What yoga taught me about life

A few months ago I started taking a Yoga class at our local recreation center. I’ve always avoided yoga. Just thought it wasn’t for me. As I am aging, however, I’ve noticed my joints are stiffer and I’m just not as flexible as I used to be. Thus the need for much more stretching. Several of my friends have started yoga and they found great health benefits from it.

The other reason….

For several years now I’ve tried with doctors and nutritionists to lose weight. It has been a frustrating process. The verdict? I’m way overstressed. Really? What do I have to be stressed about. I’m happily married, 2 great kids. I think just the balance of life, raising kids, working, building a career as an artist, running my own entertainment company oh and…cooking, cleaning, laundry, volunteering at school & church. I guess I do have a lot on my plate! Taking Yoga has been  great exercise for me but also a great opportunity for me to be mindful of self-care. Something we women seem to forget about too easily. Between working,caring for our families and our homes, volunteering, we can be overloaded on a daily basis. Taking the time to be in class was a huge shift for me to slow down for my health’s sake. Our instructor is a lovely, gentle woman who  reminds us to take things slowly and listen to our bodies via what hurts and what does not. We will make progress as we continue. Hurting ourselves to prove something doesn’t accomplish anything. First class, I  was reminded of this all important lesson though, not just in yoga but in life. It’s this: “IT’S OKAY TO BE WHERE YOU ARE. Be gentle with yourself, not allowing your ego or judgement to come in play. There are no Yoga police.”  Hmm…although I’ve heard that in a million ways over the years, I’ve never adopted it for myself. Learning to stop judging myself, especially as I am aging has been an eye opener.  Life changes and we change. Life gets crazy sometimes and everything we always did may not get done this week, month or even this year. Focus on what is important.

LIFE can be challenging…..give yourself a break. Done is better than perfect. Mistakes are okay. It means you are trying. Give your best to everything you do and forget about comparison. Truly, it just delays progress. You have to start from somewhere and where you currently are… is just fine.    🙂

 

 

Unexpected Holiday

  HAPPY WINTER!  So sometimes life…er…nature gives you an unexpected holiday. I am writing from day 3 of a mandatory standstill if you will. 2 inches of Ice covered by 1 inch of snow makes for treacherous roads here in the south. Especially because we don’t have the kind of snow removal that northern states have. So no school this week and many businesses closed. The kids are just slightly excited in my neighborhood as they laugh and frolic in the snow. You don’t have to tell them to seize the day! My 16 yr old went sledding one day. He’s just glad to be able to sleep in for a change! I know it’s probably stressful for some of the moms who have kids bouncing off the walls. I have adult friends who are bouncing off the walls too. They are used to a fast pace…running and doing. Me too, but I LIKE the slow down. I am seeking to not run so fast through each day and be more present with those around me. Now that I’m fast approaching an empty nest…at least it feels that way when your baby is driving and is never home…. I am learning to appreciate these moments just a wee bit more. They fly by so quickly. So if you get an unexpected slow down sometime soon, take a breath, forget the housework for a few and play with those kids of yours, have a snowball fight, or a pool /beach day (depending where you live!) or watch a funny movie with your spouse. Life is too short to ignore these moments. We have to stop living to work,work work. If we don’t, we will miss these precious people in our lives. So if life gives you an  unexpected holiday, you should take it....when you’re 80 you’ll be glad you did!

 

CD SALE & Chocolate Fondue Recipe for Valentine’s Day!

It’s February my friends….

And what do we think of in February? Valentine’s Day! Romantic music, food, flowers, chocolates! So I thought I’d give you a great recipe for the Chocolate part of the evening below but what about that music ?

Ok for romantic music  you can go to debbiecunninghamjazz.com and click FREE SONGS button and get 3 tunes from my CD- The Rest of Your Life for your romantic evening.

Need a gift  or want the whole Romantic Jazz CD? ( think ex: Diana Krall/Michael Buble)

then go here  to buy. Reg $15 it’s on Sale for $10! for the next week!

Now for that Chocolate Fondue Recipe!

EASY CHOCOLATE FONDUE

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup bittersweet Chocolate, chopped
Assorted poundcake, plain cookies and fruit of your choice: strawberries, bananas, kiwi, pineapple- all cut into bite sized chunks

1.Place Chocolate in a glass bowl and put aside.

