Writer, Christian, SEO/Social Media Marketer, Book Reviewer, Deaf and Loud.

Tag Archives: Music

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Image Credits: PursueGod.org

Today I read chapters 9-10 of 1 Corinthians. There were several parts of chapter 10 that really stood out to me. The first verse that caught my attention was one that I have previously highlighted and it is 1 Corinthians 10:21 which states, “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakes of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.” What this verse means is we have to be careful who we choose to spend our time with, what activities we decide to partake in, and really what we VALUE in this world. Do we value God or do we value man? You can have God or the world, but you can’t have both things.

This reminds me a lot of the Jeremy Camp song, “Give Me Jesus”. I saw Jeremy Camp perform a phenomenal show at Living Waters church in Burlington last weekend and the words really stayed with me in this song in particular. The words of this song are very simple and it works. Perhaps that was Camp’s point even – to strip the song of the bare necessities – Jesus. The chorus simply states, “Give me Jesus. Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus. You can have all this world, Just give me Jesus” (Camp). If you’re a Christian and you are truly saved and truly choose to follow God and to live in Christ, that’s all you need in the world. When we die and go to heaven nothing here on Earth is going to matter; the only thing that matters is our love and belief in Christ.

Here is a lyric video featuring Jeremy Camp’s “Give Me Jesus”. Thanks to iamSB for posting it on YouTube!

Another passage that stood out to me was 1 Corinthians 10: 26 which states, “For the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” God created this earth and everything on it including all of mankind. We need to honor God in all that we do and remember to whom we belong. This ties in with verse 31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” As Christians and disciples of God we need to consider our actions and how we live our lives and the things we choose to partake in each day. Are we glorifying and honoring God? Do our actions show us as being God’s people? Can everyone see Christ in us?

1 Corinthians 10 concludes with verse 33 which states, “Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”  It is important for us to live Godly lives and to act in a way and to live in a way that is god-pleasing and god-honoring so that people will see Christ in us so that we may reach those who are not saved and to help to bring them to Christ. This doesn’t mean we have to be perfect; we will never be perfect. It just means that we will strive to be the people that God created us to be and that people will see Christ in us and be so inspired by our lives and the way we live in Christ, that they will be compelled to follow Christ, too.

The controlling values of 1 Corinthians 10 might look something like this:

Purpose: We must reject the world to follow God.

Context: Following the world will cause us to sin, commit idolatry, and separate us from God.

The opposing controlling values may look like this:

Purpose: Following the world will give us more opportunities and grant us higher status among society.

Context: Chasing materialistic worldly things can never fully satisfy us; only the love and grace of a savior can fulfill us.

Actually, looking at that again now after letting it sit, perhaps the opposing controlling value may be:

Purpose: If we don’t follow the world, we will be missing out.

Context: Following the world closes the door on God where we will receive better gifts than what the world can give us.

Am I living a Christ-focused life? I want to think yes, but to be honest, this is something I need to work on. Attending a public university and juggling my Master’s courses with teaching and working full time can be a challenge. I am guilty of putting God on the backburner so I can do all of these other things when in reality God should always be my priority. When people look at me and my life, is God the first thing that comes to mind? I’d like to think so, but I can’t help but think they see me as being a student or a social media marketer first and a Christian second. I need to fix this.

These verses really touched me today because 1. I need to get back to reading my Bible on a daily basis and not just immersing myself in his word, but LIVING his word and living for Christ and not the world. Also, 1 Corinthians 10:33 reminds me so much of my mission statement and what I want to accomplish in life; to please God. I am writing a novel not for my own gain and not for my audience’s gain, but for the glory of God. Everything that I do in life is for God’s glory and to honor and serve him and to share his love and his word with others. This is something that is so easy to forget and something I need to be reminded of. When I grow tired and when I question my work and why I am doing this, I remember him. None of this is for me, it’s all for him and I am exactly where God wants me to be doing the things he wants me to do for him.


