Saturday, October 28, 2006

Obsessive Thoughts and A Horse

I need to go to bed, but wanted to jot down my day. . .

Getting older is so hard. Obsessing over things I can’t control. I wish I could. But it seems that even the littlest of things send me to spiral in my mind. . . a bruise, graying hair, an age spot (which thank you Lord, I do not have!)

I know I’ve injured my right middle knuckle somehow this week, but can’t figure out how I did. But when I make a fist, it looks a bit different.

I surrendered my feelings and thought I was over it until last night when it was pretty apparent that my mood had changed. As my son described it, he said I turned “emo.” I thought it was great insight on his part.

Moment by moment today, I had to push the feeling to obsess aside, so that my 12 year old daughter and I could hunt down a dress for a “Father/Daughter” date night at our church.

Here she is. . . battling a severe asthma this week, another round of steroids to open her up, plus dealing with regulating her thyroid and rarely does she complain, let alone obsess. Yet, Thursday night, after a night at Red Robin for her birthday, I hear her in her room, turning on her nebulizer to give herself a treatment. Pobrecita, mija.

So I have to put my own battle aside and spend some time with her. It was fun. We found several dresses, which we bought and would make the final decision at home.
Of course, I thought she looked beautiful. And I think she felt the same. Its hard being twelve sometimes, but not tonight.

So what to do with the twins.

They were voicing their opinions on not being invited on this date, too. So I knew I had to find a way to spend time with them that would take their minds off of being jealous of Maria. 

Go to a movie! But what’s playing? Oh I hope there a kid friendly movie out there.

Yes! “Flicka!” I do a quick time check and then check the reviews. . . like it would really matter. As long as it’s PG, is what I am thinking, who cares about reviews?!

So I invite my young friend, Nichole to go with us. Her husband was at the Father Daughter thing helping out.

My son Doug wants no part of seeing Flicka, so he decides to go see “The Prestege.”

Flicka was a little more than I bargained for. Sure, Tim McGraw is in it. I have no idea who he is aside from seeing his face on just about every magazine at the checkout with his wife Faith Hill. I’ve never heard his music . . . I didn’t even know he was an actor!

There were some cheesy moments here and there. But Alison Lohman who plays “Katy” is believable, especially in the way she builds her trust with Flicka.

One of the reviews was right. . . it said to bring tissue. I was not expecting to be “verklempt” at all. But not only I, but a good portion of the audience needed tissue. Nichole and I laughed afterwards, we both thought we going to see a nice little “horsey” movie with the twins.

There was an adorable little girl next to Sophie and I (Lucy sat with Nichole behind us), who could not be consoled. She looked to be about 4ish and she totally understood what was going on and cried more than anybody there. I felt so sorry for her. But it was cute.
Of course, when she was able to see how the story was moving along, she began to feel better.

It was fun to sit with at least one of my baby girls and enjoy this time with her. She and Lucy love horses. If they could, they would love to have their own horse. During the ending credits, there are multiple snapshots of girls with their horses and I was hoping the twins would not try to hit me up for a horse. I was thankful that they were just happy to have seen the movie.

The date night was a success! Maria is happy and tucked into bed. Hubby is back at his “second life,” twins are in bed reading and I am trying not to obsess over my hand. God is good though, He knows my every thought. This morning’s time with Him, in Isaiah. . . I read,

“Let the people renew their strength!. . .
Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. . .
For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand,
Saying to you, 'Fear not, I will help you.'
Isaiah 41: 1, 10, 13

Amazing read! I had not planned to read this chapter, it’s just where I am. I am reminded that He hears me! And that even though my right hand is somewhat in pain or looking a bit unusual (to me and only me), that I have nothing to fear. I am renewed, strengthen and held up with the “Right hand” of the One who calms my anxious heart.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

There is Power

As I am driving away from our church's "Women's Breakfast yesterday," I say out loud, "Lord, I don't know why I am in awe of You. I should not be surprised by Your wonder."

Since being asked (a month ago) to lead the worship for this event, so many things came up and then there has a been the "down time."

And as I journaled in my previous blog, this week had been hectic. But I felt a peace that the worship would be alright. A friend told me a few days before that as a result of this week's craziness, He will be glorified through the music, He will be take over and the music will flow from me and my friends and will touch the many ladies attending.

How the Lord works it all out. . .

I didn't have time to ask my one friend to play percussion, but the Lord took care of it. . . she called me 2 days before the breakfast to let me know she would play. And my other friend was available to sing backup . . . as long as she knew the songs, that is. . . amazing. . . she did!!

