Tuesday, May 14, 2019

My Mom's Last Two weeks

I am posting this for friends and family who could not attend my mom's service. I hope it answers some questions you may have and gives you peace knowing she is in a better place.

We all know mom could light up any room. We know she embodied joy and love. We know she showed extra care and compassion in her 40 years as a nurse. We know she loved me, Dad, Michael, and Theo, as well as everyone in this room. And if you ever had a deep conversation with her, you probably know she loved Jesus. You also know she wasn’t traditional. This celebration of life/memorial is not traditional so certainly this speech/tribute will not be traditional.

I’ve mentioned things you know about my mom, but what you probably do not know is the story of her last two weeks of life. It is a story of strength and determination during a physically and emotionally exhausting time for her and her family. It was a valley, but it was also a time of sweet precious moments, and reassurance to all of us that God was in the midst of these weeks and ultimately her passing. With that said, I’d like to briefly share that story with you, her close friends and family.

On April 18, mom was running a fever and was incoherent. I had called Dad concerned from New York, as she had hung up on me three times in a row while I was on the phone with her. That night dad called 911 and she was taken to the hospital. From this point, she was treated for what they thought was a bladder infection and the treatment seemed to make matters worse. Through the course of the 1st week, her Kidney function and all blood count levels dropped drastically and she quickly became neutropenic- masks and extreme cleanliness were required as a common cold could end her life. She had a team of doctors working on her case, but every test came back negative. No infections and all organs seemed to be functioning with the exception of her kidneys. After multiple blood transfusions and tests, her counts continued to plummet and we still had no answers.

During this point in mom’s story, while she was exhausted and not eating, she was calm and funny, and sweet to everyone around her. She was determined to get better and go home. But, dad and I were worried. We helped as much as we could taking care of the woman who had cared for us throughout the years.

On April 24th, mom was moved to the ICU. Her lungs were quickly filling with fluid. Over the next few days we watched, we prayed, we cried, we waited for a miracle.

During this time, a close friend and Pastor, began texting dad and encouraging. Through this Dad wrote this analogy that he later texted me:

Each day we seemed to slowly descend into the valley, hoping to reach a small plateau where maybe we could find a path to higher ground. Once in a while, I see a shadow, that’s the nature of a valley as the sun moves across the sky. I’m comforted by knowing God will protect us and help us walk this path. The valley is not so bad all the time. There is an occasional stream of fresh water and certainly a lot of flowers growing.

And wow! Did we get some flowers- Literally and figuratively. Mom actually had “the most flowers anyone in the ICU has ever seen one person get!” And I had some precious moments with mom I will never forget. We laughed one day as I detangled her hair and pointed out this was the first time in my whole life she had ever let me play with her hair! She was always adamant that I was not to touch her hair! At one time she said “Shut up George” and then proceeded to apologize profusely. It made everyone in the room laugh. And I’ll never forget the time she mustered her strength and pulled me to her, breathing me in- in a hug only a mother could give her child. Or the way her eyes spoke “I love you, too.” when she was unable to speak.

On April 30th, we put mom on a ventilator. Previous conversation with her revealed she wanted us to pull out all the stops. She was a fighter. The purpose of the ventilator was to give her body time to rest and restore. That same day Dad received a text from his sister whom he rarely speaks to. It referenced Psalm 46:1. But dad read on and was struck by verse 5 which he sent to me that night. It read “God is in the midst of here, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.”

Leading up to this, I had not voiced my thoughts but something, or someone, kept saying “she’s going to wait til May. She loved May Day and her middle name is May. She will wait til May.” On May 1st, Dad and I arrived at the hospital. Within 30 minutes of being with mom, her heart rate began dropping fast and she flatlined. We rushed out of the room while a team administered CPR and a defibrillator. And They restarted her heart. Dad and I were in shock. Having said good-bye multiple times, we thought this was it. But Mom and God Had other plans. Was it to finally be our miracle? As we know now, it wasn’t the miracle we hoped for, but God did have plans to give us a just a few more flowers in the valley.---- Mom woke up. She answered Yes by squeezing my hand or blinking. Looking back, this extra day wasn’t for me though. I think the Lord, truly wanted my dad to be with mom in the end, “Til death do us part” my dad reminded me when he stayed with her yet another night in the hospital. That night he texted me with such joy. “My God she woke up and she talked for a few moments! It was incredible!” She was able to respond to dad with hand squeezes.  He told her “I love you. Sara loves you. Jesus loves you. Can you hear me? It’s ok to go home.” “yes yes yes.” she responded. From my understanding, the night was filled with these special moments between husband and wife. I think this was one last flower that God would give my dad in this valley.

