Friday, February 26, 2010

Looking for Spring

I'm so ready for the weather to change! No doubt, I'm not the only one who is, either. And even though it's another line from the old song, "Baby, It's Cold Outside", I'm going to do what the rest of the nation is doing...taking care of business and dashing - gingerly, so I don't slip and break my leg or something on the ice - still, dashing to the next warm place I need to be in order to do whatever it is I'm there to get done. (Now, there must have been at least three major grammatical errors in that last sentence, but I'm not too worried about it. It is, after all, freezing outside and some of that cold may have gotten stuck in the part of my brain that houses grammar stuff. I don't mind.)

So, these verses come to mind this morning. In Isaiah 42:9..."See, the former things have taken place and new things I declare; before they spring into being, I announce them to you." And then, from the very next verse..."Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them. Let the desert and its towns raise their voices; let the settlements where Kedar lives rejoice. Let the people of Sela sing for joy; let them shout from the mountaintops. Let them give glory to the Lord and proclaim his praise in the islands."

I love that He wants us to know that He is doing a new thing. God is always doing a new thing. Just like the seasons that continue to change, every year, our God continues to do something new. Spring will come. The cold weather will pass. New things are on the horizon for all of us. And our job is simply to rejoice! Sing praise to Him - whoever and wherever we are, no matter where we live. On the islands, the sea, the mountaintops - even right here in good old cold Missouri. It's a great day to rejoice and praise God for all He's doing - every new thing - and all the faithfulness He's demonstrated throughout the history of this world.

Don't know about you, but that just warmed up my day rather nicely. Blessings, dear friends. Enjoy whatever it is that God is "springing forth" in your lives!


Monday, February 22, 2010

One Step At A Time

Funny how sometimes when I name these blogs, I have no idea what I'm going to say. Such is the case this evening. That's what ended up coming into my brain and out through my fingers on the keyboard. Let's see where this thing is going...

What is on my heart to tell you is that there are just days that require us to take one step at a time. Well, I guess I already sort of said that in the title, didn't I? But that's what this day has been for me. One step at a time. Little steps, actually. Just trying to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Never running too far ahead with my thoughts or stopping dead in my tracks. I know I have to keep taking steps. Sometimes, where my foot is going to land isn't even clear to me at all. That is when I have to totally trust that God has me - regardless of what I feel, think or see.

I heard it said once that, if we are not continually climbing the mountain, we will begin to lose ground. I'm not sure that I agree with that statement, though. Sometimes we need to stop and rest for a moment, enjoying the beauty that God has so graciously put in our world. Sometimes the small step is one that leads us to a little park bench on a hill overlooking a valley so vast and lush that it takes our breath away - giving us rest and peace for our souls. And occasionally, it's during that little break where we rest on our little park benches that eventually we are able once again to see the path before us with a little more clarity. That's always our hope, isn't it? To be able to see the way - even if it's just so that we can take one little step in front of us - trusting that we are moving in the right direction.

I've found that God likes to hide the path, though. Have you found the same thing to be true? Every once in a while, it's as though I've wandered into some forest that is so thick with all that jungly stuff that I can't see the trees that are right there beside me...and the path has totally been covered over with brush and weeds. And to top it all off, there's not a park bench anywhere in sight! All I can do in those moments is sink to my knees and sit quietly, waiting on God. Waiting for Him to light that one little step in front of me. Waiting for Him to do whatever it is that He is going to do in me, through me, for me, to me or with me. Before I even rise to take one more step, I must wait, for I am lost without Him.

There are other times, however, when I must move forward, trusting His word that promises me that He is with me always, as He said He would be - and that by trusting Him, He will 'make my paths straight' (Proverbs 3:5,6) When I am weary, He is where I find my rest. When I am lost, He reminds me that I am never lost to Him. He always knows exactly where I am - and He ALWAYS has a plan to get me where He wants me to go.

Many things line the path that I am walking right now. Music (that in itself is enough to keep me busy), a new book to work on (don't even ask where I am in that process), Heart Notes for Haiti (still hoping to find more places for concerts and gearing up for the one at Club D Mask Us in May)... There's more on the list - uh, path - but just those few things are enough to consider right now.

Robert Frost wrote a beautiful poem entitled 'Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening.' Seems rather appropriate for this blog, so I'll include it.

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village, though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there's some mistake.

The only other sound's the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

So, we've climbed to the top of a mountain, rested on a park bench overlooking a beautiful valley, wandered through a forest and stopped in the woods on a snowy evening. Been a very busy 'travel blog' tonight, hasn't it? :)

I pray that you will find the quiet moments that you need with God. I pray that you will always put your foot on the path with confidence, knowing that God has such a beautiful plan for you - knowing that it probably won't look the way you expected when you set out on your journey. We'll see more clearly when we get to the other side of the path, though, won't we? In the meantime, just continue to follow, trusting that He's holding and guiding you.

