In memory of my beautiful grandmama

My grandmother passed away this morning.

I’ve been wanting to say a few things, just to give you an idea of how wonderful she was.

She was my constant confidant and best friend.

Last year we did the Wobble together. No really—she asked me what it was and then insisted on me teaching her.

She was the best looking golfer on the course.

Furthermore, she won the award for best dressed grandma..she had a glorious and unmatched sense of fashion:
when skinny jeans, long shirts, and boots came in style she rocked it. She’s the reason I discovered the color orange….and most importantly, cheetah print.

Whatever she cooked was delicious. No one can make matzoh ball soup like my grandmama.

When I was younger, she would fix china, porcelain, and any other doll up for me. She restored dolls and sold them at a flea market, which was a big deal to me, as a little girl.

She was the only other person in my family who kept up with the bachelor and the bachelorette—which is an awfully entertaining topic at the Thanksgiving dinner table!

She knew what planking and owling was before I did.

She had a lovely taste in music, and insisted I sing “Summertime” at every concert she came to.

She always encouraged me to keep singing…and try out for American Idol…which we bonded over until the judges were swapped out.

She introduced me to Singing in the Rain…which we would constantly sing (in the rain, of course).

She kept a lock of my hair I gave her when I was little, because she loved my curls so much. I thought it would somehow help her grow curly hair.

I inherited her sweet tooth.

Sometimes she gave me the most ridiculous gifts in the world. For graduation, she gave me a dancing and singing stuffed chicken.

Speaking of gifts, any necklace or bracelet you’ve seen me wearing was probably a gift from my grandmama.

Did I mention she pulled off skinny jeans?

She believed in my dreams, simply because I dreamt them.

Faith in Humanity

When I was younger I had no problem looking people boldly in the eyes. Stranger or not, I could not dissuade from offering a smile—and sometimes, if you were lucky, even a snarky comment (children have no filter, remember?). In fact, I was so confident in my skills that it was a bit overwhelming.
There’s a beautiful period in life in which one cannot distinguish a stranger from an acquaintance, friend, or a loved one. It’s a brief dream, but all trust in humanity feels comforting. The world has not tarnished or maimed you, but leaves a lovely, refreshing taste on your tongue.
I reached about seven years old, and I was over it. I can clearly remember the exact event in which I lost all faith in strangers.
My parents had taken my brother and I to a local kid’s toyshop: ZainyBrainy. Yes, it was as vibrant, strange, and nerdy as it sounds. It was like the hipster version of Toys-R-Us, complete with a fully equipped learning center, Pokemon gaming tables, and, to my seven-year-old self’s impeccable delight—a fortress of Beanie Babies. I spent many hours of my childhood traversing ZainyBrainy for the perfect Beanie Baby with my kid brother, who was five years old at the time.
Upon walking through the door, I had lost my brother among a vast array of computer screens in the learning center. I assumed he was playing a video game, and went on my way. That’s the bliss of innocence: ignorance.
After picking out the ideal Beanie Baby (which was a long, extensive journey, trust me), I went to flaunt my prize to my brother. I found him playing a sports game on a decorated desktop near the back of the store. I tapped him insistently on the shoulder, saying something to the effect of: “that game suits you well” or “what a nice game!”
Michael turned around…except it wasn’t Michael.
Embarrassed and afraid, I sprinted the length of the store away from the mystery boy that was not my brother. And that was when it hit me: strangers are terrifying.
Needless to say, stranger danger was a pretty easy concept to my young mind. I was a shy kid after my brief shot at being a well-practiced, professional extrovert. I was very bookish—I even had those really wide-rimmed, round, wiry glasses.
Side note: being an introvert does not, by any means, translate to having lost faith in humanity…stick with me here.
Some us are completely stuck in that store, or that street crossing, restaurant, whatever—we’re still afraid to let down our guard and trust in our brothers and sisters.
Nothing should keep us from offering an open heart, translated through a friendly smile or casual wave.
Embarrassment. Grief. Distrust. Anxiety.
We, collectively as humanity, cannot deal with these things on our own.
Once we allow Christ to communicate to us through others, things begin to look a lot less bleak. God has ordained us with a purpose and place to carry out His work. He did not have to bless us with beautiful friends or family—it wasn’t an obligation or some natural right we conjured up…but He did.

