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Jennifer Grassman

Recording Artist + Author + Mommy

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August 2012

God vs. Pitocin: Do I Lack Faith If I Induce Labor?

A number of dear friends have voiced concern regarding my plan that (unless labor commences naturally beforehand) I’ll be having an induction on Thursday morning. They react with statements such as, “Elowyn will arrive when she’s ready,” and “You should wait for God’s timing.”

Firstly, I’m 100% certain Little Miss Elowyn has no idea what is going on. As far as she’s concerned, she lives in a nice, warm, dark, cave.  When she is born, she’s going to have the shock of her life!

Labor is not triggered by the baby’s will, but rather by a series of complex hormonal changes in the mother’s body. In the case that those hormonal changes don’t occur properly, both the baby and the mother’s health are at risk. Eventually, the baby will get too big, and the mother’s body will fail to support it with proper oxygen and nutrients. This spells death for the baby and potentially the mother as well, unless some kind of intervention is made, such as an emergency C-section.

Secondly, while I agree that God in his providence has already picked out the right time for Elowyn to be born on, who’s to say that time isn’t Thursday morning when I’m induced? I believe God providentially provided us with doctors and modern medicine so that we wouldn’t have to suffer the way people did 50+ years ago. Availing ourselves of God’s blessings is both good and wise, and I suspect God would be offended if we snubbed his gifts in a vain attempt at piety or misguided faith.

Did the starving woman in 1 Kings 17 send Elijah away when he offered to bless her with food during a famine? Nope. Did a lame, blind, or sick person ever say to Jesus, “Don’t heal me! God made me this way for a reason?” I don’t think so. God works through means and miracles, and pitocin can be an awesome means.

“If you ever visit and old graveyard you will likely see many, many tombstones for mothers and their unborn or newborn babies.”

If you ever visit an old graveyard you will likely see many, many tombstones for mothers and their unborn or newborn babies. That’s because, sadly, labor doesn’t always go the way it’s supposed to. Babies get stuck. They grow too big. Some never come out at all. Mothers get infections. Grow too fatigued to push. Labor stalls.

If it weren’t for modern medicine, hospitals, and ER rooms, I would have died two years ago from a kidney infection. I wouldn’t be writing this blog to you, and Elowyn would never have existed. Yet God in his providence inspired some wonderful scientist somewhere to invent an antibiotic that would save my life, thereby making my future daughter’s life possible.

Now, two years later, God again has providentially blessed me with options like labor induction and an epidural to make the birthing process safer and less traumatic. In this way (assuming I don’t go into labor naturally by Thursday), God may very well be saving my life and my baby’s life again.

So … Thank you God for modern medicine, good doctors, and state-of-the-art hospitals! Me and my little family certainly appreciate your sovereign guidance of medical science.

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What To Do This Weekend? Join A Top Secret Posse. (You Know You Want To)

“You know the password?”

I’m scouring the earth for awesome posse members. We’ll meet on Skype once or twice a month to brainstorm ideas for how to build my music up and review progress. Posse members may also help with simple tasks like collecting information about cool magazines, radio stations, and sharing music videos on Facebook and Twitter. Posse members will have exclusive pre-release access to MP3s, music videos, and generally be kept in the loop about upcoming events before the public has any idea what’s going on. T’will be quite fun and extremely mercenary!  Let me know if you want in (o:

Things we’ll conspire on include:

  • Planning, shooting, and buzzing music videos
  • Identifying cool radio shows and getting radio airplay
  • Networking with journalists and creating newsworthy events to generate press reviews
  • Developing unusual & exciting concert experiences
  • Album art design
  • Picking singles from Once Upon A Time
  • Designing crowd sourced film & art projects

… and more!

Check out THIS BLOG for more ideas and a general overview of where I’m hoping to take my music over the next year.

Email me HERE with questions, ideas, and to join the posse!  Thanks!

Love,

Jennifer

My Ingenious, Creative, & Slightly Nefarious Plot To Take Over The World!

“Siren Song” (2009) by one of my favorite artists, Clifford Bailey.

Here’s What We Know:

My music is most popular with people who love literature, art, theater, culture, attending posh events like house concerts and wine tastings, and giving patronage to charities such as museums, art galleries, and performing arts societies. They still buy physical albums and collect “special editions” of their favorite CDs, books, and films. Another random fact: They tend to love animals.

A second demographic my music tends to appeal to falls within the conservative and/or Christian crowd, and it’s made up of people who are looking for music that has a positive message (i.e. not saturated with sex, drugs, violence, and narcissism), yet isn’t cookie cutter “worship music” like you’d typically hear on mainstream Christian radio.

My music is artsy. And positive. And dark. But still positive. (You know what I’m trying to say.)

