Random…

Today, at the end of yet another exhausting school day, I stumbled into the teacher workroom. It usually takes me about 15 minutes after the students leave for the day to de-tune and re-group before I can even think about the pile of work that awaits me in my classroom. Today, when I checked my mailbox, hoping there was not more work to add to my list, I was so surprised to find a king size of my favorite candy bar. Attached to this 2.6 oz. treasure was a note that simply said “Sending positive thoughts your way…” This made my day! I was truly touched that someone thought enough of me to take the time to buy my favorite candy bar (or to even know what my favorite candy bar is), to attach a note, and to sneak it into my mailbox. Wow…how special that random act of kindness was to me. I will make it a point to “pay it forward” tomorrow and try to make someone else smile. Hopefully, someday we will live in a world where random acts of kindness become less random and more the norm.

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The Power of Prayer

Brian and I were honored to lead worship for Offerings Ministries first Saturday night worship service. We got to meet many great people and were overwhelmed by the evening. Felix brought a great message from the Word and the spirit of the Lord was most definitely present in that place. I think that the most powerful moments of the entire night came with prayer. Many people in the room had prayer requests and shared them. Many faithful people circled together in this small space and lifted those requests up to God. Emotions were shared freely, tears shed, and honest fervent prayers were offered up to our Father God. I feel very blessed to have been a small part of the evening. I have always believed in the power of prayer – can’t imagine a single hour of a single day without talking to my heavenly Father – but I have never been a part of a prayer service so special. It was a beautiful, powerful evening…very glad Faith Passage was there for it!

Mr. Intensity

I wrote this poem several years ago about my son. He must have only been about 9 years old at the time I decided to write about him and his nature. Growing up, my daddy wrote poems about my sister and me and I can remember how special it made me feel. I wanted to try to follow that same tradition and write about my children. As I revisit this piece now, I chuckle a bit at the last line…”my little man.” My little man now towers over me…has feet twice the size of mine…and I believe his heart has grown even bigger and more caring! 


ZACH

 

They call him

“Mr. Intensity”

On the field

 

But it fits

Him

In everyway

 

He is passionate

And intense

Emotional and loyal

 

The kind of personality

That draws a crowd

And then entertains them

 

He in tender

And caring when

No one is looking

 

He will have his

Heart broken

Many times

 

But it will not

Change his intense

Caring nature

 

He is my

Little man

Zach

Somedays you’ve got to laugh

I have never been the type of person to believe that if I live my life a certain way that all things would be rainbows and sunshine all the time. That’s just not how life works. I am not perfect…but I try to live the way that I know I should. I try each day to become a better version of myself (thank you Matthew Kelly). And living life in a way that I remain true to myself and my beliefs feels good. I like myself a lot better when I’m serving others, speaking kind words, just overall content and at peace. But life is still not rosey all of the time. Life is not problem free. There are still bills to pay, family issues to deal with, work/school stuff to get through. That is called life. If I’m not careful, I could let the “life” stuff get in the way of my living. I have been guilty of that on plenty of occasions (even within the last week). I could get discouraged and scared and all those other emotions that like to try and steal peace and contentment…but why? Life is going to happen…and sometimes its not going to be pretty. If we know these emotions are coming, why try to fight the downs? I read recently that we should not fight the things we feel, but rather embrace and own our emotions for what they are. I truly believe this shifted my thinking. Instead of fighting the worry or fears, I have learned to accept it for what it is and go on with my day. It makes it a whole lot easier to get back to “the good stuff.” I used to be one to feel sorry for myself and my problems. It seems I was often hosting self-pity parties. I look back now and realize that I wasted those times trying to fight real emotions…when I could have just accepted them, and then moved on – with them – and kept on going. This change of thinking allows me to own my feelings, but not wallow in them. I have learned that I can carry those feelings around, but not let them weigh me down. I can be thoughtful about the way I’m feeling, as yet still find reasons to laugh. Have I mastered it….? No way. However, I have truly grown and come to a better understanding of myself and my life. Each day I become a better me. 

