Behind the Music
MTL Note: With the release of their latest album Directions Home, Point of Grace offered MTL readers a behind-the-scene look at their project and shared some of their favorite Mother’s Day memories.
What is your favorite Mother’s Day memory?
Shelley: I loved my very first Mother’s Day as a mom. It really took on a new meaning with an 8-month-old little girl. I was tired and sleep deprived, but so happy and content! I’m pretty sure I got more Mother’s Day cards from friends and family that first year than I have ever since!!
Leigh: I don’t have ONE favorite…I have loved them ALL!! I love going back and reading all my old cards as well as my new ones. I love to watch the birthing videos as well as look back at my scrapbooks. Honestly, I am so grateful to be a mom. It’s the best gift and the greatest responsibility I could ever imagine.
Denise: I’m not sure it’s a favorite, but I will always remember my first Mother’s Day as a mom. We lived in this cute little house with a dirt basement. We were getting ready for church and I bought a cute new dress. My son Spence had his sweet little church clothes on. My husband Stu and I noticed a water sound coming from downstairs. We opened the door to the basement to find water gushing in the door. A main water line had broken on our street, and I guess our basement was the lowest point for the water to come. We had 8 feet of water in the basement. Needless to say, I didn’t get to go to church and stand up to get my rose when they asked all of the moms to stand up. It is a memory that I’ll never forget though.
Shelley: Yes! Probably the most consistent tradition was just a simple daily one—meal times are together times. I still don’t know how my mom worked and had an awesome dinner on the table for us every night, but she did. So now for us, it’s still the time that we connect as a family and talk about our day, just like when I was growing up. Meal times are pretty important in the Breen household, and not just because of the food!
Leigh: Absolutely!!! The love of music…It is the heartbeat of our home too! My mom always had a song on her lips and in her heart.
Denise: She would always put Bible verses on our mirror, refrigerator or in a lunch box. I didn’t always appreciate it as a teen, but I do that with my boys as well.
How do you stay connected with your pre-teen / teenagers?
Shelley: I try to give her breathing room and space to tell me things when she is ready. It’s against my nature to not bombard her with a million questions when she gets in the car after school—and I don’t succeed every day on that one. But most days I try to remember to just tell her how happy I am to see her and how glad I am she’s my daughter and that I missed her while she was at school. This sets the stage for her to feel loved and safe, and I normally don’t have to wait very long to hear what’s really going on in her life.
Leigh: I have been given some extraordinary parental advice, but the advice that has been extremely beneficial to me was from Henry Cloud. Henry encouraged parents to pray this prayer every day, “God connect me to the HEART of my child.” When we know the heart of our children, we will be better equipped to parent correctly. Knowing the heart of our children gives us insight to the REAL issue at hand.
Denise: Our family has what we call “Family Meetings.” We put a time designated on our schedule every couple of weeks. It is a time we make very laid back, but the purpose is to just check in with everyone. My boys love to eat, so we will go to a family favorite restaurant or get ice cream sometimes. But I’ve found that the best chance for me to talk to my teenage boys is to play catch with a baseball or football, or maybe shoot baskets in the driveway.
What is your favorite song on the album and why?
Shelley: I love “Directions Home.” Is it shallow to say because it’s the one Vince Gill sang on??
Leigh: Oh goodness, why do we have to have ONE favorite? Each song turned out beyond my wildest hopes. Instead of my favorite song, I would rather describe why each song is SO special to me: our producer Andy Leftwich and his wife and vocal arranger, Rachel Leftwich, the studio musicians, our special quests, Vince Gill and Ricky Skaggs, the choir on “Something in the Water,” Richie Biggs, Roger Ryan and Jeff Pitzer, our management team, Stuart Dill and Ceele Denise and of course, singing with my dearest friends Shelley and Denise. That is why ALL of the songs on the record are my favorite!!! The experience was so much fun!! We laughed, we cried, we ATE, we danced and we got to witness some of the best musicianship ever!!
Denise: The one I’m listening to at the moment. Just teasing. Seriously, that is a hard question for me to answer. They all have a different reason to be my favorite. If I have to choose, I would say “Life that’s Good.” It was the first song that we chose to record for this album. It is just such a “feel good,” “happy” song. Over the past few years, I had been walking through a bit of a dark season of life. Right now, life is just really sweet. It doesn’t mean that everything is perfect, but I am learning to be thankful and content in my moments. When people listen to this record, I want them to sense the peace that I’ve found in just walking daily next to Jesus.
How are the songs selected for the album?
Shelley: It’s very much a democracy. We try to be unanimous in our decisions. For a cover record, there were PLENTY of awesome songs out there that we could all get behind and agree on!
Leigh: Everyone had to bring in a list of top five cover tunes. This is how we got started. The challenge wasn’t choosing a song, instead which one were we NOT going to choose. The great thing about a “covers” record is that ALL the songs are already fantastic. I think this was why this particular record was so much fun. After hearing everyone’s song list, we came up with the first three songs to record. Once those songs were in place, we followed that same idea for the next meetings until we had our final 10. It was such a delightful way of doing things, I would be thrilled to do another one tomorrow.
Denise: After deciding that it would be fun to do a complete record of cover songs, we all went home to do some homework. Each of us were to come back with at least five songs that have inspired us for any reason. It could be lyrically, musically, a specific artist we love, or a season of life we were in when we first heard the song. It was a very fun process—a path down memory lane. When we got back together, we shared our thoughts. Some of those got immediate responses, others caused us to think of something even better. The two original songs, “Directions Home” and “Two Roads” were songs that we have kept in our files for several recordings but had never found their home on one of ours yet. This was the perfect record for both of them, and we couldn’t be happier that some of our favorite artists, Ricky Skaggs and Vince Gill, were willing to share their gifts with us.
What are your plans for touring?
Shelley: We are heading out on a tour this spring with Selah. We have about 20 cities on the books. After that, we will do a few shows this summer, but primarily we spend time at home with our kids when they are out of school. This coming fall, we are excited to be doing some one night Girls of Grace events, too!
Leigh: The tour [with Selah] is called, You Amaze Us. Find out if we are in your area and come join us. You will hear firsthand why this record is so WONDERFUL!!!
Denise: It is going to be a unique tour where we will collaborate a lot with [Selah]. Singing together will be a highlight for sure.