About El Momma

Friday, April 27, 2012

Home, next steps, family time and naming the record!


Family Fun with the Els
Coming home has been amazing. I've loved every second I've spent with my family. Especially the chaotic ones that remind me why I love being a mother and a wife and make me appreciate those brief moments of bliss and peace.
The first week I was home my littlest El- Leeland, was so sweet and clingy. Constantly asking me to hold him. "Hold you, Momma?" How can I resist that? But, he is over thirty pounds, so holding him while doing everything else can be a bit challenging. Making dinner, for example is nearly impossible. But, we've figured it out. This week he has asked me to hold him less and I think is feeling more and more confident that I'm sticking around.
Our daughter, Trinity, seemed to grow up a little while I was away. She says things like "actually" when correcting me. And, "perhaps" when suggesting an alternative way of doing something. She is delightful and I am so happy to spend so much time with her.
Maddux, our second oldest had pneumonia before I left for the first week. He was better before I left town and was able to attend school the entire time I was gone. This week, however, he seemed to be ill again and we confirmed a pretty serious ear infection at his doctor's office on Tuesday. So, he missed school. He is getting better now. But, we've had many breathing treatments and lots of prayers for our Maddux.
Bakri, our oldest, is doing great. He adjusted well to me being gone, but he loves having me home. He is really opinionated on which songs he likes best. Loving certain lyrics or guitar parts and wanting to hear them over and over. It's fun. We had a field trip with his first grade class this week. He was awesome on his field trip. First graders are a little wild and kooky. What a fun and crazy age. His teacher promises me that they are not like that at school. Bakri was just happy to see the Birds and the California Sea Lions. He knows what he loves at the Houston Zoo.
Rebekah & Audrey
Being in Nashville and recording with my producer and friend, Marshall Altman afforded me so many amazing opportunities. One of those was the people I got to meet and the people I worked with. The musicians that played on the record are so unbelievably talented. I can't wait to share with you more about each of them and let you hear the amazing work they did on this record. I am really blown away!
In addition to amazing musicians working on my album, one of my favorite artists- Audrey Assad came by the studio on one of her days off from touring. http://audreyassad.com/desktop/
She was refreshing, smart and talked with me about my "project" telling me she couldn't wait to hear it as she headed out the door. Awesome. I became a fan of Audrey's after finding her through Marshall. He produced her first album- House You're Building and her most recent release- Heart. Both are amazing. Just listening to them would make any artist want Marshall Altman to produce their record. I'm just saying. :-) Oh, and, many of the musicians who played on "Heart" played on my record. Which, by the way, is still nameless. I think naming this record should be about the body of work as a whole. At least that's how I am feeling at the moment. And, I think having that as a title of a track on the record is even better. It reinforces the direction and my hope for others as they listen and hopefully encourage others to listen too. I'll get there soon. And, share it with you all.
Marshall Altman, Rebekah Maddux El-Hakam and Audrey Assad
Until then, keep looking up. And, keep knowing that I am eternally grateful to all of you who care about me and my family and this project that God has laid on my heart to share with many.
love,
Rebekah Maddux El-Hakam

Thursday, April 19, 2012

After 2 weeks in Nashville, here's my album update...family update to come later!


Dear Friends,
I just want to say 'thank you" again to all of you and give you a quick update on album production! I am home and enjoying being with my precious family this week.
I spent much of the last two weeks working and recording my debut album in Nashville with producer, Marshall Altman. It has been such an amazing experience so far and it wouldn't be happening without you. Thank you for your preorders, your support, your prayers and your friendship. I am so excited for all of you to hear this record!
If your preorder included a t-shirt, I'll be sending out an email to you requesting info soon. The album is still in production. We did three days of preproduction, 2 days of tracking with the band at the House of Blues studios, and 5 days of tracking lead vocals at the Galt Line Studios. Background vocals and more instruments are being tracked this week and in the next couple of weeks the tracks will go to be mixed by the sound engineer. He will spend an entire day mixing each song. A very detailed and necessary job! Once the mixing takes place we will have final approval before the tracks get "mastered." All this to say, the album will not be ready in April as we hoped when the kickstarter campaign began.
However, you will still receive the album before it is released to the public and available on iTunes. As soon as I have a firm date, I will update you with that.
Until then, I'll keep posting updates at www.rebekahme.com and I'll keep thanking God for you!
Love,
Rebekah
"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you" Philippians 1:3
Rebekah Maddux El-Hakam
Rebekah, vocal tracking
A funny moment...tracking vocals, day 4
Rebekah working with producer, Marshall Altman
the Galt Line, Nashville

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Home with the Els for Easter!


I returned home from Nashville for the weekend on Good Friday. I had the best weekend with my sweet husband and lovely babies. I put a few pictures here. But, basically my relaxing weekend went like this:
Landed in Houston on Good Friday
Husband and 2 children picked me up from the airport
Met Grandmother (my momma) and 2 youngest children to pick them up
Went to Minute Maid Park for Opening Day of the Astros
Stayed for Friday Night Fireworks!
Put all the tired ones to bed...
Saturday morning I cooked a giant breakfast- homemade pancakes, eggs, bacon, the works
Then, oldest Els had a tee-ball game with their dad and I had Easter worship rehearsal with the youngest Els.
After rehearsal and the game, we had a family lunch at Pappadeaux.
Then, playtime and family time at home mixed in with all the laundry for the week...which kind of piles up for 6 people. And, my in-laws came by to see the kids for Easter with baskets of Easter presents.
That evening, we had a wedding celebration dinner for our friends who were in town from Hawaii
The next morning was EASTER morning! So, the Easter bunny visited Saturday night and Trinity and I headed off to church at 730am, while the other children slept a little more.
Our church service started at 845. It was a beautiful celebration of Easter. He is risen! He is risen indeed! My parents- grandfather and grandmother and my sister, Aunt Melinda, joined us for the service and celebration.
Afterwards, there was a church family brunch, butterfly release in the courtyard and an Easter egg hunt.
We've hosted Easter for both of our families for the last three years. This year, because of my recording schedule, we couldn't host. I didn't have time to roll grape leaves on Saturday or make my house presentable for our large family. But, I feel really passionately about having Lebanese Lamb and Rice filled Grape Leaves on Easter. I also feel really passionate about tradition. Grape leaves are a middle eastern dish. The vine is a very significant point of imagery in the bible. Jesus said "I am the vine and You are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit." I just love this verse. Knowing that we are called to be the branches, bearing fruit, reaching out, making a difference.
So, while we were still with our church family, I started hearing this voice that said ,"Go to Phoencia and make grape leaves today." I'm not sure who was speaking, but I answered. As we left church, I leaned over to Moustapha and said ,"I want to make grape leaves today." So, we left church and he drove me to Phoenicia (which is now conveniently located downtown). I picked up everything I needed- ground lamb, lamb shanks, 2 16 oz. jars of grape leaves, lemons, green onion (I forgot mint), rice and I grabbed Labneh, fresh arabic bread and chick peas (to make fresh hummus for the week).
The kids had lunch at home and I spent the next 3 hours doing more laundry and rolling grape leaves. Our small family of 6 gathered around the table at 7pm that evening and we had the most amazing dinner. We celebrated, we prayed, we thanked God for Jesus and we loved on each other.  The truth is, I felt completely recharged when I returned to Nashville on Monday. Being with my husband and children and family and keeping busy all weekend didn't leave me feeling drained, but rejuvenated and excited to sing my heart out this week. So, that is what I am doing now. I am singing my heart out. I am Praising God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all week. What a blessed way to celebrate Easter!