2.Heat Cream on medium heat in saucepan until hot but not boiling. Stir continually.    (*If using microwave: Heat cream in glass bowl for 30-40 seconds on high)

3. Pour hot cream over Chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth

Place cake and fruit pieces on a serving dish and  Chocolate Fondue in a beautiful serving bowl.  Ladle the fondue onto individual serving plates for your guests. Yummy!

Lastly, you’ll have to supply the last ingredient….LOVE! Happy Valentine’s  my friends!

XO

Debbie

 

 

Happy 2015!!

Happy New Year! 

        Lots of exciting things happening in 2015 here at Debbie Cunningham Jazz. How about you? Check back each month for updates to shows, travel, photos from the road and an occasional recipe from my gluten free findings!   My schedule is filling up with interviews, performing at private events, teaching/speaking engagements and of course songwriting and recording. To keep updated  and to get the INSIDERS SCOOP, please join my newsletter sent out twice monthly…. and it will include free song downloads and lots of personal behind the music updates which I don’t share on my blog! Join here

 

Last Chance tickets for Christmas show in Franklin this Friday!

Last chance to save $$ on Christmas show tickets. $15 through Thursday 12/18 after that $20 at door!
BUY HERE: http://debbiecunninghamjazzxmas.brownpapertickets.com

Friday Dec 19th, 7 pm

Franklin Brentwood Arts Performance Hall

210 Gothic Ct

Franklin,TN 37067

Reflections on Mid-Life

Mid-Life….I have been avoiding that term for a long time but truth is at 49 years of age, I’m probably more than mid-life! Although my plan is to be around a LONG time heheheh! 🙂 My kids are growing older…I have a sophomore in high school and a sophomore in college. My nest is emptying….my husband and I are looking at empty nest cars (ya know..thinking about the day when I’ll be trading in the mom-van but not quite there yet) and dreaming about traveling. Of course, that will be AFTER all those college bills are paid! Never-the-less….we are looking forward to new adventures in the next few years. It’s bittersweet though. We love family life and traveling with our kids and having their friends in & out of our house. Albeit, I’ll have to do a post on budget mindedly feeding all those friends this past summer… Especially those growing teenage boys, YIKES!

But I digress….I find mid-life interesting to say the least! Growing older in my physical body, while my mind feels so young. I know my 60 year old friends are rolling their eyes about now but truly in the 40’s wow…things start to not work like they used to! I used to see everything near and far. Now I can’t see in front of my nose without readers (sigh)… Cue “We’ve Only Just Begun” by the Carpenter’s. I recently heard someone say that in your 40’s you long for the body from your 30’s that you loathed in your 20’s! After childbirth….yeah I’m right there with them! Crazy how time changes our perspective, does it not?

The “working” title of my upcoming CD is called Love and Life but I’m thinking it’s time to add “mid” to that title. Really changes the whole perspective….what do you think?

Speaking of perspective……Wherever you are now, how has your perspective changed? What are you appreciating now that you once took for granted, perhaps? Would love to hear from you. Leave your comments below…..

Join me in Cookeville,TN Concerts in the park!

Concert news: So excited to be performing in Cookeville,TN tonight! Grab your friends,a picnic and a blanket or chairs and head over to Dogwood Pavilion…CONCERTS IN THE PARK series. Show is Free and starts at 7:30.  Get an early start to your weekend with some jazz, swing & blues!! A song or 2 from my upcoming CD perhaps? Can’t wait to see you there!

http://www.cookeville-tn.org/cpac/dogwood-performance-pavilion

15 years ago today I was at Vanderbilt Childrens Hospital waiting…..

   Reflections on Love & Life…..Today is June 25, 2014. 15 years ago, I was sitting in a waiting room at Vanderbilt Children’s hospital praying for the life of my 3 1/2  year old daughter. Would she live? She was having open heart surgery to repair a hole in her heart. One she could not live with and one, had we ignored, that would require a heart and lung transplant later. Whew! I still remember the day I received that news. I was 8 months pregnant with my son and on bed rest. I felt the weight of that news like a ton of bricks on my chest. She had the surgery 8 months after I gave birth. So the season of a newborn and no sleep was also fraught with the wonderings of what would happen in the future. Although we had an amazing cardiologist and amazing surgeon, nothing prepares you for the what ifs.… nothing prepares you for the feeling of powerlessness and hoping that doctors do know what they are doing. Even putting your child in the hands of an amazing, renowned doctor does not take that away. The only thing that sustained me was  faith in the God who created us  in the first place. That’s easy to say in hindsight, mind you. It was not easy. It was a day by day, moment by moment, sometimes second by second journey for months. Surgery day…June 25,1999 was the longest day of my life thus far. It seemed those hours of waiting were suspended in time and I couldn’t rush them no matter how hard I tried. I wouldn’t want to relive that season but I am thankful for what I learned about God, my faith, my marriage,my family and frankly, myself. So this is one reason why I am passionate about family life! All the career goals vanish in these moments. Although my career is important…my family is priority. What are you living for today? Having goals is absolutely necessary in life but don’t let them crowd out what is truly important- your relationships. I am thankful everyday  that my daughter came through the surgery fine and has grown into a beautiful young woman, inside and out!

