The Power of Music Festival Spotlights Songwriters

Songwriters will be in the spotlight during the first annual Power of Music Festival to be held in Bentonville, Arkansas, April 27-29, 2017. There are few festivals that feature the writers behind hit songs, and Northwest Arkansas will be the home of this newest one. The creation of Betsy Brumley-Bernier, granddaughter of Albert E. Brumley, and her husband, Kevin Bernier, the Power of Music Festival will bring songwriters from all over the United States, as well as outside of it, representing all genres of music.

Betsy Brumley-Bernier and husband, Kevin Bernier. Photo courtesy of I’ll Fly Away Foundation.

Betsy says it was Kevin’s idea – he said they knew songwriting, why not have a festival?! Since she grew up in the music business, Betsy was able to reach out to writers and sponsors. She just called the people she already knew. It was a way to honor her grandfather’s memory, as well as benefit the region where she grew up and now lives.

The festival will be composed of both entertaining and educational events. The presenting sponsor for the festival is Coca-Cola. Roger Cook, the writer of “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing,” which you probably remember from Coca-Cola’s advertising, is appropriately among the songwriters that will attend.

The Mission

The Power of Music Festival is a fundraiser for the I’ll Fly Away Foundation. Named for Albert Brumley’s well-known southern gospel song, the mission of the foundation is…

…to inspire youth with the power of music by imparting the fundamentals of songwriting. The artistry of songwriting provides youth with a means of self expression, a creative outlet to explore, and a voice to reach out to others.

The foundation works towards its mission by providing a songwriting program called “You Can Fly” to schools. Students attend special daily sessions for one week where they are taught the art and creation of songwriting by an accomplished songwriter. By the end of the week they have collaborated on writing two songs. The program started in public elementary schools in McDonald County, Missouri, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. With the proceeds from the festival, the program will be expanded so that students in Northwest Arkansas can experience its many benefits. The I’ll Fly Away Foundation website lists some amazing statistics that underscore the importance of music to students’ overall achievement. To learn more about the programs and even listen to a few of the songs, visit the “Programs” page of the foundation.

Songwriter Shannon Wurst leading the “You Can Fly” Program at Pineville Elementary 3rd Grade. Photo courtesy of I’ll Fly Away Foundation.

 

Entertainment

Entertainment will take place at venues around downtown Bentonville. Two or three songwriters on stage will take turns telling the stories behind their songs and then singing them. The performances are all acoustic and will last 60-90 minutes.

To see the complete list of attending artists and their bios, follow this link. You may not recognize some of the names, but chances are that you would be familiar with some of the songs they’ve written.

Education

Informational panels will be offered on different topics related to the music industry. Some of the intriguing titles are “How to Build a Music City,” “Music as a Real Job,” and “Cash for Your Songs.”

A few of the notable guests are:

  • Tom Schuyler, whose songs have been recorded by over 200 artists, will have a workshop with local songwriters where he will work with them on their songs.
  • Barbara Cloyd has been associated with Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee, for over thirty years. Their famous “Open Mike” nights were her idea and have been credited with the discovery of many well-known artists, including Taylor Swift and Garth Brooks. Open Mike nights have become one of the “go-to” places for aspiring performers and there are more people in line to sing than there are seats for patrons.

A full listing of the panels can be found on the festival website.

Ticketing

All events are open to the public. Some are free and others are ticketed. Free performances will take place at Lawrence Plaza.

  • VIP tickets are $299 for all three days. VIPs are seated first in ticketed events and also have access to the Green Room, a hospitality suite for the songwriters and featured speakers. Hurry, as there is a limited quantity of 100 VIP tickets available!
  • A weekend pass is $199, but Early Bird rates offer savings if purchased before deadlines.
  • Day passes are: Thursday $75; Friday $85, and Saturday $95.
  • After ticket holders are seated, remaining seats will be sold at the door.

You can purchase tickets here.

Big Goals

The Power of Music Festival aspires to become the biggest festival of its kind. It’s not too late to become involved, and there are still opportunities for sponsorship. For more information, visit The Power of Music Festival website.

The arts scene in Northwest Arkansas has really changed in recent years. Crystal Bridges museum brought international attention to the area, then a few years ago the Bentonville Film Festival brought celebrities, and now The Power of Music Festival will boost the music industry. If you haven’t visited Northwest Arkansas, you may be pleasantly surprised by all it has to offer.

