Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Michael W. Smith - Wonder (music review)

I am a huge fan of Michael W. Smith.  I have listened to him since I was 13 years old.  I loved how he brought a new energy to contemporary Christian music. 

Things have changed over the years...Smitty has gotten older and has learned lessons that have changed his writings and recordings over the years. 

There are a few CD's that I have not added to my library...yet...but his new CD "Wonder" I wanted right away.  I was able to listen to it a couple of times while cleaning the church, but I really didn't pay attention to the entire CD - the first 5 songs I'd like to talk about...as well as the last song.

The CD opens up with the energy I remember Smitty having when I was a little girl listening to him.  My favorite part of the song is at the end of the second verse going into the chorus: "Don't look down...don't look down." The phrase doesn't say much, but the musicality in the song is just enough to really surprise the listener.

"Take My Breath Away" opens with some strings ... cello especially.  The first two songs really keep the energy that Smitty is known for...

"Run To You" - written by Smitty and Matthew West slows things down a little.  I like this song about surrendering to God.

"I'll Wait For You" caught me a little off guard "Morning Mr. Repo Man...give me one mroe week...and I'll be gone." I wasn't getting it, maybe as I listen to the CD over and over, I'll get it one day.  Sometimes songs are like that (I know this from experience with the song "Life is Hard, but God is good"...sang that for several years and even at my grandmother's funeral, but didn't get it until I went through a major trial.)

I love the fact that Smitty writes music that shows his relationship with his wife.  "Forever Yours" has that promise of staying with her "until death comes between us." 

The last track of the CD is entitled "Take Me Over."  This is a classic Smitty ballad.  I really enjoyed listening to this...and it's nice to have it as an ending to the CD.

I'm a credits junkie...and love to read who plays on what...and such and such.  The dedication of the CD is to his amazing wife Debbie.  Chris Rodriguez sings some background vocals...LOVE IT!!  Also showing up are a few of Tobymac's kids as part of "gang vocals." 

I will be listening to this CD for awhile...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Homesick

It's possibly because I heard news of two pastors in the community that have gone to be with Jesus or that I'm currently reading "Choosing To SEE" by Mary Beth Chapman, but this morning I woke up with several people who have passed from this earthly life and entered into eternity with Jesus.  As I have laid in bed this morning people have come to mind from famous people like Dana Key from Degramo & Key to people I know on an everyday basis - Mike Hayes, Meredith Johnson, and a man named Vince (I can't remember his last name at the moment of writing this blog, but this man was a special guy in my church).  I'd like to share with you the impact these people have had on me.

Dana Key - even though I had never met Dana in person, I listened to his music faithfully.  My favorite was "Casual Christian."  With the chorus proclaiming "I don't wanna be, I don't wanna be a casual Christian..." I found a song that could challenge me in my walk with Christ.  Growing up a preacher's daughter, music was something that was monitored.  I know a lot of D&K's music would have been banned from the house because of the beat of the music, but seriously ... you listen to the words and you can tell it's different.  I'm the youngest of 7 so by the time I was growing up the banned music was getting weaker.  I think my parents realized that God uses the contemporary Christian music for His purpose just as He uses other things in our world to bring people to Him. I also think they learned that a lot of the bans that were put on music when I was younger was more about preference than it was about biblical restrictions.  Seriously, when I was reading of drums, cymbals and such in the Bible...could they really argue it's the beat they were playing on (seriously had a teacher tell me that if the beat is on 2 & 4 it's wrong, but if it's on 1 & 3 it's right).  I had never read THAT in the Bible.  Anyway, Dana is a man who loved God first, his wife and family.  I was most impressed when he left music and began pastoring.  I know I missed his music ministry, but the man loved God's word - and from what I read from those who knew him personally...he also LIVED God's word.

Mike Hayes - Mike was a man in my church that also was a preacher.  When I first met Mike he was pastoring a different church and I met him through my brother Tim.  Tim and I differ on certain issues and when I first met Mike I thought he, too, was like my brother in many ways, but as I got to know him.  I found he was a different guy.  Mike supported me in my music ministry. Being a girl who leads music in church is not something that is looked upon as "correct" in this area that I live.  In fact, I think some churches around us look to Gateway as liberal sometimes.  After Mike's passing, his wife Judy had told me that Mike supported me through that...knowing that now, I wish I would have spent more time getting to know him.  I know he was someone who studied God's word and was able to preach it and challenge those around us.  He's definitely still missed.

Meredith Johnson - Meredith went to be with the Lord earlier this year.  He was the husband of my good friend Cheryl and the son of one of my Bible teachers in college.  I first met Meredith when he was still married to another woman.  His marriage wasn't the best and with his father's passing, things took a turn.  After his divorce, he began pursuing not only Cheryl, but God as well.  He was such a kind man and a man who loved to reach children with God's word.  The kids in our church loved him too.  When it was close to Meredith home going, Cheryl asked me a favor...to sing one of his favorite songs in the hospital "Untitled Hymn (Come To Jesus)."  Even though I loved the song that Chris Rice wrote as a praise song to God, I had never sung this in public.  I prayed the entire time over to the hospital and began singing (while crying) this beautiful song.  After it was over, Cheryl asked me if I would sing it at the funeral.  I was fearful of singing it after I cried the entire song, but I had many people praying for me and I DID want to do something for Meredith.  The night of the funeral, I was able to sing the song through without crying.  It has been recorded so if people missed it they will have to get a copy as it isn't a song that I will probably sing again unless someone asks me to for a funeral.  It WAS DIFFICULT, but even through the difficult times in life God is there with us.  I learned that from Meredith's life.

