My Music


Sunday, November 20, 2011

This Year

Christmas has come early this year.  A few weeks ago I daringly sought out to complete a Christmas EP in time for the holiday season and now I sit here in contemplation at the culmination of it all, on the exact day I released my first EP, The Truth, one year ago.

We sent off the finished product to iTunes/AmazonMP3/Spotify at 5 a.m. this morning so if everything goes as planned it will be up tomorrow! Physical CDs, show dates, and a really exciting holiday give-away are in the works, but for right now I just want to sit and breathe and share with you what this process has been for me.

With the encouragement of my artist coach and good friend, Trina Harmon, I made this album a healing project for me.  As is true with most artists, if it heals you, it heals other people, if it resonates with you, it's gonna resonate with others.  Though I had written one of the songs a couple years ago and was partly through another one, this project really began the night I picked up my guitar and started recording "Do You Hear What I Hear?"  It was my favorite Christmas song when I was little and I was counseled to share what was in my heart, what I love, and sing it in the vein of what I'm feeling right now.

With the help of my good friend and former co-worker, Dallas Rowley, I then completely re-vamped a Christmas song I wrote two years ago, the title track, "Merry Christmas, Dear" into a driving holiday anthem and re-arranged "Silent Night" into a wistful, nighttime lullaby.  He also contributed greatly to another original, "Christmas in You" played on the ukulele!!!! (I was excited about that) with essential elements such as hand claps, shaker, sleigh bells and lest we forget, mouth trumpet!  The music teacher at my elementary school, Mr. Kingsley also came through for me with some real trumpet, though the mouth trumpet was pretty rockin' on its own.

The album wraps with a song that ended up being, I feel, the real reason my soul felt compelled to make this album right now.  When I sat down two weeks ago today I didn't know what was going to come out, but I remember Trina's advice to write my pain into this album and find healing for myself.  So, that's what I did.

What came out was a song called


My story is my own.
I suppose somewhere deep inside my soul I wanted to grow this year.  I wanted to feel real love.  And I wanted to expand myself.  So, life offered up a series of events/experiences that provided just that.  I like to say life backed me up into a corner and punched me in the gut to make me change, cut me down so I could grow into something better.

As I sat there and wrote this song I thought about you--you know who you are.  I thought about how much I love you.  I thought about everything we've been through.  I thought about all the crappy times we spent by each other's side.  I thought about the beauty of having you there for every crappy time (you know we didn't use that word ;).  I thought about the monumental moments, the milestones, the laughter, the small, insignificant moments, the place I hold you in my heart.  I thought about everything I wished and hoped for and feeling like I found it and then feeling it slip through my fingers again.  I thought about watching you grow.  I thought about the things we longed for, the things we lost. I thought about all of the failures we went through and the successes that are starting to come our way.  I thought about how you feel like home and how I never wanted that feeling to go away.  And I thought about having to let you go.

I thought about another You--You know who You are.  How I've never been closer to You than I was this year.  How it felt when I lost You and couldn't seem to find you anywhere, except for in the beauty of a sunrise or sunset.  I held onto those.  I thought about all the times I stopped to ask you, "Do You still love me? Are You still aware of me?" I thought about the angels--seen and unseen--you sent along my way to help me get through.

I thought about the loneliness that we felt.

I thought about my co-worker whose sister was diagnosed with cancer.

I thought about my friend who is raising her children on her own after 15 years of marriage.

I thought about our family friends who lost their two month old baby a month ago.  I thought about their pain and loss.

This year has been a life-altering one.  It's been a year for expansion, growth, pain, love, faith, endurance, knowledge, sacrifice, trust, believing, learning, trial, understanding, hope, experience and did I mention endurance?  I look back knowing there were so many joyful, enlightening moments.  I felt love in a way I never have experienced before and found it in so many different sources, including within myself.  I also felt sorrow like I never have before.  We went through so much this year.  We watched our lives rise and fall from hopeful to bittersweet disappointment and ecstatic happiness to heartbreaking despair back and forth like rolling waves. 

As I began to sing the words sitting at the piano that day, I broke into heavy sobs.

This was a healing moment for me.  In acknowledging your pain you also acknowledge how much that person, experience, event meant to you.  How it changed you.  

As I transitioned into the words of the beloved Christmas song, "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,"  I came to peace with this year.  I carry it in my heart.  I'm grateful for the love.  I'm grateful for the change.  I'm grateful for every moment that tested us and every tear we shed.  Because I love you even more for that.

I truly honestly in my heart pray these words are true, that our troubles will be far away, that our hearts may be light this Christmas and that someday soon we will all be together.

by Catherine Papworth

This year, we started with high hopes this year
but how were we supposed to know
when we stepped out on this road,
we'd end up with broken bones this year

This year, life was like a closing door this year
our hearts a casualty of war
and though we fought through the storm,
it wasn't all we planned it for this year

And I want you to know,
before I let you go
that I carry in my heart this year.

So have yourself a merry little Christmas
let your heart be light
next year all our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
make the yuletide gay
from now on our troubles will be miles away

And I want you to know,
before I let you go
that I've never loved you more than this year

Someday soon we all will be together
if the fates allow
until then we'll have to muddle through somehow

so have yourself a merry little Christmas
have yourself a merry little Christmas
have yourself a merry little Christmas 

Now it's your turn.  I invite you to share YOUR STORY.  What did this year mean to you?  What did you go through that changed you?  How have you found peace through your experiences?  What do you hope for in the coming year?

Peace, love and Christmas music,