another communication outlet and music connection for me. For many years I stayed in that group, but knew there was something more to the language than we were portraying. I also created a group while I was in college so I could continue “sign singing” when I was not at home. After college, I started signing a few songs with singer/songwriter Jana Stanfield who became a friend and encouraged me to do more “interpreting” of her music every time I would attend a concert of hers. That encouragement and hearing from God that I was to start a deaf ministry, moved that sign language interest forward and subsequently caused me to college to pursue a second career as a sign language interpreter. That is taking much longer than I originally thought it would to happen; however, I trust it is Divine Order. My faith has always gotten me through challenges in my life.
I never dreamed that music would be more than a hobby for me, until recently. Let me, as quickly and concisely as I can share with you what brought me to the point of being able to say I am a songwriter and I have a song that is playing in the US and internationally.
About ten years ago, I was at a work retreat and took the time afterward to walk the labyrinth that was on the grounds at the retreat center. As I did, I started singing—not a song that I had heard before, but rather one that I was creating as I walked. That became the first song I ever wrote and every time I have returned to those grounds, I have walked away with another song, or at least the main part of one. Shortly after that while at an event with Jana Stanfield, I met named Jeanne Loehnis who was selling Jana’s CDs at the event. In our chatting, I learned that she was a songwriter and we talked about that labyrinth experience. Her advice was “Don’t worry about the how or why of songwriting, just do it.” That was the best advice I could get. I didn’t focus on structure, I focused on what the feelings and thoughts were trying to say. I wrote a few more songs but never did anything with them. I played them around the campfire or a party and received good feedback, but didn’t know what to do with them. As I spoke to another friend, she suggested I join NSAI (Nashville Songwriter Association International) to learn the “craft” of songwriting. Within a week, I noticed a page for NSAI Milwaukee on a friend’s MySpace page. I clicked on it to get information and became involved. That lead to more fun as I had even more options to consider. I then connected with MySpace friend, Jillian Clark, who I had met when Jana was performing at her fundraising event and who had lived in Nashville for two years, to try to get a better handle on my songwriting. This started my thinking about my future and deciding I needed to have a coach help guide some of what I was processing for a career and I met Anne Wondra of Wonder Spirit Coaching. That and saying I wanted to interpret for Jana at the Posi Music Awards in January 2011 led to my doing it and having Jillian literally be my eyes for the trip (as I was legally blind). While there, Jillian and I connected with Rachel Grace Martinez. Other connections I made while there led me to have resources to share music on the Facebook page of Randy Grossman’s Amazing Musicians Portal causing him to introduce me to Lore Raymond who was looking for a Music Muse for her Women as Visionaries group. By staying in that group, I met Jan Revell and Barbara Patterson of Purpose Talk Radio who saw on my Facebook profile that I was a songwriter and so was invited to enter the theme song contest for the show with a deadline just a few days away. This, in turn, led Jillian, Rachel and I to submit our song “I Am Who I Am” which won the contest which led to our creating True Trinity and a connection that has had the three of us writing often since we met. All of this also showed me how that world is connected with everyone we know and it is always because of one connection that another occurs.
For more information about True Trinity and/or to purchase our music, please go to True Trinity.