Monday, February 4, 2013

Thankful!!

"I'm so HAPPY and grateful that I don't have to live everyday with hatred, hurt, and bitterness in my heart towards people who have done me wrong, used, or abused me! I don't have to walk around hopeless, broken, or depressed with baggage from any relationships from my past! I don't have to rewind and relive mistakes from long ago! I don't have to live in fear of the future! I am so free from all that fleshly junk that once held me bound! I am free!!! I walk in freedom and victory all because of a man named Jesus who gave his life for me! O how my heart breaks for people who r so hurt and broken from life and live everyday for the moment because they haven’t truly found the ONLY thing that can set them free of everything! His name is Jesus and I hope you’ve found Him!!!! He gave His life for you, hoping one day you would give yours to Him! #THANKFULFORJESUS!"

AMEN to that!! If God is for us, who can be against us? If God is with us, then what could stand against us?

"But don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don't obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you actually look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it."
James 1:22-25

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"I Know How Fear Builds Walls Instead Of Bridges.."

In a couple weeks I get the incredible pleasure of singing with Bill and Gloria Gaither. This is one of the songs we are singing and I think it is so wonderful and powerful and true. Listen and take the words to heart. If only everyone lived like this!



Lyrics:

I then shall live as one who's been forgiven.
I'll walk with joy to know my debts are paid.
I know my name is clear before my Father; 
I am His child and I am not afraid.
So, greatly pardoned, I'll forgive my brother;
The law of love I gladly will obey.

I then shall live as one who's learned compassion.
I've been so loved, that I'll risk loving too.
I know how fear builds walls instead of bridges;
I'll dare to see another's point of view.
And when relationships demand commitment,
Then I'll be there to care and follow through.

Your Kingdom come around and through and in me;
Your power and glory, let them shine through me.
Your Hallowed Name, O may I bear with honor,
And may Your living Kingdom come in me.
The Bread of Life, O may I share with honor,
And may You feed a hungry world through me.

Amen, Amen, Amen.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

If Music Be The Food of Love...Sing On...

I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas Holiday and are enjoying vacations if you are so lucky to have one! I went back to work today...then my car broke down..but hopefully it will be fixed in the morning for an affordable price! Today I just want to jot some thoughts, not necessarily in any order (which is pretty rare for me).

First and foremost...if you haven't gone to see Les Miserables, you MUST. A group of us went to see it on Christmas day and it was absolutely phenomenal. Musically there were some things lacking, but aside from that, the acting was pretty wonderful. I honestly think that Anne Hathaway stole the show as Fantine, and I wish her part lasted a bit longer!

We went to Silver Dollar City on Sunday and it was soooo crowded! The lights were awesome, and we had a great time although we didn't get to see everything. Unfortunately we missed It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol. :-\ But the train ride was pretty fantastic and we got some delicious homemade Peach Chipotle Salsa!

As I've mentioned a few posts back, I've been pursuing finishing my degree in Music Education. Sometimes I doubt myself (okay...a lot of times I may doubt myself) and wonder if I'm on the right track. I was slowly having feelings of fear settle on my heart questioning myself and if I would be smart/ready/good enough to return to school.

But then at church on Sunday we had Carols and Communion. The very last song we sang was "Joy to the World" and suddenly I was a little girl again...visiting my Aunt and Uncle's farm and sitting at their old piano while everyone else mingled. I was plunking away (and probably making some horrible noise) when by ear I had learned to play "Joy to the World." I was so excited and proud of myself, I had to be sure everyone knew that I could play it.

When I was really REALLY little I had a little toy piano. Then I had a keyboard. Then I had a keyboard you hooked up to the computer and learned how to play. Then I began to sing. Then dance. Then perform in musicals, recitals, competitions, and concerts.

I swear I was born with music in my heart and soul.

So I was given the reminder on Sunday that yes, music is a gift God has blessed me with and I need to use it. He will show me the way.

And I realized that...sometimes in life, you need to take the wrong turns to truly realize the value of things. 

Now I look back and think, "well...that was stupid. But I'm also kind of glad it happened." There is a reason for everything. However, I'm glad that it isn't too late for me. I am so excited for next semester to start! Finally for the first time in 5 years, I feel this true satisfaction that I'm on the right track...returning to my first love: Music.

