October 14, 2013 Entry: Will The Wannabe Concert Photographer?

Tonight the three of us attended a Plumb concert in York, PA at a place called Church of the Open Door. We’ve taken Will to a few shows in his short life, even since before he’d been born (but apparently when the fetus could already start hearing), but it’s been a few months now since we last took him to a concert.

He recently turned 3 years old. If my memory serves me right, the last show we took him to was in March of this year and he really seemed to have a lot of fun, getting into the rock music by dancing near the stage.

This time, Will seemed very fascinated with my photography. See, I love taking concert photos and I like to use them for reviews on Jesusfreakhideout.com, but tonight’s more chilled out vibe kept people in the audience sitting down through most of the show, so it was difficult to be inconspicuous if I wanted to take photos. This then requires me to do a lot of kneeling or squatting to stay out of people’s way. (They paid for those seats and that view of the band after all, right?)

Tonight, Will started to follow me wherever I went. This meant that when I snuck up front and knelt off to the side in front of the front row, Will followed me… and followed my lead as well. He ended up dumping himself at my feet and sat right down, feet straightened out across the floor in front of me, with his eyes fixed on the band on stage, and then back at the large magical lens I wieled in my hands. He seemed super excited to be up there with me.

Soon he was trying to see inside of the lens to find out how it exactly worked, but I had to continue doing what I was doing. Will’s presence seemed to go unnoticed by Plumb herself, but I noticed that the drummer seemed to find it a little amusing, as did some of those in attendance around me. I was a little self-conscious about the attention I was attracting by having my little partner-in-crime in tow, but it didn’t seem to annoy anyone so I tried to get what I needed and pull him back from the frontlines.

The later instances didn’t go quite as well.

Will proceeded to follow me like a puppy around the venue. At one point, I asked him to stay with Amy and I went up to get some shots from the other side of the stage and then came back past the seats a to where I left them. Will was a basket case. He looked at me with tears streaming down his face with a hand outstretched in my direction muttering either “Daddy Wait for me!” or “Daddy come back!” (or both?) It was heartbreaking, and the look of helplessness on Amy’s face made it worse. She wanted to keep him out of the way too, but didn’t know what to do. And how do you tell a 3 year old that what you’re doing is allowed and needing to be kept inconspicuous and the toddler isn’t allowed to come along?

Later, I sneaked away from Will and Amy to do some more shooting and it seemed to work nicely. However, when the music stopped between songs, I recognized a familiar voice crying out “Daddy! Daddy!!!” Yikes. It was indeed Will.

If I had to be completely honest, I’d say that as much as I absolutely love taking photos at shows (and I do), it can sometimes get lonely. I think, if you’re doing it right, you’re up there needing to do your job and you need to worry about staying out of people’s line of sight as much as possible. You’re meant to be invisible and to get what you need and do it without becoming a hassle. In other words, you’re better off not being remembered for ever being there than being remembered for being “that guy with his camera who got in the way” or worse yet, “…had to be told to move/sit down/leave/stop doing that,” etc. So, depending on how much the job can separate you from a fellow concert-going partner, or if you end up attending a show alone, you’re going to be spending some serious time alone around people who don’t particularly want you there.

As much as I’ve been waiting 9 years to see Plumb again and as much as I loved her seeing her live again, my favorite moment of the night was my son sitting at my feet as I performed my photographic duties.

And I wish I had a picture of that.




Critically Acclaimed Author Maryann Macdonald draws inspiration from Leonardo da Vinci in latest offering



“Fresh and touching…a Christmas story to share and savor all the year long.”

— Richard Peck, Newbery award winner.

 christmas cat

SOURCE: Rogers & Cowan

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Aug. 27, 2013) – Critically acclaimed author Maryann Macdonald announces the release of her highly anticipated holiday children’s book, The Christmas Cat (Penguin Group). Available nationwide on October 17, 2013, The Christmas Cat is a beautifully written read-aloud depiction of the Nativity story told in a new way and unique way with glowing illustrations by Amy Bates.


The inspiration for Macdonald’s soon-to-be published book came from Leonardo da Vinci’s drawing of, La Madonna del Gatto, the Madonna of the cat (circa. 1480-1481). In the drawings, Mary is lovingly holding the baby Jesus who is embracing a cat. After seeing the drawing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Macdonald wondered, “Was it possible that Jesus might have had a pet cat?”  Then she learned of a legend about a cat living in the stable who purred Jesus to sleep the night he was born, and began to imagine the long, loving relationship the two might have had.