I love you, dear friends. Rest well this evening.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Few Updates...

Good morning all! My feet hit the floor running - as much as that is possible at this age - with all the stuff that needs to be done today. Rehearsal starts at 9:00. On March 5th, I have another concert date for Branson at Morningside, "Home of the new Jim Bakker Show" and there is a great deal of vocal work that needs to get done getting ready for that one. But I woke up this morning knowing that I had to drop a few lines on here so that it doesn't look like I've fallen off the planet!

The first email I read from a friend of mine noted that I hadn't been heard from for awhile... So, here I am! :)

Here's where we are with the Haiti concerts. The Kansas City, Kansas church hasn't responded yet, so I'm not sure what is going to happen with that - if it will be scheduled at a later date or whatever - but am still waiting to hear from the contact person about it. We do have a date at Club D Mask Us in Lee's Summit, Missouri. It's set for May 7th and will feature a band and several solo artists. Yippeeee!

For now, I want to share the verse that the Lord gave me for today. It's from the book of Proverbs and it goes like this..."A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Proverbs 25:11. That word aptly means appropriately, fittingly, rightly, suitably, pertinently. So my desire for this day is to speak the right words - words that appropriately fit the circumstances into which I will be speaking. I pray that you and I will be successful in our venture to do exactly that today. There are lots of folks who need to hear the right words coming out of our mouths and God is more than able to put those words in us - for our own good as well as for theirs.

Blessings today, everyone. Thanks so much for following - even though at times it seems that I am wandering all over the place! I so appreciate that you are willing to still come looking!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Little Rabbit Trails

Good morning, everyone! So glad you could stop by today! I hope your day is a gloriously amazing day for you and that when you lay your head down on your pillow tonight, you can do it with a smile on your face and in your heart. God is going to be good to you today. Happy glory hallelujah!

Now, that may have sounded funny...God is going to be good to you today. Well, of course He is - because that's Who He is. He's going to be with you wherever you go. Oh, it may be that you find yourself off on some little rabbit trail that was never part of your plan for the day. But you know, sometimes those little rabbit trails are nothing less than God's plan for you...paths that He has chosen to teach you something or perhaps to give you the opportunity to bless someone who really needs blessing! It could also be that He just wants you to have a moment of peace in a very busy and stressful day. Possibly, He's just calling you to come and rest by His side in a most unexpected way - or even take you on a journey to show you the wonder of Who He is and the powerful love He has for you. Who knows...?

Don't miss it. Whatever it is - however He chooses to interrupt your day - don't miss it. LOOK for Him in it. Ask Him to show you something new today - about Him, His creation, His plan - whatever! Ask Him to surprise you with a gift. I did that one day a number of years ago and He surprised me with a beautiful little diamond ring. Now, tell me that God doesn't want to give us gifts and surprise us with unexpected blessings! That little diamond ring came from my husband, who had no idea that I'd asked God for a surprise earlier that day. When Alan came home from work that evening, we had some errands to run. On our way to do them, however we ended up going in the opposite direction of where we needed to be. I asked him where we were going and then generously offered my wifely duty of reminding him that he was going in the wrong direction. (WHEN will I learn to keep my mouth shut and realize that my husband has been driving for more than 45 years - and that he probably does still have most of his marbles (I refer you to my previous post), making him quite capable of finding his way around a city that he's lived in for about 40 years now....)

Anyway, I digress. Where was I? Oh, yes. We were going down some little rabbit trail that had nothing to do with our previous plans that day. Now, I've gotta tell husband is not the kind of guy who cares anything about jewelry. When we got married, his wedding ring went on his finger and has only been taken off during the times he's had surgery - then he puts it right back on. Outside of that, he has no use for jewelry of any kind. It's not in his line of vision, so to speak. He flat doesn't care about it and usually considers it to be a waste of money. And for us, money isn't something that we find ourselves rolling around in, if you know what I mean. :)

On this particular day, I thought he must have left some of his marbles at home and that we were on a little rabbit trail. He smiled at me rather smugly and told me that he just wanted to make a quick stop somewhere before we did our errands. A few minutes later, we were pulling into a parking lot and minutes after that, I was walking out of a store with a little used diamond ring on my finger. GOD's rabbit trail that day was an answer to a prayer I'd not voiced to anyone but Him. What appeared to me to be a little rabbit trail of my husband's doing ended up being the direct path set out before us by the Lord's Spirit to answer a request I'd made that morning. And no, I didn't ask GOD for a diamond ring. That was entirely His idea!