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Image Credits: Joseph AlvaricoImage Credits: Joseph Alvarico

Hey guys! Happy Monday! I don’t usually use those two words together, but I’m really loving my new job and I look forward to the start of a new work week, so it is indeed a happy monday (even though I’m incredibly tired…)

I left off on day 25 of the 30 Day Writing Challenge. This is a fun one: Write About 4 Weird Traits You Possess. So here it goes:

1. I frequently mispronounce words. This is weird when you take in consideration how much I love words. I read all the time and I am a writer by nature. I’m very good with writing words…just not actually saying them. I think this is because I was born with profound hearing loss…approximately 97% deaf.For the first 24 years of my life I really couldn’t hear most words. I learned words primarily from reading them and took a guess at how they were pronounced or how they were suppose to sound. Apparently I’m not very good at guessing…

2. I can’t read anything if there’s music playing or people talking. This trait I really developed after getting my cochlear implants. Now that I can hear sounds and understand them, I cannot focus on a task at hand especially if it requires reading while people or talking or music is playing. I can either listen to a conversation/the radio or read, but I cannot do both at the same time. I’m great at multitasking, which makes this weird. I guess that reading and listening require so much of my energy that it makes it impossible for me to do both at once. This is when I feel the most fortunate to have the ability to turn off all sounds in life. Whenever I want to read and people are talking or music is playing, I take my magnets off and tune out the world. Rude? Usually lol. But oh well, people will get over it. 🙂

3. I love hoagies…but only if I make them. Even though I’ve lived in South Jersey my entire life, I never quite “got” what the big deal with WaWa was. I hate their hoagies. In all honestly though, it’s not just WaWa. I hate just about any pre-made hoagie from any given place. I hate American hoagies. I hate Italian hoagies. Roast beef hoagies freak me out because the meat is never cooked enough. I can tolerate turkey or tuna hoagies…but I hate the cheese they put on them which annoys me. I’d much prefer to make my own hoagies. I love them when I make them. My hoagies usually contain combinations you’d never find on a menu. Here are two of my “signature” hoagies: Olive and munster cheese (this one is pretty simple) and the one that everyone laughs at me for when I order it from Carmen’s deli? An extra spicy one. And by extra spicy I  mean this is what it contains: hot capicola, buffalo chicken, pepper ham, and pepperjack cheese. What can I say? Some like it hot!

4. I only wear eyeshadow if it matches my clothes. I really love makeup, but I’m not very good at applying it. I’m also not very good at understanding it. I think you’re supposed to use eyeshadow that matches your eyes and your skin tone. I never understood that. How the heck am I supposed to know how to match my eyes/skin tone? What fun is that? I much prefer to match my eyeshadow with my clothes. If I’m wearing blue, I have on blue eyeshadow. Today I wore a tan skirt so I had on brown eyeshadow. Tomorrow I’m probably wearing black and white, so I’ll wear neutral eyeshadow (only because I don’t have white and that’s the next best thing). I think it’s more fun that way. Everyone tells me I’m weird for doing that though. Oh well. Like I care.

Do any of you guys share these same weird traits? Which one(s)? What are four weird traits of your own?


Happy Friday! How are you guys doing today? I just received medical clearance for my new job at Penn Medicine so I’m pretty great! A little tired and sore though since I had to get a vaccine for chicken pox a few hours ago, but still in great spirits.

Today is day 20 of the 30 day writing challenge. For day 20 I’m instructed to put my music player on shuffle and write about my reactions for the first 3 songs that come up. I have to admit that today’s challenge makes me a little bit sad. I can’t put my iPod on shuffle because I lost and/or had it stolen from me about a year ago and never found it or got it back. I had an iPod classic with a few thousand songs on it that I used every day and really loved it. Since it’s a discontinued product I can’t just go to a store and buy it easily and prices online for it (even used) have skyrocketed since it’s been discontinued. I am planning to buy one off Amazon or something eventually, I just have some other higher priority expensive items to buy first. So for now I’ve been using Pandora in lieu of my iPod. I put all of my Pandora stations on Shuffle. Here were the results:

  1. Christina Perri – A Thousand Years

    I really like this song. Christina Perry has a really beautiful voice and seems really down to earth. It bothers me that this song was from a Twilight movie though. Christina Perri is so much better than that. This isn’t my favorite song from her (Jar of Hearts is probably my favorite), but I still enjoy this song. She’s really talented.

  2. Casting Crowns – Glorious Day

    Casting Crowns is probably my 2nd favorite band (Good Charlotte is my #1 still). I really love this song. It’s not my favorite of theirs (I really love “Broken Together”, “Thrive” and my favorite is probably “Just Be Held”, but I do like this one. It’s more positive and puts me in a good mood.

  3. Blondie – One Way Or Another

    Blondie is one of the first bands I’ve ever listened to. When I was a little kid I listened to Blondie all the time. I’ve always liked this song, but it’s never been my favorite. I still like it a lot though. I think it’s an anthem for woman to be a little tough or “badass”. I don’t know. I always felt kind of badass listening to it, but that could just be because I started listening to this song when I was like, 4.