In support of The Christmas Cat, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York will offer the title in their onsite bookstore, and is currently considering The Christmas Cat for their 2014 Christmas catalog. The book will also be featured in Bookspan’s book club.


The Christmas Cat, with Amy June Bates’ luminous illustrations, will awaken children to the beauty of the Nativity story in a new way,” says Macdonald. “My hope is that this book brings children, who love animals, closer to the childhood of Jesus, who loves us all.”


Macdonald has written more than 25 books for children, including the historical novel Odette’s Secrets.  Based on a true story, this “gentle introduction to the Holocaust” tells of a Jewish child who survives WWII by hiding in plain sight with the help of Christian friends.  The book has received much critical praise and became an Amazon children’s/teen bestseller during the summer of 2013.


For more information about The Christmas Cat, visit http://www.maryannmacdonald.com/the-christmas-cat/.


The Christmas Cat

Age Range: 3-5 years

Price: $16.99 (USD)

Hardcover: 32 pages

Release date: October 17, 2013

Language: English

ISBN 13: 978-0803734982



About Maryann Macdonald

Maryann Macdonald grew up near Detroit with seven brothers and sisters.  She lived for many years in Europe, but has now settled in New York City.   One day, while exploring the Metropolitan Museum there, she discovered the Leonardo da Vinci drawing that inspired her to write The Christmas Cat.  She has written many books for children. For more information, visit www.maryannmacdonald.com.




About Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc. is the U.S. affiliate of the internationally renowned Penguin Group, one of the largest English-language trade book publishers in the world. Formed in 1996 as a result of the merger between Penguin Books USA and The Putnam Berkley Group, Penguin Group (USA), under the stewardship of Chief Executive Officer, David Shanks, and President, Susan Petersen Kennedy, is a leading U.S. adult and children’s trade book publisher. For more information, visit www.penguin.com.


About Amy June Bates
Amy June Bates grew up in Utah and graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in illustration. She has illustrated over forty books for children and has been honored by the Society of Illustrators for her work. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and children. For more information, visit www.amybates.com.

New Book Tackles Bullying and Other Difficult Issues for Teens

“Combining informative information with scriptural principles, Shannon Perry offers parents practical, yet timeless advice on how to raise teens and tweens
in an ever-evolving culture.” 

– Josh D. McDowell, author/speaker

New book tackles bullying and other difficult issues
for teens

SOURCE: Adams Group

Nashville, TN − In her new book, The Overlooked Generation:  Parenting Teens and Tweens in a Complicated Culture (Carpenter’s Son Publishing/STL), author, speaker, radio and TV host Shannon Perry tackles the tougher issues of raising teens and tweens.  With her background as a public school teacher and counselor, a Master’s degree in Education and Counseling and as a Certified Instructor for Crisis Counseling and Parenting Classes, Perry draws on nearly 20 years of experience working with teenagers and their parents.  The book covers topics such as dating, social media, eating disorders, drug use, as well as bullying, a subject that is especially important to Perry. Included in the book’s appendices is an interview with a mother whose daughter, Tara, committed suicide after being bullied. Perry’s personal relationship with Tara and her family made this a difficult, but necessary, addition to the book.

“I wanted to include Tara’s story in this book because bullying is becoming a serious epidemic,” says Perry, who created an anti-bullying program for one of the largest public school systems in the U.S.  “I was bullied as a child and I understand, first-hand, the impact it can have on a child’s self-esteem.  But bullying has been expanded to a whole new level with the use of social media, and parents need to know how to combat it before it gets out of hand.  They also need to know how to deal with the school systems so that bullies are dealt with swiftly and permanently.”

Endorsed by world-renowned author Josh McDowell, The Overlooked Generation stems from Perry’s teaching segments in her mother/daughter conference entitled “In Her Shoes.”  The book is heavily researched and includes up-to-date statistics as well as real-life stories from Perry’s counseling experiences, along with practical tips for parents on virtually every subject.  Perry also included a chapter on tough questions that she receives frequently from parents who attend her conferences. Perry chose the word “overlooked” after discovering there was a recurring theme with most teen problems.