Lastly, I wanted to share something with you about courage. I found it very fitting. Dreams don't have to be forever lost, because we serve a God who can do anything beyond what we can imagine:

"True courage is just a quiet voice at the end of the day or at the finality of the failure of a great effort that says, "I will try again tomorrow". Many deeply courageous people have simply determined that they will try again. Not quitting requires a great deal of courage. The action of courage is not always a loud roar. It can be a still and quiet voice. A righteous man gets up seven times (Proverbs 24:16). When you see a person fall and get up, you have met a person of courage. So don't give up on yourself because God hasn't given up on you."

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Let's Start a Movement!



So I had this idea. I really think there needs to be more love spread around the world.

And encouragement.

Relationships (especially ones lost).

And the lost art of letter writing.

I went onto my Facebook the other day, not sure how many responses I'd get, if any...and asked for anyone's addresses who wanted to receive some love and encouragement in the mail. 

The response I received makes my heart so full, I can't even express to you how happy it makes me! We all need some encouragement in our lives. And I think we need relationship. With the progression of technology these days, you no longer have neighbors who just stop by to say Hi, or call on the phone just to talk. We've lost so much in our relationships with other people! Even for me, there is hardly anyone I talk to from High School. Although I still consider them my friends and still care for them deeply, we hardly ever speak. How sad!

Then my cousin, who has worked at a Post Office in Michigan for over 20 years left me a comment that made me realize that this could serve an even bigger cause. You see, because of the decrease in letter writing and the increase of email and media networking, her job that she has been serving faithfully the last few decades is about to lay off 100s of workers, including her. This was supposed to be her job that offered stability! And after all of the dedication she and hundreds, maybe even thousands, of others have put into it, their repayment is unemployment..which now comes with its limits.

I think letters are great. Yes, they take more time and effort than typing. But think of this: writing a heartfelt letter to someone not only allows us to take the focus off ourselves, but shows that person that we cared enough to take the time and effort for them. How great is it to be reminded that you are valued!

This is my challenge. Write a letter to someone(s) you've lost touch with. Sit down, and take the time to encourage them. Ask questions. Be sincere. Be open. Be loving & selfless. It will feel so wonderful to know that you have spoken positivity into another person's life, expecting nothing in return.

I encourage you to share this post, so that we can start a movement and perhaps even save jobs for post workers everywhere!

GO and be a blessing!! :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

No One Blames the Devil

How do you make sense of the tragedy that happened in CT this last Friday? I may never understand how evil can entrap a person so fiercely that it would cause them to steal the innocence of other human beings, let alone children. To fight so desperately for free will and use that very free will as a weapon to abolish the will of others just sickens me. And you know what else is terrible?

People are blaming God.

How can we expect positive results from pushing God out of our nation? We are so far from where we started, so far from when this country was protected and blessed. We have taken the Ten Commandments out of schools, prayer out of schools, there is even an organization called the "God-Out" organization. Yet, these SAME people turn around and ask, "Where was your God during the shooting??"

Are you serious?

If God wanted to control everyone's thoughts and actions, then we would be complaining that God was a controlling entity that doesn't give us any freedom, in which submits us to nothing but an amusing puppetry of his own.

My answer: it is not God's fault that He gives us free will and we choose to abuse it.

But on top of that, you know what's even scarier? No one blames the devil.

He has the world so fooled, so blinded to his schemes he's convinced it to completely ignore his existence and turn to blaming God. 

"The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out." John 12:32

"Come close to God, and God will come close to you." James 4:8a

So even if you don't believe in God, how can you acknowledge his existence and yet refuse to acknowledge Satan's? The above verses alone give us our answer:

Satan rules the earth. And if we want God to intervene, we must ask him to.

But sadly, we've been doing the opposite. Pushing him out and refusing him entry. 

Even if I wasn't a believer, I think the rules that lie in the Ten Commandments are generally positive to be applied. Do not lie. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not kill. The very things that are demolishing our world from the inside out. But they aren't allowed in schools anymore. 

I think that having prayer every morning before classes start are generally good, because they allow us to take focus off ourselves and apply it to the goodwill of our classmates, teachers, districts, and communities. But we abolished prayer, too. 

I even think that having readers with bible verses are a great way of learning to read, because the bible actually consists of almost every grammatically sound rule you could imagine, but seeing a bible in a school is pretty much inappropriate now.

So where was God? ...exactly where we put him: out.
Which allowed entry for the very one who delights in these things and has fooled us to ignore his existence to step in.