“They might not need me; but they might. I’ll let my head be just in sight; a smile as small as mine might be precisely their necessity.”
-Emily Dickinson

Thirty Seven/Sixty music video release! (Iron Wing Live Episode 6)

So here is the culmination of the work I’ve been doing this summer. Iron Wing Studios is such an awesome place—I was so blessed to get the privilege of recording this video with Brandon Weaver there! To be a part of a series with so many talented musicians was incredible.

Furthermore, the music wouldn’t have been possible without the awesome work of Isaac Vining on drums, Caleb Schoberg on guitar, and Jonathan Class on bass guitar.

In a few weeks, I’ll be releasing the full version of the single on Noisetrade, for free! I recorded the single last year at Gaither Studios with the help of Jonathan Class.

So I hope you enjoy it, because I’ve got lots of music coming out for you soon!

If you check out Cincymusic.com they’re featuring the music video with a full-length interview–it’s pretty cool!

Have a blessed day friends. I appreciate you, so much.

Lately

I feel like now is an appropriate time to bring everyone up to speed on some exciting things happening in the very near future—as well as some past events I’ve neglected to reflect on. Plus, it has been awhile since you’ve gotten the chance to listen to me ramble. I apologize for the scattered thoughts and rabbit trails; sometimes I get a little too excited. Bear with me.

Last month I was asked to record a live video shoot at Iron Wing Studios, a place I always love coming back to. The video is a part of a series Brandon Weaver has been putting up YouTube, “Iron Wing Live”. I was blessed enough to have some fantastically talented friends join me on the project—Isaac Vining, Jon Class, and Caleb Schoberg. Brandon did amazing work on the video—it should be up in the next week! I won’t spoil the entirety of the video for you, but it’s going to be up on cincymusic.com, for starters.

Alright, aside from the dry rambling of poignant events, I also want to take a stab at rambling about my personal life. This summer I really got the opportunity to dive into the worship ministry—working in worship events at a youth camp, a mission’s trip in rural Kentucky, and my home church in Kettering, Ohio. Worship is something that really hasn’t translated into the whole of “Kristen Bennett Music” yet, but the effect of it is starting to creep in.

Also, I’ve been trying to tie-in a Non-Profit aspect to my live show. To explain the gist of that, Alycia Roby and I have been taking time to donate a good portion of what we make each night to Rapha House. Rapha House is out of Joplin, MO and works to fight against human sex trafficking and slavery. If you haven’t heard of the organization already, I would encourage you to check it out. They do some amazing work in partnership with IJM, something Alycia and I really want to support and rally behind. My dream has always been to run a music ministry that donates 100% of its profit to charity. Hopefully this is a step towards that (at least, in my mind it is).

This was quite a short post to be considered “rambling”, but you get the point. Enjoy the last dog days of summer, and hopefully I’ll see you around soon.

Titans of PS 271

Titans of PS 271 Kickstarter Campaign

I recently got an opportunity to have some of my music featured in an independent film! Take a minute to take out this Kickstarter campaign the movie, Titans of PS 271. You won’t regret backing this project! The couple behind the film have a genuine cause for reaching people through positive, family-friendly independent films. I am so excited to work with them as they further their ministry!

Joy

I miss the ocean.

I miss the sea breeze and the soft sand under my feet.

The Midwest usually offers a decent summer. The crisp summer sun comes out somewhere between May and June after the occasional spring shower. In July things start to get toasty and by the end of the month, Ohio gets humid.

It’s like a cesspool of condensation and frizzy hair.

Not that Florida is better; no, Florida is much more humid than the Midwest.

I’ve never appreciated humid sticky afternoons. Ever. It’s like conditioning yourself to like pit stains: it’s not going to happen.

“Beauty: the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind.” (Dictionary.com)

If you can uncover some beauty in a particular “person” or “thing” you can experience “pleasure”…which is often equated with joy.

It’s been reiterated many times: joy does not depend on one’s own personal happiness.

You don’t have to be happy to possess a spirit of joyfulness.

The condition of one’s health, the size of a bank account, and even the miles on a car doesn’t create a joyful spirit.

I’m not trying to condemn; happiness is definitely something to work towards.

But joy is something to relish every morning.

Joy is indispensible and constant—once one finds joy, he or she can treasure it eternally.