Tips for Finding a Job

Hey Friends! I’ve had some friends reach out to me recently for career advice or ways to stalk potential jobs and get one where they like what they do. I hope they are reaching out because I’m a people person who loves her job, but it’s also possible that they know I’m good at stalking…

A Q&A with Matt Cooper of Little Chief

Coop Dawg is back! I met Matt Cooper my freshman year of college in a dorm room. He was playing some sweet riffs on an acoustic guitar in my friend Sam’s room. He became one of my good friends during my college years at the University of Arkansas and it was a joy to cheer…

A Conversation with Matt Hamer of Mr. Golden Sun

I was sure when the chorus dropped, that Kansas City was the will of God. (Place and Time, Mr. Golden Sun) I get a lot of suggestions for music. Like any art, music can be all levels of good, but true art stops you in your tracks. It compels you to share it. Good art…

A Brief Interview with Novo Amor’s Ali Lacey and Ed Tullett

For Ali Lacey, a place is a feeling. His debut full-length album under the moniker Novo Amor is titled “Birthplace” and isn’t even really about where the Cardiff-based musician was born, but more about discovering himself during the time he spent in Woodgate, New York. He even has the zip code written on his guitar….

Madonna & Child

Commission  Acrylic on window frame This is a Madonna & Child I did for the Manis family. Zach and Lisa were some of the first people I ever did a commission for and it was so sweet to paint for them again.   What I love about painting my #sainticons is that every color choice, every…

Listening Now: Bluegrass for White Winters

Give a hollar! In preparation for the Trampled by Turtles concert this weekend, I’ve been listening to a lot of bluegrass, which has made me nostalgic for my square dancing days in Arkansas. We can thank Bill Monroe (the father of bluegrass) and his band The Bluegrass Boys for this subgenre of American roots music….

Listening Now: Covers That Changed Everything 

Something Old, Something New Cover songs have been around since the early days of recorded music. Whether it was an easy way to extend a set or a way to change the feel of a song completely, covers have made and remade entire careers. This week we’re throwing it back to a couple of faves…

Listening Now: Best Albums of 2018

What a year. This year I turned 25 (my swanky 20s-themed party pictured above) and celebrated with new friends who have become close friends, grew a ton in my work, challenged myself to write and paint with this little project and by saying yes to every commission, explored Colorado for the first time accompanied by…

Listening Now: Love & Boxing Day

Time Warp. I’m writing this, as I usually do, on a Monday, which happens to be Christmas Eve. You’re reading this, if you bothered to open your email over the holidays, on Wednesday. By now it is Boxing Day and the holiday that I am currently eagerly anticipating you have already celebrated. Time is a funny…

Listening Now: Joy! Feel Good Beats + Indie Dance Tracks

JOY! OMG, You guys it’s Christmas! This week we’re looking at JOY! It’s been a busy month of a lot of projects and late nights and Hugo and I have had a lot of dance parties. With any luck, I will be holding the best little bundle of joy in my arms Thursday when I…

Listening Now: Peace

PEACE It’s a busy season in all areas of my life right now. So much so that when the time came to talk about peace I laughed to myself. The music below is a lot of the stuff I listen to when I need to clear my head, but it’s not necessarily “peaceful” in the…

Listening Now: Hope & Light

HOPE & LIGHT Wow. Where did November go? I love the Christmas season, but it’s suddenly here and time seems to speed by so quickly I barely get to sit in the season of peace. But that’s probably my own doing…or the caffeine. I found it harder than I thought to find songs explicitly about…

Listening Now: Christmas Unicorns

Real talk: Convicted by Lifetime Christmas movies So I was recently making my way through some really craptastic Christmas movies when I found myself convicted. In the Netflix/Lifetime Christmas movie “Dear Santa” a 20-something rich girl falls for a dad with a kid who runs a homeless shelter. It’s pretty classic Hallmark/Lifetime style (I couldn’t…