“One of the things I hear most often from teens is that they feel ignored or overlooked,” says Perry.  “It is why so many of them do things like sexting or dabbling in drugs – they want to be noticed by their peers and accepted on some level. Unfortunately, they often try to get the attention they crave using negative behavior that often destroys their lives.  As parents, we need to understand our role in guiding this current generation of kids that is so impinged by cultural pressures.”

Although some of the topics are complex, Perry felt they needed addressing.  “I didn’t shy away from questions about homosexuality or pregnancy prior to marriage, because these are issues that are affecting kids even in Christian homes.  I believe the Bible is relevant on every subject that we face in life, and I pray that parents will find guidance in this book that will, ultimately, drive them to their knees in search of God’s perfect wisdom on whatever they are facing.”

To coincide with the book, Perry is releasing a new music video of a song she co-wrote with Lifeway’s Songwriter of the Year, Paul Marino.  The music video for the song, “Overlooked,” is produced and directed by Telly Award-winning director Jeffrey Kubach whose resume’ includes the hit television shows “Survivor” and “Burn Notice” along with a Best Pop Music Video nomination from Gospel Music Channel.

Perry hosts a bi-weekly television show called “Grace in High Heels” which currently broadcasts into over 32 million homes via the NRB Network.  Shannon also hosts a talk radio show on Salem Communication’s KKHT Radio in Houston, Texas.  Shannon’s first book entitled Grace in High Heels: Real-life reflections of Humor, Hope and Healing was based on one of Shannon’s most popular women’s conferences, “If The Shoe Fits. As a recording artist, Perry has performed at Carnegie Hall, with the Houston Symphony, and sang for over 70,000 fans at a NFL football game.  Perry is a contributing writer for Believe.com as well as Crosswalk.com, one of the most visited Christian sites on the web with over 24 million page views per month.  She has contributed articles to magazines and ezines such as Charisma, Christian Voice, Christian Women of Today, among others. For more information, visit www.ShannonPerry.com.


Tricia Brock Talks About New Album, Parenting, and Miscarriages



Former Superchick vocalist Tricia Brock has been very busy since the band retired from the road. When she hasn’t been writing and recording for her new solo album, Radiate, she’s been busy adjusting to her new life as a mother. Jesusfreakhideout.com’s Roger Gelwicks recently addressed the musical side of Tricia’s solo career, while John DiBiase talked to the young mother about raising little Ava.

We’ve included part of the JFH interview below as well as exclusive questions regarding her experiences with a miscarriage before having little Ava.

This interview took place on: 7/29/13. 

  • JFH (Roger Gelwicks): Songs like “Good to Be a Girl” and “Mirror Mirror” remind me of past Superchick songs like “One Girl Revolution” and “Barlow Girls.” What prompted going back to these sorts of themes for Radiate?

I think the 15 year old, tall and way too skinny, zits-on-my-face Tricia is still in there. I just feel the way we view ourselves shapes us so much and it affects us way beyond our teen years. We are being shaped and changed throughout our entire lives, so I think we can always use these reminders. I now have a little girl, Ava, and I think some of these songs like “Daughter of the King” came out because of how I see her, want to love her and show her how to really love herself. They are songs I would want her to hear when she’s 12 and when things are getting tough to be a girl.

  • JFH (Roger): Which song from this new record do you connect with the most personally?

I would say my song called “What I Know.” It’s a song about the places in life where maybe things aren’t turning out the way we want. We might not have the answers we’re seeking, but we know His ways are higher. That He is good. He never lets us go. So we choose to hold to what we know and not just what we feel or see in circumstances around us. Some days, we don’t even have the words to pray to ask for His help. The words of this song feel so real and raw. I know that every person who hears it will say, “Yep, I’ve had those days.” Laying there worrying about our tomorrows because the weight of our unanswered questions are so heavy, sleep just escapes us. It is a beautiful song about real, honest faith moments when we choose to believe what we know and not what we feel. I’m leaning on that truth more and more as a woman and a wife and a mom.


  • JFH (John DiBiase): How has parenthood affected the way you make music/ write songs?

