Thursday, June 23, 2016

8 things Christians should stop doing right now!


Yes, I feel so much better now.

I seriously didn't know what to expect from the reality TV world. I feel so much better than I did 2 weeks ago!!! When you sign up for it, you really don't know what it's all about until you've experienced it. You get asked the SAME questions a million times. You're often being asked to connect to your pain in a deeper way.

So much of my past has passed! It is way behind me! However, you have to relive so many moments and go back to them when you're in interviews trying to get your story across.

In this process I have learned SO MANY THINGS!!! Indeed, we have so many amazing and supportive Christians in the world. I have received countless messages of support, and to you all, I give so many thanks. I have also received my share of hate and nonsense. I guess the religious crappy people who were religious and crappy....can still be religious and crappy. I've been asked about my heart and walk with the Lord so many times that you can just lay that question to rest now. Stop asking.

Again I will say, I am not in control of how someone edits my story....I can only hope that as the show goes on, my heart for God... and change in the world, shine through.

Now...the good stuff. I have healed in so many ways these last couple weeks. I can't tell you all the people who have come forward with apologies for not getting to know me and just writing me off. People have told me that they wanted to support me but didn't know how. Also heard from multiple retail store workers. These people had received corporate orders to remove my product from the shelves and they had to do it against their own desires. They were so kind and apologetic.

And......I've had people say they DID continue to play my music and support my albums.

It's easy to get stuck in your own brain. It's also easy to make a blanket statement when you don't have access to more information. Back when I was doing music, so much of the internet world did not exist. THANK GOD! I'm sure it would've showed me more support then I realized, which is a good thing....but I'm also sure that the crappy side of religious Christianity would've been prevalent as well.

Can I be totally honest??? I've heard comments from people saying I made Christians look bad....and let me be real now....You do not need me to do that!

Let me break this down..... Yesterday my husband and I were driving and a man kept honking his horn behind us. He obviously didn't see what we saw, he just wanted us to move and was so angry that we weren't doing what he thought we should. In actuality, we were letting a man cross the street that he didn't see in front of us. However, from his obstructed view, he felt fully entitled to his loud honking and anger.

Sometimes you need to stop and be patient with people. You can't see the full view of what is in front of them. Before you honk your horn, remember that maybe....just maybe....they see something you don't.

As Christians we can be SOOOOO quick to honk our horns. These comments and opinions are just noisy obnoxious horns that only draw attention to the negative side of our beliefs. The fact that people of faith are leaving words for all to read that are an embarrassment to what we stand for, just aggravates me.

I have a heart for change. I have a heart for people. I have a heart for God. Trust me when I say, this will all come out if things go according to plan.

In the meantime, before you honk your horns, I've made a list of things I'd like to see end in our dysfunctional Christian family. Just a few suggestions and statements that could help us start looking a little more sane online. Jesus definitely needs better publicity.

* Do not ask someone where they are at with their walk/The Lord/Jesus/their heart....and so on. Are you their appointed mentor? Pastor? Prayer partner? If not, it ain't your business. Bye. 

* Do not appoint yourself as the gate keeper to heaven. Someone's outside life may look crazy to may indicate in the most obvious of ways (in your gatekeeping expertise) that they are doomed for flames and fiery lakes. However, you may be quite surprised when they pop in on a holy dinner party in the sky. You do not have go-go gadget heart goggles. If you do, then slap it on a business card and charge hourly. 

* If you are inclined to write that God wants us to be holy.. or someone is called to be a better example....or God requires more from us....simply stop your fingers in their tracks and write something simple instead... like...."I'm praying for you" ...this is a wonderful example. Simple and sweet. It can mean I'm praying for you to do great things...or you can have it secretly mean that you're praying they get their act together. Whatever you want. 

* Singing secular music is not a form of "backsliding".....come on folks. Did Amy Grant not fight on the front lines in the army of Pop for no reason? We are to hold that legacy close to our hearts and not allow her suffering to be in vain. 