 

What are your thoughts on these 3 songs? Which is your favorite? Out of all 3 of these songs, Casting Crowns’ “Glorious Day” is probably mine. What’s playing on your media player?


beats-executive-over-ear-headphonesImage Credits: Beats By Dre 

I’ve always been a huge fan of music. Over the past 11 years I’ve seen at least 15-20 different shows with plans to add to the list this March when I see The Ataris in Philly. However, I have a 90 db hearing loss which sometimes makes it difficult to really hear the music especially when played at home on devices such as my iPod or my laptop. Frequently, it sounds like a bunch of garbled noise and I have to concentrate very hard on the lyrics to even be able to decipher who the artist is and what song is playing.

I heard about how headphones have changed over the years. I was intrigued by how they might work for a deaf/hearing impaired user. My main issues are high frequency and clarity. I wondered if the headphones could help to correct my issues or if they would merely amplify the sounds. I heard so much about Beats By Dre, and when I saw the high price of them I knew there must be a reason for them being so expensive.

I tried many kinds of headphones over the years. I usually just purchase cheap ones from 5 Below or Target. I preferred ones that could fold for easy storage. I tried a pair of my Dad’s Sony headphones before. They weren’t much better than my cheap 5 Below ones though. They were better for him, but for me as a hearing impaired (legally deaf) individual there was no difference.

A few months ago I reached out to Beats by Dre directly through a contact form on their website. I asked them if they knew anything about whether their product was good for deaf/hoh users but they weren’t really sure. They advised me to try them out in the stores that have them on display. I took their advice and tried all of the different models several times at several different stores.

I noticed that the most popular, cheaper options the Studio ones were significantly better than the cheap headphones I was used to hearing. I could hear sounds I never heard before. I continued trying them out and found that the Beats Studio ones, while a bit more expensive, were significantly better than the Studio ones. Well worth the extra $100 or so they cost. The Executive ones were priced the same, but I thought they had just a slightly better sound quality. One of the biggest differences between the Executive and Studio ones was the way they fit over my ears. With my old headphones I always had to take my hearing aids out prior to using them so that A. I could hear the music better and B. They didn’t make my hearing aids whistle. I was able to fit the Executive ones over my hearing aids comfortably and could still hear the music very clearly. With the Studio ones there was a slight amount of whistling though.

Today I purchased the Executive headphones for approximately $300 from Radio Shack. I know most people probably think I’m insane for spending $300 on a pair of headphones, but these were honestly one of the best purchases I ever made. I would pay $500 for them I think. They were well worth every penny I spent. I’m hearing the music in a completely different, better, more enjoyable way. I can hear every word that is sung. I can hear the bass, the rhythm, the beat in ways I never could before. I listened to Yellowcard’s “23”, a song I’ve heard about a million times t least in the decade that it’s been out and it sounded like a completely different song to me. I almost cried because I was just so completely blown away by the quality. If you’re a hearing impaired music over, then you really NEED these headphones.  You will not be sorry.

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Here I am wearing my new Executive Beats By Dre!

I only wish that Beats By Dre would develop a hearing aid of the same capabilities now. Being able to hear people in everyday conversation the way I can now hear my music would be amazing.

Do you own a pair of Beats By Dre? If so, what are your thoughts on them? If not, would you consider buying a pair?


 

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Image Credits: Get Sparked

I’ve been on a pretty good writing kick as I continue on my first draft of my young adult novel about teenage depression/suicide. I usually get between 1,000-2,500 words in each day. The first four chapters seemed to come naturally to me. I had no problem with finding the inspiration and coming up with topics to discuss in my novel. However, once I hit chapter 5 writer’s block struck and I had no clue what to write. I know the  general direction I want my novel to go in and how I want it to end, but I struggled to figure out where to go next or which steps to take to get to the end. I’m only about 13,500 words in…way too soon to end it! Plus there are still many questions/issues to address before reaching the final conclusion!

One thing that helped me beat my writer’s block was music. As a teenager (and even to this day) I was absorbed by music. What I listened to depended largely on what I felt. Most of my favorite musicians and songs were my favorite because of the lyrics and the messages they gave me. I feel as though their is a song for every emotion/time period of my life.

My novel centers primarily along the themes of teenage depression/suicide. The teens in my novel are bursting with tons of emotion. Music is a way they can tell each other and readers what they are feeling without having to actually say it. I was also able to incorporate music directly into the plot of my novel. One way I was able to do this was by creating two working playlists for two of my characters…my main character, Rachel, and her crush/friend James. I gave Rachel considerably more songs since she is the novel’s central character and it is told in her view where you get to see ALL of her thoughts, feelings, and emotions on a first-hand basis. I will post the playlists along with videos below, but to keep from spoiling anything I will not explain further. Feel free to post your reactions/possible predictions to the songs I choose in the comments!

