30+10 – Actress? No, Piano Teacher!

Day 8!
One fact about me: Growing up, I actually always wanted to be an actress. I did some church productions and took voice lessons, but nothing ever really panned out, and God closed that door. Instead, a neighbor asked me to teach her sons piano, and my piano business was born! Before my first daughter was born, I had 43 students!
It funded my writing “hobby” and I taught piano (and then voice) for over 10 years while I wrote my books. 🙂

Some special students and me back from 2008

September 08 Recital and Brad 144.jpg

RJ’s Favorite Love Song

(Note: You’re still at the right BlondeRJ blog.  WordPress is hiccuping and making me look like my friend over at Lantern Leaf Press.  😀  I’ll have good old Watercolor-Anime-Me up again soon!)

One of my favorite songs of all time, for the use of my favorite three chords, is When Love Takes Over by David Guetta and Kelly Rowland.  I am a piano teacher, as well, and have been playing since the age of 5, so I sure love that strong piano.  🙂

I listened to this song a lot while creating Lucent Sylph, as I felt like it accurately portrayed what Lucas was worried about in the story: love taking over.

In reality, God wants love to take over our whole lives, whether it means heartbreak or not.  And that was what I explored in this story – loving the difficult people, even though I know I will get nothing but hurt, because they can’t love me back.  This is when we truly get a taste of Christ.  ❤

Who is the easiest person for you to love?  Who is the hardest?  What have you learned when you chose to keep loving the hard one?

There is something truly Christlike that we gain from baring our hearts, wisely, but with vulnerability.  We gain a certain intimacy of knowing how Christ felt exposed and bare on the cross, dying for the sins of those who had nailed Him there.  This is worth doing, even if the initial plunge of giving, without hope of receiving, can feel like jumping off of a high dive.

What is your favorite love song?

Lucent Sylph: A Short Story will be out in FIVE days.  Remember, you can still win your own Lucent Sylph!

Grace Unplugged the Movie – a Call to Christian Artists

Just saw Grace Unplugged. Fantastic movie. It was nice to see AJ Michalka go back to her Christian roots.  She is someone whom I’ve watched and listened to since being a young teen.

At the end of the movie, I spent my own tearful time with the Lord, giving up my plans once again and purposing to follow Him in everything.

Let me say this: artists, writers, musicians.


The world says you have to give up your body, heart, and soul, or you FAIL. You’re nothing.

I can attest to this, as I struggle along as a writer, spending more money than I make, as contests and publishing houses have rejected me for my evangelistic, moralistic, God-honoring fiction. The world will HATE you if you are a Christian, but that kind of success is empty nothingness. It destroys you body and soul. Instead, hold fast to Christ and do not compromise. Write something Jesus Himself would be proud to read. Sing something you could imagine would make the angels smile. Create things that magnify our great God. HOLD FAST. There are more of us than you think, and we stand together against the enemy and against this world.

Just the other day I lay on the office floor in my home, crying tears into the carpet because it felt too hard. It felt like I would never succeed as an author, I would never go anywhere as a musician, and my life was no better than a nobody mother doing nobody things that nobody bought or cared about.

But you know what? My God listens to my singing and playing. My God reads my books. And my God loves me. Loves me more than anyone else combined. And only His love matters.

And when I get to heaven, I want Him to have my books on His shelf and say, “Well done, my precious little RJ. Well done.”

Who’s with me?

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

I was nominated by Nikki Noelle at Inevitably Revised.  I’m so honored!  Nikki”s fantastic writing abilities are only succeeded by her masterful editing skills.  She has a way of understanding, dissecting, reviewing, and assessing prose, as well as encouraging good writing to flourish.  She is on my street team of beta readers, and I appreciate her input immensely.  If I could nominate her for this award again (Not sure how this works!), I would!

The Rules

  • Post the award on your blog
  • Thank your nominator, of course!
  • List 7 facts about yourself
  • Nominate up to 15 other blogs you are inspired by
  • Post the rules so people know them

Seven Facts About Me:

  1. I can forget anything I want to on command, and, by exerting effort, “box it up” in my brain. I value innocence above almost anything and have forced myself to forget much junk over the years, to my great advantage.  🙂
  2. The anime girl in the above banner is supposed to be me.  I have long blond hair, and I dye the bottom six inches pink.  🙂
  3. I never forget a song if I’ve heard it like twice. I can never tune out music either. I taught piano and voice for ten years, all the way up until this year (when I moved across the US).  Before I had kids to pay attention to especially, if you were to take me to a restaurant, we sat there for around an hour and a half, talked, had a good time, etc., then later that evening, I could give you a playlist of what songs played – and in what order. This is why I’m extremely picky about music. I can’t tune it out. Music is an experience, not background noise.
  4. I have synesthesia.  This influences my writing.  🙂
  5. I never, ever, ever cry in movies. That’s an emotional response I keep switched off when watching TV because I just don’t get crying about fictional people/events.  There are plenty of real life things to cry over.
  6. I am 5’6″ and have short, fat feet. They’re a 7 1/2 double wide.
  7. I like certain kinds of anime a lot (PG-rated!), but LOVE all things Korean.  K-drams, K-pop, and Korean fashion.  Someone take me to Seoul!