*"Are you in church?"... What kind of question is that? Clearly not your business and clearly not an indicator of spiritual stability. I do go to church, but I've done some of my craziest stuff while attending 5 days a week. I've also been at my strongest points spiritually when I went to the chapel of bacon.  So... it's just not a question you should ever ask as a gauge to someone else's walk.  

* "You're causing people to stumble".....No no honey......if my exposed q-tip legs are doing damage, you have a much bigger problem on your hands. The internet is an in-home adult xxx super store, the mind shall stumble as it allows. Christian women do not have to cover their womanly curves or skin. Now, I don't mean you should be showing off your kibbles and bits...but a little skin will not hurt the flock. 

* Jesus Loves Gay People. Yup. 

* Using phrases like "come back to your first love"...."are you lukewarm?"...."let daddy God take care of it"...."but are you on fire for God?"....these can all take a non-seatbelt-ed sit in my Grandpa's old Toyota truck with the removable shell. 

Ok....Now  I will stop myself from sounding judgmental or honking my own horn. Some of this is meant to be funny and some of it is really true. 

Let us all learn how to love first. We need to be patient with people and understanding of different circumstances. I'm such an imperfect mess of a human. I'll be the first to tell you this. My life looks ridiculous on paper and I don't need a single person to tell me that. But you see....God told me that I'm fearfully and wonderfully made. He told me he knows the plans that he has for my life. He told me my steps are ordered and my mess was taken care of on the cross. If we do not begin to seek after the heart of Christ, we will not only lose ourselves, but we will truly miss the mark to being able to be the difference that the world actually needs right now. This difference will never be made in a judgmental or accusatory tone. You see it is his KINDNESS that leads to repentance. Imagine that the God of the universe is showing us kindness and yet as mere humans, we are showing does this make any sense??

Let your love and kindness be the light to make the difference. Honking makes people cover up their ears and they will never hear a thing you say ...or ever be changed by it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

When 90 seconds isn't enough - My America's Got Talent thoughts

What an amazing life-altering opportunity! Last night was an incredible moment for my whole family!!!!

I was not sure what parts of my interview were going to air and what parts were not. You kind of just take a deep breath and hope for the very best! I'm so impressed with America's Got Talent as a whole. Every producer and employee have been so amazing. They made the process totally enjoyable.

I think when you bring up anything up related to Christianity, you're going to get opinions that range from extremely positive to really negative.

People need to realize that you will not get out a full story in 90 seconds. So I would love to share a couple things that may ease your mind. Based on comments I've read I'd like to clear the air.

* I specifically said the industry took my records off the shelves and radio stations pulled the songs. I did not say it was my labels issue. I've had stores come forward in the last 24 hours and apologize for doing so.

* When you can't sell product or get air play, there is not much a label can do to promote you.

* I obviously don't mean every single Christian is bad or mean to me.

* I hope we're on for many episodes so you can hear the full story turn around and how grace can be found for everyone.

* I was married immediately after I found out I was pregnant to make the situation "right" we know, marriage is not the answer if the person is indeed not right for you.

* I do believe with ministry related setbacks, you need to take a break and gain wisdom/accountability from mentors.

* That being said, the truth is, I wasn't given a full opportunity to have a restoring moment because many called it quits on me.

* Getting pregnant does not make you a whore. Duh.

* My life is super messy so it can be easy to get it mixed up. I've made some bad decisions in my life that took over a decade to get out of. However, God's grace is bigger than anything.

I LOVE YOU ALL! Thank you for your support and love in all of this. I'm so excited for the next steps.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Overcoming the Birthday Blues

I didn't quite know how I would feel on my birthday this year. I had a few what you'd call odds against me... and...well.... I've never loved the holiday.

Let's go back to the beginning. Growing up (into my teens) I tended to get a little depressed during the holidays. As a child I had grand expectations and huge dreams. My expectations and reality never quite met up. Christmas morning would come and I would ask if I could just sleep in! You could find me with my eyes glazed over staring at a wall in my family home videos. Literally looking as depressed as a girl who lost her beloved puppy.