Vince (still can't remember his last name) came to Gateway while attending Southland Bible Institute.  He was not your typical Southland student.  I say that because I graduated from there and know the cookie cutter person they usually attract.  Vince was a former biker guy...in fact at his memorial service there were a few friends of his that were bikers.  Guys he was reaching for the cause of Christ.  Vince also is remembered for his prayers during the prayer time.  Pastor has mentioned on several occasions how Vince would be in prayer meeting and somewhere in his prayer he would pray "for protection over Gateway Baptist Church."  Now I know I don't know what Heaven is like during this time we are on earth, but I know the verse that says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord....I think Vince is in the presence of the Lord still pleading for protection over Gateway Baptist Church.  Another thing I remember about Vince was that he made good cheesecakes.  It tasted amazing.

**I look back on these men's lives for just a brief time not just because I'm sad that they have gone from us, but because I'm a little jealous.  I'm not from this world...I'm a christian and I believe that my home is now in Heaven.  I know God has me here for a reason ... to bring honor and glory to His name, to reach out to others about Who He is ... so I think I'm still here...that means my job is not yet completed.  How am I doing with bringing glory and honor to God?  How am I doing with reaching out to the lost, sick, widows, children, etc?  Can I be doing better???  The answer to the last question is yes...and I think we should ALWAYS strive to do better.  I read through some other blogs and thoughts that challenged me to look at my life.  What is my time filled with?  Am I spending too much time on things that will be burned to ashes...or am I working toward things with the heavenly rewards?  It's tough down here and I talk a lot about comfort zones and stepping out of them.  I think God is asking those who are here still in the world to step out of our comfort zone and be here a little while longer to spread His love to others and bring honor to His name.  Yes, Heaven is our comfort zone and those who have passed through are there cheering us in this life.  Let's remember to continue our stepping here on earth...the race that is here before us...and bring glory and honor to Jesus!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The man's brain...

So, I have signed up for eharmony and don't understand how the man's brain works.  It cracks me up because I'll be emailing  a guy on the site then all of a sudden, it becomes a closed match.  Weird...yesterday the guy didn't say anything about a problem, but today I happened to see that it was closed.  Weird.

Anyway...I am looking at this differently. I have made it clear to the men on the site that I will not be making the first move, and if they are interested to feel free to contact me (through the site).  I do like the fact that it does take time to get through to the communication process, but some of those questions don't really show the "real" person.  I think after these four months are over, I'll stop with it though. I just really don't want to meet the guy via the internet. I really believe that God can bring him to me in person.  I was weak at a moment and decided to join, so we will see what happens.  I know God can use the internet, but I just don't know about it.

Be praying for me.

Monday, September 20, 2010

26 Letters

My nephew David Paul is in college (away from home). Bless his heart, it's the first time he's been away from home for a LONG time of period.  He's begging for letters, packages...anything.  I have been to be a good aunt (his favorite at this point), because I have been able to get a letter and a package.  The package was my favorite to put together.  I got a picture from faceinhole.com and was able to put his face with a picture of Demi Lovato.  Bless his heart, he really liked it.  The frame I did some work on.  I got it at the dollar tree, and it had four blocks with the letters L-O-V-E.  I covered the blocks and added my own letters and put D-E-M-I and it looked really cute.

I also put some gum, candy, some school supplies.  I think I'll send another letter, then work on an emgerency kit.  Bless his heart, he's learning to do laundry (he's been there almost a month and only done laundry twice.  He's got his heart set on getting married so he'll have someone to do his laundry.  Funny how many people have told him marriage doesn't stop the launrdy doing. LOL!!

Well...I'm going to get back to writing my letter.  Hope the week is going well with those who read this.

Until next time :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

selah--wonderful merciful savior

I love this worship song, and Selah does a great job with it. 

Hope you enjoy it too :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

so excited tonight!!

Okay, this may not seem big to anyone else, but I love ONE TREE HILL....and tonight we have the premiere of Season 8.  Wow!  Nathan was just doing push ups with Jamie on his back...then he rolled him in a blanket and did some weight lifting...how totally cool!

Okay, back to watching and enjoying the show.  I hope you all have a GREAT evening too!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Song of the Moment - Natalie Grant - Song to the King

I have a new song of the moment.  This is a beautiful song that I would love to get the piano music to have someone play for me.  This is an amazing song.  Give it a listen...I think you will like it too!