Bethany A. Jennings at The Simmering Mind – Speculative Fiction, parenting, and Christian living blog.  Bethany has a way with words that will touch your hearts and interest you in new ideas all at once.

Heather L.L. Fitzgerald at The Tethered World – The Pathmaster!  A motherly, yet peer writer.  We all love her.  She’s sweet, encouraging, supportive, and fun.  Her first book is coming out soon!

Abby Jones at A Gentle and Quiet Spirit – ISFJ!  Finding other sensor authors is unique.  I enjoy Abby’s love of the harder topics.  She shares that same interest with me in that way.

Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience – Ann is quite the bestselling authoress now, so, Ann, I don’t know if you’ll see this, but your blog is immensely encouraging.  Your speech is beautiful and your writing deep.  You have been influential in my life!

Tim Hong at TX Father of Seven – Tim is politically savvy, economy-conscious, and an outspoken libertarian.  I’d rather get my news and info through him than anyone else.

Heidi Joelle at Homemade Mythology – Heidi’s savvy thoughts on her faith and on writing speculative fiction is always fun to read.  She just published an (adult) short story!

Rebekah Shafer at Lantern Leaf Press – “Lady Rebekah” is a brand new, spunky blogger and friend.  We hit it off immediately due to being so similar where it counts: we think in sentences, love to be around people, and talk Myers-Briggs personality types.  Seriously, what is better than that?  😉  Check out her first novella.  She’s got another one coming out soon!

Mirtika at Mirtika Writes – Mir’s clever, dry wit and business sense have inspired me immensely.  She’s the reason I’m writing these three modern retellings of fairy tales.  Her ideas are right-on, and she says things few have the guts to talk about.  I look up to her.

Caleb Lawrence at Merely This – Used to be one of my piano students – now has grown into a young man whom I respect.  We share a love of Japanese things, and I have seen him grow in so much wisdom and insight.

Ryan Christoffel at Beholding Christ – On the pastoral staff at my former church back in Texas, Ryan’s thoughts are God-focused and profound.

An Open Letter to BlondeRJ’s Christian Readers

The sermon today caused me to shed some relieved tears.  I wanted to share with you one of the things that stood out to me.

Friends and readers, as you peruse my blog, see my posts, and read my books, bear in mind that I consider myself one of the “weaker” Christians that Romans 14:1 talks about: “Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters.”  Now I’m not talking about sin or heresy here.  Those things are right or wrong in Scripture.  I’m talking about preferences.

I can be intolerant with movies, music, literature, and media.  I have extremely strict standards on modesty.  I am homeschooling.  I act protectively crazy over my kids.  I refuse to private message or email guys.  And I blog such strange ideas, all of which you may think is nonsensical.

So I’m the Christian who Romans 14 talks about being gentle with and accepting of.  I’ve always been super grateful to those of you who disagree with me but still love me and are gracious with me.
I can tell you that I am “fully convinced in my own mind,” (Romans 14:5) however, that I am pleasing God with what I do, and I write about these things to share with you to get your thoughts to see if I’m wrong, but also to give you a different perspective.  However, I am accepting of you and love you, so it’s wonderful if you do the same for me, the weaker believer, who has to be so careful with myself.

I know that as I think through these things and discover more of God and spend time in His Word, He may is growing me to find more security and rest and understanding in Him, but, as of now, here’s what I think, and here is who I am, and I know I’m far from perfect, so I thank you for your patient love.  ❤

Selena Gomez – As a Boy?

As a musician, I occasionally find things that tickle my fancy.

One of them is the recent trend of taking female singers and lowering their voices to make them sound like males.

Doing this to most pop singers makes them sound simply like women with a frog in their throat, but, every once in a while, I hit a true gem:


I could be serenaded by that gorgeous male voice daily.  😀

Pretty much all of Selena’s songs sound good low, and you can search Youtube for them.

Good male sounds come from women singers who have higher-pitched, girly, less mature voices. If the voice is deep or rich at all, it sounds horrible lowered.  For instance, my own voice lowered sounds like a large man with a nasty head cold.  Haha.  Ask me to show it to you, and, if enough people want to hear it, maybe I’ll post it.  😉
Thinking of high-pitched little-girly voices, I tried Hilary Duff as a male, and it sounded pretty good too! Hilary Duff is so childish in tone, though, that her male counterpart sounded about 15 years of age, and not quite as nice and alluring as Selena.  But it was still a pretty good one.

I think what draws me to Selena’s “male voice” is that we don’t hear men sing with so much vulnerability or soft passion. Men are so aggressive or dramatic in modern pop.  “You cheat on me, girl, and I kill that man,” etc. etc.  or “Cry me a river, baby!”  We don’t hear men being soft, wistful, and intimate.

With that in mind, I leave you with this beautiful little tearjerker.  Imagine a man actually singing from the recesses of his soul like this, his voice breaking in tears, the open vulnerable words being sung with passion…


Thoughts?  😀

Chad Journal


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