Hello friends. I come to you this afternoon with a few words of warm encouragement as it is nearly 60 degrees outside…in November. That’s pretty warm but the dreaded “S” word is in the forecast for the weekend. Welcome to fall in the midwest.
While I was out running my few errands, I couldn’t help but notice a tree full of the season – God’s visual reminder that He always has something beautiful for us to focus on instead of the chaos we face daily.
Music is another way I can focus less on myself and more on what God wants me to understand. There is a song on the radio now that explains that God never lets go of us and our situation, He never can, He never will.
I think sometimes we get so focused on our situation that we lose sight of His love for us and the immense power of prayer. Even when we can’t seem to utter a prayer for our own relief, the scriptures remind us that the Holy Spirit is there to utter one for us.
We are energized by the Holy Spirit for prayer and we know what it is to pray in accordance with the Spirit; but we don’t often realize that the Holy Spirit Himself prays prayers in us which we cannot utter ourselves. Oswald Chambers
We all have family and friends that need prayers but there are probably a lot more of us who think we never need prayer…but God knows hearts, our hurts and our fears. So we are never left alone, the Spirit is always close by.
Just a reminder that prayer is not an afterthought or an idea of ‘all I can do is pray’. Prayer is a power tool, a direct link to a God who loves you. And the more we realize His love for us, the more we can share His love for others. I leave you a link to another song of encouragement called “Still in Control” that reminds me that My God is Still in Control. May it encourage you in whatever you face today.
Have a safe and blessed week and as always remember to be kind. It can open doors of Joy you never knew were there.
Fandango has a fun story starter this week as I immediately went into Halloween mode, after all, it is October. Come join in with your imagination on this fun Story Starter and let your creative juices flow.
The storm had been relentless last night and this muddy mess did not help in getting up the driveway to the house.
“Why am I being drawn back to Grandma’s house? She has been gone for over three years.”
Her mom had told her that everything in the house had been sold but her old broken piano.They would dispose of it when the house sold. She thought back to the summers she spent there. The laughter…the music. This was why she studied music. She so wanted to be the pianist her grandmother had been but the talent seemed to have eluded herso she taught instead. But many people loved her playing and her teaching was highly sought after. So she stayed in the background away from the dreams of being onstage. As she pulled up in front of the house, the sun began breaking through the clouds. The ‘For Sale’ sign loomed ominously sideways from the storm. The thought of someone else living here made her sad. Taking her keys, she open the door to the empty mustiness that was far from the memories of the bright sunny days she remember so well. The sun was streaming with split rays through the dusty living room windows. The light caught an object leaning against the wall and made Jessica smile. Her walking stick was still leaning in the corner. She could not believe it was still around. She walked over and picked it up, studying her name that her grandfather had carved. She remember fondly the great adventures from the back yard. He had a small apple orchard in the back but to a small child it was huge. She walked over to the sunroom and stood in the doorway remembering the beautiful music her grandmother would play as she and Grandpa would explore the vast outdoors. The piano leaned crookedly against the wall as one leg was completely broken off. Then she remembered the music again…no wait…she is hearing it.
“I heard the music as I entered the room, but all that was there was the broken piano against the wall,” she explained later to her mom when she told her about her visit. She told her of the whispers she heard about not giving up on her dream, that her talent was there and of other things only her grandmother knew. She was shaken but renewed and peaceful as well.
“Itmay have been a dream or some sort of hallucination of remembered love but it was more real than I have know in some years,” Jessica explained.
“So, what are you going to do about it?” her mom asked hoping that whatever this was, it would be enough to help her get over her stage fright and weak self-esteem. She knew the local symphony was searching for a new pianist and that in her mind she thought her daughter would be perfect for it. Of course she was prejudiced as this was her only daughter of 3 other children.
“I don’t know,” said Jessica, “but I think I owe it to Grandma to not give up just because of some bad experience from college. Oh, and I found my walking stick that Granpa made for me.”
“Maybe that will help you walk a different path. Not to pressure you, but the Symphony still has not found a pianist.”
“I dunno, mom. That’s an awful big step. That’s like trying to win the Olympics without training.”
“You train every day, Jessica. What have you got to lose?”
“I will think about it.”
In all of life we face challenges that can either enhance or thwart our dreams. If our dreams are not fully attainable, we must never lose the love those dreams gave us. Use that love to make another dream. That dream may be better than your original dream. And with all paths in all our dreams, remember to be kind. Kindness can make dreams for others come true.
Good morning friends. We finally got a little rain yesterday and it was great, short but still so much needed. The ground had really been dry. We as people can get dry as well. Not only thirsty for water but dry and parched on the inside. One of the things that helps me remove the dryness from the inside is music, specifically Christian music. It does not matter if it is one of our cherished hymns or one of the new contemporary melodies that reminds us of God’s love and protection. The Psalms originally were songs of worship that we read today reflecting the hope and love of God for all of us.
During the week, the staff at my church prepares for worship for the following Sunday, making sure the slides and sounds for worship service are clear and easily understood. While many of us across the world have a building we call “the church”, the true church is all of us coming together to worship God as a family. And since we are ALL children of God the Father…then we are ALL family.