The day of the breakfast. . .

I am not a guitar player by any means, but I am lead to play and use it in my worship. And I believe God is gracious to shield the ears of those who can tell the difference between good playing and bad. :-)

Trying to get 60+ ladies to stop talking can be a challenge. If you call them to attention, the majority may turn towards your voice, but you'll still have some stragglers (such as myself) who continue to talk. I understand!!! But a few strums will!

Even though I love to sing, sometimes I can get mixed up if I am playing and singing, so having someone else sing, I can go in and out and sing as I am lead to. I love to hear women singing, especially when they are in harmony.

I begin with "O My Redeemer." "I will praise you, O My Redeemer, repeat, For You are worthy, repeat, but this time I don't sing, instead I hear the most beautiful harmonies coming from these sweet ladies. . . my friend leading worship with me turned to me and smiled. . . she knew what I was thinking. :-) My heart begins to take off into worship.

I knew this worship time would be amazing. . .

I move on to "Hungry." As I get through "I'm falling on my knees, offering all of me," I notice one of my dear friends weeping. I am touched. I know that the Lord is touching her heart.

Moving through the songs, I notice there are others who are wiping their tears. Inside, I know that God has been glorified. I am thankful that I was used as His vessel and able to witness this beautiful moment.

I also realize when it is all over that I cannot take any credit. But I am reminded of the multiple ways of God faithfulness to those in the Word who lacked in ability, but proceeded anyway knowing they had the power of the Holy Spirit with them.

And that is what I saw yesterday. . . His power.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Unfailing Love

What a week this has been. . .

Friend in hospital. . . driving a 1/2 hour away to her house a few times, to try to get it cleaned up for her, so when she comes home she will be comfortable and can concentrate on healing.

School. . . getting the kids there and back. Homework. . . what homework? Piano lesson, guitar lesson, drum lesson.

Wednesday. . . oldest daughter. . . asthma treatments all day. . . not doing well. Go to school potluck that night. Leave early to head off to ER to get her taken care of with steroids. But leaving the hospital she still is not feeling well. Wondering. . . Contemplating. . . should I have taken her to Children's? Does she need to be hospitalized? Why this week? Her birthday party Friday? That will break her heart.

Thursday . . . still not feeling better. . . back to the doctors. . . another round of steroids. . . FINALLY!!! She is back to normal. . . onto the next thing. . .

Friend in hospital. . . I make my way to meet w/physicians to go over rehab plan.

Friend in hospial's father, who doesn't believe in God, says to his daughter that he has to accept that there is a God in Heaven because of the circumstances surrounding her situation. He is a history teacher and taught in England for 15 years for Univ. of Maryland. AMAZING!

Try to leave hospital and beat traffic back home, take twins to babysitter. . . come back home, pick up oldest son . . . head off to Overlake Christian for Superchic[k] show.

At the show. . . John Reuben, Santus Real, Last Tuesday. . . I don't know. . . it could have been my exhaustion. . . but I just wasn't into it. . . Superchic[k] was okay, but I guess I expected more.

Friday. . . oldest daughter's birthday party / sleep over. House is in need of an overhaul. . . not enough time, but it all works out.

Everyone is having a good time. . . I leave to pick up cake and ice cream . . . friend in hospital calls and is hesterical. . . insurance won't pay for extra days in hospital . . . personal issues, not medical. . . Calming her down is of utmost importance. . . don't want her sternum to open. . . Albertson's . . . cake decorator writing name on my daughter's cake. . . I pray with my friend as I wait by the donut case. . . Finally she is calm. . . onto the next thing. . .

Oldest daughter falls in our redone backyard. . . I'm thinking she is overwhelmed by all the attention. . . Finally she is back to herself. . .

NOW. . . I can sit down and prepare for worship tomorrow. . . Women's Breakfast. . . Topic. . . CONTENTMENT.

What songs to do. . . I don't know.

Songs come together. . . it's all coming together.

Need one more. . . searching. . . then I find what I am looking for. . . .

"You have my heart, and I am Yours forever
You are my strength, God of grace and power
And everything You hold in Your hand
Still You make time for me
I can't understand
Praise You God of Earth and sky How beautiful is Your unfailing love
Unfailing love And You never change God You remain
The Holy One
My unfailing love, Unfailing love

You are my rock, the one I hold on to
You are my song, and I sing for You "
Unfailing Love by Chris Tomlin

After all has been said and done. . . I am reminded of Who holds me up.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I learned the truth AT SEVENTEEN. . . no 45

I wanted to be in our school's talent show so bad, but I had to be a Junior, Senior or a gifted Sophomore in order to sing a solo. I was a Sophomore and I believed I was "gifted." So I took the plunge, stepped out and signed up for "tryouts."