Helpful Links

The Power of Music Festival Facebook Page

The Power of Music Festival website

I’ll Fly Away Foundation

The Power of Music Festival Spotlights Songwriters

The “S” Word ~ What about Socialization?

What about socialization?

I, too, asked that question while investigating homeschooling. Reading what homeschool veterans had to say about it really helped me to see socialization from a different viewpoint. I’ve helped many people get started in homeschooling and I can tell you that almost every one of them has asked me that question.

Just so that we’re all on the same page, let’s start with a formal definition:

Socialization: : the process by which a human being beginning at infancy acquires the habits, beliefs, and accumulated knowledge of society through education and training for adult status

“Socialization.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 27 June 2016.

Early Observations

At the first homeschool park day that I attended, I watched intently while the children played. There were a range of ages from about four, to a big-boned thirteen-year-old boy. The kids started choosing teams to play “Red Rover” and in my mind I revisited my school days when that was one of the games I dreaded most of all. The kids would form two teams and line up opposite each other holding hands. Then they would chant, “Red Rover, Red Rover, send _____ over, ” inserting the name of one of the kids from the other team. Then that child would run as fast as he or she could and attempt to break the clasped hands of the team on the other side. I was very small and scrawny at that age so it was common that they chose one of my “links” to break through. Remembering that, I grimaced, wondering how a range of ages and sizes could play that game together. I was so surprised by what I saw! The team with the thirteen-year-old boy called one of the small children from the other team. That small child ran as hard as he could towards the clasped hands of the big boy and a kid next to him, and the big boy let him break through. Then he scooped him up and playfully swung him up in the air. All the kids laughed and joined back up to continue their game. I continued to watch as the kids cooperated, and compensated for the differences in age so that everyone had fun. That was one of my first impressions of homeschooling, and it was a big one!

I witnessed other interactions, such as big kids pushing smaller kids on swings, or helping them climb ladders. Once, when a little one tripped and began crying, two older girls rushed over to help her up and brush her off.

During my first visit to a homeschool convention, I attended a workshop. The small room quickly filled with families, including their children. They were going to record the guest speakers so that they could sell CDs. I wondered how, with so many children in the room, they could make a recording without too much noise. Again, I was amazed at how quiet the room remained. Parents had brought books or quiet activities and the kids either sat quietly beside their parent, or in the aisle nearby. Once when a baby started to cry, the father immediately got up and left the room to take care of it. That was another example of homeschooled socialization.

Homeschool Culture

Before I started homeschooling, I had the “kids will be kids” mentality. I didn’t know that it was possible to train children to sit quietly and have good manners. Again and again I witnessed such situations.  After awhile I began to be able to detect homeschooled children by the way they conducted themselves, and the way the family interacted. There really is a difference in the culture of homeschooled children, and it’s a good one!

A Good Kind of “Weird”

On one occasion, while grocery shopping with my kids, I asked my 8-year-old son to get something for me. He walked over to some older ladies and said, “Excuse me, ma’am. Would you hand me some butter?” Both of the women turned and looked at me with one of those looks we homeschoolers become accustomed to. They had odd expressions, like they had seen a ghost, or an alien. Then one of them exclaimed, “He’s so polite!”

Not too long ago I had to take my teen daughter to the doctor. While checking out, the office staff started asking me questions about her. Then they commented that they would have guessed that she was older because she looked them in the eye, had self-confidence, and spoke maturely. There was just something about her.

Research

In his report, Research Facts on Homeschoolers, Dr. Brian Ray, of the National Home Education Research Institute, has published the following findings related to socialization1

  • The home-educated are doing well, typically above average, on measures of social, emotional, and psychological development. Research measures include peer interaction, self-concept, leadership skills, family cohesion, participation in community service, and self-esteem.
  • Homeschool students are regularly engaged in social and educational activities outside their homes and with people other than their nuclear-family members. They are commonly involved in activities such as field trips, scouting, 4-H, political drives, church ministry, sports teams, and community volunteer work.

The research based on adults who were home educated is growing; thus far it indicates that they:

  • participate in local community service more frequently than does the general population,
  • vote and attend public meetings more frequently than the general population.
Sticks and Stones

We’ve all heard the taunt, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” and we all know that it isn’t true. The ugly things that were said to me as a child are still alive and well in the back of my mind. Even as an adult that knows better, they still affect my self-esteem. I wanted to limit those ugly voices in my children’s heads as much as possible. I’m not going to assert that ugliness never occurs within homeschool circles, but it pales in comparison to what kids experience in schools. My experience was, that any time we gathered with other homeschoolers, most, if not all, of the other kids were accompanied by at least one parent. In the event that ugliness erupted, it immediately became a teaching opportunity for the whole group.