Well, most of our session writings have included Ava playing in the room, so it affects us quite a bit!! Parenthood changes you so much. The minute it happens and then gradually for the rest of our lives, I think. So, I guess it’s changing me all the time and the way I see the world, the way I love, the way I forgive and understand discipline and so many things, so of course my writing is affected. I think I have some songs on this record that might not have been written if I hadn’t become a mom… and a mom of a girl – phew! Where are the manuals to take home when you have babies?! =)


  • JFH (John): Do you have any advice for young parents?

Breathe. Sleep every chance you get. Leave the dishes for later. Let people help — especially family. They want to help and sometimes new moms have a hard time letting go. (Raising my hand.)


  • JFH (John): I know you and your husband suffered a miscarriage before the birth of your beautiful little baby girl. What do you feel God may have taught you through that experience? (My wife and I had a miscarriage before our son Will was born on October 1st, 2010 – so we can relate…)

Yes, it was our first pregnancy and that made it so scary. When we went in to hear the baby’s heartbeat at eight weeks, they saw that the baby wasn’t growing at the right rate and something was wrong. That was still a couple weeks before we knew we lost the baby, and then even a couple more weeks until I had to have surgery because I never miscarried.

It was so hard for me emotionally accepting it. Then, dealing with fears about the next baby and wondering if I could go through that again.

I think I learned to accept some things without all the answers. And God definitely provided healing for me through worship. We were traveling that year leading worship and those songs on my record The Road became a lot of healing for me. Especially the song “The Altar.” I look back now, and since having Ava…God makes sense of things. He brings us through things for a reason and He walks through it with us. Somehow when you look back you can see His hand and His purposes, and it can make sense without having every one of our ‘Why’ questions answered.


  • JFH (John): A lot of people don’t talk about miscarriages. What would you like to say to anyone struggling with a loss like that?

I noticed that and I felt like it was something I was supposed to share. Communicating can be really healing for me, but I know it is very personal and some couples need it to be their thing to deal with and not share.

I think that men need to understand as hard as it can be for you, that your wife needs a lot of love and support. Women – [you need to] know that it isn’t your fault, and going down that road is so hard on you. I had days out of nowhere that it would hit me again and it was sometimes hard for my husband to understand, thinking we had moved on, but I needed his patience and love more than ever.

It’s one of the hard things we can never understand about life and about God. So, Nick and I chose to think that there was a reason that baby isn’t with us and is in Heaven. We choose to trust that there are reasons we don’t always understand and try to leave it there.


  • JFH (John): Care to share a funny parents story about parenting Ava? :)

This story is the first of many that popped into my head! So, Ava was just a few months old when my sister [Melissa] got married. My sister owns a flower shop called Rosebuds East in Nashville and she had one of the most beautiful DIY weddings I’ve ever seen!

The wedding was in their beautiful backyard, which they designed. She made all the bouquets and made Ava a little headband (Ava doesn’t have much hair yet, so we use accessories to keep her looking like a girl). So, I saw Ava’s headband and put it on her before we did family pictures…and it wasn’t until later in the day that Melissa told me that I had put the garter on Ava’s head, not her headband. We laughed so hard, but the funniest part is, it looked so cute that we had her wear it all night and Melissa didn’t even throw it out. Oh, babies change everything!!


Tricia Brock’s new solo album Radiate is available August 13, 2013 wherever music is sold!

Top 10 Reasons to Take Your Family on a Summer Road Trip

Top 10 Reasons to Take Your Family on a Summer Road Trip

Brad Mathias, author of the new parenting-themed book Road Trip to Redemption (Tyndale Momentum), has created a list of ten reasons why a road trip can improve not only your summer but your family.

SOURCE: Nashville PR

(NASHVILLE, Tennessee) — It’s no secret that families today are struggling. Daily pulled in a dozen different directions by jobs, schooling, and extracurricular activities, parents and kids often feel disconnected from each other, and the distance can produce devastating effects.

If you’re feeling this tension in your life, follow this top 10 list of reasons to take your family on a road trip this summer:

1) It’s time to unplug!
Leave the office behind. Power down your computer, and turn off that smartphone. Give this time to your spouse and kids, and allow old-fashioned conversations to occur.

2) Go somewhere you’ve never been!
We live in the greatest country in the world. Go explore, and don’t be afraid to pull off the road on a whim. It’s time for an adventure.

3) Face your fears, and try a new activity together!
New experiences can change past ones and help build trust and respect. Go horseback riding, river rafting, rock climbing, zip lining, etc.