Mr. Reed looked so much like Richard Dreyfuss' from "Mr. Holland's Opus," but these were vocal classes he taught at Palm Springs High, not band as Mr. Holland taught. He was very much the same type of personality; everything was done to the letter. Performing; guys in black pants, white shirts. Girls, hair pulled back, no earrings, only posts. . . shoes. . . beige pumps. YUCK! This was before pumps were in 5 years later in the 80's.

Mr. Reed had very high standards for his singers. Only the best would do or the very popular. But I would give it shot anyway.

He asked me if I was sure I wanted to do this even though I was only a Sophomore and didn't have anyone to accompany me. I was sure. I would sing my song "a cappella."

I figured Janis Ians' "At Seventeen" would show off my vocal skills and belt singing. It described how I felt about the world, even though I was only 15. But I was just like Janis' song described, who saw the world as meant for "beauty queens" with "clear skinned smiles."

Oh yes, I sang my heart out and loud;
"And those of us with ravaged facesLacking in the social gracesDesperately remained at homeInventing lovers on the phoneWho called to say come dance with meAnd murmured vague obscenitiesIt isn't all it seemsAt seventeen"

I threw my heart into that song. I knew I had done a good job. But I didn't get chosen to do a solo. I would have to be content with being one of the singers. But inside, it affected me more than I let on, even to myself.

Aside from other teenage growing pains, I became more and more detached from school, even choir, which was the very reason I even went to school.

Junior year, the talent show came and went.
Senior year, another talent show. I was more and more absent from school, but I showed up to choir. I couldn't bring myself to tryout again. The only redeeming thing about the talent show this year would be that we'd be performing Earth, Wind & Fire's "Fantasy." I loved that song.

I had no idea who was doing solos, nor did I care. Until I saw 2 of the most popular girls, Renee and Linda, doing MY SONG!!!! They were terrible! They were so quiet, they could hardly be heard. No feeling, no passion, just notes and words. I was crushed!

That was 27 years ago!!! Wow!

I sing today, but never have I ever had to audition for anything. I've either been invited to sing, record or lead women's worship or choral stuff, which I totally love.

But today . . . I auditioned.

I auditioned to see if I could do it. To prove to myself that I could get up in front of a group, a part from church or choral people.

It wasn't important for me to win the audition. The winning, for me would be in stepping out.

Our local Christian radio station, Spirit 105.3 held these auditions, for a charity a local mall has every year and Spirit provides local entertainment to kick off the Christmas Season.

Let me first say that, the selection was pretty minimal. Young and old-er, who sang okay, but in my opinion were very courageous to even get up on stage and sing with and without music. And then there were some groups and one choir that needed to continue in their musical training.

But there were a handful that was very, very good.

Inside. . . I knew I didn't really have anything to worry about, because I didn't really care if I was chosen as a performer or not. With that in mind, I knew first impressions are everything, so my clothes had to make a statement. Song: pick a holiday song, but one that will get the audience involved, clapping, etc.
I chose "Let's Make a Baby King" recorded by Wynonna, but I prefer "New Grass Revival's soulful, bluegrassy version.

My friend, Jessie, her husband, Paul and daughter Ashley gave me tips on keeping the audience "awake." As well as body movement and singing tips. Keeping all what they told me in mind, I gave it my all for that 1:30 sec audition.

Trying not to lose focus, I can't help but notice first that my voice was a lot stronger than everyone else who had auditioned to that point. As I am trying to concentrate, I notice people in the mall turning around to see who was singing. Then I notice people smiling and clapping their hands.

I feel a little more confident and let go a little more, allowing my head to turn in rhythm to the music, but with that, my mouth moves away from the mike. . . no longer being heard. . . I turned back. Jessie is relieved!!! Whew!

The smile on sound guy's face says it all. As I end, I get a pretty solid applause and Mike Tedesco of Spirit says to me, "That was a great job." He hadn't said anything like that to anyone else at that point. I felt very satisfied and proud.

What a feeling as many of the other singers had paid me the same compliments. Jamilla, a lovely young mother, whose voice was incredible as she sang a Rachel Lampa tune, told me her husband said that I had my "groove on." I told her that I wish I could sing like her.