The Socialization Myth

If you’re reading this, chances are that you are in the research stage of homeschooling, or perhaps a new homeschooler with young children. The socialization myth is just another one of our enemy’s lies to discourage you from homeschooling. He’d love to help you socialize your children. It’s up to us to consider what we want for our kids, and then make decisions accordingly.

Although it’s tempting to laugh when asked the socialization question, we need to realize that the asker has been misled by the enemy just as we once were. Maybe that will help us to patiently give an explanation and point out the misconceptions behind it. Socialization occurs from any type of interaction, whether it’s between family members or strangers in public. Kids are socialized when visiting with grandparents, running errands, or participating in sports and clubs. The truth is that you’d have to try pretty hard to prevent your kids from being socialized.

Related Reading

Homeschool Graduates in College ~ From the Professors’ Perspective

Homeschooling as a Ministry

Have you believed the enemy’s lie that if you stay home with your children that you’re not doing anything important? The truth is quite the opposite, you know – there is nothing more important that you could be doing. Even some of us who know better can find ourselves succumbing to his lies without realizing it. I hope to reveal the importance of the attitude we hold towards our job as homeschool moms.

What Difference Does it Make?

If you view homeschooling as a ministry, you’re more likely to protect it and give it the priority that it deserves. In contrast, if you don’t consider it that important, then you’re much more likely to feel guilty if you say “no” when asked to help with other ministries. If you’ve ever kept a change jar, you know how small change can add up to a surprising amount. It’s the same way with seemingly small obligations. By taking on too much, you’ll spread yourself too thin. You won’t feel like you’re doing anything well enough, and that leads to a frazzled mom and wife. That, in turn, leads to a home that is anything but the restful refuge that it is meant to be. You could even find yourself feeling like a failure and debating about putting your kids in school.

Seasons

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 niv)

There will be seasons of life when you will be able to help with other ministries and organizations, but while homeschooling your children, you need to make sure that you don’t whittle away your focus. While guiding our children is an amazing blessing, it is also very draining and can cause a whole range of tiring emotions. How much you commit to outside of your home should be carefully weighed.

Protect time and energy

People outside of homeschooling have no idea of the time and energy it requires. Your husband probably has the best viewpoint, and part of his role as the Principal is not only to support you in your teaching efforts by disciplining the children, but also to help protect your time and energy. When someone asks you to help with something, try not to give an immediate answer. Instead, tell them that you are going to pray about it and talk to your husband, and that you’ll get back to them. Then do both of those things. Give your husband a chance to help you evaluate the new opportunity and weigh the potential cost to your family responsibilities. If you both come to the conclusion that you should say “no” this time, then politely decline.

If you are a single homeschooling mother then you can still tell them that you will get back to them. Pray about it and seek God’s guidance in the matter. It may also be helpful to discuss it with a fellow homeschooling mother, or other supporter. You have even more on your shoulders, so its even more important for you to be deliberate in your commitments.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6 niv)

The Mission Field at Home

How does your thinking change if you view your home as a mission field? By teaching your children from a Christian perspective, they will learn that history is really His-story. It’s the story of the spread of the Good News. You will probably learn many new things yourself as you learn the whole truth, not just the part someone wanted you to learn. You’ll be able to study the Bible, memorize scripture, and use it for writing practice. It can be woven throughout every facet of your homeschool, and your children’s lives. What can be more important than teaching your children God’s word and helping them build their faith on solid rock? You can read about one homeschooled young lady’s experience in her article, “How Homeschooling Protected My Faith.”

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 kjv)

When talking to other homeschool moms, I was surprised to learn that some of them had become Christians themselves as a result of homeschooling. An unbelieving husband may be positively influenced.

“How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?” (1 Corinthians 7:16 niv)

Now can you see why Satan doesn’t want you to homeschool? And if you’re determined to homeschool, then how he might try a different tactic by playing on your guilt from “staying home and doing nothing” to cause you to overcommit outside your home? To do so will undermine your homeschool, and possibly even your marriage.

