I Got a Robe

I got a robe for Christmas.

If you watch SNL, you will laugh at that. They did a parody video a few years back about how everyone else in the family gets all these awesome gifts, and the mom gets a robe. Why? Because most of the time moms are the one that do the majority of the shopping and cooking and planning for the holidays!

But the funny thing was that I actually DID ask for a robe. My husband bought me a robe for Christmas the first year we were dating. It was a super plush, red, terrycloth robe from Victorias Secret. That thing was indestructible! Can you believe that I have worn this robe for… drum roll….. 27 years?! That is just insane. Mainly because I can’t possibly be that old.

But anyway, I figured after 27 years, it was time to retire the robe for a new one.

But really, the best gift was not under the tree. (and I know, I know… the best gift is Jesus)

But the OTHER best gift (besides Jesus) was spending time with my family. We got to see *almost* our entire family this year and it was great! And then after Christmas, my hubby and the girls and I always go out to have brunch and then the girls and I go shopping. I never knew how much joy it would bring me to spend time having fun with my girls as they have gotten older. As they have gotten older, we are able to enjoy each other’s company, laugh together, shop together, and our shopping excursions would not be complete without a Starbucks coffee run!

The greatest gift for me isn’t the presents. It’s ALL about being in the presence of the people I love.

I am thankful.

In your presence there is fullness of joy- Psalm 16:11

Available

One morning I woke up and I knew that the Lord was asking me to do something. When this happens, I am on a mission… obsessed with completing whatever the “thing” is the Lord wants me to do.

This “thing” was getting the Covid vaccine. I will admit to you that I was on the fence for a while about it. I am healthy, not high risk at all, but I knew that if the Lord wanted me to do it that I would know. And one morning my hubby called me while I was working and asked me about getting it. As soon as we finished our conversation, I knew that the Lord wanted me to do it.

So I checked numerous websites, and finally ended up waiting in an online list. I knew it might be a while, because it kept saying “wait time over one hour”. Now, this was just the site to sign up for a time for the vaccine. And so I kept waiting… and waiting… and waiting…

And nearly 5 HOURS LATER, I was sent to the home screen to sign up for a time. I entered my zip code, and it said no appointments available.

I really really wanted to throw the laptop across the room.

I had waited 5 hours…5 HOURS… only to end up right back at square one.

I knew if the Lord really did want me to do it, that He would make a way for it to happen, so I resigned myself to not thinking about it anymore this week.

And then something really cool happened.

I was supposed to teach some make-up music lessons this week, and then ended up not needing to do it. Guess how many hours these lessons equalled? Yep- 5 hours! Those hours I spent waiting for a non-existent appointment were given back to me in the form of rest.

And then another really cool thing happened.

My husband received an email this morning from a coworker asking if he wanted to receive a vaccine today, and that one of the clinics had vaccine appointments available and spouses were also welcome to receive one, too. I told him that was totally a God thing- and that we should definitely do it. We went, received our vaccines, and it could not have been easier.

I used to be fearful of stepping out of the “boat” to do the things I felt God telling me to do.

Not anymore.

These days, I fear NOT doing the thing the Lord asks me to do- because He is ALWAYS faithful. His ways and thoughts are so much higher and wiser than mine, so when I hear that still, small voice- I answer “yes” every time!

I want to always be available for Him. When I do whatever the “thing” is that God asks me to do, I am immediately filled with peace.

So my 5 hours didn’t end up in an appointment- but God made another way.

After all, He is the WAYMAKER ūüôā

In Tune

I had an “aha” moment recently.

Owning two pianos, tuning them regularly can be quite costly. I have a pretty good ear and can tell when a note begins to sound “off”, so I decided to look up tuning kits to see how affordable they were. Much to my surprise, they were pretty inexpensive, so I purchased a piano tuning kit and couldn’t wait for my package to arrive. I mean- how hard could it be to tune a piano?!