Glory

Oil on birchwood  40×40 in 2018 Glory Or something like it. It took me 8 years and three months to finally get this from my memories to a canvas. I had a vision years ago while sitting in the back seat of a bus driving across the country in the rain. It looked something like…

Listening Now: Indie Shallow Dive (Part 1: Women)

 A friend told me recently that I need to save some content for future posts. Lol. The music world keeps spinning, y’all. I’m five weeks into this little side project and I’m realizing how much I DON’T know about this hobby that I dearly love (music). What I put in this newsletter is barely half…

Listening Now: Ameri-Can I? A brief look at Americana

What a year it’s been in America. Today we’re looking at the latest and greatest in Americana music. Like America, Americana music is quite the melting pot. It’s a genre that has evolved from all walks of life basically having huge musical jam sessions together for hundreds of years. “Americana is contemporary music that incorporates…

Listening Now: Local

I love this city. I’ve got a lot of sappy thoughts about it as I reflect on being here for a year and a half but the big thing is music. Yeah, the coasts are really great. And I frequently miss the ocean. But that Midwest kindness mixed with cheap indie concerts, access to world-class…

Listening Now: Chill the Folk Out

TLDR: It’s getting chilly, so chill the folk out. This week’s Listening Now is a brief exploration of folk, its relation to place, and a very small portion of all that it entails: everything from a classic guitar and rustic voice pairing (MPJ) to the occasional orchestration of mandolins (Beta Radio) to neo-folk/Americana (Blind Pilot and…

Woman to her husband in an airport 

“They found a body in a field in Fairmont.”  “Hmm, did they?” he responds, flipping a page in a book about war.  “They think he was killed in the city, then taken out.”  The husband nods his head once. “Still haven’t found who did it.”  A phone buzzes.  “Angie said she can host the baby…

Listening Now: Madelynne’s Mix Tapes

Welcome to the first issue of Listening Now! In this weekly newsletter, I will spill my current jamz, only the best YouTube links, concerts you should put on your calendar and why, and I may sprinkle in some other things. Hugo will probably offer his two paws. And there’s already talk of some guest posts….

WOMEN WHO ROCK

WOMEN WHO ROCK Music has always been a part of my life. My parents rearranged our childhood home a few years ago so that all the instruments would be right in the front foyer. I love coming home to a Martin guitar left on the chair, sheet music sprawled over the piano, and a spontaneous…

Stevie & Blondie

WOMEN WHO ROCK series Madelynne Jones Acrylic on birch   10in x 10in Commission I work at an amazingly empowering company called Novella Brandhouse. My bosses are two creative and encouraging ladies that I adore and admire. For our annual open house, the theme was “I’m with the Brand” since we’re big music fans. So…

Are We Human, or Are We Dancers

Are We Human, or Are We Dancers Acrylic on canvas (30in x 40in) $800  That feeling you get when the music takes over. Inspired by late nights full of jazz in the city and worn out wooden floors at square dances down south.

Leave the Door Open

  I’ll give of myself till there’s nothing left And ask you to fill me back up again. Because all that I am is a vessel exchanged between your hands And that which is making me whole again.   So leave, leave the door open  Leave, leave the door open    And we’ll welcome the…

Tom’s Diner

Tom’s Diner Acrylic on canvas (30in x 40in)  $1500 This painting is a visual interpretation of one of my favorite songs, “Tom’s Diner” by Suzanne Vega. My mom used to sing this song all the time when we were growing up. And though it’s often praised for its simplicity, as I painted the scene and…

Poppies & Peonies

Poppies & Peonies Acrylic on canvas (24 in x 40 in)  Commissioned Finally getting to show off this beauty. It’s so fun when a friend commissions a painting with total freedom to “make something beautiful.” Poppies & peonies for my dear friend @jsmithevents. I mean, when you’re friends with a florist ya gotta paint flowers,…

St. Basil the Great

St. Basil the Great for my Uncle Andy and Aunt Liz. Acrylic on canvas St. Basil the Great was a doctor of the church and valued charity and caring for the lost and hopeless. St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow is a symbol of Russia. It’s been so wonderful having the Leininger family so close during…

The Fire

It was an all-consuming darkness. Beautiful and powerful like a beast. And she stood there, watching, as the street turned to charcoal on a mid-summers day and flashes of red blurred by. She knew the sirens were blaring, and she could hear them, but it was like a white noise. A white noise on a…

Coffee, Alone.