It took me years to figure out why I hated the holidays that had an emphasis on personal attention and gift giving.  Thanksgiving became my very favorite. No pressure. No expectations. Just a prime opportunity to begin my self-medicating download spiral on carbs and sugar.

At one point I began to sabotage this momentous personal day. I would start the morning out already prepping myself for negativity. I would prepare myself for not hearing from my parents or close people in my life, which often happened. I would  count on whatever was being planned to bomb because people will let you down... and I didn't feel like anyone really cared enough for me to remember.

What an awful cycle!

I guess the harshest part of the birthday blues is that many of my birthday's were a reminder of the things that hurt my heart.

But, why was I expecting different things from the same people?

The people who were negative....were always negative. The people who forget, always forgot. The toxic folks that I wanted miracles from...never moved from their same spot.

Dang, what a profound realization when you accept that your expectations are ruining the beauty of your own life. ALSO.....your expectations can cloud the beautiful hearts and generosity of the people who really care! 

Have I always overlooked everyone else because I've been focused on changing the unchangeable?

I've been on bed rest for 12 days now. I have definitely walked around my home a tiny bit and was allowed an outing or two as long as I didn't walk. Basically, I've watched a lot of Netflix and have studied every part of my bedroom ceiling... so I wasn't thinking this birthday would be too eventful.

The thing that made this year so very different for me though, was the attitude I went into it with.

For a very uncomfortable pregnant woman, I actually had a more positive attitude then I've ever had before in my life. This season has been a very tough one. We had to move from our home last week and it was a move we didn't want to make!! I had some health reports that made me sad and took the fun out of pregnancy eating! I had to stop working a little bit sooner than I had expected and it put a little stress in the mix. Add a few more things, a cherry on top and I've been at my max!

I had a personal epiphany recently. So very basic and so very real.

We all struggle. We have health struggles, personal struggles, fears and imbalances. There are however some people, who are dealing with life and death issues. The real crazy stuff. Just wanting to be given an additional day to be with the people they love.

If you have over 500 friends on FB then you're no doubt seeing this stuff all the time. The rise of funding websites breaks my heart because so many people simply need help.

I woke up on my birthday with my fingers on the gratitude switch!!  For the first true time, I set it to ON! 

I said, "Thank you God that my precious Daughter is healthy and happy. In spite of her tough roads, she has a wonderful attitude and a beautiful spirit."

"Thank you God that even though my son is across country, he loves me and we are so attached to each others hearts."

"Thank you God for my husband! He has done absolutely everything he can do to keep our lives intact while I've been on bed rest."

"Thank you God that even as I lay here in bed, my bills are paid and I'm able to take this time off."

"Thank you God that even though I don't have a relationship with all of my immediate family, I have an amazing extended family! Not to mention an incredible small but mighty group of friends who are my blood."

My husband set his alarm super early so he could get up and bring me breakfast in bed. I could hear him and Jaslyn in the kitchen making their surprises and it made me feel so much love. He came into the room with a tray of things, including cards and beautiful flowers. They both sat in bed with me while I ate my "preliminary" breakfast, and read the amazing cards. He explained that he was driving me away for my real breakfast.

So we went to a little breakfast spot (he had the car ready to come and go so I wouldn't have to walk) and we sat on this beautiful back patio. I could see the stress in his eyes cause he just really wanted me to be happy.  We had a great time and afterwards I came back home for a nap.

Later on I had a prenatal massage while he and Jazzy made me the strawberry cake I was craving. Ryan had never made a cake before in his life, so I was totally in shock!  They walked in to the bedroom after my nap with a large basket of my favorite things! Disney movies, makeup, mags, Candles and other awesome gifts. I LOVE gift baskets! I love to make them for people and I love to receive them. :)

For dinner, they picked up my favorite kind of food and made me a little Mexican buffet.

Throughout the day I received texts and calls from all the people who matter. My beautiful Family-In-Love, my close friends, people I hadn't talked to in years....AND  Facebook people that I know and those I have no idea where they came from.