My baby grand piano is nearly 100 years old, and has a couple of notes that are notoriously wonky. I love the quirks of owning an antique piano, but I have begun avoiding playing certain notes because they have become so incredibly out of tune- even an untrained ear could hear the somber sound.

The kit arrived on a Sunday afternoon (thanks, Amazon!) and it was like Christmas morning all over again! I watched a couple of videos on piano tuning ahead of time, so I knew a little bit about what I was in for.

I went right to the worst offender- my bass C note- notably the most played key on my piano. I opened the top of the piano and found the bolt that needed adjusting. I loaded a tuning app onto my phone and then placed the tuning wrench on the bolt and pulled it ever so slightly. It didn’t take much turning to change the pitch, but boy did I have to pull to get that bolt to move! A little to the left, a little to the right, and that C sang like a songbird!

But something peculiar happened.

As I played, I noticed that other notes were ever so slightly under pitch compared to the C… so I began tweaking a few more, then even more… until I began at the lowest note and started to work up.

Let me just say that this process was more difficult than I thought! My hands ached from gripping and pulling the tuning wrench, my back was sore from bending over the piano, and it took me hours. But it was totally worth it! And I have a completely new understanding and appreciation for piano technicians and the amount of skill it takes to do this for a living!

I kept thinking about how tuning a piano is so much like being “in tune” with the Holy Spirit. The more you begin to listen and adjust things in your life that are out of tune to Him, the more things you see that need adjusting. I’ll be honest- it is hard for me not to pull out that tuning fork every day to double check the pitches on the piano… but once I start tuning, it will reveal others that also need to be adjusted.

But that’s what our walk with Jesus is about… being in a constant state of tuning to Him.

Tuning our thoughts to His thoughts… our words to His Word… our heart to His.

Abide in me, and I in you- John 15:4

Create in me…

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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!

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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‚Äôs mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God‚ÄĒthis 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.

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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!

He met the need… and He met me, too

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Pray without ceasing

 1 Thessalonians 5:17

For several months I was aware that the soundboard at our church was on it’s “last legs”. ¬†We had a new church facility built a few years back and kept the old soundboard since it was still in good working condition.¬†After a couple of years in our new building, we began to notice snaps, crackles, and pops coming through the sound system every time it was in use. I knew we didn’t have the money to purchase a new one, but we really needed it.

I prayed for God to somehow provide this need for our church, and after several months I got the ok to mention the need of a new soundboard to the congregation during a Sunday morning service.

The evening before I was going to talk about this to the congregation, I was home alone, praying. ¬†My husband was working late, and both of my girls were at a friend’s home- a rare thing for a Saturday evening! ¬†I remember sitting at my piano and praying out loud. ¬†Now, that’s not something I do all the time- just when I really feel led to do it. ¬†I began praying and talking to God and the strangest thing happened- I began to pray for one person… for one person to step out in faith and meet this need. ¬†For just¬†one person to give and to be obedient. ¬†It sounded like the craziest thing, but that is the exact thing He led me to pray for that night. ¬†In fact, I remember telling someone later that same evening that I prayed those words, and I was almost embarrassed about it. ¬†What would I say if that “one person” didn’t come forward- or what if we didn’t have anyone willing to help?

I just kept pushing those doubtful thoughts out of my head, and I held on to faith. I got up early like always on that Sunday and prayed again.  During the service, I mentioned that we desperately needed a new soundboard for the church, and that it was going to cost a good deal of money.  I asked them to pray about this for us, and if anyone would like to donate towards this to see me after church.

I sat at the piano to play the closing song, and as I played the final note- I remember seeing one person- yes ONE PERSON standing at the base of the stage, motioning for me to come to them.  I bent down, and with tears in their eyes, this person told me to get what I needed- it would be paid in full.

