In 2014 I had a big plan. The kids were going to high school after homeschooling for seven years, and it was time for me to get out and tour around, supporting the Cosmopolitan
Country album I had recorded two years earlier.
It was perfect.
Garth Brooks was coming out of retirement with a new album and a song we had co-written as the number 2 track, "She's Tired of Boys."
It was the ideal momentum I had been trying to build, working away at my songwriting and music business consulting, homeschooling and planning for the future.
The same day my kids started high school I got a call from my doctor.
That's never good.
"This is your doctor. You know those tests we did?"
"Well, the results came in. You have cancer."
Glad I was sitting down when the call came in, I must have looked shocked, because my partner sat down with me and waited for me to tell him what was going on.
"It's cancer," I acknowledged, eerily feeling like I was outside my body, looking down and in.
All our careful planning had found us in the beginning stages of my first attempt at crowd funding to promote the new record.
The last thing I wanted was to suddenly become the artist with cancer. It was too pitiful. My pride couldn't handle it. Not right then.
So I quietly, persistently followed through with my original written plan. Sent out more marketing emails than I had ever dreamed I could stomach, two, then three, then four times.
Surprisingly, several people made $100+ contributions only after being contacted four times.
It was humbling to ask my fans and family for help, and my gratitude was doubly so, because in secret, I was dealing with the private misery of having cancer. Nobody knew.
As irony only could arrange, my mastectomy surgery was the same day as the final day of my VIP Patrons crowdfunding campaign.
Maybe I knew how much I needed the normalcy of faithfully completing my plans and checklists, but nothing was changed.
I remember how delighted I was when I woke up post-surgery to send thank you emails, painfully, slowly typing one finger at a time on the cell phone, to people who had made last minute contributions.
It wasn't until much later that I started opening up and publicly talking about having cancer.
I still don't very often, just because I don't identify with having cancer. It's just something that happened, and now it's gone.
But I do have a different understanding of cancer and what it means to really go through some intense close family trauma.
I have a deep appreciation for my partner who never missed a beat, cooking, cleaning, taking the kids to school. The kids never missed me, I don't think, because he provided everything I had done, and more - a stability that I had never quite been able to manage.
My dad told me a joke a long time ago, how do you make God laugh?
Make a plan.
Not everyone gets that joke, but those of us who have lived it invariably respond with a belly laugh.
Instead of releasing my album and touring, I had to beat cancer.
Surgery, physical therapy, radiation, more physical therapy, then more surgery - the new plan.
About two weeks before the radiation part started in February 2016, my dad died.
It happened suddenly, though not unexpectedly, and instead of starting radiation, I had to spend a month getting my head straight.
It was a full two years before I was really what I would consider recovered from the surgeries and radiation fall out, including an extended in hospital stay post reconstruction surgery that was the worst part of the whole ordeal.
I tell you all this to say that I am grateful for you, for the opportunity to tell you this story and for you to respond in kind, by being emboldened to tell your story, that is the greatest and most important legacy a person can leave.
When I look at the list of names of friends, clients, and family who contributed to my first VIP Patrons campaign, I am taken back to those difficult years, climbing the ladder of aspiration, trying to survive to the next year.
Your support, your letters, and your kindness mean more than you know.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the opportunity to bring new music into the marketplace, and to hopefully touch new generations of creators (of all ages), empowering them to sing their own songs and tell their own stories.
This April, I'm releasing a new song to radio "I Am Saved" - and as amazing as it seems, it's the first time I've ever sent a song to the radio stations.
I don't expect to get a number one hit, but I am excited at the thought of thousands of radio listeners all over the world having the opportunity to hear my voice with its pain drenched power.
You can help by listening to the clip here, and to pre-ordering the song.
You can even call your local country radio station and request the song before it goes live on April 10, Good Friday. All radio stations and media reps can access the song from CDX Nashville.
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Love & Light,