It’s Time…

Dear friends and gentle hearts, it’s time again to sing the old familiar carols, feast with loved ones around a common table, and scratch our heads in awe and wonder at the craziness of Emmanuel, God coming to earth to be with us and to show us how to live. I love the contemporary translation of John 1:14 that reads, “And the Word became flesh and moved into the neighborhood.”

Emmanuel…God with us.

Christmas Eve morning brought a sweet phone call from the brother of a dear friend and an email from one of the sisters at Sacred Heart Monastery, each sharing that they were celebrating with my Christmas CD playing in their respective homes. That gave me a nice little ‘push’ against the Christmas blues and reminded me of how sacred is the gift of music…and to that end, I’m happy to report that I will have a new recording to share with you all in the first quarter of 2019! It’s called “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter Eye,” and I suppose it will fall in the singer/songwriter/storytelling category (if there is a reason to categorize it at all)..whatever it is, I look forward to getting it out there and sharing it with you. Best way to keep up with all the news that is news from the Big Front Porch is to sign up to be on the mailing list at www.bigfrontporch.com. Thank you kindly:)

It’s Time…

In the fall of 2017, using a discipline I used when deciding whether to leave Nashville to return to Mississippi, I began a year-long period of prayer and discernment about if/when I should step away from my position as Director of the Delta Music Institute at Delta State. As the weeks and months of 2018 went by, it became clear to me that summer of 2019 would be the right time. I don’t really think of this as ‘retiring,’ but the DMI ship is in good shape and with some exciting projects on the drawing board, it’s time for someone new to take the helm. I plan to step back into the creative life I had before, but hopefully, keep a one or two toes connected to DSU in ways that will benefit the program and the university. 

As word of my decision began to leak out about this upcoming change, I received some calls as to whether I planned to leave the Delta and move back to Nashville. Let me squelch that rumor and say that when I came back to Mississippi, I felt it was a ‘calling,’ and I believe that ‘call’ is still in effect until God says otherwise. This community has embraced me, encouraged me, and supported me from the day my moving truck rolled into town. I will cast my lot with this unique mystical place called the Mississippi Delta. Going forward, I will try to use my gifts and talents in the service of building community in this complicated place we love that still wrestles with the historical residue of our collective past while trying to gather creative, honest voices for the future that will work to share our authentic story with others. Because storytelling is at the heart of everything, even the Divine heart…just read again the wondrous story from Saint Luke…

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth, peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

PEACE TO US ALL. 

O, HOLY NIGHT. 

EMMANUEL.

Oh, My Goodness!

Oh, my goodness! 

That was the immediate reaction I heard from the citizens and guests who were in our fair city last Saturday night when thousands of new holiday lights were turned on downtown. The green space and walking trail were packed with people from one end to the other, and in a matter of seconds, Cleveland was suddenly bathed in magic and awe and wonder. It was a sight to behold and the event was the talk of the town in Sunday church hallways and grocery stores.

Now, let’s move the comma.

Oh my, goodness.

There was something else I felt among the good people of Cleveland at the lighting ceremony. Even though it’s early in the holiday season, I swear it felt like peace and joy and good will. Did you feel it? Did you turn to someone in amazement and exclaim how beautiful it all was? Did you forget for just a moment the things that were troubling you? Did you feel hopeful? Did you feel the goodness? I did.

A thousand thanks for the goodness of those who made this possible…the original visionaries of the project, the 50 Nights of Lights team, the City of Cleveland crew, the sponsors, the donors, and the dedicated volunteers who put in countless hours of work on behalf of our community.

Oh, my goodness…what a community Cleveland is. May we all hold onto the magic, awe, and wonder these lights will bring during this season and beyond…and may we also share some goodness with each other along the way.

Pax.

Wise men still seek Him….

Epiphany…January 6…the end of the Advent-Christmas-Epiphany cycle…I had a lovely time at Secluseval, even with awful weather on Christmas Day. It was 70 degrees on Christmas Eve and my sister and I enjoyed the sunshine on the Big Front Porch once again. I then had the wonderful opportunity to participate in a New Year’s retreat at a very special place called Laity Lodge out in west Texas. My friend, Buddy Greene, invited me to be one of the musicians for the retreat, and I never miss a chance to play music with Buddy. Another old friend, Scotty Smith, was the speaker for the retreat, and his focus for the retreat was Epiphany…taking a deeper look at how God ‘broke through’ then and continues to ‘break through’ now to those in this world. I sang…I rested…I feasted…I shared community with others who are seekers…it was a glorious time and I am grateful to have been a part of it. I hope to carry the spirit and grace of the retreat into every day of this new year…may your days ahead be filled with hope, good health, peace, and grace…pax, TriciaFrio Canyon_Laity Lodge

The Longest Night of the Year…

Advent…the season of waiting…and tonight is the longest night of the year….but there is hope in this dark night of waiting even with the unspeakable sorrow of Newtown and the uncertainty of what lies ahead in 2013. I had the privilege of singing last night for some beautiful patients and caregivers at our local hospital…there was birth and death and the fearful waiting of the emergency room all within three floors of each other, and yet music held us together for a short while during the cold night.