At this point, I’ll remind you of the verse we kept coming back to… “God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.” On May 2 at 5:40 am dad texted me “heart rate dropping fast.” As soon as I got the text at 6:02 I jumped out of bed and got the dogs ready to take a quick walk. I stepped outside and noticed a sliver of light was creeping up over the horizon. Dawn was breaking. I got a hold of dad moments later. Mom had passed. I really believe God was true to His promise and He was with her as she entered into eternity.

So what about May? Was there any significance to that? Why did I keep coming back to that every day she was in the hospital? That she would wait til May? May is just the 5th month of the year, the last month of Spring. But in Literature it often indicates one’s Bloom or Prime. And I find something just beautiful about that…. My mom had a wonderful life on earth, but there is no doubt she reached her full bloom on May 2nd when she entered into the Presence of her Saviour.

Today, yes, we mourn the loss of my mother, but I hope in some way we can all celebrate her eternal bloom and life in heaven.

If you've read this far, Please keep reading to hear from my father below.

From My Father

I want to thank all of Sharon’s friends, Sara’s friends and my friends for all the kind words, actions, and shared memories. Your love and support has been a great blessing. Thanks for coming out today.

Sara has done a great job describing Sharon’s declining health and some of the precious moments we all had together. This is my Testimony!!!

Yes, it was a walk in the valley of the shadow of death, but it didn’t take long for God to remind me that like Psalm 23:4 says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For You are with me. Your rod and Your staff they comfort me.” Though it felt like a hopeless decent, I knew God would get us through.

Sara had put up family pictures on the wall to help brighten the hospital room and Sharon’s spirit. And one day I was with Sharon, she sat up and with both arms extended she cried out, “I want to be that happy again” while she was pointing to this picture of Theo on top of his dad’s shoulders. I said to her, “Baby you will. We just have to get through this valley and God’s going to help us. We’ve got hundreds of people praying for you, we are going to get through this.” And then the next day, no good news. And then the next day feeling worse and no good news. Each day she was slipping away.

One evening I got a text from my sister with a reference to Psalm 46. Verse 5 drew me in. “God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved, God will help here, Just at the break of dawn.”

As I laid there one night contemplating this verses the Love of God began to overwhelm me. And “Even though the earth be removed and the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea” God was in the midst of her. She shall not be moved. He was not looking down on her from Heaven. He was not close by listening. He was in the midst of her and everything she was going through, And nothing would or could move her from Him. “She shall not be moved!!!” So I thanked God that He was then, and He is now and forever, merciful, and gracious, and faithful, and loving, and kind.

Then what did the 2nd part of verse 5 mean? “God will help her, just at the break of dawn?”

Did that mean that God was going to answer all our prayers the next day or one of these days? Or did it mean He wasn’t going to grant us our requests and heal her, and the break of dawn meant something else?

It was there that evening I said “God I give her to you, Your will be done.” Because I knew He had her no matter what.

Sharon doesn’t live on just in memories, and photos, and in our hearts. She lives on in the presence of her LORD and God and Savior, Jesus Christ!!!

Naples is famous for its sunsets like the one depicted on the wall here. But this is not a sunset for her or for me. Naples will always be remembered for the “Break of Dawn” for just as He promised me in His word, He was in the midst of her. Nothing could move her from Him. She was His and she is His.

I’ve known her for 50 years and been married for 41. I miss her more than words could describe. Somehow, I’m comforted and strengthened by our loving God. God the Holy Spirit is our comforter and was and is in the midst of her. And though we spent two weeks in the valley of the shadow of death, where I learned to say “Yea and Rejoice, though I walk through the valley,” We came out the other side. And I saw HER prayer answered. Just like the pictures of little Theo on the shoulders of his father, full of joy and happiness. Just like a little Child, God helped her onto His shoulders and her famous laugh echoed back into the valley as the Lord carried her home.

And Yes, It was literally “The Break of Dawn.” As her heart took its final beat, I moved to the window and wept, and the horizon began to lighten.

I was with her and this is my testimony: For Sharon May Wadsworth, a Child of God, a new day had dawned.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Online Global Distribution: Demystifying How I Release a Song

This week I was encouraged to start streamlining my processes for everything I do with my music business. I thought I would start with how to distribute your single release, globally with CD Baby for only $15. Here I have outlined my process for using the member side of CD baby, hopefully, to help those of you just venturing into publishing your own music, or for my fans who are interested in the behind the scenes kind of stuff. So here it goes.