Hindsight

From my viewpoint, I can tell you that your homeschooling years will go quickly. Before you know it you’ll be standing where I am, wondering where the time went. You won’t regret focusing your time and energy on your children for that period. When they are grown, you will still have plenty of time for new mission fields. In fact, as your children become more independent, I recommend you start some new pursuits to help you transition from Homeschool Mom to Empty Nester for when that time comes. Homeschooling is a ministry – a commitment you have made to God and your family. Protect it as such and don’t let anyone weaken it.

Related Reading

7 Lessons I Learned from The Animal School and How They Shaped Our Homeschool

Learning How to Learn…And Loving It!

How Homeschooling Protected My Faith

This post has been shared on some of my favorite blog hops.


Homeschooling as a Ministry

The Greatest Gift of All ~ Jesus Christ

As I deck the halls and shop the malls, it’s a time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. Even though we don’t know exactly when Jesus was born, this is when we celebrate His birth, the greatest gift to mankind.

The stores are filled with Santa Claus as the symbol for Christmas, and I’m afraid that for many people that really is all there is. You may receive a gadget that you don’t need, or a sweater that’s too small, but the Greatest Gift perfectly fills the God-shaped hole within us all. Santa just can’t compete with that!

Will You Accept?

God desires a relationship with us, but none of us are holy enough to be in His presence, so He supplied the perfect lamb, His only son, Jesus Christ, to pay for our sins and wash us clean with his blood so that we would be fit for eternal life with Him. However, it’s up to us to accept this perfect gift, as it won’t be forced upon us. And whether we accept or refuse The Gift has eternal consequences.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV)

Jesus is the Reason

Scripture tells me to always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within me.

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

Jesus is the reason for the hope that is within me. I accepted Him as my savior and was baptized many years ago. Without Him I would have no hope of eternal life in heaven. Without Him I would have nowhere to turn for peace and comfort. He is my compass that helps me make sense of all the nonsense, and helps me see through Satan’s lies.

His Story

My #1 reason for homeschooling our children was to teach them everything from a Christian perspective. Have you ever noticed that “history” is His-story? The underlying importance of history is the story of the Gospel, and it makes a huge difference to study it that way.

I endeavor to be a holy sacrifice to God, to be a willing tool for Him to work through. Whether it’s to reach my children, someone whose path I cross, or someone who stumbles upon my blog.

If you haven’t accepted the greatest gift of all, then I encourage you to do that today. None of us are guaranteed even one more day, so please don’t put it off.

Make Jesus the reason for your season!

“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Mark 16:16 (NIV)

Cranberry-Grape Salad ~ A Holiday Favorite

This is a recipe from my husband’s family. It’s a favorite that everyone in his family expects to find on the table for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. I actually asked for my mother-in-law’s permission so that I could safely share it with you without fearing for my life. (Just kidding!)

It’s a pretty simple recipe, the main thing is that you will want to make this salad well ahead of time – the day before, if possible.

Prepping doesn’t take too long, especially with the help of a few small appliances. I hope your family enjoys it as much as ours does!

Cranberry-Grape Salad ~ A Holiday Favorite
My KitchenAid food processor makes quick work of chopping the cranberries.
Each of the ingredients prepped (the grapes are underneath).
All of the ingredients mixed together before adding the whipped cream.
I whipped the cream with my KitchenAid mixer and added it to the rest of the ingredients. After folding it in, I covered it and put it in the refrigerator to meld overnight.
Cranberry-Grape Salad
The finished product, put into a pretty Christmas serving bowl.

 

Cranberry-Grape Salad ~ A Family Holiday Favorite

Ingredients

  • 16 oz cranberries, chopped finely
  • 16 oz red seedless grapes, halved
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 pint whipping cream, whipped

Instructions

  • This salad needs to be made well ahead of time, preferably the day before. Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. Keep refrigerated until needed. Stir well before serving. This recipe makes a lot, so it's perfect for a large family gathering, or party. Enjoy!
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Cranberry-Grape Salad ~ A Holiday Favorite

 

A Special Christmas Announcement

In December of 1997, Scott and I had a special announcement to make. We had just found out that we were expecting. It was already going to be a special Christmas because it was the first one in a new home that we had just built. Both sides of our families were going to be gathered together, so we wanted to think of a fun way to share our news.

Back then, “Crystal Kids” necklaces were in style, so I had the idea for Scott to get one for me, but to put two kids on it. When our son, Hayden, was about three years old, he started to ask for a baby sister. Scott and I told him that he should pray about it. (Mom and Dad did, too.) Even though we didn’t know if the baby would be a boy or a girl, we decided to go with a girl since Hayden had been praying for a sister.