Coffee, Alone. Series. Acrylic on wood panel  10in x 10in – $70 8in x 8 in – $50 This series is a look at the beauty and loneliness of enjoying a coffee, and exploring the idea of taking a worshipped beverage that is often shared with others and isolating it. Or essentially, the observance and peace…

One Thing I Learned from My Father

Per the annual holiday sales excursion, tensions were high. My mother and sister were in some clothing store negotiating a clothing budget, my brothers had occupied themselves at the nearest game store. So here we were, my father and I, searching for an island in the sea of holiday shopping bags. The pair of large…

Wolf & Sheep

Wolf & Sheep Acrylic on wood panel (12 in x 12 in)  My brother wrote a poem a while ago that he wanted me to turn into a painting. The irony is that I can’t find it, but it was a beautiful and angsty poem from the perspective of a wolf, pleading that he shouldn’t…

St. Jerome

St. Jerome Patron Saint of Scholars and Librarians Acrylic on window pane My parents just went on a Holy Land trip with my grandparents. Amidst literally thousands of photos of Israel, my dad intricately explained their journey. One of his favorite spots was a visit to the Jerusalem/Bethlehem area. Apparently their tour guide took them…

1 Kings 19

1 Kings 19 Acrylic on wood panel  10 in x 10 in SOLD   I keep coming back to painting 1 Kings 19. The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD. Look, the LORD is ready to pass by.” A very powerful wind went before the LORD, digging into the…

Midnight

She heard a crash and a curse and thought “I’ll just stay here. The silverware was thrifted.” Like an idiot, she grabbed the book by the bed and entered the living room, only to be greeted by an old man, dressed in red, petting her dog. They talked for a bit before he had to…

St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis of Assisi Patron Saint of animals, merchants, ecology.  Acrylic on canvas  Commissioned This was a long-time-coming commission for my friend Ian. The painting includes motifs echoing St. Francis’ love of nature and simplicity. He is wearing a simple green tunic, symbolizing growth, with leaves and flowers also echoing growth. He holds three birds…

Dusk trotter 

And we’re walking In step To the beat of asphalt As the blue light In windows Pass us by.   And I’m watching In silence Movies Of a life That isn’t mine.

Settle

A song written for Uncle Simon’s Musical Book Club. Inspired by The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. Em G D A (Bm, C) /// When I was young I wanted all that I have now. When I was you I knew this truth that I’d get here somehow This is better than any place I’ve been before…

St. Francis

St. Francis of Assisi Patron saint of nature  Acrylic on windowpane  As part of an ongoing series of saints, I painted St. Francis for my parents. Francis is dressed in a simple tunic. His hair is patterned and his only “adornment,” since Francis led a humble lifestyle. As a patron saint of nature, a single…

St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas Acrylic on window pane As part of our Dutch tradition, every year we celebrate St. Nicholas Day. This is always on the 6th of December, St. Nicholas’ feast day, and tradition dictates that children leave notes in their klompen (Dutch wooden shoes) of their Christmas lists for St. Nicholas. I love this tradition. Every…

St. Augustine of Hippo

St. Augustine of Hippo Doctor of Grace Acrylic on window pane As we near Epiphany, I thought I’d share one of my favorite projects—a Saint Series I did for my parents, presenting them with a saint painted on a window for the last few years. (Windows are often a symbol in art of spiritual illumination…

Los Lobos, The Wolves.