  1. Record the song. I use Protools and very few studio musicians (primarily my dad and I and multiple takes). My personal studio is portable and I can record vocals anywhere. (This is another topic for a later time)
  2. Make sure levels are high but not clipping visually (if they clip visually they WILL clip at a high volume of play back). I always bounce an MP3 and a WAV, but you will need the WAV for CD baby.
  3. Register your song with your PRO (ASCAP, BMI, etc).
  4. Complete CD baby submission 1-2 weeks ahead of your release date in order to make sure they make it global the day you want it.
  5. On CD-Baby choose add new title.
  6. Choose the middle of the road option for $10. If you are affiliated with ASCAP or any PRO (which you should be -- another topic) they will collect your royalties, you do not need CD baby to do this to the best of my knowledge and it’s a lot less expensive and you get the same Global Distribution.  You will also have to get a barcode for $5 later on in the process, just FYI.
  7. I suggest choosing the option of PAID distribution only (not the non paid streaming sites), but this is personal preference for the artist.
  8. Next, fill out all areas carefully and be sure to not make any mistakes. This will result with having to call CD baby and talk to a real human to have them fix your errors and is a time waster.  You will also get to choose your release date at this time as well. If you set it up a week or so in advance, this gives you time to do advertising across social media. If you want more advertising time, obviously plan on a later date for release. The more hype you can create, the better! People love cute announcement videos but that is another discussion for marketing.
  9. You will need to upload an album sized JPEG which I always make a free one with Canva.com (This is a free, quick, easy, and asthetically pleasing online program). I then download the JPEG onto my computer and then upload it to CD baby.
  10. You will then upload a WAV file of your song. (I do not master right now because it is expensive and CD baby will give you all the ISRC embedded code you need to track your song use and sales and that is the primary purpose of mastering nowadays. However if you still want mastering done for higher volume and better EQ, you can have CD baby do it!)
  11. Once you submit your song, CD baby takes about 24 hours to send you a confirmation email in which you will need to log back in and check over the info you put it. Check thoroughly. (I recently submitted a song and spelt my own name wrong!) This is a nice editing feature CD baby allows before publishing your music!
  12. Log in and confirm. If there is an error, the fastest way to deal with it is to call and a real person can make the correction within 10 minutes. After you confirm, there is no way to change anything!
  13. Once the confirmation is complete, you are ready to go! Now just get busy telling the world so you can at least make up the $15 you just spent to distribute your song globally.

If you have any questions feel free to add comments. Xoxo


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Thankfulness and Transparency

Thankfulness and Transparency 

I would love to say my life is this glorious rock-star-traveling-adventure that I attempt to portray on facebook, twitter, and instagram, however, when it comes down to it, I am just a 27 year old girl, married with two crazy dogs, trying to make a dream come true. Granted, I do think I have a pretty amazing life, I am #blessed ;) However, I have struggled for years to "get my music out there" and actually make a couple bucks doing so. I always felt like I needed more time to really commit to my love for songwriter, performing, and producing. I believe my dad and I have some great music that can truly touch people's lives.

I have worked on my music part time through high school, my bachelors and masters degrees, and three years of teaching middle and high school English/Reading. So there is it. Nothing crazy fancy, no wild party life. No luck. No being discovered. I have worked really hard to stay alive and help support my family and my husband, while all the while working part time on my music.

I guess I wanted to write this post to just really explain my thankfulness and what is going on in my life. (I am feeling really thankful and happy today). Yesterday, we arrived in Tulsa. You see, my husband, after many years of "climbing the ladder", studying, and working many hours of overtime, got the job he has been working towards; He is a grand opening supervisor for Chick-Fil-A. This job of his, has us moving every 6-8 weeks letting us see the country and letting me share my music outside of my normal circle and online platforms. All of that to say, I am finally at a point on my life where I don't have to work a "job"; I get to work on music FULL time. No longer do I have to teach, or work at a grocery store. Therefore, the THANKFULNESS!

I also wanted to thank those of you who read this blog, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube. Thank you for finding my life at least slightly interesting enough to click those "follow" and "like" buttons. It means so much to me. I really hope that my music touches you and in a small way changes and/or impacts your life. That is my goal. That is why I HAVE TO SHARE IT! I do believe in the butterfly effect (Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnwddVuhW8c) and I think each little decision we make can impact others in a great way. I believe that about my own existence, actions, and art.