So. Here’s my ingenious, creative, and slightly nefarious plot to take over the world (and you’re totally invited to help out! I’m going to need a posse to make this happen). We shall …

Target #1: MUSIC VIDEOS: LISTENER MADE + CROWD SOURCED

  • Select a song or 2 for listeners, theatrical peeps, film gurus, and animators to make their own music videos and photo collages for. Viewers can vote. Figure out some sort of prize for the winner. Possibly a pet turtle named Bullet Bill. Scratch that. Maybe an interview in my Washington Times Communities column? Whatever the prize, the winner’s video will be deemed an “official” Jennifer Grassman music video and be featured everywhere I can feature it.
  • Make 1 or 2 crowd-sourced collage videos using submitted film snippets, photography, and other visual art from listeners.
  • Team up with Kaitlin Grassman of Penny Electric to shoot 2-5 more awesomeful music videos.

Target #2: DEVELOP A UNIQUE CONCERT EXPERIENCE

  • Perform during the intermission or opening of a theatrical play, ballet, or other performing arts show.
  • Book a concert series at a cool museum, winery, or art gallery.
  • Coordinate some wildly creative shows that feature a ballerina, or painter, or magician, or rhythmic gymnast, or fire juggler … Make each concert (or at least one song during each concert) into a performance art piece (i.e. a memorable experience). Give people something to talk about!

Target #3: SATALLITE RADIO & NPR

  • Tap into Satellite Radio. Find some artsy shows that would compliment my music and work on networking with the music directors.
  • Begin stalking cool NPR peeps.

Target #4: THE BLOGIVERSE {YES. WE SHALL TAKE THAT OVER TOO}

  • Indeed. I shall blog. Just like I’m doing now. And I shall write interesting things. Things about music, babies, cats, and also pastries, because I love pastries and baking.
  • I shall also trade blog posts with other artsy, musical, bookworm, writer people like myself so we can offer our readerships a greater and more interesting variety of posts.

So … who’s with me?!?! I need a posse to help me brainstorm and make this stuff happen. We will convene  for top secret meetings on Skype.  It will be fun!  And you can help with as much or as little as often as you want. We’ll be very informal yet relatively organized and generally goal oriented.  Firstly, what shall we call our posse? I’m open to ideas.

Please comment below with your thoughts, questions, feedback, suggestions, and tips on how I can hit the above targets with Annie Oakley precision and poise.  Thanks!  I’m excited!

Love,

Jennifer

Sadness & Joy, Loss & New Life, Memories & Looking to the Future …

Mitten’s orange tree.

Today is very emotional and nerve-wracking for me.

This afternoon is my last doctor appointment before Elowyn is born. Unless I go into labor naturally pretty soon, we will induce on Thursday. While I’m excited … no … thrilled at the prospect of holding my baby girl and introducing her to her daddy and the rest of our family, the idea of labor – particularly chemically induced labor – is rather overwhelming.

It is time. The closing of a long, hard journey. Week 40. The goal my body and soul have been preparing for and working towards for the past 9 months.  How can this not be an emotional time?

On Good Friday, when I was 5 months pregnant, I lost my sweet best friend, Mittens, to cancer. She was my first pet, and only 8 years old. I had rescued her as a stray and nursed her back to health. We’ve been through a lot together, she and I.

She was such a great companion and comfort during my early pregnancy. When I slept, she was snuggled up beside me. Wherever I went in the house, she followed me. She was my little shadow, and she purred constantly, even when she was so sick.

Putting her to sleep was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but she was ready. She knew. She understood and was at peace with her fate.

We buried her in our backyard and planted a little orange tree in her memory. In my early pregnancy I was crazy about eating oranges, and the smell of citrus reminds me of those last few months Mittens and I had together.

Over the summer, the tree barely grew, and often wilted in the stifling Texas heat. We watered it as much we could, but were really losing hope that it was going to make it.

Today, the day of my last prenatal appointment, I looked outside to see blossoms and two little green oranges decking its tiny boughs.

I think this is God and Mitten’s way of telling me that everything is going to be OK.  She is wishing me well this afternoon. I miss her so much …

This is Mitten’s “I love you more than anybody!” look.

My Bucket List

My fellow bloggess, Leslie Carter, recently challenged her readers to make a bucket list. I’ve always thought of a bucket list as a before-you-kick-the-bucket-to-do-list … which … technically it is. But in this case, it’s just an epic to-do list I hope to complete before 2013. Anyway, I suppose one never knows when one is going to “kick the bucket” in this crazy world, so one might as well live in the present!