Los Lobos, The Wolves. Monterrey Acrylic on canvas (24in x 40in)  We took a family trip to Monterrey and I could not get over this view. This is my place. If I could live anywhere for the rest of my life—Monterrey, California. In the heat of August, it’s 60 degrees. The ocean is mysterious and…

Hay in a Needlestack

Eloise creeped carefully down the hallway, her small feet filling the width of each board as she avoided the cracks. She could hear the thump, thump, thump of Lady Gladdis searching the halls. Frantically, Eloise ran into the library looking for a place to hide. In swift movement she ran and ducked behind the couch….

Sandcastles

This was Simon’s year. He was going to win the sandcastle competition. He’d done hours of research (dating back to the ancient days of sand painting), perfecting his style (gothic probably) and technique (drip method, perhaps?). He could hardly sleep last night out of excitement. It was the fifth annual competition and he would emerge…

Calling It Off First 

thanks for calling it off first even though it really hurt and all those red flags that were blinding me showed it would never work

We Were Different People Then

Meet me at the corner Of lonely and depressed Where indecisiveness Never seems to rest   Meet me in the dark When the world stops to sigh Where you read the wrong thing When you look me in the eye   Meet me in the silence When the neighborhood is sleeping When the stars are…

Inevitable

  I didn’t get a chance to be your lover and you could hardly even say that we were friends and what we found when we were finally together well it was always inevitable   and I can’t say that it was all a waste of time but there are nights i don’t replay in…

St. Raphael

St. Raphael Patron Saint of the blind, healers, physicians Acrylic on window pane For my father, the optometrist. His favorite—Saint Raphael—depicted with blue wings for water and a fish from the story of him healing the Earth (he’s also often depicted with fish. His favorite hymn is also Be Thou My Vision. So St. Raphael…

Frida

Frida Kahlo Oil acrylic on window pane An abstract painting of Frida Kahlo on a window. Her portrait was painted on the front of the window with oil acrylic and the backside of the window is a blue/mint color, giving dimension. This is based off a photo taken of Frida Kahlo looking down. I love…

Right next to me 

“She could’ve sat next to anyone in that meeting today and you know what she did she came in and sat right down next to me. Right there!” – middle aged man to three friends eating at italian restaurant 

The View from Home

The View from Home Oil on canvas (24in x 48in) This is an abstract expression of the view of my parent’s backyard. I grew up looking at this scene, so when I moved away I painted it as I remembered it: brightly glowing after a Missouri storm.  

Old Time Revival: Square Dancing in Fayetteville

  FAYETTEVILLE–A few years ago I met a poet, which should’ve been a sign because every good epic starts with a poet. His name is Willi Goehring. We got to talking and sharing poetry on the cool Monday night in the fall. I’d been watching him from over the top of my computer, swinging my…

Sufjan’s Soliloquy

I  took an extended weekend up to Kansas City with the Tribe of Jones to see Sufjan Steven’s in concert Tuesday. This was my second Sufjan concert, the first being four years ago during his “Age of Adz” tour. The concert was fantastical. Stevens played the entire two hours to a full house, playing his…

How Did We Get Here?

To missed calls Maybe laters Separate cars Where your twitter feed is the only way I know about your day

I. Territory

Stella was busy today, with lots of things to do and bills and work and people to call. But she liked being busy. She stepped out of the agency to grab a bite to eat from the gyro truck down the street. She walked on with a determined air and big steps in her high…

II. Paranoia

She’d be reading in her chair, or snuggled up in bed watching tv. There’d be a knock at the door and she’d wonder who was at this odd hour. She wouldn’t be scared that it’s an axe murderer because for some reason she just knew it wasn’t. And so she’d get up and walk to…

Walking Home

1. Walk through the tall iron gate, to the edge of the cobblestone. Look up before you cross. Place phone in pocket. Make eye contact with the driver. Cross with dignity and grace. Like you’re Kate Middleton. Because she’s always got somewhere to be. 2. Slight left and up one, two, three concrete steps. Pass…

Cluttered Up Claire

Cluttered Up Claire
Was worse for the wear
As she dragged all her likes through the air . . .