A Special Christmas Announcement - Mid-Life Blogger
Crystal Kids Necklace

Scott wrapped the gift and put it under the tree with the others. On Christmas morning when I opened it, I held it up for everyone to see and admire. Scott and I tried to contain ourselves while we waited for someone to notice the extra child on it. At last, Scott’s mother, Sue, gasped and asked if we were expecting. So then we got to tell everyone that we were expecting a baby in August.

A Special Christmas Announcement
Hayden was so excited about his new little sister!

 

It turned out to be a little sister afterall! Hayden was so excited to be a big brother!

That Christmas stands out in my mind as a very special one for those reasons. Do you have a special Christmas memory? You are welcome to share in the comments.

This post was shared on the Simple Homestead Blog Hop and the Friday Frivolity Link-Up.

A Special Christmas Announcement ~ Mid-Life Blogger

Show Me Your Christmas Tree ~ Powell

Welcome to Powell! I was excited about participating in Show Me Your Christmas Tree, a blog hop featuring Christmas trees from around Missouri, and made sure ours was decorated in time to share. I want to thank our hostess, Terri Steffes, of Our Good Life, for organizing this fun holiday event.

Our Christmas Tree
Our Christmas Tree

We have an artificial tree that is pre-wired with white lights. Once my husband assembles it, I decorate it in the traditional colors of red and green, silver and gold, and then add the special ornaments. We top it off with a bright shining star.

Decorating Hint

I have some plain old red, gold, and green glass ornaments. They have some wear such as scratches, so I put them near the center of the tree to reflect the lights, help hide the wires, and give depth.

Christmas tree skirt
Christmas tree skirt

We’ve had our Christmas tree skirt for about twenty years, or so. It’s hard to believe, but I ordered it and had it monogrammed soon after we were married.

Annual Tradition

When our kids were young I started an annual tradition of buying a Christmas ornament for each of them. I tried to find one that corresponded to something special about that year. Someday I will give them their ornaments so that they’ll have some memories to warm up their new home. I have also bought some for my husband and I so that when that time comes we’ll have some left for ourselves.

Memory Lane

Decorating the tree each year becomes a walk down memory lane. As I get out each ornament out and hang it on the tree, I can’t help but think back about what it memorializes. Here are a few of them:

Baby Shoes - A gift when our son was born.
Baby Shoes – A gift when our son was born.
Our daughter's 1st Christmas
Our daughter’s 1st Christmas
The year our daughter raised rabbits
The year our daughter raised rabbits
The year our son learned to play the guitar.
The year our son learned to play the guitar.
Rudolph made by our daughter, and a diploma for our son's graduation from high school.
Rudolph made by our daughter, and a diploma for our son’s graduation from high school.
Thomas the Tank Engine - a favorite of our son as a toddler.
Thomas the Tank Engine – a favorite of our son as a toddler.
The year we moved to our new homestead in Powell.
The year we moved to our new homestead in Powell.
Christmas Village

While you’re here, I thought I’d share my Christmas village, too. It was accumulated over a long period, and a few pieces were gifts. I especially like the animated skating pond. There is a counter across the back of our den where I’m able to set it out. There’s even a short video if you’d like to see it in action.

Show Me Your Christmas Tree ~ Powell

Show Me Your Christmas Tree ~ Powell

Show Me Your Christmas Tree ~ Powell

Show Me Your Christmas Tree ~ Powell

Show Me Your Christmas Tree ~ Powell

Skating Pond Video

Homecoming

There have been years when we were planning to travel so we didn’t get as many decorations out, but this year my attitude towards decorating is a little different. Now that both of our kids are adults, I want to make our home a place that they look forward to coming back to. Thank you for hopping by to see our Christmas tree. You can continue the fun by clicking the link below. Merry Christmas from Mid-Life Blogger!

“Show Me” Your Christmas Tree! Link-up

"Show Me" Your Christmas Tree

Related Reading

Check out these gift suggestions! Eggstra Special Gift Ideas for Homesteaders

This post was shared on the Hearts for Home Blog HopMonday Social Link-UpAll Around the Home and Homestead Blog PartyOur Simple Homestead Blog Hop, and Home for Christmas Blog Party Link-up.

"Show Me" Your Christmas Tree