4) Discover new cultures and savor new flavors!
Try regional foods and sample local culture. You just might find something new to enjoy.

5) Go outside!
Introduce your kids—and possibly yourself—to outdoor life. Go fishing or hiking, and camp out under the stars. The night sky might look a little different than it does in the city!

6) No schedules allowed!
This is a vacation! It’s time to leave calendars and deadlines behind. Don’t be afraid to venture off course and enjoy some freedom. Show your kids how to be spontaneous!

7) Let your kids make decisions!
This is their vacation too! Let them make some choices along the way. That horrible dining experience or weird roadside attraction just might give you an opportunity to laugh together.

8) Change your perspective!
Walk above the clouds on a mountaintop, or swim under a waterfall. Reconnect with your family while sharing incredible experiences.

9) Fall in love with your spouse all over again!
Book a separate hotel room from your kids for at least one night. Allow yourself some time to reconnect as a couple.

10) Life is short!
Your kids won’t be kids forever. Use this time to create memories that will last a lifetime.

Brad Mathias, author of the new book, Road Trip to Redemption (Tyndale Momentum, June 2013), thought everything in his family was fine, until he and his wife discovered a devastating secret. So they piled their family into the car and embarked on a wild, crazy, seven-thousand-mile, what-are-we-thinking trip across the country. As they drove, they realized how far apart they’d drifted, found unexpected blessings along the way—and journeyed together from pain and loss to recovery and redemption.

Road Trip to Redemption is available now wherever books are sold. For more information, visit tyndalemomentum.com.

Chemo Duck Partners with Nashville Shores for Duck Derby Family Event to Benefit Kids with Cancer

Chemo Duck Partners with Nashville Shores for Duck Derby Family Event to Benefit Kids with Cancer

chemo duck

SOURCE: Nashville Publicity

(NASHVILLE, Tennessee) — Gabe’s Chemo Duck Program is pleased to announced that Chemo Duck’s Duck Derby will take place at Nashville Shores (4001 Bell Road in Hermitage, TN) at 11:00am on Saturday, August 17th. Sponsored by Jackson National Life Insurance Company, the family-friendly event will benefit the Nashville-based non-profit.

For a donation of $5, supporters can purchase one of two thousand rubber ducks that will be dropped into Nashville Shores’ lazy river. A grand prize of $1,000 will be awarded to the donor whose rubber duck is the first to cross the finish line. Additionally, a donation of 24 Chemo Ducks will be made to the hospital of the winner’s choice. Winners do not need to be present to win, and all proceeds from the event will be used to place more Chemo Ducks into the hands of young cancer patients waiting for a duck of their own.

“We are honored to be hosting the Duck Derby at Nashville Shores,” says Chemo Duck creator Lu Sipos. “We are very excited about partnering with them to put on a worthwhile event that will be fun for the entire family!”

“We are proud to partner with Gabe’s Chemo Duck Program for this fun event,” said Daniel Strobel, Director of Marketing for Nashville Shores. “We hope we will be able to raise money and awareness for these children who are facing such a difficult journey ahead.”

Discount tickets (which include one duck for the Duck Derby) are available for $25 through Gabe’s Chemo Duck Program. To purchase a ticket, sponsor ducks or for more information, please visit www.ChemoDuck.org.

Gabe’s Chemo Duck Program is a program of the Nashville-based nonprofit organization, Gabe’s My Heart, which was established in 2004 to provide education and comfort to children living with cancer through medical play using therapeutic tools. The goal of the program is to enable hospital staff and parents to prepare children for chemotherapy treatment and eliminate the fear of the unknown. Chemo Duck is a stuffed yellow duck dressed in blue hospital scrubs with a bandana around its head, a chemotherapy port on its chest and an immobilizer on his arm. In a gentle, age-appropriate manner, children learn what to expect during cancer treatment and have a friend to share the experience. In turn, children can use Chemo Duck to help friends, siblings and classmates to understand and empathize with their experience.

# # #

July 15, 2013 Journal Entry (Toys, Movies and Bug[Car]s, Oh my)

Our son Will is now 2 years and 9 months old. In recent months, his language development has accelerated considerably, which has been exciting for my wife and I to watch. He frequently surprises us with random movie quotes or repeating things we say… which brings no shortage of amusement to us.