Rachel’s Playlist:

1.      Demi LovatoSongs

  •  SkyScraper
  • Trainwreck
  • Warrior
  • Give Your Heart a Break


2. Selena Gomez Songs:

  • Tell Me Something I Don’t Know
  • Who Says

Sick Of You

3.  Black Vile Brides Songs

  • Perfect Weapons

We Stitch These Wounds

4. Bullet For My Valentine

  • A Place Where You Belong


5. Palisades

  • Outcasts
  • Immortal


6. Twenty One Pilots Songs

  •  Forests
  • Kitchen Sink

James’s Playlist:

1. These Hearts

Friends Don’t Let Friends Die Alone

2. Bullet For My Valentine Songs

  • All These Things I Hate
  • Curses
  • Pretty on the Outside
  • The End

3. System of a Down Songs

  •  Chop Suey
  • Toxicity
  • Aerials
  • Lonely Day
  • Question

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Image Credits: Muse Online 

Okay, so here’s the thing: I’m in the middle of job searching and an opportunity to be Editor and Chief at Rolling Stone Magazine pops up on my LinkedIn. They say they want 7 years of experience. I’m a recent college grad. My English and Writing Arts Bachelor’s degrees aren’t even 6 months old yet and I still work a lousy retail job as I anxiously wait to land that first big writing/editing/social media job. 

But this is my DREAM job. I wrote mock cover letters/resumes for it back in AP English when I was in high school. No other job even compares to this one. I can’t just pass it up. I have to at least try. 

Wasn’t Walt Disney the one that said, “If you dream it you do it”? Well, this is my dream. This is my big dream. If I dream it I can do it, right? Maybe not now, but one day.

Walt-Disney-Dream-Quote

Image Credits: Positive Life Quotes

For now it can’t hurt to try. What’s the worst that can happen, they say no like the 50 others places I applied to have already? This is a chance worth taking, my friends.

For those of you who are curious, here is the cover letter I sent begging for a chance at my dream job:

Kimberly Erskine
(phone number omitted here)
kimerskine3@gmail.com

Rolling Stone
Allison Elfenbein
HR Generalist at Wenner Media

Dear Ms. Elfenbein:

I am writing to you in regards to the open Editor and Chief position for Rolling Stone Magazine. I heard about this job posting through LinkedIn.com and immediately filled with excitement because this is my number one dream job. It seems like just yesterday I was making mock resumes/cover letters in my AP English class to send to Rolling Stone. I still have those cover letters and resumes, but even more than that, I still have the dream of one day, hopefully soon, seeing my name listed as Editor and Chief for Rolling Stone magazine.

I believe that honesty is the best policy in all aspects of life, but especially when it comes to my career. It is important to remain as professional, honest, and respectful as possible. I will be honest with you now: I do not have the 7+ years of experience required for this job. I am a recent college graduate from Rowan University. I have a newly issued BA in Writing Arts, a second BA in English, and a Concentration in Creative Writing. There are other applicants that will have twice as much experience as I do. Some may even be OVER qualified for this job. It is my hope that by some miracle you are willing to give me a chance. Others may possess more experience, but I possess the dream and the desire, passion, and will to succeed. I have the ability to learn new skills and to bring my already established skills to Rolling Stones to help the magazine remain one of the most popular magazines in the world.

I believe that despite my lack of experience I have what it takes to succeed at Rolling Stone. Some people get excited when they see or hear about their favorite celebrity winning a Grammy or an Emmy. That’s how I feel when my favorite celebrity graces the cover of Rolling Stone. I always viewed Rolling Stone magazine as being on top of the world in regards to other entertainment/pop culture magazines. As Editor and Chief of Rolling Stone magazine I would work diligently to bring that sense of passion and excitement across to my readers.

I am always up to date on the latest pop-culture and entertainment news and trends. I am a keen listener and I pay attention to specific details and feedback from others. I would use these skills to ensure effective coverage of important and breaking news stories for Rolling Stone’s readers. I would listen to their feedback and take it in consideration when making major decisions for the magazine such as which stories to assign, story placement, cover story ideas, and more.

