I Sing Because I'm Free

This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

Living for NOW

IMG_3139

Looking for the perfect Christmas ham, I ventured into a high quality food store- only to be shocked by the extreme prices of their meat!  Why, I could buy an entire week’s worth of groceries for the price of one of those fancy hams! So I went to store #2 -and much to my dismay there were no hams.

I got everything else I could find from my list and found my way to the check-out line.  The store was so crowded, I couldn’t go anywhere- I was stuck in the farthest check-out line, which also happened to be the longest one. Sigh

“Are you trying to get past me?”  the lady ahead of me in line asked me.

“Oh no, just waiting in line… I love your coat, by the way!  It’s so festive!” When she turned, I noticed how beautiful she was- she wore a cranberry colored coat with ruffles down the front and a silver scarf around her neck that made her salt and pepper hair shimmer.  Her eyes were sky-blue and her face glowed.  I felt an instant connection to her.

She gave me a half smile and admitted that she had bought it a long time ago, and that it used to be big on her. With tears in her eyes, she confessed that she had looked in the mirror that morning and was disgusted with herself- for the weight she had gained and for how she looked.

“And the crazy thing is that this was my dream… when I was a young girl, I was tall and skinny- when it was so “in” to be plump.  I wanted to be plump and curvy when I grew up! Now that I am living my “dream”, I want more than anything to be that skinny girl again.”

She spoke with tears in her eyes, and I found it so ironic that this gorgeous woman (who, by the way, was NOT overweight at all…and was stunningly beautiful) did not recognize the beauty that was so easy for me to see.

“Oh my goodness!  You are beautiful just the way you are!” I said to her.

We hugged one another, as she poured her heart out to me- right there in the grocery check-out line.

Then, with determination, she exclaimed that she was going to live for the now…and that she was going to stop lamenting over who she was, or who she wanted to be. We talked about how blessed we both were.  To have good health, a family, clothing… to be able to buy the food that was in our shopping carts. I told her of how I was searching for the perfect Christmas ham, but hadn’t been able to find one that was reasonably priced.

“You know, I have a friend that owns a butcher shop.  I will give you her phone number when I get out to the car!  That is where I go to buy all of my meat these days!”

Both of us had left our phones in the car. I told her where my next stop was- just across the street.  She said that was her next stop, too.

“I’ll see you there, and I will give you her phone number!”

I felt an immediate connection to this lady.  It was like God put her there to just give me that message-

live for NOW… not yesterday, not tomorrow… NOW! 

I got my groceries, put them into the car, and headed to my next stop.

I searched up and down the meat aisles looking for a ham, and watching for my new friend and her festive cranberry coat to come waltzing through the door…

And just when I had lost all hope of finding a ham, I found an entire aisle of them- perfectly pre-baked honey-glazed-to-perfection hams at a fraction of the price of the first ones I had found!

I never saw that lady again, but I will never forget her honest, earnest words- and how she said to me the exact thing I needed to hear-

live for Now… not yesterday, not tomorrow… NOW!

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  

Matthew 6:34

IMG_0134

20 Comments »

the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light

IMG_0266

And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.  

John 1:5

We wanted to do something as a “family” this past weekend- just the four of us. I admit, I wanted to do the “mom” thing and go see some holiday lights- while the rest of the family wanted to go to the movies.

So imagine how happy I was when they decided to do what I wanted to do!

IMG_0268

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

  Matthew 5:14

We went to see the Holiday Lights at the Richmond Botanical Gardens and it was truly magical! We had such a wonderful time laughing, posing for pictures, and just being together.  We held hands, skipped down the walkways, and took in the beautiful lights all around us!

It was good to feel like a giddy kid again, and to be making memories with the ones I love the most!

And it made even more special to know that they wanted to go because they knew it would bring me much joy!

IMG_0276

Then Jesus said to them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come on you: for he that walks in darkness knows not where he goes.  John 12:35

As we walked, the darker the night sky got- the more brilliantly the lights did shine!

May the beautiful sights and holiday lights of this season remind you of the greatest gift of all-

the Light of the World- Jesus!

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  

Isaiah 9:6

IMG_0306

I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.  

