Love Every Moment
'I recorded this song in the Spring of 2002 for my dad, Jimm Larry Hendren. He had written it a year earlier in memory of my Papa, Harlon Phillips. Papa meant the world to our family, and this song helped us cope with his sudden passing. We had no idea it would touch so many others as well. Thank you, Dad, for writing such a powerful song and for inspiring us all to indeed love every moment. A special thanks to Gayla McKenzie of KBVA Variety Radio for playing it on the airwaves for your many listeners. And finally, to my husband, thank you for showing me every day what life is all about...' Janell Lynn (Hendren) Edwards Janell Lynn Edwards was born in Gravette, Arkansas on July 9, 1975 to Jimm Larry and Janet Sue Hendren. She grew up in Bentonville, the home of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., at a time when the neo-cosmopolitan community was a small town of a mere 5,000 or so friends and neighbors. She would often ride her bike around the downtown and listen to music on her walkman, singing all the while, frequently stopping in the ice cream parlor on the square (the original Walton's 5 &10 store) for one of Barbara's pineapple sundaes. Janell's family was always very musical. Her mother played the piano and organ, and her dad sang and played piano, guitar and trumpet. Being around all this music couldn't help by inspire Janell to develop a love for music as well. She played piano, guitar, and the flute, and tried her hand at several other instruments as well. For her, music was just fun! She would spend hours role playing with friends and singing songs from the 1980s down in the Hendren's basement. It didn't end with just songs, though, as Janell's dad recalls, "I would often peak downstairs to see her enthusiastically practicing her "weather girl" routine in front of all the imaginary TV viewers." All through grade school and high school, Janell sang in choirs and participated in school plays. Her most intimidating role, she admits, was in 1990, when she was chosen to play Maria in "The Sound of Music." "I auditioned for Liesel, Captain Van Trapp's daughter, so when the director, Mrs. Koelling, told me she wanted me to play the main role of Maria, I was very scared. I didn't think I could pull that off because of all the solos. She gave me a tremendous gift, though, because she convinced me I could do it, and much to my relief, I did!" Janell's love for singing continued to grow during high school, when she became very involved in the Bentonville High A Cappella Choir. The choir was a close-knit group of friends, Janell remembers, and one boy, in particular, was extra special. "William was always making me laugh and just so much fun to be with. He had the best heart of anyone I knew." The friendship between the two soon became cupid's target, and William and Janell found themselves dancing at their first of two proms together in 1991. William was on his way to becoming a very accomplished country singer, having opened for such greats as Roy Clark, George Strait, Collin Ray, and Patty Loveless. So, after high school, he headed off to Branson, Missouri. Janell made the decision to venture out on her own to attend Shreveport, Louisiana's Centenary College. This was a major transition for the seventeen-year-old. "I didn't know anyone when I arrived on campus but quickly got acquainted with my roommate, Katie Pattullo from Texas, who didn't know anyone either. We had both auditioned for and made it into the Centenary College Choir and were preparing to head off the very next day for a two-week long pre-semester choir camp at Hodges Gardens in Many, Louisiana, two hours west of Shreveport. This was the beginning of a grand adventure that included touring Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma, as well as a European choir tour to Switzerland, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands in the summer of 1995. Before transferring back home to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville to finish her English degree, Janell spent a summer in Washington D.C. as an intern for U.S. Senator, David Pryor. "I have always been very patriotic," Janell says, "and I've never been so full of love for our country as when I spent the 4th of July, 1995, on the National Mall with people from all the over the world watching the most gorgeous fireworks display imaginable lighting up the sky between the Washington monument and the Lincoln memorial." Janell loved D.C. and even thought about going to work on Capitol Hill after college, but Bentonville called her back home. After doing a radio weather report, filling in for her uncle one morning on KBVA Variety 106.5 FM, Janell's cousin, Gayla, owner of the variety radio station, asked her to come work. To this day Janell says, "This was the most fun job I ever had. I got to do the weather, announce songs, and write and produce commercial spots. I'll always be grateful to Gayla for giving me the chance to work there." Janell's love of music grew as she announced songs she'd never