I came home to read an Advent  selection by Brennan Manning titled, “Shipwrecked At The Stable.” Manning writes of how the world does not understand vulnerability and how the spirituality of Bethlehem is incomprehensible to the advertising industry…how true. But in his commentary on the mystery of Bethlehem and the trivialization of the divine scandal, Manning quotes the Spanish author, Jose` Ortega, whose thoughts of being shipwrecked resonated with me in this Advent season:

“And this is the simple truth…that to live is to feel oneself lost. Whoever accepts this has already begun to find himself, to be on firm ground. Instinctively, as do the shipwrecked, he will look around for something to which to cling, and that tragic, ruthless glance, absolutely sincere because it is a question of his salvation, will cause him to bring order to the chaos of his life. These are the only genuine ideas; the ideas of the shipwrecked. All the rest is rhetoric, posturing, farce. He who does not really feel himself lost, is without remission; that is to say, he never finds himself, never comes up against his own reality.”

Those who are shipwrecked cannot bring along baggage from the past…they can only be in the here and now, facing the reality that they are lost…we are lost…but we are captivated at the Bethlehem stable by joy and wonder, and the Child there is the One to whom we cling.

This Christmas, whether you find yourself literally at home or at home within your heart, may you find peace and comfort there in knowing that there is Hope for the shipwrecked….from the Big Front Porch to your home,

Tricia

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Ya Yas and frocks…

Hard to believe that January is almost over…and thankfully, it’s been a mild enough month to actually sit on the Porch and do some pondering…nice:) Hope that February will follow suit, don’t you?

During the Christmas season, my two best ‘growing up’ buddies, Jackie and Paige, and I always get together for what we have lovingly termed, “The Gathering.” I’m not sure exactly what year we started, but it’s been going on now for at least half of our 50+ years. It’s a chance to put on our PJs, laugh a lot, and do pretty much NOTHING for about 24 hours. Pure bliss…

Ya Yas

Mom Walker and Luzon have gone on to heaven, and so our last remaining mama on this earth is the Matriarch, “Miss” Eleanor. We gather in her kitchen at Meadowview, and while she mixes together some homemade cornbread in HER mama’s cast iron skillet, we revert back to childhood and giggle uncontrollably at the retelling of some incident from forty years ago that still makes us act silly.

Mmmm....cornbread...

The focus of the Gathering was the impending nuptials this spring…the first born of the ‘petite’ Ya Yas (Jackie’s daughter) will be tying the knot in late March, and so this blessed event requires that we all go out to shop for a new frock. Yes, there. I said it. I have to go shop for a frock. I believe it was Eleanor Roosevelt who said, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” I don’t think she was speaking in the context of shopping, but whatever….

I was in Jackson yesterday and so I made an attempt to enter a mall and make a purchase. Lord, have mercy….there was a SALE on and there were hundreds of women who were in their element in such a situation while I, on the other hand, was about to break out into hives. I had to wait 45 minutes just to get into a fitting room…so while I waited, I fired a volley of texts off to the Mother of the Bride extolling how I was making close to the ultimate sacrifice for her firstborn:)

Ok…I didn’t fall out or throw up, so all is okay….found two items that I will live with for a couple of days to see if one of them will work for the happy occasion. I’m sure to be a lot more comfortable in boots and jeans for the rehearsal dinner at the fish house.

I also got off the Porch last week long enough to make a quick trip to our beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast to perform at a showcase in Bay St. Louis for the “Backstage Pass” arts event sponsored by our Mississippi Arts Commission. I am proud to be included on the Artist Roster of the MAC, and I appreciate all the work they continue to do to spotlight the arts and arts education in our lovely state. Executive director, Malcolm White, understands how valuable arts and artists are to our state and particularly to how they can impact the creative economy. Next time you have a little time on your Porch, take a few moments and read all about the Creative Economy in Mississippi and what it can mean to our future.

Showcasing at the Hollywood

Well, I’d better cut off the Porch light and get a little rest…looks like a busy week ahead. Y’all take care, and I’ll get back in touch soon!

Pax,

Tricia

 

Here’s to 2012 from the Big Front Porch….

Ok…no sense in adding the undue pressure of a hard and fast resolution to this post, but I do intend to try my best to bring you news from the Big Front Porch on a more consistent basis than I have been…’nuf said.

Here’s a glimpse of the Big Front Porch…it was lovely to sit on the porch yesterday on the first day of this new year and take a few moments to enjoy the smell of a wood fire, the colors of the sunset, the feel of the crisp winter air on my cheek, the sound of a hoot owl in the woods, and the taste of my sister’s perfectly cooked black-eyed peas. God is good…all the time. I hope you and your friends and family will take some time in the coming days to sit on a porch (inside, of course, if it’s too cold for outside sittin’) and be quiet long enough to hear the ‘still small voice’ within…

The Big Front Porch

And since we’re still in the days of Christmas, here’s a sweet little cedar that is our Christmas tree this season…cut from the fields of Secluseval…a special place.
Christmas Tree at Secluseval

Pax,
Tricia