Today is Palm Sunday…a day of celebration and joy. So, for the blog today, I would like to celebrate the accomplishments of women over 50. I am constantly inspired and encouraged by all of the different “big” things women over 50 are doing, and maturity and age just make their abilities better. Today, I would like to introduce to you an amazing woman who is non-stop with her talent and drive…my sister-in-law, Mary Lynn. If you have children or grandchildren, you will want to know what she is up to.
I actually first met Mary Lynn when she sang at my wedding in my brother’s band…but she would go on the marry him and join our family. She is an accomplished musician and really should’ve been singing on Broadway…an amazing theater voice that can boast a ballad like no other.
But, she would go on to inspire others through teaching music and now has exciting plans to do even more. I am going to introduce her to you in a Question & Answer session here.
First of all, tell us a little bit about you:
I was born and raised in Ottawa, Kansas. My grandparents and parents were educators. My grandfather, Roy Browning, Sr. (Grandpa Doc), husband of Elva Ward Browning (who wrote The Lighted Trail), was head of the Education, History and Placements Departments at Ottawa University. My “Grandma Doc” was a former schoolteacher who taught the Menninger Bible Study Course for 40 years. My father was an elementary principal for 26 years, having taught 6th grade for many years prior to his moving to administration. My mother began as 4th grade teacher, taught Middle School music, and finished her career as a high school English teacher.
I am the mother of five children, three girls and two boys. I have one granddaughter and 3 grandsons and I am praying for more!!!!
When do you first remember loving music?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love music. My mother played the piano and organ and my father loved (still loves) listening to the great music of the Big Band Era – particularly Glen Miller! My mother had me in piano lessons by the age of 6, but I sang in my first public “appearance” at the age of 4. I loved singing. By the time I was 12, I was accompanying myself at summer camp. That camp performance led to an invitation to sing for Kansas City Youth For Christ, which dominated my junior high and high school years as I performed at rallies and on television.
It was while attending Ozark Bible College, in Joplin Missouri, that I wrote my first composition for a music theory class. I will never forget being called into my professor’s office where for the very first time I was told that I should be writing. I credit her to this day for inspiring me to write meaningful music for children.
What are your personal goals over 50?
100? Seriously, with the grace of God, I hope to enjoy a very long life as my mother, grandmothers, great grandmothers, and even great-great grandmothers lived. Years ago I developed my own philosophy of education: the three “Ns” (Similar to the three “R” – reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic). My goal is to continue to “n”courage, “n”lighten, and “n”spire as many children as I am fortunate enough to reach. I hope to leave a love of God, a love of music, and a love of self for those with whom I work, whether through school, church, or theater.
What legacy would you like to leave your grandchildren?
My prayer is that “The Lighted Trail” will be a legacy to my grandchildren as my grandmother’s book has been for me. I also want them to follow their hearts, follow their dreams and seek guidance through prayer. I want them to know the joy of a life lived in gratitude.
Tell us the story of Lighted Trail? How did it happen and where is it now?
My grandmother’s book was self-published in 1955. I remember my mother reading the stories to my brother and I at bedtime when we were very young and I grew up with the understanding of a Savior who loved me and died for me.
I asked my grandmother if she would allow us use her book as the foundation for a children’s Bible story series. We were thrilled to receive her blessing to use her written stories as well as the title of her book.
Following a series of “coincidences” and much prayer, Chuck & I felt the time had come for us to seriously work towards completing the project we had discussed for many years.
We have completed the stories and sketch outlines for 45 episodes. We are nearly done with the 45 original songs that will reinforce the message of each episode. We have outlined the stories for at least 3 more years worth of material.
We have completed educational “pop-up” material for each of the original 45 episodes, and we have selected the photographs for them as well.
All characters as puppets have been designed and we have background templates for the puppet segments.
Most importantly, we have been working with our amazing Executive Producer, Martha Datema Lipscomb, the International Creative Developer for Barney, and she has been helping us throughout this creative process.
At this time, we need to raise $190,000.00 to complete a pilot or proof of concept. We have several interested parties who require this from us in order to proceed to full production.
If anyone wants to be a part of the project what do they do?
We welcome anyone to visit our web site and learn more about our project concept. We do welcome donations. We have a paypal option for those who would like to help us reach our goal at www.thelightedtrail.com
You may also contact us through the website.
I have heard the music she has written for this project and it is fabulous…songs children will love and sing throughout their lives. Yes, I am helping them to get the word out…because I believe in a need for this type of programming and in the team behind it. She inspires me to want to do more…and I so hope to see this available one day for my grandchildren.
Enjoy Your Day and Keep Smiling!!
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