I hope you look forward to more music, posts, updates, music videos, online chats and concerts, doxie adventures of the Suite Life of Lily and Luna, blogs, and more. See you later.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

"When You Whisper" Lyric Request Granted

It's here! "When You Whisper" is available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and Cd Baby and possibly more that I am currently unaware of. I am so impressed with the response. I have also had some requests to post the lyrics. I thought I would post them here where every one can read the lyrics and the story below. God Bless you all. Thank you for taking the time to read the story and in doing so investing in me as an artist and writer.

When You Whisper 

Holding me close in our family TV room
With the lights down low and old reruns on 
You told me news I couldn't bear to hear 
You whispered your love until the morning dawned

When you whisper to me
I love you stronger 
While I hate the suffering 
You're over me like jasmine in the spring 
I feel your hands touch my face 
Sweet kisses I taste
It's a ray of hope like the sun rising 
When you whisper to me 

Failing fast and losing your strong voice
To family and friends You had so much to say 
Long nights but you would not give up 
You whispered, and I wrote, while you faded away 

When you whisper to me 
I love you stronger
While I hate the suffering 
You're over me like jasmine in the spring
I feel your hands touch my face 
Sweet kisses I taste 
It's a ray of hope like the sun rising
When you whisper to me 

I long to feel you holding me, Love
You've been gone for such a long time
When I find a dime I know it's a sign 
You’re whispering to me from up above

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Story of "When You Whisper" #BeyondTheBucket

In March 2014 I met Felicia in Nashville. She shared her story. I was moved. My dad was moved. We approached her about a cowrite and the rest it history, or so they say... Or maybe this is just the beginning..... 

This is Felicia's story: 
As fate would have it, Sara, George and I met by chance at the Nashville Songwriters Association International spring training session last year, and in conversation, spoke of having lost  a loved one to ALS, a fatal neuro-generative disease also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.  I shared my story of how I had assisted my husband, Sid Valo, to transcribe the poems he wrote so eloquently several months before he died.  (He had never written any poetry in his life prior to that.)  By that point, he had almost lost his ability to speak, so he laboriously whispered the words into my ear, as I typed them.  
Rarely did Sid edit his poems; they painstakingly flowed out of him, word by word.  They are beautifully written and capture so much of what he wanted to share with those he loved.  In them, he offered words of comfort, counsel, and gratitude to all those he loved and to those who had helped him on his heartbreaking journey with ALS.  My husband’s whispers are a strong and lasting testament to love and strength in the face of adversity and death.
A month after our meeting, Sara and her father contacted me out “of the blue” and shared that they had been touched by my story.  They suggested we collaborate on a song they were in the process of writing, something I might add I’d never done. Months later, "When You Whisper" was born as a loving tribute to my husband and to all those who long to reconnect with a loved one they have lost.  
The process of conveying Felicia and her husband’s story and writing “When You Whisper” started shortly after we met.  Our commonality of losing a loved one to ALS (my own grandmother passed away from it as well) combined with our passion for music blossomed into a wonderful friendship. Less than a year later, we have had the incredibly opportunity to professionally produce and record in Nashville and create the film version in Central Florida. Our friendship can only be one of fate, divinity, luck (or whatever you would like to call it). There is one thing for certain: it is something bigger than us... much bigger. 

I truly believe we wrote this song for a greater purpose. While it started with Felicia's story, I do not believe that is where it will end. This song was written to speak to and comfort those battling this debilitating disease. 1 out of every 50,000 people suffer from ALS. While the medical community is making scientific advancements, there currently is no cure. This song is for those dear people afflicted with ALS and for their families who are so lovingly taking care of them. I hope and pray this song brings comfort and strength to the wonderful souls on this tragic and heroic journey. Hold onto the little things, even the whispers. They are precious. Savor every moment with those you love. And remember that this life is not the end. 

Please join me in sharing this song on its release day 3.3.15. 


Beyond the bucket

Friday, January 2, 2015

Goal Setting

The Importance of Goals and Success in Life. 

(Disclaimer: I am not an expert, I have just read a lot and observed lots of past successes and failures in the lives of friends and family and my own life. I post this to help and pump you up as well as myself for this new year.)

#1. You need to start off knowing that you and you alone control your destiny. As Mr. Walt Elias Disney once said "If you can dream it, you can do it." What a profound statement and it rings true with any successful person you look at. From the outside you may think that the successful and famous had it handed to them, but that is because you weren't there through sweat, tears, rejection, heartache, and the tiny glimpses of hope and little successes along the way! Trust me, these people we idolize did not have it handed to them on a silver platter (ok maybe a few did because of the hard work of their parents, but that is extremely RARE). For the most part, they all worked their asses off! And NEVER gave up, no matter what. 
         So why isn't everyone hugely successful if truly anyone can be? Well the thing is most people aren't willing to do the work for the long haul or don't "keep moving forward" when times are tough; they don't seen any gains in achieving their goals and decide to quit too soon. Which reminds me of another quote by Thomas Edison, "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." WOW! 

