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Jordan Feliz’s ‘The River’ Brings Fans Authenticity and Hope in Midst of Tragedy

May 2nd, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Music
By Jeannie Law (Source:

Jordan FelizWith the release of his debut album The River, contemporary Christian artist Jordan Feliz is winning over the hearts of many with his mainstream appeal and passion for worship.

Feliz started out as part of a secular band that was steadily growing an audience and making a name for itself, but as he began to pray about his future he felt unsure of where he was heading in the group and said God started closing doors. Soon after, still remaining prayerful, he was asked to serve part time as the worship leader of a church he felt drawn to.

Within a few months of being obedient to God’s shift for his life, Feliz received a phone call from an old friend asking him if he would fly out to Nashville and write and record a few songs, all expenses paid. While in Music City, the singer fell in love and he and his wife prayed for about a year until he heard from God that he was to move there and make music for the church.

Feliz admits he wasn’t sure if he should jump right into something after leaving his band and switching churches, but he obediently walked through the doors as the Lord kept swinging them wide open for him. Now the chart-topping newcomer, released his first full album on April 22, but says it wasn’t easy.

“It was honestly probably the most rewarding and yet exhausting experiences ever. I wrote for about two years straight, 18 months to be exact, going into signing a record deal and then releasing an EP,” Feliz told The Christian Post. “When they released ‘The River’ to radio, I just got welcomed with open arms. Everybody just started loving the song and I was shocked by that because I really thought people were going to hate the song.”

His first single, “The River” was No. 1 on Billboard’s National Christian Audience Chart for 10 weeks. Feliz said that his acceptance by the industry and an increasing fan base was another indication that creating and singing Christian music was “God’s plan” for his life. Success came so quickly, he said, he had not even started touring the EP yet before being asked to continue writing for his album.

“This record is really special to me. It’s a lot of stuff that I’ve been wanting to do musically for a long time and it’s a lot of stuff that I’ve been wanting to say,” the singer continued. “I think more than anything I want ‘The River’ to tell [people] that they have this amazing opportunity to just basically be made new everyday by a God that loves them so incredibly.”

“We are his children and when we accept that and when we embrace it, we will truly find that He is the satisfaction in our lives. He is the only real satisfaction that lasts.”

Now, with a fully packed touring schedule, the California native says he gets to hear everyday stories from some of the people who come out to his shows. After hearing their hearts, Feliz believes people take to his music because they are craving authenticity.

“I think that’s one of my main goals as a person, let alone an artist in general, to be authentic and to be myself as much as possible. I think people want that authenticity and the truth,” he explained. “If there’s some way that I can be used as some kind of extension of the Lord and He’s using me and I can be true to myself, I think people can gravitate toward that. I know that I do with other artists that I listen to. I’m [also] guilty of gravitating toward things that are real.”

Listening to funky soul music growing up, Feliz revealed that his parents were big fans of Sam Cooke, Al Green, Earth Wind & Fire and The Commodores, and had a big influence on his music style. The young father has used those influences in his music with an added twist by adding sounds from some of his modern influences such as One Republic, Ryan Tedder, for King & Country and paved his own lane.

“I can see the difference [in my music compared to] other things that are going around in Christian music. That was kind of my goal to be a little different. I wasn’t trying to change anything, I was just really trying to be myself and made music that I really wanted to hear,” he said. “I think if we’re really going to be true to ourselves as artists, then everybody should sound different. Then we can just be who we are — that’s who the Lord called us to be, He created us to be. I think that can kind of get lost in all markets.”

On the 11 track LP, the song that is most personal to him is the last song on the album, named “Satisfied.”

“I wrote it right after my wife and I lost our first baby and it was me going through this learning phase,” Feliz shared. “In my life I’ve never really gone through a whole lot of hardships. I lost both of my grandmas and that was pretty tough but I think that (losing the baby) was probably the first thing that’s ever happened that really rocked me and the first time I probably ever been angry with God.”

In his time of despair Feliz said he reached out to friends for guidance and a lady from his previous church sent him a Facebook message that really helped him navigate through the pain. She, too, understood grief, because she lost both her son and daughter in the same year and soon after her husband. She told Feliz in her message that she spent so many years being angry at God and not going to church or talking to anyone because she was battling depression.

“She said the Lord came to her and said, ‘The one person that you’ve been mad at, me, is the only satisfaction that can fill the void of loss,'” He explained. “The one person that I was angry at was the solution to my wife and my loss. That’s where “Satisfied” came out of and He is that satisfaction for us.”