With every meaningful word and every heartfelt tribute, I couldn't focus on anything else but the positive amazing love that I was surrounded with. 

I will always treasure my yesterday.

As I await the arrival of my third baby knowing what God has brought me through in my life, It's just a whole other side of beautiful.

I feel my negative layers starting to shed and a new perspective slowly creeping in.

If I can apply this feeling of gratitude towards all the areas of my life, I could change the entire outlook of my future. Not just the holidays, but every single moment. 

We can literally focus on the joy from people who are joyful. We can concentrate on what is positive from places of positivity. We don't have to allow the toxicity to come close to us because we already know how to avoid it! 

Yesterday produced some of the same results as any birthday in the past. You don't hear from certain family, some friends and you still have a few difficult life issues in the wings.

However, it's as if I had sprayed myself down with a sealant and all that was negative had no ability to even get a drop on my skin. 

I believe that gratitude was the main ingredient. And all I can say is...I'm truly thankful. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Music is a "Real Job"....You don't have to be Beyoncé to celebrate

I signed my very first record deal as a young fetus back in the mid 90's. This was before better laws were put into place to protect us kids who made good money and worked too much.  I started super young! I really thought by the time I hit the old age of 19 I would certainly be lounging in style by my guitar-shaped pool.

I defined success in the music industry as one thing... FULL BLOWN WORLD DOMINATION!  Muahahahahahahah!

I came from the days of Tommy Mottola and Mariah! Clive Davis and Whitney!  This was every young girls dream who could do a run or whistle tone. The dream to have our very own Daddy Warbucks who invested millions of dollars into our careers and paraded us around award shows in Jessica Rabbit gowns! Yes, please!

You have this image etched into your mind from the start of your musical journey. The image is that musical success means you are a household name. Somehow along the way you lose sight of the ignore the forget the lessons...and maybe, completely overlook every little victory.

Had you played a mini reality show reel to Nikki 99' of my life now, she may have needed a paper bag from hyperventilation. I wouldn't have understood why I wasn't on the radio or why I wasn't at the Ivy with Clive.

Let me say this, I had big dreams...but I was never the show-off type. I often wondered if my inability to be an untouchable Diva kept me from going further. Granted, I was never at a lack of offers from Satan's apple. Most women with any sized chesticles have had offers to excel in their careers for the huge price of forfeiting self-respect and personal integrity. Oh Boy....It seemed when I was at my darkest and needed a paycheck, there was always a Producer or Label exec ready to make my situation better. YUCK! It breaks my heart for the girls with big dreams who are taken in by these goons. At the end of the day, as we all can put millions into someone and nothing will ever happen. I'm so glad that I never took these routes in my life. I sleep just a tad easier.

Throughout the course of this extremely difficult journey I have experienced so many HUGE moments that went me. It seems if it's not the big dreamy picture, then it wasn't important.

I have many talks with my husband about our own highlight reels and he is guilty of this same thing. Some of his awesome music moments were overshadowed by his bigger dreams. I think this goes for anyone who has a BIG vision of where they see themselves....wether it be acting, singing, writing, sales, you name it. We can sometimes have an all or nothing mentality.

I can only speak from the standpoint of being in the music and entertainment field. I have had only 2 jobs in my life that people would call "real jobs". If you're in music then you've been asked at some point if you've ever had a "real job".  No, this paycheck is just imaginary play money from Mr. Monopoly himself and it doesn't pay my bills for real. Huh? Real job??? This is what we NEED to change! This is why people ask us favors constantly!  Free shows...but they'll feed us....again....Huh???  Do you ask your favorite tile layer person to come redo your floors and you'll make sure to have a crappy pesto sandwich for them?!! Come on people!

Besides 3 months of serving Real Immigrant Southern Italian food in Franklin Tennessee at the age of 20.....and running a mall kiosk in Jacksonville at 23 to sell wireless Internet (that plugged into the wall) for 3 months....I have fully supported myself since I was a teenager by only doing music.

Get out the Grammy award......pull out the red carpet....Put Clive in a limo......This is a reason to celebrate!!!