I cried. I was in complete awe…

Not just because God met the need- but because He answered that prayer He had led me to pray the night before in the exact way I had prayed!  One person

That was a special day for me. God provided- but He also met me in a personal way- strengthening my walk with Him, and strengthening my faith in a mighty way! ¬†And I believe He strengthened the faith of others as I told that “one person” prayer story to the congregation the following Sunday. ¬†Praise the Lord for answered prayers- the big and the small ones, the simple ones and the absolutely impossible ones! ¬†God gets all the glory for He is so good and so faithful!!

O God, we give glory to you all day long
    and constantly praise your name.  Psalm 44

“Come Undone”… a song I wrote about letting go and learning to worship

I’m standing on the wall¬†

will You catch me if I fall?

if I come undone for You?

I’m ready to let go 

of everything I know 

and come undone for You

I want to come undone

come undone for You 

strip away anything

hindering Your truth

I want to come undone

come undone for You

take away everything

that holds me back from You 

I raise my hands in praise 

in Your presence, I’m amazed

I come undone for You

I want the world to know I sing

because of You, my Risen King

I come undone for You

I recently wrote this song as I remembered the first time I let go and raised my hand in a worship service.

I fought it for so long. ¬†Too worried about what others might think, I suppressed the desire to go forward to pray during an alter call, or do anything that might draw attention to me during a worship service. What if people think I am weak, or needy…or even crazy!

When my youngest was a baby, I would occasionally sing on the worship team. ¬†One Sunday morning, I felt the overwhelming desire to raise my hand as I sang a song. ¬†I felt my heart racing and knew I had to be obedient. ¬†I couldn’t do it alone, so I reached out and grabbed the hand of my friend who was singing beside me. ¬†It might have seemed strange to some, but not to her- she smiled at me as we held hands and sang praises to Him that day. ¬†It felt like a weight had been lifted off of me as I worshipped without reservation, and focused on nothing but praising Him. It was one of the first times I felt His presence as I sang.

It took years for Him to “undo” all my preconceived ideas about “worship”- what I thought it should sound and look like. The day I grabbed my friend’s hand was when I began to let go of my own hang-ups and when I started to truly “worship”. ¬†My heart’s desire is to know Him more intimately and to worship Him in Spirit and in truth.

       For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.            John 4:24

Breath of Life

O Breath of life, come sweeping through us,

Revive Your church with life and power;

O Breath of life, come cleanse, renew us,

And fit Your church to meet this hour.

O breath of life, come sweeping through us

O breath of life, come cleanse, renew us

O love of Christ, afresh to win us

fill us with Your holiness

O Wind of God, come bend us, break us,

Till humbly we confess our need;

Then in Thy tenderness remake us,

Revive, restore, for this we plead.

O Breath of love, come breathe within us,

Renewing thought and will and heart;

Come, Love of Christ, afresh to win us,

Revive Your church in every part.

(words by Bessie Head)

These beautiful words resonated with me years ago when I first heard them. ¬†The Lord put a “new song” on my heart and I set these lovely words to a new melody and new piano accompaniment. ¬†My heart longs for revival- for His Spirit to revive, restore, and renew us. ¬†May His breath of life fill us with passion and equip us for His service!

*If you would like chord charts for this song, email me and I will be happy to send them to you

Connected

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Sometimes I wonder

what it looks like down under

beneath the ground’s soil

they run

The roots intertwine

they mingle and wind

connecting-

becoming as one

IMG_3449We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. Romans 12:5

I went on a wild goose chase the other night. I found a web site that talked about Pando- the world’s largest single living organism- a forest of trees all coming from the same under the ground root system. Trees have always fascinated me. ¬†But here’s a little secret fear I have- roots. ¬†The thought of roots deep in the ground, growing and intertwining creeps me out!

So my husband saw me reading about Pando and he was intrigued.  He already knew all about the Pando, but he was so curious-  Why was I looking this up and how did I find it??