Satan.

Yet, no one blames the Devil.

Whose puppetry are we under?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Love da Liberry

Normally I don't begin with a punch line, but today is an exception.


All these books (plus three more I forgot to add) for $6. Tops.

How do I do it, you may ask? Well, the Greene County library system does their Biggest Book Sale twice a year where people donate a bunch of books and all proceeds go to keep up all the libraries in the county.

My friend Rachel and I went a few days ago and got a few books about $1-$4 each (not to mention she got the WOW 1996 CD which was the best Blast-From-The-Past ever, we listened to it the rest of the night!). They announced as we were getting ready to check out that on Sunday, the last day, if you paid $5 you could fill up an entire bag of books from the Better Books section. If you filled up a bag on the Non-Fiction, Older-books section you only had to pay $1!! So, I filled up one from each side!

They had some amazing resources...nutrition/health, yoga, Christian Fiction, graphic design, writing/editing/publishing, home made stuff, pregnancy books (I thought would be useful some day), and even sheet music! I got some awesome Music Education resources, including the SATB sheet music of "Lifesong" by Mark Hall! And the EXACT SAME World of Music book I used when I was in Elementary School!

When I went a few days ago they had one of the first editions of To Kill A Mockingbird, but it was in the Antique Book section for about $20...so I was really hoping it would be there for the last day sale, but sadly it was not. :(

Oh, and we also got an awesome antique bookshelf off Craig's List for $8! Pretty awesome!

Get ready for my Book Review Blog coming up! I'm trying to think of a name, any ideas?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Second Chances

So I think it's about time for an actual update, eh? I'm getting so excited about the health related news I've been reading up on, I just feel it needs to be shared! Haha

Some big things are happening around here. My husband has officially decided to go to path of Dietetics & Nutrition (which explains all the nutritional info), so we're getting him ready to switch over to MSU next semester. Luckily, we're in the right place at the right time because they have a phenomenal program...I've been doing hair for a few people who went through the program and even the Head of the program...seems God brings just the people you need! We are very excited because this is a perfect fit for him.

As for me, I've began writing my first book. Stay tuned for that. :)

I also went to the Professional & Graduate Studies Open House at Evangel to look at the degrees they had available for working adults. The plan from the beginning (or in actuality, the "middle") was to get my Cosmetology license so I would always have something to fall back on, and it could help me pay to finish my degree. 

So anyway! I go to the Open House with every intention of changing gears and finishing with a Communications Degree...mainly because they don't offer a Music degree in the Professional Studies Program. As I was walking out, I stopped and looked at the table for the Masters in Music. No one was standing there, but I must have been glancing at it longingly because a girl came up behind me and said, "thinking about Music??"

Sigh. "Well, I started my music degree, but I wasn't able to finish...I really wish there was a professional studies option for it." What happened after that, my friends, was so unpredictable that I'm still trying to grasp onto what's happening.

So she says to me, she says, "I'm pretty sure there's a way you could do it through online classes and being part time! Let me grab Dr. Honea!" Now, Dr. Honea was actually one of my directors and professor's when I was there, so we were great friends. He's one of the most interestingly eccentric people you will ever meet.

After the initial shock that I had returned, we chatted briefly about where I was and what I was attempting to do. Then, he motions for me to go to a computer with him to look at where I was in my program. This whole time I was thinking I was a SOPHOMORE and if I tried finishing it would take me like the rest of my life.

I'm a Junior.

When I saw that, a glimmer of hope welled up in my heart. Was it truly possible that I could begin where I left off and finish what I started?

Honestly at this point, I hadn't given it a thought simply because I felt like I screwed up big time and it was too late for me. Like I had to punish myself for being stupid and not trusting God enough so I should have to spend the rest of my life NOT doing what I love. I honestly thought I'd never TRULY be able to come back to my first love, music.

But that's the beauty of it. God has given us such amazing grace.

Now I'm working on returning part-time next semester to finish my Music Education degree. I want to teach and direct music. The department is helping me with scholarships and we've discovered that there is a Student Loan Forgiveness Program for Teachers out there. Basically, if you teach in a participating state/school for 5 consecutive years, all of your loans are forgiven. It almost sounds too good to be true! I'm so excited, and so grateful for second chances!!

"God knows my every desire,
and He is waiting on the other side
of my failure and my shattered dreams
with some dreams of His own..." (Leslie Ludy)