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Christy Catherine Marshall

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May 14, 2014

My oldest son graduates from high school next week, and I’ve found myself getting a little choked up, thinking how quickly the years have flown. So, lately, I’ve had the Muppets song, “Movin’ Right Along,” in my head. It helps me keep a sense of humor about life and think of it as a big adventure. You can’t beat these words of wisdom from Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear.

My favorite line: “Getting there is half the fun; come share it with me.”

Movin’ right along in search of good times and good news,
With good friends you can’t lose,
This could become a habit!
Opportunity knocks once let’s reach out and grab it (yeah!),
Together we’ll nab it,
We’ll hitchhike, bus or yellow cab it!
(Cab it?)

Movin’ right along.
Footloose and fancy-free.
Getting there is half the fun; come share it with me.
Moving right along (doog-a-doon doog-a-doon).
We’ll learn to share the load.
We don’t need a map to keep this show on the road.

(Hey, that song is sounding better Fozzie.)

Movin’ right along,
We’ve found a life on the highway.
And your way is my way,
So trust my navigation.

California here we come, the pie-in-the-sky-land.
Palm trees, and warm sand.
Though sadly we just left Rhode Island.
(We did what?!)
(Just forget it.)

Movin’ right along (doog-a-doon doog-a-doon).
Hey LA, where’ve you gone?
Send someone to fetch us, were in Sasketchewan!

Movin’ right along (doog-a-doon doog-a-doon).
You take it, you know best.
Hey, I’ve never seen the sun come up in the West?

Movin’ right along.
We’re truly birds of a feather,
We’re in this together and we know where we’re going.
Movie stars with flashy cars and life with the top down.
We’re storming the big town,
(Yeah, Storm is right should it be snowing?)
(Uh, no I don’t think so…)

Movin’ right along,
Do I see signs of men?
Yeah, “welcome” on the same post that says “come back again.”
Moving right along, nice town!
Footloose and fancy-free,
You’re ready for the big time…
Is it ready for me?

Movin’ right along,
Movin’ right along,
Movin’ right along,
Movin’ right along.

Lyrics found on

By: Heather Ivester in: Family,Motherhood,Music | Permalink | Comments Off on Movin’ Right Along

December 7, 2011

I really love this video! It was a class computer project in the small Yupiq Eskimo Village of Quinhagak, Alaska, intended for the other Yupiq villages in the area.

Much to the villagers’ shock, over a million people have viewed it.

Thank you to all these children and other villagers who’ve created such an inspiring work of art! Merry Christmas!

March 2, 2011

My oldest daughter started learning “Londonderry Air” from John Thompson Book 3 today at her piano lesson. So I thought it would be fun if she heard the words to “Danny Boy” to inspire her as she plays.

We ended up finding this hilarious video of the Muppets singing “Danny Boy.” Do any of you remember watching the Muppets on TV as kids? My childhood friend, Meredith, and I used to push back the furniture in her parents’ living room and make up gymnastics routines to “The Rainbow Connection,” sung by Kermit the Frog. We knew every word and somehow managed to sing and do somersaults and splits at the same time. I’m sure her mom stayed clear of that room while we were “creating” our master performances.

This should bring back memories to you. And in honor of the month celebrating the Irish, enjoy!

By: Heather Ivester in: Friendship,Music | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

December 14, 2010

Here’s another video I can’t help sharing with you. This took place on November 13, 2010 and has already gotten nearly 20 million views — so you may have already seen it. I especially love the look of surprise and joy on the face of the little boy wearing the GAP jacket — watch when he reaches over (around 3:08) to hold his mother’s hand. Sweet!

I don’t think Handel had this scene in mind when he composed his masterpiece, but it will definitely bring tears to your eyes.

By: Heather Ivester in: Music | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

November 18, 2010

Have you seen this video yet of the surprised shoppers in a Philadelphia Macy’s when several hundred people, dressed normally, suddenly broke out singing Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus, accompanied by the world’s largest pipe organ? Wow. I wish I had been there.

This took place on October 30, and over three million people have already watched the video, so sorry to be passing along old news. I just can’t resist highlighting something so joyful!