My Bucket List:
(in no particular order … except for that first one …)

  • Give birth to Elowyn (TOP PRIORITY!!!)
  • Finish nursery (just need a crib mattress & changing table pad)
  • Read outloud to Elowyn every day
  • Read the Bible every day
  • Start teaching piano & vocal lessons for children
  • Sew Elowyn’s Peter Rabbit and Mrs. Tiggywinkle baby blankets
  • Take Rachel out for dinner
  • Enjoy a margarita or two or three (after the baby is born, obviously)
  • Start personal training with Tara & get back in shape
  • Plan a girls night out with friends in November & have Jason watch Elowyn
  • Eat really good sushi (and maybe have another margarita)
  • Find affordable fold out couch for spare room
  • Paint Jason’s in-home studio and fix it up all nice for him
  • Continue working on Once Upon A Time album with Mike
  • Plan a music video with Kaitlin
  • Coordinate a performance series where I’d open for or play during the intermission during a local ballet, symphony, or theater company
  • Book a residency / concert series at a museum, art gallery, wine bar, or nice hotel
  • Identify 5+ satallite radio stations / shows that could / would air my music and network with their music directors

Please let me know what you think!  Can I get ALL this done prior to 2013?  God knows. But any ideas for how I can achieve some of these goals (particularly if you know an awesome satellite radio show that might air my music) please do share (o:

Love,

Jennifer

You Don’t Know My Husband

The handsome groom, Jason Greenberg, September 30, 2006. http://www.LaughlinPhoto.com

Jason doesn’t know I’m blogging this, and if he did he’d probably be mortified, but I’m writing it anyway!

I married Jason Greenberg in September, 2006, and it was definitely the best thing I ever did. He’s been a great husband and is going to be an amazing daddy. Actually, he already is an amazing daddy, because he’s been taking care of this pregnant mommy quite well for the past nine months.

As some of you know, Jason plays classical guitar. It’s a complex and beautiful instrument, and he’s a very dedicated student. What you most likely don’t know though, is that one of Jason’s favorite things to do on weekends is to donate his time to play for cancer patients at Texas Children’s Hospital. Sometimes the patients are in their teenage years. Others are mere infants.

He’s played at Texas Children’s quite a lot, although less frequently of late since I’m due any day now, and the hospital is a good hour drive from our house. So, more and more, he’s been playing at nearby retirement homes, nursing homes, and hospices.

Some of the hospice patients are more coherent than others, but Jason’s music is always appreciated by the patient’s families, even if the actual patient is unaware he is there.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a hospice, but they are very somber places. Some of the patients are alert and responsive, others cry quietly to themselves in bed, and still others stare blankly into the air or appear to be sleeping. They are all waiting for the end. And while they wait, Jason plays them music.

Last week, he was invited to play one last time for an elderly man who had left the hospice to spend his final nights in a private home. Sadly, the man died before Jason could get there.

Yesterday, he played again at a hospice in The Woodlands. He returned home very solemn, so I asked him what was wrong. There had been a woman at the hospice that morning whose husband had passed away while Jason was playing. She called Jason into their room, and was holding her husband’s hand and crying when she thanked Jason for his music.

THAT is my husband. I am so proud of him. I’m so grateful to God that He blessed my baby girl and I with such an amazing husband, father, and role model.

Jason doesn’t seem aware that not everyone visits dying people that they’ve never met in hospices, or seriously ill children and their grief-stricken families in hospitals. He never talks about the things he does for others, and he doesn’t seem to think that they are notable or unusual or really anything special. He just does them … because he’s Jason … and I am continually amazed by him …

Guard Your Heart: When To Kill A Facebook & A Friendship

Baby Elowyn, due August 25, 2012

Having worked in the entertainment industry and media for over a decade, I have a diverse group of friends. Creative people tend to have creative beliefs and often enjoy creative behaviors. My Facebook page – which I often use for networking – is a microcosm of the diverse and artsy world in which I live. There are liberals, conservatives, Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, straight people, gay people, actors, DJs, alcoholics, Anglophiles, Steampunks, athletes, philanthropists, parents, bachelors, potheads, intellectuals, lawyers, and even a few people I don’t doubt have criminal records. Some of these people are mere cyber acquaintances. Others are genuine friends.

Now that I’m pregnant, people treat me very differently. Actually, it’s quite shocking. There are three main reactions to pregnancy these days:

  1. Happiness, support, encouragement, and wise counsel delivered upon request.
  2. Disgust, sexual innuendo, and the assumption that it was an accident.
  3. Patronization, and the giving of uninvited advise regarding everything from what I should and shouldn’t eat while pregnant, to how I teach, dress, feed, and discipline my child.

One thing I learned for certain: Nobody doesn’t have a strong opinion about pregnancy!

While many people forewarned me about pregnancy cravings, mood swings, morning sickness, and the more well known gamut of prenatal side effects, nobody warned me about this overwhelming instinctual desire I’ve developed to protect my child, both from the physically and spiritually harmful. For example, I used to think that a particular young man who bragged about driving home drunk on his Facebook profile was merely a dysfunctional idiot. But once this baby began kicking in my belly, said young man became a danger and a threat, just one caliber less than a homicidal maniac.