A few minutes later, a man carrying a professional video camera, looking very serious comes up to me, asks me what church I attend, then proceeds to give me a card. I see it has the call letters to the local TBN station. He then tells me that I would be perfect for their "Praise the Lord" show here in Seattle and to call the station to make an appt.

Funny. . . I wasn't gushing. I was excited, but not elated. I, of course shared the news with my friends, but was more satisfied with my accomplishment of stepping out.

Do I believe I've won a spot to sing at this event? Jessilyn thinks I have, but I don't really care too much. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Had I proven this old point to myself?

I think from the moment I belted out the first note, I no longer had a point to prove. Inside I knew that I could always do it. I am talented and have been given multiple opportunities to show off that talent.

I just never really gave myself permission to let go.

I am giving myself permission!


Sunday, October 01, 2006

What is a friend?

Today, I had lunch with a dear friend from California. We share the same heritage and a deep love of the Lord. What a blessed time.

Last night, I had coffee with a dear friend I've known since our days in California. The conversation was very deep, very sincere, very moving.

Last week, I was blessed by spending time with my newest friend talking music, our heritages, and our lives.

Last weekend, I spent time with my sister and her partner without my children around. I've never allowed myself to let go and act as silly or have as much fun as I did with them then.

It seems that this last month has been about friendships in my life.

New friendships, old friendships and friendships in the middle.

Cultivating, giving, demonstrating, receiving and loving.

I have been blessed by the new friendships that the Lord has allowed me to share in recently. And the friendships that I've had for many years, sharing our good times as well as our difficult times.

In reflecting on these recent occasions, I wondered, what is friendship? What is the definition for "friendship?"

The word "friendship" in Webster's is defined as "an attachment to a person, proceeding from intimate acquaintance, and a reciprocation of kind offices, or from a favorable opinion of the amiable and respectable qualities of his mind. Friendship differs from benevolence"

Over the years, I've never really struggled in making new friends, but maintaining those friendships has not been my strong point. I've lost many a precious friend because I didn't take the time necessary to keep that friend.

Different reasons why; boredom, self-absorbed, marriage, motherhood . . . life!

The most important friendship these last 3 years has been my friendship with Jesus. Oh, I've known Him pretty much all my life. I even committed myself to Him in 1981. But, He has been one of those friendships that I didn't cultivate, didn't maintain, didn't take time to sit and listen to, didn't allow Him to be my friend the way He wanted to be.

Until I realized that His faithfulness all these years warranted my attention. I had to take notice, I had to acknowledge Him. I had to get to know Him, and as a result, Jesus has become my best friend. I can't go very far before I need to sit with Him, talk with Him, be with Him.

I admit that He is a better friend to me than I am to Him. I am still self-absorbed, selfish and self-centered. I still allow life to become more of my focus. I still tend to be seduced by life's "pleasures." But my Friend, is always here, always available and unchanging. Proverbs 18:24 says "A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."

For this, I desire to strive and give to others what Jesus has given to me. Because He takes the time to listen to me, I desire to be a good listener to my friends.

Two of my dear friends are at different phases in their lives. Same ages, but the Lord is taking them on different journeys. There are similarities, i.e. their health and aging. Being able to sit with them and share His love, encourage them and laugh with them, I found myself listening more. Stopping myself in sharing, bragging, whatever and listening to the "still small voice" asking me to listen, to encourage, to pray.

I was blessed by what I had the privilege to hear; a desire to get to know Jesus more intimately, a desire to learn to trust Him, a desire to submit to Jesus, to His control and a desire to allow His love to infiltrate the blood cells of the Body.

"A friend loves at all times." Or "A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need." Proverbs 17:17

Because of the time, although inconsistent at times, I've spent with the Lover of my Soul, my love for my friends, near and dear, old and new, has strengthen my desire to "be" a friend. To hold these friendships with care, to be mindful of what I say, to make sure that I am trustworthy, keeping things said, between us.

It has been easy, too easy, to want to flaunt these friendships with others. But, it doesn't matter who these friends are and what position they hold by the world's standards nor mine. What does matter is who I know. . . Jesus!!! And not what I get out of these relationships, but what I am putting in.

To have good friends, I must be a good friend. And I must allow my friends to be friends to me. "As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend." Proverbs 27:17

As I reread and proof this writing, I am listening to the live music of a church service and playing on their sound system is "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down life for his friends." It was meant for me. Thank you, Lord, that you know my heart. Praise You for Your goodness.

I pray that this writing will encourage anyone who is reading this to stop and think about what type of friend they are and strive to be the type of friend Jesus desires you to be.