The Knight Foundation graciously provided funding for this event, using singers from the Opera Company of Philadelphia and other choral groups.

The “Random Acts of Culture” program is committed to bringing artists out of the performance halls and into the streets as a reminder of how the classical arts enrich lives.

I don’t see how anyone can hear music like this and not believe in God. I hope you enjoy it!

I’ll be on the lookout for more Random Acts of Culture, and who knows — maybe I’ll invent something of my own!

October 21, 2010

One of my occasional hobbies is watching youtube videos of children practicing piano. It helps my daughters when they’re stumbling through a section of a difficult piece to see another child perform it.

What never fails to amaze us is watching these teeny tiny kids who are absolute geniuses! They’re only 5 or 6 years old and can play like the young Mozart. We watched this particular video last night and were in AWE. This girl is unbelievable on the organ! Just watch her little fingers fly — and then at around a minute and a half, you have to watch what she does with her left hand. We laughed so hard we couldn’t breathe.

Whoever her mom is, KUDOS to you! This pint-sized musician has brought us joy, and it makes me not want to lose heart when we’re stuck on page 2 of Fur Elise for the sixth week in a row. I asked my daughters, “Now, do you think this little girl could play like this if she spent all her time camped out in front of the TV?” HA! (They hate that question.)


August 20, 2010

It’s taken me a while to write this post, as I’ve tried to process everything I learned and experienced at Hutchmoot a couple of weeks ago in Nashville. If you’re not familiar with The Rabbit Room, you’re probably wondering what in the world I’m talking about.

The Rabbit Room is a group blog founded by musician/writer Andrew Peterson, composed of like-minded souls who share a common interest in art, film, books, and music as expressions of the Christian faith. After three years of online fellowship, the group decided to congregate in the flesh in Nashville; hence the “hutch” of rabbit roomers holding a “moot” or meeting.

My husband and I decided to attend together, since his brother and a couple of old friends would also be there. And since the date coincided with our 16th wedding anniversary, we thought we’d spend a day at the conference, then a day hiking outdoors, celebrating our marriage.

I signed up quickly (with a little encouragement from Lanier), checking it off my to-do list back in early May, but then I began to feel guilty once I read the news that “the hutch was full” after only a few days. The conference organizers decided to limit the attendees to around 100 people, due to space limitations and to foster a more intimate fellowship. There were people from around the world writing in dismay that they’d wanted to come, but now couldn’t.

Why me? I wanted to know. Why did God open the door for me to go when others couldn’t?

As the date neared, I had major second thoughts. It was the weekend right after my son started a new high school — how could we just skip out of town during his major life transition? My other kids were in the midst of needing me to shop for new fall shoes and other last-minute supplies. Plus, we’d be missing their school orientation as well.

“Maybe we should stay home,” I told my husband at least 20 times.

“No, let’s go,” he said. “You need a break. The kids will be fine.” We’re surrounded by doting grandparents, so childcare wasn’t a problem.

So we went, with me agonizing the whole way there that I’d snagged someone else more worthy’s spot. A serious Rabbit Room contributor, instead of me, who skims posts while taking a break from washing dishes and folding clothes.

I thought maybe I could hide in the back shadows, scribbling a few notes, hoping no one would ask me any questions. There was a reading list, and I never got around to any of the books, save the few I’d read years ago. What if there’s a discussion session? I worried. I’m not in the same league with these people. I wore a black sweater and black skirt, all the better for disappearing into quiet corners.

But here came the surprise.

The Hutch was full of incredibly NICE people.

Everyone I talked to was so interesting, and some were like me, mostly lovers of great literature without any significant works of our own. I met a lady from Texas, who confessed she “blogged a little” now and then, while raising and schooling her children. I got to tell Father Thomas McKenzie how much I enjoy his One-Minute movie reviews, and how I took our kids to see three movies this summer based on his reviews.

I met both Peterson brothers: Andrew and Pete, who put this event together. Andrew kindly signed his two Wingfeather Saga books for my son, including North! Or Be Eaten, which won the Christy award back in June. That assuaged my mother-guilt, since I’d be bringing something home.