I became more aware of people and things that disturbed, stressed, or unnerved me. I grew instinctively determined that my baby deserved a calm and level-headed mother, and if someone or something was going to upset my emotional balance, that someone or something must be shunned and avoided. The sexaholic, the chauvinist, the racist, the Jesus-hater, the drug addict, the abortionist … all these people had to be put far from me. They could not be allowed to disturb my tranquility, and thereby pollute the spiritually peaceful environment I was determined to provide for my daughter.

At first I wondered, “Wow. Am I becoming intolerant? These people’s actions and lifestyles have no physical impact on mine. Why am I so bothered by them?”

Then I read Proverbs 4:23-27:

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.
Give careful thought to the paths for your feet, and be steadfast in all your ways.
Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”

Granted, back in the day, there was no internet. In order to see wicked things one had to walk outside one’s front door. In order to hear vile speech one had to visit the stomping grounds of vile people. In order to encounter, engage in, or practice carnal behavior, one physically traveled to a bar, Colosseum, or the den of a prostitute.

Not so today. Violence, adultery, pornography, profanity, victimization, and lies are only a mouse click away. One does not have to travel in order to find them. They are in our homes, on our TVs, in our music, and on our computers and phones. We are empowered to evil as well as to good.

How could Paul or Timothy have anticipated this strange freedom we modern people have when he said:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”  Philippians 4:6-9

How am I supposed to obey this counsel when my Facebook timeline is full of other people’s perversity? The girl that defines herself by her sexuality and wears her lusts and passions on her sleeve. The young man who is constantly vile and profane and thinks it’s funny to mock Christ. The bigot who hates religious people, and believes talking about faith in public should be illegal. The sexist who blames rape, lust, adultery, and his own heart’s base temptations on women who ought to cover their faces and stay indoors. How do these people facilitate my ability to meditate on good and wholesome things?

When the whole Chick-fil-A fiasco went down, I voiced my opinion on Facebook that Dan Cathy – whether one agrees with him or not – has a right to free speech and freedom of religion. This resulted in some very revealing reactions from others. These included choice insults, such as, “I hope your daughter is born lesbian,” accusations of being a “homophobe,” “bigot,” and a “hater,” wishes of bad luck on my impending labor and my health, and even some threats from a journalist to write something nasty about me in his column at a prominent Houston publication.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 reads:

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”

By extension, there is …

a time to friend and a time to unfriend,
a time to enjoy Facebook and a time to deactivate one’s account,
a time to watch an intense movie and a time to stick with Pixar,
a time to witness to someone and a time to remove said person from one’s life.

There is even a time, as a musician in dire need of press coverage, to tell a journalist, “don’t contact me ever again.”

On Thursday, I deactivated my public Facebook account. I still have a private one with about 100 select family members and very close friends, and I still have my music page, but my public account with it’s 2,000+ diverse connections is temporarily off the grid. I plan to activate it again after the baby is born, because there are a large number of wonderful people on there that I’d be very sorry to lose touch with. However, when I do reactivate, I do not intend to tolerate a lot of the hyperbole and offensive posts I closed my eyes to before. This mother needs to be empowered to be a peaceful, supportive, loving, and focused parent for her child. I find I cannot do that when my mind is being inundated by the world, its foolish dysfunctional attitudes, its perpetual state of unrest, and its insatiable malcontent.

Pregnancy & A Facebook Exodus

Screenplay writer Norah Ephron (When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle) once said, “If pregnancy were a book they would cut the last two chapters.”

That is impeccably true. The 8th month of pregnancy is about as pleasant as having the flu. The 9th month of pregnancy is like having the flu when you’re supposed to be on vacation. I remember thinking the first trimester with its morning sickness was unpleasant. However, gaining 50lbs in water weight, swelling up until you feel like you’re bruised all over, continual joint and muscle pain, and being driven to the level of insanity in which one half seriously considers holding up a maternity ward and demanding an induction and an epidural, is a highly unpleasant experience.

I agree Norah. They would definitely nix these last two chapters!

On the bright side, my due date is August 25. Nine days away. Can I last nine days? Good question. History and science would seem to indicate that yes I can. Millions of tormented women have gone on before me. I pray fervently however, that I will not have to wait that long. The physical discomfort and emotional strain are seriously getting to me.

It is for that reason that I recently deactivated my personal Facebook page. Between stressing over the news and other people’s posts, and my own tendency as an extrovert to over-share, I decided that it would be wise to take a vacation from the world’s largest, buggiest, and most addictive social network. It won’t be a long vacation … just until Elowyn is born and I have some pretty pictures of my baby girl to post (o:

Meanwhile, this verse has become my anthem:

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

I hope you have a wonderful week, and that I will be able to share photos of my sweet baby girl, Elowyn, very, very soon!

Love,

Jennifer

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