I kind of chuckled. ¬†It made total sense to me how I got there… but I had to back-track the steps-

-I took these pictures of trees from a friend’s yard

-I wondered how old they must be

-I thought about their ginormous, scary roots under the ground

-then thought about how the roots of all these old trees must be connected to one another

In order to de-sensitize myself from the horrific images of roots in my mind, I looked up pictures of roots…

and then popped up Pando on my google.  Made perfect sense, right?

FullSizeRenderI started thinking about family trees and how we can trace back to the “roots” of our heritage. I have a wonderful family, and I have been blessed with some wonderful friends whom are like family to me as well. ¬†My family is like a single tree- and those special friends of mine that are like family- well, I guess you could say that all of my friends have their own “family trees”, but our “roots” are connected under ground. ¬†Our “root” connection is Christ.

Our intertwining “roots” are more like veins in the body of Christ… except it is His blood that brings life to the Body. ¬†We are but little blood vessels and by the blood He shed for us, His Spirit flows through us.

And here’s another little secret- connecting with people is a little scary, too. For so long, I shut myself off from people because of fear of rejection. ¬†But I have learned to let Him be my guide. ¬†In order to connect, that requires a little bit of reaching out- and a whole lot of “Son” light.

All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:27

And as always, He brings the trees, the roots, and the connections full circle-right back to Him!

New Life

 

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The lovely nest found on my front door today!

Signs of new life everywhere

Spring ushers in winter’s rest

A Surprise

New life right at my door-

a perfectly crafted bird’s nest!

A warm spring morning prompted me to take a stroll through the neighborhood.

As I walked along, I looked for signs of spring- signs of new life buzzing around me. ¬†It’s not hard to see it. ¬†One good sniff and you can smell the pollen in the air, see the pear tree flower buds blowing in the breeze, and watch the kelly green leaves sprouting on tree branches. Birds are alive and well- singing their symphony for all to hear. ¬†It is a wonderful time of expectation- expecting the beautiful things that spring ushers in.

As my dog stopped to sniff the ground, I looked down at my feet and saw a patch of clovers. ¬†I remembered how much I love looking for 4 leaf clovers! I took a closer look, and lo and behold- I found a 5 leaf clover! ¬†What a special blessing to start the day! ¬†I used to lie in the grass for entire afternoons as a kid searching for 4 leaf clovers… and 5 leaf ones are definitely a treasured find!

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Another beautiful sign of spring and new life…

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  

2 Corinthians 5:17

The Lord has had me thinking about being a “new creation”- and what that looks like as a Christ follower. ¬†Am I living a life that represents the hope of the resurrected Jesus? ¬†And I started thinking about signs of new life in me…. do people see Him in me? ¬†His Hope? Peace? Joy? ¬†In my countenance, my words and actions? ¬†In the very way I am living out my life- do they see Christ in me?Am I a sign of His New Life- His Spirit at work in me?

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

He is always at work…doing a new thing. Am I surrendering to Him at all times and allowing Him to continuously work in me?

After a day of ¬†contemplating signs of new life, I found the most wonderful sign of new life-a baby bird’s nest nestled in the basket on my front door! In 17 years of marriage, I don’t recall ever having a bird’s nest around my home…and to find this at the start of Holy Week… God is most certainly in the little details!

O Lord, what a variety of things you have made!  In wisdom you have made them all.  The earth is full of your creatures. Psalm 104:24

But the best news of all is that He is risen!  His Spirit is alive and well- living in each of us.  The old has passed away and the new has already come.  And He is making us new each day!

Lord, may I live my life out in such a way that people see the Hope of Jesus in me. May I surrender each day to You and allow You to bring new seasons into my life.   I want to  be in the center  of Your will and serve You in all I do!

 

 

How Great Thou “Art”

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The beautiful sky that caught my eye today in Charlottesville

As if God Himself
took the brush
and painted in the sky
the swirling white
of clouds so bright
was beauty to my eye
That He would care
enough for us
to show His glory here
through His creation
speaking to us
always drawing near
His hand of grace
reaching out
He paints for all to see
the very hand
that crafts the sky-
His Spirit dwells in me.