Join Me June 28, 2014 in Franklin,TN to relax and have some fun!!

  An evening of jazz standards, swing & warm bossa nova guitar……on June 28th,2014 / 7pm!   Franklin Brentwood Arts Performance Hall/ 210 Gothic Ct./Franklin, TN (cool springs-next to A-Game Sportsplex)

I’m so excited for this show! It has been 2 years since I did a concert in Franklin,TN and I’m thrilled to be back. My band for this show is AMAZING! Mark Sorrels, Larry Knight and Dave Dunseath have performed for a multitude of recording artists: Linda Ronstadt, Trace Adkins, Shelby Lynn just to name a few. These musicians are also great jazz players and all around great guys! They have a wide variety of musical experience and that adds to my styling of jazz very much. In the last few years I have been writing for the new CD and although it is still stylistically swing, bossa nova and blues….the lyric content is very much reflective of where I am coming from as a mid-life female, wife and mom living in the world today. I’m am really excited to do a few tunes from the new CD to whet your appetite.  Mostly, it will be an evening for you to kick back and relax for a while, whether you need a girl’s night out or date night with your sweetheart, it’ll be a fun show! We have 2 ticket tiers. We decided to add a VIP Pre-Concert wine,cheese,dessert reception before the show because sometimes you just want an event! VIP also includes photo ops  and preferred seating. Pre-Sale tickets $15 ($20 at door)/ $25 VIP.  For Tickets:: http://debbiecunninghamjazz.brownpapertickets.com

Surprising Fans on the road….

   

I love surprises…at least when I’m the one surprising! It is really fun to do something unexpected for someone that brings joy and happiness! It’s one of my favorite things in life. So when I got the chance to surprise a fan of mine who does so much for others, I just had to jump on the surprise wagon!!

Anita Outlaw is a fan…but even more than that, she has become a dear friend over the years. Until now, we had actually never met face to face. She is the Great Aunt of Parker…the young boy with Leukemia behind the Flat Parker project. Do You remember Flat Parker? A few years ago, my family was privileged to be the Tennessee hosts! Besides taking pictures with him in Nashville and Franklin, I had him in the studio with me too. Flat Parker traveled to all 50 states in the U.S. during one full year. Each family that hosted him took him to special sites in their city and then posted them to Facebook for the family and the page followers to view. It was the brain child of Anita’s son,Tracey, who wanted to DO something to give Parker’s family a diversion during this difficult time fighting leukemia. Parker has had more than 18 spinal taps,besides chemo etc. You know the drill of these diseases…it’s difficult on everyone. Flat Parker is now on a World Tour! He has visited the OLYMPICS, The GREAT WALL OF CHINA and The HOBBIT HOUSES of NEW ZEALAND! To Learn more, see amazing photos and even donate to the foundation go to www.flatparker.com  The stories and the sights are amazing! Flat Parker’s journey also serves as encouragement to many families fighting this disease. One family, sharing their story -affecting and connecting so many. Our stories matter! 

Ok…now back to surprises! I was on a trip to Cincinnati with my son’s show choir for their annual competition trip. I knew Anita was visiting her son and I called him to set up the surprise. He brought her by the hotel we were staying in because as a chaperone, I could not leave. You should have seen the look on her face when she walked in and I was standing there! It was a delight to both of us! Anita, her husband and son were all there. They got to hear the show choir sing too…in the pool! These kids sing anywhere!We talked for a LONG time and have a lovely visit.  This family has worked tirelessly with the Flat Parker hosts around the country and now around the world. Tracey Outlaw runs many marathons in honor of Parker and encourages this family and others to run the race and to finish strong. They are a blessing to many and I am so glad that my family and I got to be a part of their story.