Before the interview was over, Feliz graciously offered advice to other new artists looking to break through in this new era of music.

“I feel like a lot of people think that because of YouTube and all these social media things, that they can just kind of create something. Yeah, I do do that, but it’s more of a tool to harness the audience that has already been created, it’s not really to build more audience,” he explained.

“The Lord calls us to work, and that is our worship. We worship Him in our hard work. Just keep truckin, when you have an opportunity to sing or to play drums or whatever you want to do, you just go do it. It doesn’t matter if you’re at a bowling alley or if you playing in front of 10,000 people, just do it. The Lord gives us the smaller responsibilities before we can be entrusted with the larger ones.”

Feliz added that the more one works to pursue what they want, the better their results will be.

“Be who you are, don’t sacrifice that, just work. Go out and do the homework that you need to do and prep and do all those things that you need to do,” he advised. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s the conditioning that you need for the future. If you don’t have that conditioning sometimes it can be very chaotic and you can lose focus really fast. Continue in God — I think that is so important.”

The River is now available on iTunes. For more information on Feliz visit

Watch Bono and Eugene Peterson (creator of The Message Bible) Talk About the Psalms

May 2nd, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle
The film Eugene Peterson and Bono made on the Psalms is finally here. In the 21-minute short film, the two recount the backstory of their friendship as well as engage in conversation about their common love of the Psalms. And, since Eugene Peterson has devoted much of his life to examining the profundity and interpreting the Psalms for the Message Bible, and Bono has brought the passion and depth of the Psalms to life for listeners of U2, there is arguably no pair better suited for the conversation. The film is produced by Fuller Theological Seminary’s Fuller Studio. Take time to watch it now. You’ll not regret it.

How to get a shy person to open up to you in 5 minutes or less

May 2nd, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

Taking the time to approach a shy person and help them break out of their shell can be incredibly rewarding for both parties.


If you notice someone standing alone at a networking event, they might need you to start the conversation.John Stoker, president of DialogueWORKS and author of “Overcoming Fake Talk,” says that 40% or more of the population would classify as “shy,” meaning they may be comfortable sitting in a conference session, but they’re not comfortable talking to you first at a social event.

Why? Because they’re afraid of rejection, he explains — and they will do anything to keep from being singled out.

So how do you approach a shy person (who you don’t know) and put them at ease? Follow the six steps below:

1. Start with an introduction and an easy question.


“Hi, I’m Jane Doe from _____. Who are you?”

While this may seem like a blunt introduction, Stoker says you have to start with a simple, innocuous question like this to build a rapport.

“Asking questions is the easiest way to deepen or create a relationship with someone,” he explains.

2. Affirm the meeting.


“If you make the first move by introducing yourself and taking an interest in the person, you will help to set them at ease, which will help you to establish a relationship with the person that could pay huge returns,” he says. But you’ll want to go a step further and tell them how excited you are to be meeting them.

Try something like, “I’m so glad we had a chance to meet today,” or “I’m so happy we’re finally meeting!” or “It certainly is a pleasure to meet you today.”

3. Use their name…often.

3. Use their name...often.

“People love to hear their name,” Stoker explains. So address them by it whenever possible.

It tells them you really listened to their introduction and that you’re engaged in the conversation.

4. Explore their interests.

4. Explore their interests.

Stoker suggests asking thoughtful (but non-threatening) questions that will help them to reveal themselves to you. For instance, you can ask about their interests, hobbies, or passion projects.

You can also make observations and ask questions about those. For example, “I noticed the tennis racquet charm on your necklace. Do you play?”

5. Offer your assistance.

5. Offer your assistance.

Shy people don’t always feel comfortable marching up to someone and saying, “Hey, I need help with this,” so put them at ease by offering your assistance whenever possible.

6. Let the conversation flow.

6. Let the conversation flow.

Once you get to this point, you should be able to “jump around and go where the conversation takes you,” he says. “You just never know what you might learn.”


At 100, Still Running for Her Life

May 2nd, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Healthy Living

I’m officially out of excuses to not get off the couch & go! – Ashley

“You see so many older people just sitting around — well, that’s not me.”

On a cloudless Sunday afternoon in April, a 100-year-old woman named Ida Keeling laced up her mustard yellow sneakers and took to the track at the Fieldston School in the Bronx. Her arrival was met without fanfare. In fact, no one in the stands seemed to notice her at all.

It is possible the spectators were distracted by the girls’ soccer game taking place on the field. Or perhaps they were simply unaware that Ms. Keeling is a reigning national champion.