People may not know you and you may never go where everybody knows your name, but if you write  out your checks every month because you passionately went against the odds to pursue your passion, you are a BIG deal! Especially in the age where music is so loosely discarded and downloaded in big corp pimpery. To be able to generate income in this business is something to largely celebrate.

So many times I've been in vocal sessions with people who are busy discussing record deal options and what's happening that is more important.....I'm like...YO! We are in a dope session getting SAG benefits and that's pretty awesome! It is not always about being in the front.

We all can have regrets and disappointments....things we wished we would've done and opportunities and record deals that we thought would change our lives. It is so natural to strive for more and I will never stop wanting to grow and expand further. It's a given for a dreamer. I just feel it's time we shift our expectations or we will never truly find contentment in this insanely unpredictable world.

* If you're on a world tour with a huge artist playing keys or singing Background vocals....TAKE IT IN! You may never be in front of 100,000 people in Japan again.

* If you're in Los Angeles doing vocal sessions and you're in an awesome recording studio and a really kind runner is bringing in warm cookies and room temp water....TAKE IT IN. It is a gift most people would enjoy!

* If you play casino's on the weekend and you get a great hotel room and killer buffet breakfast...TAKE IT IN! Again, people have to take time off of work to do these things.

* If you write and create....laugh and lunch....TAKE IT IN!

* If you have to perform one more wedding and are asked to play Lady Marmalade....well... I understand if you go jump into the nearest concrete fountain head first.  Just kidding....I have done a wedding or two in my day and it can actually really pay some bills. Also, if they're kind enough, you will have a great dinner that isn't the room temp deli meat assortment.

Ok...what I am trying to say is....we need to celebrate the joy we have everyday in being able to create music we love and interact with the worlds best comedians.....musicians.

Do not get lost in the dream and miss a really fun life!

Celebrate making money doing what you love and have a passion for!

AND.....If someone asks you if you've ever had a "Real Job".....take a piece of the room temp salami and smack them with it!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

It's Official!

MAY 15TH 2015 - 9:00 AM 

We had the most amazing morning! After only an hour of being at the courthouse, the Judge granted our petition for adoption.  It was an incredible morning with such an overwhelming feeling of healing and restoration. At one point Ryan, Jazz and Myself had tears in our eyes (along with all of our friends) during the moments where they declared her officially an Edgar! 

                                                Getting ready for the adoption hearing!

                                                                   My handsome husband
Taking an oath- 

        This is my favorite picture of this adorable pair!

The Judge was such an awesome lady! 

                 Loved having our close friends there with us to witness this awesome moment!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

May 15th.... It's a Girl

Teasing. Hilarious, Constant, Teasing.

It's like they were made for each other. In many ways, I do believe they were.

From the moment my husband met my then 13 year old daughter, they just shared an instant connection. I tend to be a little more choleric in my personality and lack some of the laid back (melancholy) that these two share. They're two easy going peas in a pod. Staring off into space at times and totally okay with being care free. I tend to be the one to snap them into focus with my slightly more intense personality. They love it though....I just know they do.

My daughter has been through more than any little girl should have to. From moving around constantly, to dealing with a Mom who travels, she has experienced some difficult transitions.

I didn't know how to be a Mom. I knew that I loved her from the moment I laid eyes on her. I knew that her dimples made me melt every single time she smiled! I also knew that I was raising a very independent child. She was naturally a do-it-yourself little girl....but in so many ways, she had to be.

I was 17 and experiencing some high points in my career, I guess you'd say. I came from an extremely sheltered/wild environment, so teenage things were extremely difficult for me to handle. My tumultuous home life mixed with a lack of knowledge, led me down a very fast paced spiral to awful decisions. I think if I could pin-point it now, it's as easy as being lonely and not having much of a self-esteem. I truly didn't know how to want good for myself or how to let people treat me well. I wasn't used to people being good to me so I ended up thinking I really deserved bad for myself. That mindset manifested itself into how I treated my eating life, how I picked a boyfriend and how I saw who I was.