The Evolution of a Guitar Player

Some of my earliest memories of music as a child are of the acoustic guitar. I can remember my daddy picking up his guitar with the strings curling wildly around the tuners (not sure why he didn’t ever cut them) and playing “Froggy Went-a Courtin.'” My whole family was very musical and both of my older brothers played the acoustic guitar. We also listened to a lot of bluegrass music (still a favorite to this day) and I marveled at the sounds that came from those guitars and banjos and mandolins. I am certain that all of this exposure to acoustic instruments is what has always fueled my passion for those sounds. When Brian and I formed Faith Passage he had never played the acoustic guitar but rather grew up playing and learning on an electric guitar. I worried that he would not be as intrigued by the acoustic but certainly hoped it would grow on him. Watching his evolution as an acoustic guitar player has been amazing, rewarding, and definitely enlightening. Brian is NOT content with imitating anyone else. He has taken to this new instrument and in a very short time period has developed his very own style. He looks toward other guitar players for inspiration and “ideas” but always takes what he learns and makes it his own. Everywhere we play, people comment on his style and sound. I am so blessed and honored to be able to write and perform with such a talented, gifted musician. I often don’t want to put lyrics over the stuff he comes up with because it could stand alone – beautifully. Brian is an original. He is disciplined and talented and never afraid to try new things to push himself beyond his comfort level to create amazing music. It has been such a memorable journey watching him grow and evolve as a guitarist, and artist, and a person. I am so grateful for my earliest memories of music and the guitar, and so thankful that those memories carry through in our own music today.

Creatives meet-up, mixer, lunch, what?

What have I gotten myself into? About a month back I received an invitation to an event for Cincinnati creatives. My first reaction…well I don’t know how these people got my name but I’m certainly NOT one of those people. Me…a creative? No way. I didn’t delete the email, but I didn’t immediately clear my social calendar either. A few days later I found myself re-reading the invitation, slightly intrigued, but still certain that I had mistakenly received this invite. I researched the host group, an amazing group of people out of Chicago called STORY, and became even more intrigued – and more convinced that I would not be going. The whole thing worked in my brain for a few days and I mentioned the event to Brian. His automatic response was “Well, you’re going, right?” For a week he asked me – often – if I had registered yet. I finally caved and registered. Waves of doubts and fears instantly rushed over me. What does one do at a creative meet-up? Have I ever been to a social mixer? I’m not a creative, I’m just a middle-aged school teacher who writes songs and sings. And then I made the mistake of looking at the list of the “others” who had registered for this event. Oh wow…more waves. More anxiety about walking into a luncheon by myself and feeling insecure about why I’m even there.

I truly believe timing is everything. My teaching pastor, Joe Boyd, recently tweeted about a book by one of his close friend, Todd Henry, called The Accidental Creative. (I have mentioned this book in another posting). Intrigued even more after seeing Joe interview Todd about creativity, I began reading the book. Here’s why I’m going to walk into my meet-up, mixer, luncheon tomorrow like I belong…I do belong! I AM one of those creative types. I am a songwriter, a singer, a writer, a blogger. My thoughts and ideas and creations were put in me by the ultimate creator. I have just as much right to be there as anyone else on the guest list. I may not have a big title, or run my own business, or any of that, but I do create and I do have a lot to share with the world. I am still nervous about going tomorrow – what will I wear, where will I sit, will anyone talk to me – kind of first day of school stuff – but I am more excited about the opportunity to learn more about myself and others at this event. I am ready to meet up with more people like me – the creative type!

 

“why do i write?”

My senior capstone class at Miami University was a writing class. I would say it was one of the best classes I have ever taken. Our semester-long project was to create a writing portfolio that was loosely centered around one theme or subject. I chose “home” as my central idea. The pieces that came from this semester of writing are so different from each other but all relate to my definition of home. I have kept this writing portfolio to myself since that semester. I have shared some poems here and there with people in my life…but until yesterday had never thought about posting poetry on here (I read a great blog yesterday that spurred the idea!).

why do i write?

i write for me

to feel to grieve

to let go and to remember

i write for validation

from my soul

and from my mind

i write to say those things

that i will never

have the strength to speak aloud

i write to heal

to mend old wounds

and bandage fresh cuts

i write to make my world

meaningful, real, and

worth living in.