When she runs, Ms. Keeling occupies a lane all her own. She has held several track-and-field records since she began racing in her late 60s, and she still hasthe fastest time for American women ages 95 to 99 in the 60-meter dash:29.86 seconds. In the week to come, she plans to compete in a 100-meter event at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, where she hopes to establish a new standard for women over 100 years old.

“You see so many older people just sitting around — well, that’s not me,” said Ms. Keeling, who is barely 4-foot-6 and weighs 83 pounds. “Time marches on, but I keep going.”

Ms. Keeling was not always such an accomplished runner. As a child growing up in Harlem, she preferred riding bikes or jumping rope. With Title IX half a century away, there were few opportunities for girls, let alone black girls, to play organized sports. When she did run, it was always to race, never to exercise.

“I was pretty fast as a girl,” she said. “What makes me faster now is that everyone else slowed down.”

When the Depression hit, Ms. Keeling’s athletic inclinations receded into memory, supplanted by a series of jobs washing windows and babysitting for neighbors. Her family, who for years lived in cramped quarters in the back of her father’s grocery, was forced into even more humbling circumstances when the store went out of business and her father began peddling fruits and vegetables from a pushcart for a living.

“I learned to stand on my own two feet during the Depression,” she said. “It taught you to do what you had to do without anyone doing it for you.”

Shelley Keeling, left, and her mother, Ida Keeling, on a balcony in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.

Ms. Keeling’s resilience only deepened with time. After her husband died of a heart attack at 42, she was left to raise their four children on her own. She moved the family into a one-bedroom apartment in a Harlem housing project and took up work sewing in a factory, all the while contending with the abuses and indignities endured by black women in mid-20th-century America. As the civil rights movement took shape, Ms. Keeling became an active demonstrator, shuttling her children to Malcolm X speeches and boarding a predawn bus for the 1963 March on Washington.

“I always understood from mother that you die on your feet rather than live on your knees,” said her daughter Shelley Keeling.

Over time, that resolve was gravely tested. While serving overseas in the Navy, Ms. Keeling’s older son, Donald, developed a crippling drug addiction that he struggled to shed even after returning home to Harlem. His habit ensnared his younger brother, Charles, who had served in the Army. Ms. Keeling watched in horror as both boys, barrel-chested charmers who friends joked looked like superheroes, withdrew into the world of drugs.

Ms. Keeling stretched her legs in her daughter’s living room in the Bronx last month.

In 1978, Ms. Keeling received a call from the police informing her that Donald had been hanged. Around two years later, the phone rang again: Charles was dead — beaten in the street with a baseball bat. Both killings were suspected to be drug-related; neither was ever solved.

“I’ve never felt a pain so deep,” Ms. Keeling recalled, her voice lowering to a whisper. “I couldn’t make sense of any of it and things began to fall apart.”

A stretch to improve Ms. Keeling’s blood flow and flexibility.

As Ms. Keeling fell into a deep depression, her health began to falter. Her blood pressure shot up, along with her heart rate. The image of her once-vital mother in such despair shook the younger Ms. Keeling. A lifelong track-and-field athlete whose trophies fill an entire room of her apartment, she intervened with the means of healing most familiar to her: running.

“It was trial by fire,” recalled Shelley Keeling, 64, who has coached track and field at Fieldston for 21 years. “Based on where she was emotionally, it just had to be.”

After some coaxing from her daughter, Ms. Keeling, then 67, registered for a five-kilometer race through Brooklyn. It had been decades since she had last gone running. The two women took off together, but the younger Ms. Keeling soon darted to the front of the pack as her mother drifted far behind. After a suspenseful respite, she was relieved to see her mother scamper across the finish line, barely out of breath.

“Good Lord, I thought that race was never going to end, but afterwards I felt free,” Ms. Keeling recalled. “I just threw off all of the bad memories, the aggravation, the stress.”

So began the sunset career of Ida Keeling, at a time when most of her peers were settling in for a future of seated yoga or abandoning athletics altogether. In the decades since, she has traveled across the world for competitions. She often races alone, the only contestant in her age group.

“Now I’m just chasing myself — there’s no one else to compete with,” she said. “It’s wonderful, but it feels a little crazy.”

Running gives Ms. Keeling a sense of serenity, she said. Her sinewy arms urge her body forward, each stride stronger than the last as she picks up momentum. Though she has developed arthritis and occasionally relies on a cane while walking, Ms. Keeling betrays none of her ailments as she runs.