I thank you for taking the time to read my cover letter and resume and pray that you will give me a chance to make my dreams come true and succeed at Rolling Stone magazine. It would be a pleasure to work with you and the rest of the staff of talented writers, editors, photographers, etc. doing what I am the most passionate about. I hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,

Kimberly Erskine


Sean-Forbes-Deaf-Rapper

Image Credits: Media Dis & Dat

I recently discovered deaf rapper, Sean Forbes after being referred to him by my older sister. After hearing about 10 seconds of his song “I’m Deaf“, I immediately fell in love. I wrote a long letter and in my letter I explain just what makes me love Sean and his music so much. I’d really love to hear back from Sean as he is such a huge inspiration to  me and I’d love to hear more of his story. You can view my letter to Sean Forbes below:

Sean-Forbes-Im-Deaf

Image Credits:AfroJacks.com

Dear Sean:

I have recently discovered your music after being referred to you by my older sister, Noel. Noel saw a story done about you on Fox News and immediately informed my dad about you, telling him that he had to tell me to give you a listen. My sister was interested in your music because she’s a huge fan of Eminem. Anyone that Eminem endorses, she endorses. When she heard that you were being signed by a label that helped Eminem get his record deal she knew that you must be great. More than being a fan of your music, my sister was immediately hooked on your story and inspired by the way you overcame your obstacles with being deaf to become an accomplished rapper.

Even though I am not a rapper or any form of a musical artist, I can relate to your story well. I am legally deaf (I have a 90+ dB hearing loss) but consider myself a member of the hard of hearing community rather than the deaf community because I have never learned sign language and I operate with the hearing world. I am inspired and in awe of you for going to college, getting your engineering degree, and becoming a famous musician even when everyone seemed to turn their backs on you and not believe in your ability to succeed.

Just like you’ve known from a young age you wanted to be a musician, a career that many people don’t think the deaf are capable of having, I knew from a young age what I wanted to do, and it too was in a field that many people don’t think the deaf/hard of hearing are capable of succeeding in; I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer.

Many people have the misconceptions that those who suffer from hearing loss will never be able to read, speak, write, or hear music. You’ve defeated the odds with your music. I don’t make music, but I am in love with it. I’m currently listening to some Pink Floyd and I will be ordering your album and listening to it on repeat in the very near future.

I’ve defeated the odds in my own ways, too. I never listened to anyone that told me I was “deaf and dumb” or incapable of success. When I was younger I would read everything in sight, something that I still do to this day. I took an interest in writing from an early age and published my first poem when I was just 10 years old. I have recently graduated from Rowan University with two bachelor’s degrees, one in Writing Arts and another in English along with a concentration in Creative Writing. I also graduated as a member of the Lambda Pi Eta Communications honor society. I have previous work experience in the fields of writing, social media, and editing. I am looking to expand those skills into a full time position now. I never listened to anyone that told me I couldn’t succeed as a writer due to my hearing. You know how you’re extremely passionate about music and use it as a way to express yourself? That’s me and my writing. Words are a very important way for me to communicate. I can’t always hear verbal communication, but I can always read words and write my own.

Sean, you’re very inspiring to me and I’m so glad that you’ve followed your dreams and are really making it big now as a musician. You’ve had all of the odds against you, but you’ve beaten them all. I can’t begin to tell you how refreshing it is to see a deaf musician redefining music and showing people that yes the deaf community listens to and loves music, too! I love your song “I’m deaf” for helping to bring awareness to the deaf community and I also love your song “Def Deaf Girls” for the way you show appreciation and respect to deaf girls. The deaf community is often times ostracized from the rest of society and made out to be a weird little community of people. You’re here to show the world that those views are wrong. It’s like that quote from Frederick Schreibert, “The deaf can do anything the hearing can do except hear.” I think you and I are both living proof of that.

Def-Deaf-Girls-Sean-Forbes

Image Credits: YouTube

I was sad to see on your website that you don’t have an upcoming tour dates for the Philadelphia area. I would really love to see you perform and/or hear you speak in the future. I’d really love to have the opportunity to meet you as well. I am not currently in school, but I’ve considered trying to talk to some people at Rowan University (my alma mater) to see if they could try to book you for an appearance. If I ask maybe they’d let me attend since I’m alumni and all. I was also wondering, if it’s not too much, could I please receive an autographed photo or something? Anything you had would be amazing. I’d love to continue to share your story with others. It truly is inspiring.

Thank you so much for your time and more importantly, thank you for giving a voice (a very beautiful one at that!) to the deaf and hard of hearing community. I can’t wait to purchase your album and listen to it until I completely wear it out and I look forward to one day meeting you in the future and learning more about your story.

Thanks,

Kimberly Erskine
kimerskine3@gmail.com
www.kimberlyerskine.com



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