I am the same as everyone else, it is hard to be disciplined and keep going at times. For example, on the first of the new year I ate a huge Chick-FIl-A Spicy Sandwich and Large Fry and a COKE when one of my resolutions was to eat CLEAN! (We are all weak, but the difference is who chooses to keep succumbing to their weakness versus those who get up and start over day after day, fail after fail.)...I want to give you a few pointers that I have found help me be more successful and productive in achieving my goals. 

#1. Again, you have to realize you are in charge of you. Every decision and word you speak has a consequence either good or bad. Don't blame others. If something is going wrong in your life it's your fault. Once you own that it is empowering and you can take action and responsibility for changing your life.  You only get one, (unless reincarnation is real, but I'm not betting on that) so make it count!!! Now obviously you can't control if you get hit by a car, but you could have looked before you crossed the street and you can control the decisions you can make about your attitude later and how you use negative incidents in your life. Shit happens. It happens to everyone. But you have to find a way to deal with it and keep moving forward.  

#2. Set specific achievable goals. Don't say, "I am going to get skinny."  Instead say, "I am going to lose 10 lbs by March 25th." Don't say, "I am going to make money this year." Instead say, "I am going to make $20 k in my small business venture no matter what it takes." AND write it down!!!! That's the next step... 
#3. You must have a written plan of action. If you want to lose 10 lbs you need to research and study best weight loss and exercise practices. You need to make or use a routine and keep track of your data. Make a big poster board chart and put it in your bathroom or next to your mirror. If you want to make $20k more this year, you better figure out your marketing plan and outline your daily marketing along with month and week plans for that small start up business. You have to design it with foresight, implement it, and own it. And it's ok to make a few mistakes here and there, but learn from your mistakes, and make corrections as needed. 

#4. This is huge. You must have a partner in "crime." Two heads are better than one. And "a three fold cord is not easily broken"( Ecclesiastes 4:12). If you can have more than one person on your team even better! You need to speak with this person at a designated time every week. Don't reschedule, make it happen. In your meetings you first need to recap the good and achievements you made since the last meeting. Always focus on the positive. Next spend time mapping out goals and tasks for the following week or day(s). If your person is working on the same goals as you, you can delegate tasks. If not use this person as your cheerleader and accountability partner. 

NOTE: When choosing your team: Don't choose someone who is complacent and a pushover and tells you what you want to hear. Choose an honest soul. You need a strong positive personality that can tell it like it is, but also help keep you stay pumped in achieving your goals. Choose someone who cares about you and your ambitions. 

#5. Keep your goal calendar/plan where you can see it everyday so it can HAUNT you. I keep my business calendar and paper work on my coffee table where it drives the entire family nuts! That way I never forget it! It's in the center of my house calling to me when I am running around doing laundry, vacuuming, etc.  And before you go to bed at night write down what you accomplished that day and what u have to accomplish tomorrow in a journal or notebook. Paper is better than electronic files. You can hide files on your computer. You can't hide paper and clutter in the middle of your home!  

In closing, no one ever got the six pack by dieting for three weeks and doing a few crunches. T-Swift didn't become a super star by singing once in awhile and recording an album or two. Making HUGE successes and achievements takes HUGE work!!! Are you the person that will make huge success and stay disciplined to do so? Or are you a quitter who we will find eating chips on the couch a pile of debt up to your eye balls in a few months? 

Make the best of every situation. Love others. And work your ass off with a specific set of goals and a plan. That will make you successful, not just dreaming and hoping one day you will be famous, have a six pack, and be a millionaire. It's all on you kiddo. 

Happy 2015. 

 www.SaraCrabtreeMusic.com    #SCMJourney    #NeverGiveUp

More pointers and places to learn how to be successful in general: 

More pointers and places to learn how to be successful in a music career: 

More pointers and places to learn how to be successful in health:

About This Site

I am hoping to write about my journey into making singing and songwriting my full time profession. I want to post my insights, discoveries, experiences, and inner thoughts about this journey. I am hoping to give readers an inside look at the hard work, dedication, criticisms, and general experiences of this profession along with simply having a way to tell you about this journey. I hope you find something that is beneficial and meaningful to you here. Please email me with any comments or questions! ~Sara Crabtree