Choosing to SEE

I recommend anyone reading this blog to go out and purchase the book "Choosing to SEE" by Mary Beth Chapman.  She is the wife of Steven Curtis Chapman.  Their life changing moment of losing their youngest daughter Maria in 2008 has touched many lives, but Mary Beth is so honest when she writes...
When people ask how we are doing, the first thing I always say is, 'I want Maria back.  I want my son Will Franklin not to have this as a chapter in his story.  I want my children to be healthy, my family secure.  I don't really care whose life has been touches or changed because of our loss.
I can't imagine the road that God has led them, but to see the grace and hope that is being shown from their lives has been encouraging. 

I am really glad that Mary Beth included background of their life together.  Reading about how she and "Steve" met was delightful.  Seeing the differences between them and how they work to keep it together.  I'm touched at their story of love, hope and healing.

Check it out if you can...

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Thinking back about the beach...

What a great memory from this past summer.  I love the beach...and this past summer some of my friends went together to enjoy a week there.  It was so relaxing and so much fun.  The last night we were there, we did some of these jump shots.  It was so much fun.  We had a blast getting just the right pose.  Some of them are good, others not so good. 

I'm in the process of finally getting my beach pictures printed.  Tomorrow I will pick them up and be able to get them in my scrapbook/photo album.  My friend Gigi, bought an album for them and I'm going to do some scrapbooking too, because part of keeping these memories is using the journalling option.  I'm excited.  I think it would be really fun to do a crop party.  It's been awhile since I have been to one.

Anyway...today's post is just going down memory lane.  Enjoying that last night at the beach with some great friends :)

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam - "Introducing Me" - Nick Jonas (Full Scene /...

This is my favorite song from Camp Rock 2...sung by Nick (My favorite Jonas). Anyway, I wanted to share this song on my blog, because I think it's adorable. This is actually the scene that it's comes from, so it doesn't start right away.

I love Nick's facial expressions at the beginning of the song...he's adorable!!

I think why I like this scene the best, is because this boy is shy and doesn't really know how to express himself around a girl that he likes.  His brothers encourage him that since he's a Rockstar, that he just simply sing it...so this is what he comes up.  I think it's cute!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Atmosphere - Tobymac

I am an odd mood today.  There is a song by Tobymac that I listen to when I'm in this mood...I've had it before - it's the mood that I get when I'm feeling disconnected.  One of the lines from this song hits the way I feel when I'm in this mood.  "I know you're all alone in a crowd of your friends, I can see it in your eyes that your fading again, Checking out moving into your hole, Where the light can't tough any part of your soul."

When I first heard this song, I was glad that I was able to have a way to describe this feeling.  It doesn't always last long, but when it does I just feel really .... LONELY. 

Here are the lyrics to the whole song...


I know you keep a journal and every page is rippled
From the tears that you cry, ain't no meanin' to your scribble
Cause words can't describe what you've been feelin' inside
It's like thousand foot walls, and they're still on the rise

But look up to a beautiful sound
And see for yourself you're not that far down
And know this, I cannot love a little
My promise to you is unconditional

And I'll keep the light on for you,
Just keep the course, you can weather the storm
I'll keep the light on for you,
You've come this far, don't you ever lose heart, now

Just turn around and I'll be there
I'm moving into your atmosphere
Just turn around and I'll be there
I'm moving into your atmosphere

I know you're all alone in a crowd of your friends
I can see it in your eyes that your fadin' again
Checking out, moving into your hole
Where the light can't touch any part of your soul

But hold up and let the river rush in
You can turn around and start living again
Cause your life is a beautiful bloom
In the image of the one that created you

And I'll keep the light on for you,
Just keep the course, you can weather the storm

I'll keep the light on for you,
You've come this far, don't you ever lose heart, now
Just turn around and I'll be there
I'm moving into your atmosphere

Just turn around and I'll be there
I'm moving into your atmosphere
I'll be there
Said I'll be there, said I'll be there
Said I'll be there always, forever
Just turn around and I'll be there,
I said I'll be there always forever
I'm movin' into your atmosphere

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Settling for less than God's best???

I'm starting to read a book with the title of this blog.  It's written by Elsa Kok.  It's been a good reminder of what I should be looking for...not just in a mate, but with my life period.  One of the subtitles is titled "The Truth About Desire."  There is a desire within us that is based on two truths (Brent Curtis & John Eldredge from The Sacred Romance) --the hero really has a heart of gold and the beloved really possesses hidden beauty.

Elsa writes "I had it all wrong.  My longing for a man...was wrapped and twisted and intertwined with the longing God creates in each one of us - the longing for Him.  God is the true knight, the one and only, the lover of our hearts and souls."

Scripture to back this up can be found from the following verses...

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am conviced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  -- Romans 8:37-39
Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. -- Hebrews 13:5
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! -- I John 3:1
And my favorite passage ... one that is special to my heart (because it's from I:43 scripture of where we got our name)...
When you pass through the water, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. -- Isaiah 43:2-3
God's desire is to be with me...my desire should be the same.  In fact, He created for me to desire Him.  It's good to know that He wants me :)