Tag Archives: sing

A Songwriter’s Pickin’ Party

hall of fame


I love updating y’all on what’s going on here in Austin! Texas is so unique and fun, I enjoy sharing stories with you. This one’s about music.

Jeff and I have always loved music.  Especially the folksy, singer-songwriter kind of music.  One of the things we love most about Texas and especially Austin, is the music. Texas has a rich tradition of raising up talented song writers from all over the state.

I love the song “writer” part of it.  I love to picture other writers doing their thing. I picture them in coffee shops and bars and around campfires.  I picture them drinking whiskey and staying up late and hanging out in little joints strumming guitars and telling stories.  Their songs make me dance and sing and think and pray and feel and cry and hope. Also, I picture all the characters on the TV show Nashville because to me, that’s what being in the music industry looks like.

My kids say all country songs are about trucks and beer. I like the ones about hometowns and farms and Jesus.

We were blessed to attend a cool event this weekend for the Texas Heritage Songwriter’s Association. We heard songwriters sing their songs.  This isn’t always the case.  They often sell their words and someone else sings them.  It was amazing to hear them interpret the songs in the way they wrote them.  It felt personal and intimate.

The three people that sang on the first night were Rodney Clawson, his wife Nicolle Galyon, and Raul Malo.  If you look these people up you will see what songs they have written and who has sang them onto the charts.  It’s pretty incredible.

This event was two nights and both were incredible.  The second night we were at ACL and I don’t have any pictures (I was too busy singing and dancing!) but here are some of the first night.

guitar on stage



Please note girl in back with cute dress and cowboy boots! LOVE IT!

It should also be noted we were greeted by a red carpet lined with Longhorn Cheerleaders! And the whole night was named after a beloved Longhorn football coach, Darrell K. Royal.  So, it was typical Texas. Football and Guitars and Boots. Amen.

It may be obvious at this point that Jeff got himself a signed guitar.  He’s so excited!

As for me, I’m thinking I may start writing some songs. I’m sure that’s not hard at all…

Here’s one we heard live…the video is terrible because I’m not good at it (it’s really bad-it will make you dizzy) and I was lost in the music so just close your eyes and listen.  This song was written by Rodney Clawson (the guy singing) but was recorded by George Strait. Maybe you know it. 🙂 Also…the guy on the left…Raul Malo…I’m in love with him. He rocks! On the second night,  he sang again and he brought the house down. Truly…my new fave.  Seriously, get on Spotify…STAT.

©2016 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved

Come to the Feast

A couple things have happened in the last few days and they are all exploding inside of me to create an “AHA” moment. I love these moments. Actually, I live for them. “Aha moments” are like oxygen for me. They are candy kisses from God. I seek them all the time. Often, they elude me but when one hits…bam! I see clearly (or at least clearer). What a gift.

Speaking of “Aha moments”, I just watched an Oprah interview with Lady GaGa. I watched them at the launching of the Born this Way Foundation. I heard Lady GaGa speak and I was moved. She said she was bullied as a kid and that’s why she is so intent on making everyone feel good about themselves. There is too much to tell here but I want to get to one thing in particular.

We all know Lady GaGa particularly supports and encourages homosexual youth to be themselves and love themselves and be brave. There were some young people on the show saying that she is the person who gives them hope and courage to live.

A woman who is considered “out there” by many people is saving lives. A woman who wore a dress made of raw meat and sometimes dresses as a man is the voice of hope and life for many. She says you have to push buttons to make change. She is pushing and she is creating change for good. Kids are saying the reason they are alive is because of her. Did you get that? The reason they are ALIVE.

I am a Christian who believes the reason I am alive is that I was created out of love by a loving creator. I believe there is a purpose and a plan for me and for all of us. My hope is in Jesus.

This got me thinking, why is other people’s hope not in Jesus? Why are kids finding hope in a pop star while the pews of our churches are empty?

Why did I tell my kids the other day…this is not made up….I said, “If you are ever in a new place, a new town, somewhere you feel alone and you don’t know where to go, go to a yoga studio. The people there are accepting and kind and non-judgmental.”


I realized it is because I cannot without a doubt say that a church would be accepting and kind and non-judgmental. That would be a lie.

Here’s what churches sometimes forget. The good news of Jesus is not just for the people in the pews. It is for everybody. I believe that God, in His infinite wisdom knows He can’t get everyone into the pews. He knows the humans in the churches down here sometimes mess it up. So He gave us Lady GaGa and others like her so His message of Hope and love can reach everyone.