heard before as well as ones she'd grown up with. Oftentimes, she would get together with her dad after work or on weekends and practice playing and singing many of these songs and looked forward to "music night at the log cabin." Her dad, Jimm, had restored two family log cabins on their property and frequently invited friends over to play and sing in the Captain Hendren Log Cabin. "Some of my favorite memories are those cabin music nights," says Janell, "when everyone would join in and take turns calling out songs to play, from country to gospel to blues and rock 'n' roll. It was just unabashed music making." The music nights continued on, as friends from all over N.W. Arkansas and beyond would come to pick and grin. Meanwhile, Janell moved on to work as an associate producer for a local TV station and returned to acting in her spare time. She did her first professional acting at the Walton Arts Center in 1998, performing in Lilly Tomlin's "Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe." "I loved being back on stage and again found myself facing a big challenge. The entire second half was basically me doing a monologue. It was exhilarating jumping into the different characters, back to back, and trying to make them come to life for the audience," recalls Janell. Shortly after production wrapped, Janell traveled to Southern California to audition for the professional acting conservatory at the South Coast Repertory Theatre. A former teacher of hers from Bentonville, Van Stewman, encouraged her to audition for the program at Tony-award winning theatre which offers actors training in acting for the stage, TV, and film. After being accepted in the Spring of 1999, Janell said goodbye to Northwest Arkansas once again to head out West. By this time, William Earl had achieved great success as "Silver Dollar City's Favorite Son," having performed several years for thousands of people at the Echo Hollow Theatre among other notable Branson venues. He and Janell had remained friends through the years corresponding from time to time. Janell spent nearly a year in California taking acting classes and performing in and around LA. Then, on January 13, 2000, she got word from home that her Papa, Harlon Phillips, had suddenly passed away from a heart attack. Just a few months before, he and her grandmother, Marilyn, along with Janell's parents, had flown out to California to see Janell perform. "I remember how happy I was to see them when they flew out, and I'll always cherish the time we spent walking through the courtyard where I lived, admiring the flowers and making pictures." The loss of Harlon was devastating. Although he had had a heart condition for many years, he always appeared to be so healthy and vivacious. Janell made the decision to move back home to Bentonville to be with her family and soon returned to the TV station, this time as a reporter. She'd come a long way from the family basement! Janell returned to music nights at the log cabin and was really impressed with a particular song her dad had written. He had written a few songs over the years but nothing had resonated quite like the tribute he created for my Papa. It was called "My Livin's Over," but was later changed to "Love Every Moment." On a trip to Nashville in 2002, Janell recorded "Love Every Moment." "One of the best things I ever did was record that song," Janell says. "I did it to honor my dad and my Papa, but it's definitely gone beyond that. I can't believe how many people it has touched." The recording was originally intended to be just for our family to enjoy; but when my dad played the song for his brother, Kim, in his car one Saturday morning, Kim took it over to play it for Gayla at KBVA, and before long, it became a part of the station's play list. Five years later, the song can still be heard on KBVA with dozens of listeners still calling into the station to ask how they can get a copy. "The message of 'Love Every Moment' just seems to resonate with everyone. It really does cause us to stop and focus on the good in our lives - to focus on the joys, rather than the sorrow." And speaking of life's joys...Janell and William reunited after twelve years apart and married on November 12, 2005. "No matter how much time had passed," Janell shares, "We remained close in all the ways that count. Our friendship was always there. We look at each other every day and marvel at the way God has blessed our lives by bringing us back together in this way." William has just now reignited his singing career, after a seven-year hiatus, during which time he trained at the world-renowned Toni&Guy salon in Dallas and owned his own salon. He will release a new gospel album this summer, featuring his version of "Love Every Moment," the original title song, "Just to Know My Heart," and new, inspiring arrangements of some old-time gospel favorites like "His Eye is On the Sparrow," and "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." Janell and William live in Branson, Missouri with their acrobatic hairless cat, Luci Liu.