John 8:12

IMG_0286

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light 

1 Peter 2:9

IMG_0314

Why he said, Awake you that sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.  

Ephesians 5:14

IMG_0322

Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.

Psalm 119:105

IMG_0336

When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought me joy.

 Psalm 94:19

IMG_0270

I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.  

John 8:12

IMG_0303

 Merry Christmas!

6 Comments »

when things don’t seem to go as planned…

FullSizeRender

when things don’t seem 

to go as planned

He says be still-

it’s in My hand

listen all around

as He orchestrates the sound

the muted tones

crescendo sweetly

as He sings

joy over me

His never ending grace, it is profound-

so profound…

For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.  Zephaniah 3:17

When my girls got of age to play an instrument, I felt a twinge of sadness that they didn’t want to learn to play the piano. When I was a kid, that’s all I ever wanted to do. Deep down, I have a secret desire to live vicariously through my children. But alas, they just weren’t interested, and I want them to discover the joy in making music because they love it- not because I made them do it.  So I told them that they BOTH had to learn to play SOME kind of instrument since I know that they have the aptitude to excel in music.

And much to my delight, my oldest has been playing flute for the third year in a row, and my youngest began the clarinet 3 months ago.  I never knew how wonderful it would be to have a house full of different sounds!  And the greatest part? They are self-starters-  teaching themselves and learning music all on their own- just like I did with the piano!

Image 1

It wasn’t until I released my own desires for them that I began to see my girls blossom and march to the beat of their own drum. It is a little loud and chaotic at times, but I love hearing them practice.  They sometimes play at the same time- different instruments, different songs… but the house is ALIVE when I hear them making sweet music!

IMG_2146

My oldest, hiding as she plays the flute…

The other day, I bought cream sodas- you know, the ones in the glass bottle?  The fancy ones?  My youngest was under the weather and asked for these while we were in the store.  Well, we only live once, right? So, fancy cream sodas it was for my girl!

After dinner, my hubby and I were downstairs and I heard a curious sound coming from the kitchen.  I had to see what this peculiar noise was. It definitely was not a clarinet, nor was it a flute…

“Mom!  Look- playing flute has really played off!” my oldest one says with glee as she blows across the top of the cream soda bottle.  She and her sister were making different pitches with the bottles and blowing across the tops to make “music”.

And to think of all the times I worried that they wouldn’t love music the way I did… not only do they love music, but they are expressing themselves through it in ways I never would have imagined!

yet not my will, but Yours be done…

Luke 22:42

One of these days I’m going to learn- when I surrender my dreams and desires to Him – even the ones I have for my own children-

His plans are always far better than mine could ever be!

Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us.  Psalm 40:5

IMG_0098

My girls the night of their recent band concert

17 Comments »

the struggle is real

FullSizeRender

The struggle is real 

only a glimpse in sight 

of  our dreamy skies 

both morning and night  

FullSizeRender

the struggle is real 

the frustration high

all I wanna do 

is see a clear view of the sky!  

FullSizeRender

Isn’t it funny how our priorities change over time?

When we first moved into our home over 11 years ago, I didn’t really think about the view from our house.  I was just happy to have a new home to raise our baby in.  Since then I had another baby and well… now they aren’t really babies at all anymore. Now I wish more than anything that I had a clear view of the sky around me!

Every morning and evening, my youngest daughter will come find me when she notices the sky changing colors. “Momma, you have to go outside NOW!”  she will say to me.

I’m not sure when exactly I became so fascinated with looking at the sky.  I remember as a little girl laying in the grass on my back and staring at clouds.  Life seemed so simple then.  When I look up to heaven, I feel all the cares of the day melt away.

Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7

FullSizeRender

But you know what else I see?  Lots and lots of cotton-balled clouds that are shielding the sun from my eyes… so why it is that they don’t “get in the way” of my view?  In fact, they give the light something to reflect off of, making it even more lovely. The clouds don’t detract from the light, they diffract it 🙂

If only I could see things that way in my personal life.

All those little things that I get frustrated about, all the things that seem to block the view of the Son- just maybe He is waiting for me to see His light shining through those circumstances.

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.  