This summer we’ve even taken him to the movie theater twice, too. His first movie experience was the re-release of Finding Nemo late last year, but even at 2 years old, he didn’t really seem to take in what was happening. But he did mostly stare at the gigantic screen the entire time.

In recent months, we were shocked to find that he absolutely LOVES Monsters, Inc. – the original. I expected it to terrify him, so I didn’t show it to him for quite a while, but when I showed him part of it, because it contained a scene that involved a toy he loves, he just loved the film. So we took him to see Monsters University which he seemed to really enjoy. (Our theater lets kids in free under 3! Woohoo! :) ) We sat off to the side in a section by ourselves and tried to keep him as quiet as possible. He couldn’t resist roaring along with the characters a few times though.

Then, recently I showed him Despicable Me, thinking “if he can handle Monsters and The Incredibles, this kid can handle the escapades of Gru and his minions.” Sure enough, because this kid is absolutely, positively infatuated with the moon, he loved Despicable Me — especially the scenes involving the moon and rockets. (I tell you, this kid is instinctively nerdy and in love with sci-fi). So we took him to see Despicable Me 2 last week, and he was already getting excited about the concept of ‘going to the movies.’ He clapped a couple times during the movie, although sitting for an hour and a half was a little daunting for him. As we left the theater, he saw a motion poster that displayed the preview for Planes and he excitedly pointed to the poster and exclaimed “Movie!! Movie!!” The apple does not fall too far from the tree.

Last night, we took him to a family party that took place partially outside in a beautifully landscaped backyard. He was playing a little with his second cousins, who were all older than him, and when the fireflies started coming out — and those and mosquitoes decided to interact with him — he looked upset and asked to go inside. While the other kids didn’t seem to mind the bugs much, it was pretty funny to me to hear my son speaking my thoughts on insects (although, granted, I was more outdoorsy as a little kid than I am now as an adult. I’ll take AC and a pad and pencil over a ball and 90 degree heat any day of the week).

The past week has been full of other new experiences, too – including Will’s first real toddler-age experiences with vomiting. He’s had a stomach bug (so it seems) and some struggle with congestion for days and we’ve had to start dealing with some surprise refunds on stuff he’s eaten lately. He’s also started just straight-up spitting out food that he decides he either doesn’t want or doesn’t like, which has even been happening with foods he normally DOES like. So that’s been curious. But there’s one thing that’s for sure – kids keep you on your toes! :)


One of my favorite experiences with him lately, however, was taking him to my parents house to dig out some of my old toys. My dad and I went up into his garage attic and brought down boxes and boxes of my brother’s and my old 80s toys — Transformers, LEGOs, PlayDoh, The Real Ghostbusters, G.I. Joe. Will kept grabbing whatever looked cool to him and running into the other room to claim them as his own (I had to keep saying, “No Will! That’s Uncle Joe’s!” I mean, c’mon… the original Galvatron? I was tempted to grab it for myself!). For me, it was a trip down memory lane, and fun to see Will interact with things I spent many a happy hour playing with. I boxed up some of the best stuff and took it home with me for when he’s old enough, but Will claimed for himself my Real Ghostbusters Highway Haunter – a Volkswagen beetle that literally turns into a bug. It’s pretty cool and I can see why he loves it so much.

In fact, recently I’d snagged the Real Ghostbusters Ecto 1 car on eBay for him and it’s quickly become one of his favorite toys. It’s crazy, too, because the only association he has for things like Ecto 1 is that his dad loves it.

Again, it must be in the genes ;)


Jaci Velasquez Offers Back-To-School Advice for Parents

Award-Winning Recording Artist Jaci Velasquez And Son Both Prepare For Back To School As First-Time Students

Jaci Velasquez parents

SOURCE: TKO Marketing

NASHVILLE, Tenn., (July 15, 2013) – Multi-tasking is the name of the game for Platinum-Selling Recording Artist Jaci Velasquez these days. While continuing to tour around the world, record new music, co-host her morning radio talk show, and being a devoted mother and wife, Jaci is now conquering back to school as she and her son ready themselves as first-time students for the upcoming school year. Jaci is enrolled in Liberty University’s online program while her oldest son Zealand is preparing for his kindergarten debut.

Jaci decided to answer back-to-school questions and offer some tips for moms with children headed off to school for the first time.