How the Snow Began

Come and listen to the tale of how the snow began how the stars turned night to white and fell into your hand     From her perch on top of her hut in her little Alaskan village, Ila stared into the northern night, tracing the stars with her fingertips.  She could taste the salty…

Knew to Love You Better

Wrote this for my sister a while ago, but can’t find the journal with original lyrics and chords, so still working it out. ——————— G, C, D (1) This house is bare and lonesome We used to fill it with our harmonies But I haven’t heard your voice in weeks in weeks Kept waiting for you…

Red Moon

An ode to our sweet countryside ——————— in G progression or C, D, Em7, A   Howl at the red moon As stars burn to morning blaze Count not the hours Count, no count not the days Following dancing rivers Chasing setting suns Until we reach, until we reach that ocean side   Chorus: Oh…

A man to his friend

“I mean, she likes hanging out. And she’s very well dressed. I think she is wealthy because she lives in Overland Park. Have you ever been with a Chinese girl?”

Say Something

Realism is minute; it is the drama of a broken teacup, the tragedy of a walk down the block, the excitement of an afternoon call, the adventure of an invitation to dinner. -Frank Norris,  A Plea for Romantic Fiction (1901)   “Can I sit here?” she asked, blue eyes batting. He looked up, “of course.”…

Mother and daughter

I’m not letting you wear that. But mom it comes over like this. I can get it in a size bigger. You’ll fall out of it. No. But you said pick whatever makes me feel comfortable and I feel comfortable in this. You look ridiculous. But I like it! No.

Apple Store

Him: “I think that lady needs some help.” Her: “You gonna go talk to her?” “I think I might have to.” “Does she look like she’ll buy?” “I don’t know…. hundred bucks says I can get her to.” “Ha! I don’t have a hundred…. I have a dollar.” “How bout a coffee?”

Baltimore

You were a boy from California who fell in love with a girl She hailed from these Ozark hills We were wary travelers searching for the greater good and time, it stood, still   And we talked for hours over whiskey sours  about Jesus and our families  You had your heritage  but you could not…

I’ll Send You My Résumé

Profile  I need a job. One that is respectable and puts me on a good track of what my parents deem “gainful employment.” Please, just hire me. Experience  Yes. Education Yes. Skills Yes. References Trust me.

The Tea Cup Collector, an allegory.

Every once in a while I get in a creative mood where I write children’s stories to vicariously solve or explain my recent problems. Children’s stories just make everything better. Maybe someday there will be illustrations. Enjoy! —————————————– The Tea Cup Collector, an allegory.  —————————————– Once there was a little girl named Lee. She collected…

You Are What You Drink

Mumbled voices brewing conversation, filling tall ceilings with talk of plans and hearts and disappointments and she-said-that!s and the occasional eruption of laughter.  Whispers bounce off red brick walls. Coffee machines hiss as puffs of steam curl in clouds. A husky aroma fills the air. A mix of caramel syrups and Colombian blend. Mis-matched chairs…

The Vision

Rows and rows of sleeping heads were resting in scratchy, blue and fluorescent purple seats. The hum of the bus rolled on, a deep rumbling, like an old man’s snore. He slept next to me, or at least he was pretending to. He picked up his arm and twisted and turned until it found its…

Grandad

A snippet from Wakefield Christmas. At the theologian’s table. On church growth. “You know where this all got started–when churches decided to take down that ‘attendance today’ sign. When we remodeled the church in —- somehow that sign got misplaced. People are lookin’ all over for that sign. I got asked ‘where’d that sign go?’…

Why Tigers Are Orange

Once upon a time there was a tiger named Purple. Her name was purple because back then all the tigers had a different colored coat, and they named the color of their coat, and that color was their name. This is how all the colors came to be. Anywho. Purple had a best friend named…