We attended sessions discussing the works of C.S. Lewis, George MacDonald, Flannery O’Conner, and Annie Dillard. We listened to Walt Wangerin, Jr, author of The Book of the Dun Cow, give an awe-inspiring Saturday evening keynote address. The Church of the Redeemer, where the conference met, was a gorgeous building, with a sanctuary full of light streaming in through stained glass windows. Every wall displayed unique pieces of artwork. The quiet, candlelit rooms helped me feel less anxious.

I found myself having a great time! I shopped in the Rabbit Room store and picked up two handmade coffee mugs and a stack of beloved new and used books. And the food … the food was out of this world, catered by artist/chef Evie Coates, who made every dish both beautiful and tasty.

We missed a couple of the concerts, and instead of returning for more great teaching and fellowship on Sunday, we headed for the hills of Tennessee, hiking along the waterfalls of Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park. The sound of rushing water felt like God speaking to me, reminding me how awesome is His love for each of us. Even if we don’t consider ourselves worthy.

More than anything, Hutchmoot helped me have a greater definition of what it means to be a Christian Artist. Pastor Russ Ramsey shared with us a quote from Annie Dillard, who says in The Writing Life: “There is no shortage of good days. It is good lives that are hard to come by.”

I am living the Good Life now. My art may be nothing more than arranging blueberries on top of steaming oatmeal eaten by children who are dashing off to school … but for me, that’s a display of my love, and it’s what I’ve created. I can collect great works of literature and hand them to young growing minds who will outlive me, and will carry the words of these masters into the next century.

That’s what I brought home from the Hutchmoot fellowship.

If you’d like to read what others who were there have to say about it, check out the Hutchmoot Hub.

January 27, 2007

I cannot go to this website without getting tears in my eyes. If you’ve never heard of Sacred Harp singing, I hope you can visit the site, Awake, My Soul.

This documentary was made by some friends of my brother-in-law, and it’s one of the best films I’ve ever seen. This unique type of a capello spiritual singing is still popular in a few places in my native South.

From the website:

Awake, My Soul: The Story of the Sacred Harp’ is the first feature documentary about Sacred Harp singing, a haunting form of a cappella, shape note hymn singing with deep roots in the American south. Shape note singing has survived over 200 years tucked away from notice in the rural deep south, where in old country churches, singers break open ‘The Sacred Harp’, a 160 year old shape note hymnal which has preserved these fiercely beautiful songs which are some of the oldest in America. The film offers a glimpse into the lives of this ‘Lost Tonal Tribe’ whose history is a story of both rebellion and tradition. The filmmakers, Matt and Erica Hinton spent 7 years documenting this yet largely unknown art form.

I was able to attend one of the singings that was in the film and blogged about it last year. It was truly amazing to watch it on PBS a few weeks ago.

This is one of those things that’s gotten to me and I know I want to write about someday, but I’m not sure what or how or where. So for now I’ll just link to it and share it with you.

Be blessed!

By: Heather Ivester in: Faith,Movies,Music | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

September 6, 2006

Our children’s choirs at church are already practicing for their Christmas musical, which will be in early December. I’m so impressed with what they’re working on, I just had to tell you about it.

If you’re in a huge church, it’s probably too late to start looking for material to put on a children’s Christmas performance. But if you’re in a smaller church or homeschool, then this musical might be the perfect solution for something you could do.

The author, Nancy Brant, has a website that shows pictures of the children performing “Joy Story” in costume. She’s the director of one of the largest children’s choir programs in the country, First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida. Her program has a whopping 700 kids ages 4 through 5th grade, and she’s been doing this for nearly 30 years. She also helped direct the children’s choirs for the Billy Graham crusade in Jacksonville and Nashville, along with Diane Dawson.

Here’s the information about it from the website:

“Joy Story” is a Christmas Musical Fantasy set in a wonderful place called “The Joy Store.” It is the ultimate toy store where the toys are priceless and the joy is free!