Why have you chosen to enroll at Liberty University and head back to school at this time in your life?

Now is the best time! From 15 to 25, I was touring like crazy! I bet if I would have tried to write an essay while on the road back then, it would have been written in the three local languages of the countries that I was visiting at that time. Now, I am more grounded and focused on the importance of education to me. You always have to be true to yourself, and for me, this is time to do it!

What kind of program is it (classroom or online)? Why did you choose this particular learning medium?

It’s an online program through Liberty. I am LOVING it right now because it is allowing me to learn without sacrificing time with my family. Pretty soon, Soren and Zealand will be the ones giving me flash card quizzes.  (You can’t do that in the classroom!)

What do you hope to accomplish?

Obtaining a degree and proving to myself that I can do anything I put my mind to.

Which makes you more anxious, you or your son Zealand starting school? Why?

BOTH! Zealand is my first child, which means he is growing up first. His first day of school is coming up next month, and I know I’m going to cry. I wish I could be there to walk with him through every part of it and protect him from all those unsettling stories that you hear on the news, but I know he has to experience it himself to grow into the man he will become. I also know that I’ll be the first one he sees when he gets back, so it’s all good :)

I am a little anxious about my own education because it seems like I’m living my life a little backwards than the average person since I’m embarking on a college education after building a career, getting married and while raising two little boys. The important part though, is that I’m doing it!


As a working mom going back to school, do you have any suggestions for finding life balance?

Everything in life is about balance-so I am approaching it like I do everything else: Set boundaries, time frames and break times. If you have a set schedule, you’re more likely to follow through.


Do you have any tips for getting children prepared for the big day?

Tips for parents:  Make sure your camera or iPhone is CHARGED when they are walking out the door and getting on the bus for the first time! Tips for children: Have fun, be nice, and tell mom and dad EVERYTHING!


What’s the best part about a new school year?

Gearing up for a new school year is always exciting! The best part about it? Shopping! My advice to students, no matter what grade they are about to embark upon, is this: Have fun shopping! That was always the most enjoyable part for me.  New pens, pencils, binders…multi colored folders and yearly calendars….fresh kicks and a new outfit or two. THAT is what got me pumped for a new year.


About Jaci Velasquez

Jaci Velasquez has three RIAA® certified Platinum® albums, three RIAA® certified Gold® albums, 16 number one singles, 6 singles in the top 10, 7 Dove Awards, has graced more than 50 magazine covers, appeared in ads for Pepsi, Doritos, Target, and is the co-host of the syndicated morning show, “The Family Friendly Morning Show with Doug and Jaci Velasquez” on Today’s Christian Music Radio Network with more than 1.5 million listeners. To learn more, visit https://www.facebook.com/JaciVelasquezOfficial.



Yancy Continues Standard Publishing Partnership, Creating New Music and Videos for “Jungle Safari” Vacation Bible School Program

Yancy Continues Standard Publishing Partnership, Creating New Music and Videos for “Jungle Safari” Vacation Bible School Program


SOURCE: Nashville Publicity

(NASHVILLE, Tennessee) — Christian singer-songwriter and children’s worship expert Yancy has created all-new songs and music videos for Standard Publishing’s 2014 Vacation Bible School program. “Jungle Safari,” which also includes contributions from Beth Guckenberger and special needs expert Vangie Rodenbeck, is packed with fun and adventure, teaching kids that God is Creator, Provider, Protector, Savior and King.

“It’s my third year to write, produce and perform the music, and the music videos, for Standard Publishing’s Vacation Bible School curriculum,” says Yancy, who was tasked with keeping kids energized and engaged. “I’m honored to continue this partnership, making an incredible impact in young lives from coast to coast.”

Standard Publishing’s focus on value ensures that churches get everything they need to lead VBS in one simple kit without having to buy core pieces separately. In fact, this is the only VBS curriculum with reproducible music so that churches can put the music in their kids’ hands for free. For more information about “Jungle Safari,” visit www.vacationbibleschool.com.

For more than a decade, Yancy has released radio friendly pop/rock albums and multiple projects for kids and young adults. Her new adult-focused modern worship album, “Roots for the Journey” (Elevate Entertainment / Syntax Distribution), was released on May 21st to rave reviews. For more information, visit www.yancynotnancy.com.

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