I also didn't know how to stand up for myself. I found myself in a very bad relationship at 17 but didn't know how to get out of it. I wasn't in love or happy, I was just so scared to say no.

A few weeks after my 18th birthday and lost my virginity, I found out I was pregnant with Jazz. So scary. My hairdresser gave me the birds and bees talk and I had zero idea how it all really worked. She explained to me that I needed a test and I could be pregnant. Oh boy....that was a mortifying moment. Sure enough as my highlights turned colors, so did that pink line. What a day.

There were so many thoughts that raced through my mind. The first being how can I hide this? What will it do to my career? Will all the people I helped employ be upset with me? I didn't know what I was going to do. I called the Nashville abortion clinic and listened through the prompting on all they required. I considered this option and then felt so strongly that I just needed to quit this singing career stuff and have this baby. By "singing career" I mean "singing ministry"....which meant at the time that I would be DONE with it once people found out. Surely, I was. My records were pulled from shelves and It ended up being quite a lonely time. I was in a horrific situation with a bad guy and I didn't know how to escape it.

The truth is....I was in an extremely scary/abusive situation and so was Jazzy. This guy had been racking up some arrests and doing some pretty repulsive things. With the help of some friends I was able to literally escape this situation one night. It helped that his appendix ruptured leaving him motionless and unable to hide my keys or re-wire the car as he usually did. I grabbed a couple bags, packed up my car, put Jazzy in her car seat and headed to wherever I could go the fastest. I was crying my eyes out knowing I was finally being brave. I even (stupidly) went the following week and tattooed an Asian symbol on my back that I think means "Brave"... So I was SUPER Brave. lol

Jazzy was always all smiles and ease. Throughout the whole ordeal she went wherever I went and never, ever, ever, complained. Not even a bit.

She had her fair share of health issues over the years and dealt with a lot of pain from "Sidney the Kidney".  Sidney was her teeny tiny kidney that gave us a lot of trouble. Eventually they plan on removing him...but we are waiting on that.

Jazzy is a remarkable human. I can't really describe how remarkable she really is. There aren't words for it.

When God was figuring out who would be Jazzy's Daddy, I know he figured that remarkable needed remarkable.

I started to think I wouldn't find that Daddy for her. Over the years she stopped praying for God to bring her a Daddy. It just became us. I don't think she even thought it would happen in her life.  I started receiving Father's Day cards on Father's Day. She started calling me Maddy....(Mommy/Daddy)....We were kind of losing hope.

I'm sure in the times that we visualized who Jazzy's Daddy would be, he might of had on a Navy blue suit with a powdered blue shirt....ha. A guy with dark hair with tapered sides and a little long on the top. Possibly a business man who enjoyed boating....ok.....that sounds boring. Indeed, God knew we needed someone who wasn't boring!!!

There he was...long black hair past his shoulders....possibly a snake skin cuff and eccentric rings... He had on a knit cape/man-cardigan and military boots.....Jazzy's Daddy?

I met this bohemian rocker in my living room and my life changed forever. I was so scared that the thought of my past and me having children would be an issue for this never married man with no children. I was really hoping that he had a big heart. Boy was I surprised to learn that his heart was about the biggest I'd ever seen in a human.

Ryan was immediately in it! From the moment I brought Jazzy into the equation he was so comfortable with her and never awkward. He was her bud from day one. He never gave off vibes that he was uncomfortable.....and I had definitely experienced that before. He was all heart and all in!

Over time we had so many conversations about Jazzy and her life. He expressed to me one day that he would absolutely love to adopt her. He said that spiritually he already feels like her Father but would love to make it official.

I'm so excited to say that this Friday: May the 15th, at 9:00 am; Jazzy will officially become Jaslyn Taylee Edgar! I'm overflowing with happiness in my heart for her. Ryan is already the most amazing Dad and friend. I can't wait to see their relationship unfold over the years and I feel overwhelmed by God's goodness. Restoration in any situation is so very possible. No matter how difficult it looks.

God truly can take absolutely anything and make it beautiful.