Isaiah 41:13

And the greatest purpose of all?

To draw me closer to Him- one moment at a time.

I need thee, oh, I need thee;
Ev’ry hour I need thee!
Oh, bless me now, my Savior;
I come to thee!  
(Annie S. Hawks, 1835-1918)

10 Comments »

Create in me…

FullSizeRender

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Psalm 51

Today I am excited to collaborate with some lovely people who write for the blog church set free!  We are all writing about what worship means to us.  I hope you will visit the site and that it will encourage you in your journey to knowing and growing closer to Him…  

Psalm 51, for me, defines what worship is all about.  It is through the process of “creating” that He inspires me to worship, drawing me closer to Him.  My love for God compels me to create (sing, write music, poetry, take photographs) and as I worship, He is at work within me- renewing me, purifying my heart, and filling me with joy!

FullSizeRender

Worship is how I connect to Him. I pour out my heart to Him and seek to know Him more. Worship is loving God, and allowing His love to flow through me in my everyday life. I am learning how to love Him more every single day…and that all begins with worship.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

Romans 12:1

Worship in itself is an act of obedience. He is worthy of our praise- no matter how we feel or what our circumstances are because He is God!  I worship Him by allowing Him to use all of my life for His glory.  As someone who is a creative person, it is a challenge to “create” when I do not feel inspired…but it is through that process that He fills me.  Even though worship is not based on emotion- there is no greater joy for me than feeling His presence when I am sitting at the piano creating music.

IMG_4293

For we live by faith, not by sight.

2 Corinthians 5:7

This is a song I wrote based on Psalm 51 last week. Singing and creating music is a huge part of how I worship and connect with Him. Last week, I was not feeling very “joyful”- but through the process of creating music, He was at work- restoring the joy of His salvation within me.  And praise the Lord, today I can honestly say- He has restored my joy!

4 Comments »

Restoration

IMG_5917

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  

 1 Peter 5:10

IMG_5981

A little old house…

We were in search of some old wood to use to build a decorative wall for the stage of our church, and I happened to mention it at just the right time!  Someone very dear to me mentioned this little old house that was falling down on their property, and said that we could use this wood if we’d like.

IMG_5915

The house was over 100 years old-perched on top of a hill, nestled under some amazing trees…

IMG_5986

we removed nails and prepared the wooden boards to use for our project

So on a recent chilly morning,  we went up to that little hill

and began prying off the old orange wood.

IMG_6008

a tree of ginormous proportions

I thought about the people who had once called this little peace of heaven their “home”.  It may have been old and crumbling, but the view from this place is heavenly!

And that old wood still had a lot of life left in it!

IMG_6012

one of the mini walls we were in the process of constructing…

These old pieces of wood were falling down, worn and weathered from the elements.  And now we have repurposed them for our worship service!  They turned out so beautiful, even more special since they are from a dear friend- whom I say is more like family!

When we give our lives to Christ-

He restores us- He makes us new and uses us in ways we could never dream of!

He has made everything beautiful in its time.  

Ecclesiastes 3:11

6 Comments »

Away in a Manger

IMG_3139

It is bittersweet watching the girls grow and “outgrow” certain things…

One of their very favorite Christmas decorations has always been the Little People nativity set.  I used to set it out and they would play with it for hours!  They would even incorporate their own toys into the manger scene.  One day I even found Homer Simpson on top of the manger!

I noticed yesterday that they hadn’t even taken the nativity set out of the box yet.  Sigh… 

I seized the opportunity yesterday and took the nativity out myself!  I set it up on the floor under our tree- something I would have NEVER done- for fear that one of the pieces would get lost or would end up in a toy box somewhere.

As I sat enjoying my cup of coffee this morning, I watched my dog lying under the tree. It has become his favorite spot- resting on the tree skirt under the warmth of the white lights from our tree.  Little did I know, he was waiting to make his move…

“No!”  

I raised my voice at him as I watched him lunge forward and grab the baby Jesus from the nativity.

I laughed as he dropped it from his mouth.  Leave it to my beloved dog to bring a whole new meaning to “Taste and see that the Lord is good”- Psalm 34:8

FullSizeRender

10 Comments »