To maintain her health, Ms. Keeling adheres to a stringent regimen of diet (“I eat for nutrition, not for taste”) and exercise (“I’ve got to get my hour in every day”). On a recent afternoon, Shelley Keeling led her mother through a routine that included push-ups, wall sits, shoulder presses and sprints back and forth on the balcony of her apartment in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. Ms. Keeling lives alone and says that self-sufficiency is a key to her longevity.

“I don’t beg nobody for nothing,” she said. “I wash, cook, iron, scrub, clean, mop and shop.”

Ms. Keeling exceeded the five push-ups that her daughter had asked of her.

Ms. Keeling eschews food products with preservatives, favoring fresh grains and produce, along with limited portions of meat. Desserts are rarities, and a tablespoon of cod-liver oil supplements breakfast most mornings. Despite her exceptional discipline, Ms. Keeling allows herself one indulgence. “This is putting gas in the car,” she said before downing a tall shot of Hennessy.

There are days when Ms. Keeling battles a surge of arthritis or a hint of melancholy. “I never want to go backwards,” she said. “I’m a forward type of person.”

As she navigated the track at Fieldston, a nasty cramp shot up her right leg, hobbling her gait. For a moment she seemed to hesitate as she let out a deep sigh and slowed her pace. But then Ms. Keeling dispensed with the pain the only way she knew how. She ran through it.


33 Cupcake Recipes

May 2nd, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle
*click to enlarge


Pintable Mother’s Day Cards

May 2nd, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle
I’m a paper lover.

I adore thick cotton paper that’s been letterpressed and love layers of ink on a screen printed card. So I’m the first to say I will happily shell out the cash for a pretty card. I usually stock up on pretty cards at cute boutiques when I travel. But lately, I forget to buy cards a head of time and just grab one while I’m at Target and need it ASAP. And in that case, I hate paying nearly $10 for a card.

For those of you who hate to spend the big bucks on cards, or if you always are looking for a card at the last minute, I got you. Here’s are three pretty cards I’ve created for Mother’s Day that are abolsutely free. All you need to do is print and cut them out. Write mom a sentimental note inside and you’re sure to be her favorite child.


Super cute free printable Mother's Day cards!

If you want to really impress mom, download and print my free Mother’s Day embroidery art for a simple gift. It has a daisy design that matches these cards and is pretty framed on it’s own. Or you can go the extra mile and add some simple embroidered embellishments.

Don’t forget the envelopes? The cards are 4.25″ x 5.5″ so you’ll need A2 size envelopes. I’m loving the coral ones!

Super cute free printable Mother's Day cards!

Super cute free printable Mother's Day cards!


Who Told You That You Had To Be Superwoman?

May 2nd, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle
I just got done writing this brief update for you and I look up from my laptop to see a beautiful young woman sitting next me in a comfy leather chair, hidden in the corner of this quaint little coffee shop. Her feet are propped up on a chair, crossed in a relaxed sort of way. In one hand she is holding down a page of a book that is nestled in her lap, while her other hand is laying across her growing belly, letting her baby know that no matter what, she is there and she cares deeply.Women…especially those of us who are carrying a sweet little baby inside…we need to do this more! We need to know the value of rest. We need to lay down some of the things yelling at us, begging for our attention, and get away for a while. We need to find time for ourselves. To think about our baby and what he or she will be like. To pray for the baby and to pray for ourselves.

We need to prop our feet up and shake the stress from our shoulders.

We need to know that there will be seasons we can’t do it all…and that’s okay! Because we are doing something quite extraordinary.superwoman

Even if you only have 5 minutes, take time to pause, to rest, or to get lost in a hobby that requires no brain power but leads to a place your heart will experience peace. You need to do this. Whether you are carrying a baby or not…women we need to do this!

This world doesn’t share this message too often. Instead, the messages we receive are woven together and spliced together from many different vantage points. Some from media, some from men, some from women, some from everywhere. Our culture has an expectation of women, that in my opinion, seems unattainable, impossible, unhealthy…and yet, so many of us are striving to achieve it anyways. And there are all the different kinds of women all over the world who really are trying to do it all, or media accounts that portray such a truth.

We are told to be superwoman, to do it all…no matter what “it” is…losing our minds along the way from the conflict of believing that superwoman is attainable and must be – versus – what are bodies are telling us amidst the pursuit. We are constantly comparing our abilities and our value to other “superwomen.” Our hearts heavy with shame that we are dropping the plates of priorities we are suppose to be great at spinning.

