Monday, January 26, 2015

On Music and Prayer... And New Beginnings!


I'm excited to report I am joining a new music group. It's a group comprised of people I love and who have been friends for a very long time, and it will be serving as a church music group. Knowing these people, I suspect we may have other opportunities to share the rhythmic joy of the Lord in other ways too.

I have missed making music. I've missed these friends. I've missed being in my home at St. Henry. I'm so thankful - and honored - to be included in something that marks yet another new beginning in my increasingly full, creative, and productive new life.

I heard a great song while painting my bedroom this weekend that I hadn't listened to since I downloaded it.  I guess I wasn't quite ready for it then. But it lifted my spirit this weekend!  It's a Tenth Avenue North song called, "You Are More." 

My prayer life has been so different for the last year or so. Since my prayers are generally prayers of gratitude, and I haven't felt completely thankful for quite some time, it's been difficult to rest in the peace of solitary prayer  Also, my prayers always begin in music - singing is, after all, praying twice - and I haven't been interested in listening to music. In the past, I listened the radio and YouTube to find new material for my music groups. Without a consistent group to use the new material it became a little more depressing than uplifting to listen to potential music.  That's slowly been changing as I've focused on songs about healing and redemption - songs like those below with a lyric that moved my heart and stirred the Holy Spirit:

"Worn" which is also a Tenth Avenue North piece
I know I need to lift my eyes up
But I'm too weak; life just won't let up
And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left
Oh Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart that's frail and torn
I want to know a song can rise from the ashes of a broken life
And all that's dead inside can be reborn
Cause I'm worn...

"Lord, I Need You" by Matt Maher/Chris Tomlin
Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You...

"Jesus, Friend of Sinners" - also by Casting Crowns
Jesus, friend of sinners, the one who's writing in the sand
Make the righteous turn away, and the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember, we are all the least of these
Let the memory of your mercy bring your people to their knees.
Nobody knows what we're for only what we're against
When we judge the wounded...

"Whom Shall I Fear" by Chris Tomlin
You crush the enemy underneath my feet
You are my sword and shield though troubles linger stillWhom shall I fear?
I know who goes before me; I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies is always by my side...

"Thrive" by Casting Crowns
Into Your word we're digging deep to know our Father's heart
Into the world we're reaching out to show them who You are
So living water flowing through, God we thirst for more of You
Fill our hearts and flood our souls with one desire
Just to know You and to make You known
We lift Your name on High
Shine like the sun made darkness run and hide
We know we were made for so much more than ordinary lives
It's time for us to more than just survive we were made to thrive...

Those words are all food for the Spirit!

Of course, I almost always include lyrics from the more secular Shakira's "Waka Waka, Esto Es Africa" and Katy Perry's "Roar" which I count as two of my favorite theme songs!  Shakira makes me want to dance all over the house when she sings about getting up and dusting yourself off ("No existe el miedo/Quitate el polvo, ponte de pie y vuelves al ruedo" - or, in English, "fear doesn't exist; dust yourself off, stand up and get back in the ring.")  And I can't help but sing along with lyrics like Perry's:

Now I'm floating like a butterfly
Stinging like a bee I earned my stripes
I went from zero, to my own hero
You held me down, but I got up (hey!)
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, you hear that sound
Like thunder, gonna shake the ground
You held me down, but I got up
Get ready 'cause I've had enough
I see it all, I see it now
I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter
Dancing through the fire
'Cause I am a champion, and you're gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
'Cause I am a champion, and you're gonna hear me roar...
But I digress. I could, arguably, edit out the digression. But it was a valuable exercise that reminds me I've been crying out to God since last summer.  And writing about my journey makes it very evident how very far I've come in recent weeks - especially the last three. 
There's a girl in the corner with tear stains on her eyes
From the places she's wandered and the shame she can't hide
She says, "How did I get here? I'm not who I once was.
And I'm crippled by the fear that I've fallen too far to love!"
You are more than the choices that you've made. 
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes.
You are more than the problems you create.
You've been remade.
I've been remade.
In Christ,

Sunday, January 4, 2015

On Puppy Love


Luna bit Willie again.

I've been trying to find a new home for her.  She needs a place where she is the only pet in the home and will be with people more than she's not.  She's such a good dog in general - housebroken, obedient, and beautiful.  She just bites little dogs.

When I had my first pug, Yoda, she bit him during a New Year's Eve party.  Scared the beejeebies out of him, but he survived to die a different day four months later.

The puppy that came next, Guster, never stood a chance the day she bit him.  He was teeny tiny.

She bit Willie too in late October last year.  He survived that and kept his distance from her for months.

Last week she bit him again.  The wounds are underneath each of his eyes and are slightly infected.  He screams every time he loses sight of her and she suddenly appears.

She has to go.  I initially thought the only option was to put her to sleep.  However, I discovered a rescue operation that will place her with an adoptive family until she can find a home.  This organization will not euthanize her unless she bites someone again or acts somehow aggressively.

As tough as it is to lose yet another family member, I don't see any other options.

It is true that a single person who lives alone most of the time really cannot afford the time and energy it takes to care for three dogs.  Two is too many as well.  Once I find Luna her new forever home, Willie will be leaving too. 

Looks like that just leaves you and me, Chuckie boy.