It’s like a weekly family reunion and we want to make sure that those who come to our building can all feel welcome. So periodically we have to go through the song slides to make sure they can easily be enjoyed. One song we are singing Sunday needed major rework. Not only were the colors not pleasing for the eyes, but it was on 24 separate slides making it a nightmare for the sound booth. So I corrected it, giving it a calming shade of green and cutting it down to 12 slides. But as I did this I had to really study the words and SEE what the song was saying. Sometimes I think we get so caught up in the beautiful melody that we miss the point of the words, regardless of it being a hymn or contemporary song.
Hold Me Close, Let Your Love Surround Me….
Isn’t that what any of us want? Can you imagine how wonderful it would be to sit in the lap of Jesus…as a child…as His child.
So this Sunday, pay attention to the words you are singing and lift them in honor and pray as He showers us with His grace. Down below is one of the songs we are singing at our church this week and it has the words on the screen. It is a song we could sing daily talking about the power of His love for us.
Sunday nights during the summer, the City of Davenport Riverfront Improvement Commission has evening concerts for all to share with a different band each week. There is laughter, dancing and of course food. The First Baptist Church provides sweets and hotdogs for a fun outdoor evening.
There is a really nice bandshell down by the river where the bands can share their talents for anyone wanting to sit and listen or get up and dance to their sheer delight.
This week’s band was Orion Community Band, from a neighboring county. Their music was exceptional.
The night started out with the national Anthem and ended with Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA, but in between was music from many different Broadway musicals along with fun numbers like YMCA. It was a night that made me feel my mom’s presence close by. She would have relished this night with her love of music and band music.
All ages, and some dogs, fully enjoyed themselves sitting in the chairs or sprawled on the grass lawn.
As we are slowly coming out of hiding from Covid, this has been a great way to say hey to each other, enjoy the warm sunshine and music and spread kindness to everyone. As we continue to move forward let us always remember to share kindness wherever we go. It can light up some of our darker moments.
In a world surrounded by the same pandemic attacking countries with no reason of sanity with over 720 thousand cases across more than 150 countries, we are scared. We are all in this together praying for the same cure. In our state today we lost an infant. An infant who had not had enough time to grow any type of immune system. A virus that shows no apathy to the young, the old, the sick or the weak and carried by loved ones who mean no harm.
But I believe in our God. A God that loves every single person on this planet regardless of their religion because he did not create a religion for us to follow. He created us to follow him. He wants a true relationship with you and you with him. He loves you.
Musicians are wonderful tools God uses to remind us that he is always there for us to come to. They write songs of courage, remembrance of his love, remembrance of our love for him and we lean on those songs in hard times.
Casting Crowns wrote a song that I think fits well with the situation this world is finding itself in and how we just need to lean on him and Praise Him in the Storm. And while God sometimes can calm a storm, sometimes he allows the storm to rage while calming us with reassurance that he is in control. Allow your heart to praise God in this current storm and feel his calmness reassurance for you.
Sometime when the storms seem out of control, kindness can come in forms to help settle your heart. Be that calmness for others who so desperately need it.
Last night was a fantastic night at a Home Free Concert. If you are not familiar with them check out the video below. They are an awesome a Capella country group that makes all their instrument sounds with their own mouths – their percussionist Adam is unreal.
That being said, getting home after midnight is way past my bedtime so today is a sit at home, drippy rainy day of watching football and eating tasty fast food.
I love how it has become so acceptable to turn old city building walls into works of art. One day this fall, when it cools a bit, I am going to take a walking tour to find as many as I can in our area. This weeks photo challenge from JansenPhoto was Wall so I went in the direction of refurbished walls.
The wall below is a newer street art on a local bar at one of the busiest sections of the street near the bridge. I wish I had taken a picture before and after because the wall was in bad need of painting. Well they painted it and the likeness for nighttime view is pretty close.
I saw a few weeks ago a brand new one starting up right downtown on the back wall of the symphony practice building and I thought how very appropriate. It is being done by the Metro Arts Youth Apprenticeship Artist. It is not fully complete but I thought I would share so you really appreciate it when it is complete and I will repost it.
Art is a major form of creative passion and there are many forms that can be created from music, painting, photography, sculpting, writing, cooking, gardening… I could go on forever. Art is anything thing that is created by one person for others to enjoy. Think about the master creative artist…God, who gives out these gifts of creative arts because of his passion for creating. He created us and he wants us to share in his passion. So we should all enjoy these wonderful gifts and use them to encourage others to be happy and kind and to brings smile to all.
So remember to smile, be kind and enjoy all the beauty of creation and the art of those who enjoy creating art.
Music is a form of expression that we all hear differently and march to using a genera that satisfies our very soul. What can sound like a soothing sound for some is a screeching sound to other. To some the beauty and technical prowess of the opera far out reaches other forms and is their genera of choice.
But other enjoy a more loud and instrumental form of music like you find in the rock bands.
Then of course you can not leave out the country genera story telling aspect of music.
But to me I find music in all of life. It can be found in the whispering pines as the winds blows softly through the needles heading to destinations unknown.
How about the sound of a babbling brook as it moves through the forest heading to the nearest river
Then there are those of us who love our talented pet friends who entertain us and makes us laugh.
But my favorite music forms of all times is the music you hear in the laughter of a child. Not much else is quiet as rich or fills the soul quiet as full.
But regardless of the genera of music makes you heart sing, listen to it intently. Breathe it in and let it fill your soul. And teach others about you favorite. You may never know how many of us share the same types that enrich our lives and make us smile.
And I remind you at the very special time of year the music of kindness. It too can bring a peace to your soul. Share it wide and far.