Yes, I said “His message”. Did you know that’s His message? Hope and Love? Or have people been confusing you into thinking His message is about judgment and sin and shame and guilt and punishment?

When asked what the greatest commandment is, He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.” So if I’m confused about what to do, this is what is going to be my litmus test. Am I showing LOVE? Am I treating my neighbor with love?

He puts us in certain places to speak up. He gives us a voice and a life and experiences and personalities and opportunities and He MAKES US WHO WE ARE. As Lady GaGa says and I believe it’s true… “God makes no mistakes”. I am grateful to her and her message of hope and healing.

I heard a preacher named T.D. Jakes speak and he said a great line about Christianity. He said, “Christianity is one beggar telling another beggar where he found the bread”.

I love that. That’s what it should be. I want to get back to that.

If you know hope and love, share it. Stop pointing the finger and start pointing the way. If you sing, sing it. If you paint, paint it. If you preach, preach it. If you write, write it. Let’s help create the churches and communities that are accepting and kind and non-judgmental, a safe place for all of God’s people. (By the way, that is EVERYONE.)

Nobody is better than the next guy. We are all beggars. And we are all invited to the meal.

Every single one of us… gay or straight, man or woman, black or white, young or old, rich or poor, fat or thin, yogi, Democrat, Republican, Tea Party, atheist, protestant, Jewish, Catholic, Baptist, Muslim, heathen, sinner, saint, victim, mother, father, sister, brother, disabled, athletic, artistic, outgoing, shy, bullied, bully…all of us. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US is invited to know Jesus which is to know HOPE AND LOVE.

Feast on that.

©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved
picture of van from lululemon.com
image of Relient K quote from 26.media.tumblr.com


Okay so today I had no plan. This is a good thing because my dryer broke and I needed to do laundry. I went to my friend’s house to do laundry. We sat and folded and talked and laughed. It was nice. No hurry. We can’t go anywhere.

See, things are changing for us. Our oldest kids are heading off to high school next year. This is exciting and wonderful and fun! However, when you say you have a kid in high school, all of a sudden, you feel old. Now I know there are moms out there with older kids thinking, “Honey, you don’t know what you don’t know!” And thank God, right? So anyway, we are feeling old and a little melancholy when we decide we should go for a walk. Then we see the Jeep and decide we should go for a ride!

We go to 7-Eleven which I still call White Hen and talk about how our kids used to call it the “Pretzel Store”. Where are those pretzels!? We get our Big Gulps and we laugh a lot. We wave to people and we see an old friend getting off the train – we stop, we talk. It’s sunny. I have to point out here that we are wearing matching “GreatBigYES.com” t-shirts and sporting matching greasy hair! And we can’t stop giggling. We keep driving. My friend says, “I don’t feel old anymore!”

We see another friend and she invites us in to watch something AMAZING! She wants us to see the final moments of the finale of American Idol. She can’t get over Phillip Phillips. She is giddy, she has been calling my cell. Are you kidding me? Good music, TV, middle of the day, I have my Diet Coke, good friends…I’m IN! We cozy in for the finale.

Oh my. Did you people watch this? Despite his really bad name, Phillip Phillips rocks the house. His song, Home, is number one on itunes right now and it is awesome. Anyway, he wins and there is lots of cheering, pandemonium, general hysteria. Of course, then Ryan Seacrest hands him the microphone and a guitar and tells him to sing. Can you imagine what is going on inside this man at this moment? He’s all of 21 years old, just won American Idol, life will never be the same and he has to sing?!?!

So he begins. The song is amazing but he hits a point in the song where he can sing no more. He must weep. He starts crying and he can’t stop. He is looking around. This moment is not lost on him. He is present and aware and he is grateful. He is humbled. He is overcome.

He stops singing, hands the guitar off to someone else on stage and walks out to the crowd. He walks straight into his mother’s arms. His dad and sisters and nieces all come in for the hug too. They just hug and cry and love each other. Because that’s what families do.

He knew where he needed to be. He needed to be in his mom’s arms.

Our kids will know it too.

It doesn’t matter if they are headed off to kindergarten or high school or college or married life. Even if they are headed to American Idol or to life after winning American Idol, they know where they come from. They know how to find their mom.

Yes, things are changing. But some things never change. Thank God.

Special thanks go out to Kate and Laura for a great day! This is one to look back on when we are in the nursing home!(which may be here before we know it) 🙂

click link below to watch:
American Idol finale<

(composed by Drew Pearson and Greg Holden)

Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved
Photo from: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/phillip-phillips-american-idols-newest-champ/2012/05/25/gJQAK2xqpU_story.html