As the story begins, Miss Joy is worried by news that her lease has been bought by a “mega” toy store owner, FAO Schmaltz, who can’t wait to make LOTS of changes – and LOTS of money! As he arrives to begin his renovations, the “toys” step “down from their shelves and into his heart” to teach him about “the Scarlet Thread” that weaves its way through the Bible, tracing a path from God to man.

Along the way, the toys show him the real reason for Christmas. With each song, FAO and your audience will discover another piece of “the tapestry” as God’s picture of Jesus is revealed.

At the end of their journey is the manger. As FAO comes face to face with Emmanuel, he discovers that “in every heart there is a longing” to know Jesus. Come along with the toys on an unforgettable musical adventure and discover that God always gives power to those who will tell His Story!

Doesn’t this sound awesome? It’s exciting for me as a parent to know my children will experience the Christmas story in a fresh way this year. Sure, we could sit at home and read it out loud from the book of Luke, which we’ll do as a family, but this allows them to also experience it with their peers.

Which reminds me, have you read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson? Oh, I loved that book growing up, and I read it again last year with my son who was in 4th grade. Those Herdman kids teach me something new every time I read it.

I know it’s still September, but I felt a breath of the Christmas spirit blow over me today. The church sent home a CD for us to listen to the music and practice it. Hopefully, as we move closer to Christmas, this will help our kids see the real reason for celebrating the birth of Christ.

As a writer, I thank God for people like Nancy Brant, who took her creativity and passion for music and wrote something and made it professionally available for others to enjoy. If you have a love of music, writing, and children, maybe God wants YOU to write something to share with the world.

Nothing is more important than leading a future generation to KNOW God in a personal way!

August 12, 2006

One night over the summer, our family went to swim at a nearby gym that has an Olympic-sized pool. We like going after supper because there’s hardly anyone there and nobody seems to mind a 3-year-old who speaks in ALL CAPS. It’s gotten to be a tradition for us all to go.

This particular night, I even had time to soak in the hot tub a while, so I was feeling particularly refreshed, maybe even a little zany. We left right before closing time, and when we walked out into the parking, we saw …


Yeah … a guy who looked just like Elvis! Sideburns and all.

Normally, I would have walked on by with a sideways glance, but I was feeling mighty fine, so I blurted out, “Hey, I think I’m seeing Elvis around here.”

Well, whad d’ya know? It turns out this guy really IS a professional Elvis impersonator, even though he was dressed in a T-shirt and sweatpants after a workout.

“I just moved down here from Nashville, ” he said to us, in his rich baritone voice, certainly meant for greater things than a fitness center parking lot. “You know, Nashville is God’s country.”

I told him we’d been to Nashville back in January, for the Christian Bookseller Association Expo. He nodded his head, his midnight pompadeau staying in perfect place. “People think Nashville is all about music,” he said. “It’s not. The #1 industry is publishing. There are more Bibles printed in Nashville than anywhere in the world. Like I said. It’s God’s country.”

As we chatted, our kids seemed to be in awe of his voice. “I just got finished doing a commercial that’s going nationwide,” he told us. “It’s for Planet Fitness. The Judgement-Free Zone.”

He ended up giving us one of his CDs and a nice professional photo of himself drinking a Coke. He signed it to our family using a gold paint pen.

When we got in the car, we played his CD right away. It was one of those moments you just want to freeze in time. The kids were all quiet — they’d never heard Elvis before. “Love me tender, Love me sweet, Never let me go. You have made my life complete, And I love you so. ” were the first words we heard.

After that, my son wanted to skip ahead to the last one, the 15th. “This is the one he told us was his favorite. I want to hear which one.”

We continued driving home, under the starry night, in our SUV. But we had to have been a little closer to heaven, hearing the voice of Elvis sing this:

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

It was just one of those nights I had to come home and write it down.

Thanks, Barb of Tidbits and Treasures blog, for alerting me to the fact that the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death is coming up this week, August 16, 1977. Perhaps this post may be seen as a tribute to the King of Rock & Roll — a singer who also had an awesome talent for Gospel.

By: Heather Ivester in: Family,Music | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (6)