Here is some truth for your soul today…nobody really expects you to be superwoman and your value is not contingent by how much you can accomplish. No sweet friend. You are super valuable in my eyes and in God’s eyes…and that is regardless of what you can do.

This is what I think…it is not until we see someone breaking free that we realize we can be free too. Let this moment I described for you of the woman carrying with child relaxing in a coffee shop be that example for you, that message of freedom!

Pretend I am standing in front of you and I extend my arms, reach over your shoulders and take that weight of everything you feel like you need to get done and then say,

Here give me that!”

I’ll give you a wink with a kind smile and then nod my head as if to tell you,

Go and be free!”

You may sigh and even hunch your back a little because you are not use to the feeling of weightlessness. But after I nod your way, you straighten up with a little stretch in your back, return a smile, then like a girl chasing butterflies in meadow of wildflowers in slow motion you turn to go and be free.

You know, you actually don’t need to pretend. I may not be standing in front of you…but God is there. And this is what He does say to your weary heart,

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

Being set free from our weariness and burdens, does not mean we abandon our priorities and responsibilities. It is not a green light to disregard the important things or people in our lives. But it does mean, that we invite God to help us, and it does mean that we take time every week to rest, so that we can be rejuvenated. And it does mean that we savor small moments of slowness amidst our busy lives.

You can do it. You need to do it. Otherwise, you will melt down to a puddle of emotional mess, broken, more weary than ever, confronted by the lies you believed and the belief that you in some way failed. God does not want this for you. No sweet friend. He wants you to know that with Him,

all things are possible!” – Matthew 19:26

And that you truly are valuable, regardless of your abilities. You are valuable!

Now go and be free!

Keep reading, below was the real post I was going to share with you before the Holy Spirit got ahold of my keyboard!

I feel blessed to have a blog and an opportunity to share what is going on in my life, what I am experiencing, and what God is doing. For the last 5 years I have had my own little space to share my heart with the world, and in turn, I have found a beautiful community of women who are walking right along side me. Thanks for the adventure. Thanks for listening and for chiming in. Thanks for encouraging me and thank you for your prayers for me and my family. I cherish you!

I experience seasons where writing comes very easy. Words flow so fast I have trouble sharing all that I am thinking about. But then there are times that are more difficult for me. Now is one of those times. It is not because I lack a desire to write, rather it is because of the physical changes I am experiencing that are hindering my ability to do so.

I don’t know if you have noticed, but I have not been sharing very much lately. I have not been publishing as many articles, and sometimes I neglect to post on Facebook or other social media sites. In my “superwoman” expectation of myself, this is a plate I feel like I am fumbling. 

Again, it is not because of a lack of desire. In fact, my desire is so strong that I get frustrated when I can’t publish anything. Here is the thing…I recently told you I found out we are expecting number 3! I am so excited and feel extremely blessed to be carrying another sweet baby. And I certainly cannot complain about my body during this first trimester, because I know there are some women who have a difficult time carrying…but the truth is that I haven’t been feeling very good. The last few weeks have been emotionally and physically draining. The first trimester for me includes nausea and a lot of overall not feeling well. I feel groggy. By 3pm I’m done. I want to go to bed and probably could knock out if I didn’t have a family to take care of. My energy is almost nonexistent.

I was chatting with a friend about it and I told her I don’t remember feeling this bad with the other two kids. She pointed out that I am expending more energy taking care of my two kids while my body is providing for the new baby, so sure I am going to feel a little more spent these days. I’m doing a lot. And I kind of don’t want to mention how bad I am slacking at home. If I make it to the laundry, the living room gets out of control. If I focus on the kitchen, the bathrooms get neglected. Around every corner, I feel inadequate and incapable of my normal priorities. Exhaustion has my mind running in circles, while my body can’t keep up.

As much as I love that our family is growing, it is revealing to me all the more that I am not capable of everything. Everything  as in everything that I desire and aim to do. At least right now, it is too much. So, I have accepted to not blog as much as I want to, so that I have time to rest and help my body have the energy I need each day to focus on my main priorities.

Hopefully this season will pass quickly and in just a few weeks I can resume doing a few more things that are high priorities to me such as blogging and keeping up with social media. I can’t let it go. I know my words are morsels of encouragement for many, for me, for my heart. I can’t stop. And I can’t wait to resume. But I also am NOT SUPERWOMAN…and I’m okay with that.

I just wanted to give you an update of where I have been and when I will be coming back full force. That is until the baby comes and my head starts spinning again! These seasons will continue to ebb and flow! I am so grateful that you are here and that you are with me. It means the world to me.