So, dear ones, look for God's little rabbit trails in your life today. He tends to leave His footprints everywhere He goes. Sometimes they are easier to follow than other times, but they are always there. So you just go ahead and be a little baby bunny and hop along behind Him, keeping your little bunny ears open for the slightest sound of change in direction and see what marvelous things He has in store for you today!

Blessings! See you on the little rabbit trails!


Monday, February 8, 2010

Hunting For Marbles

Good morning all! Getting ready for a great week?

Seems like it's been days since I've been on my blog. I'm sure it has been. Actually, I'm sure if I stopped to check when I last posted something here, I would be shocked. Keeping up with 'life' is sometimes more difficult than I realize. At those times, I've got to stop and ask for help from the only Source of life there is. Such is the case today, my friends.

But I've no doubt that you all have the same challenges in your own lives. Circumstances may be different, but there's always stuff to be done, right? And it's crazy how time can get away from me! If I didn't know better, I would say that someone comes to my house and sets my clocks and calendars to some time in the future, leaving me to wonder if I've just gotten really old and don't have all my marbles anymore. (For you young people, that just means that I wonder if I'm losing my mind.) Of course, I refuse to believe that. I checked this morning and all my marbles are present and accounted for. Hallelujah...if any of them are actually missing, I'm blessed to know that GOD knows exactly where they have gone...and He knows how to keep me.

The devil would love for me to believe that I'm going crazy. Probably because he went crazy and rejected GOD, thinking he was so much better and smarter than YHVH. Oh yes, the devil lost his marbles a long time ago and I'm not interested in keeping company with him! I know the Lord said we are to be a peculiar people and I am most definitely peculiar. But crazy people? No way!

Now, on to our fundraising efforts. Let me catch you up on Heart Notes for Haiti. As of today, I'm still waiting to hear from a new friend who attends a church in Kansas City, Kansas. Her pastor is considering providing their building for a benefit concert. There is also a church in Lee's Summit, Missouri where we will be doing a benefit concert in May. Isn't that great news? I'll have more details as they become available, but for now, I'm just happy to see that things are beginning to open up. I'm still looking for help with this, though. If any of you would be interested in helping me promote this by making phone calls to secure space, it would be greatly appreciated. Maybe some of you are stay-at-home parents or retired just have some extra time on your hands and would be willing to use it in this way. Hey, what about those of you who have children in school? Maybe their schools would be willing to let us do a fundraiser....? Just a thought.

Well, I need to jump off here for now. Here's a scripture for us today. It just keeps coming up in my spirit, so this must be the one!

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5,6

Lord, today I put my trust in You. My understanding gets all messy when I don't have You directing my paths and You know that there are a whole bunch of paths right in front of me. Today, I continue to acknowledge Your goodness and direction, Your blessings and Your power in my life. Thank You for being GOD every single day and night of my life. Have Your way in all of my friends here at Notes From The Heart and in me, too. I'm throwing the full weight of my faith on You, leaning heavily on Your love, power, mercy, grace and goodness. Thank You, GOD, for being Who You are! Bless us according to Your good pleasure, Lord, to be and do all You call us to be and do! In Jesus' powerful name. Amen.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Flittling of the Dirty Birds... tweet!

Actually, it's Monday evening...February 1st, 2010. Amazing, isn't it?

Hi everyone. Concert this morning. Meetings all afternoon. Long day. Wonderful, glorious and beautiful day - even if the sun didn't shine and the temps are still cold outside. I'll take it. I'm glad to have it. God is good. Even in cold weather, God is always good!

Yep, I wrote something similar not long ago about the weather. May have even been last week...I'd have to go back and check the blog. Isn't it something how a thing as simple as the weather can get all in the middle of us? Sure does for me. I feel better physically in warmer weather. Maybe that's why I notice it so much. Still, it's weather. We always have some, don't we? Hallelujah, GOD! Thanks for weather! Thanks for LIFE!

Rambling. That's what I'm doing. I'm just letting the thoughts that flow through my brain flow right on out my fingers. Sometimes, the thoughts that flow take me by surprise. Other times, I wonder what my brain is thinking!

You know, it makes me think about what we decide to think about. Yeah. That's what I said. I know that we are supposed to take every thought captive... Sometimes those thoughts flit around like little birds, first in this tree - next in that one. Makes me think of the song, Winter Wonderland. You know, the phrase that goes: "Gone away is the boo bird. Here to stay is the new bird who sings a love song as we go along..." There's always some kind of bird flitting around, looking for a place to land. Like birds in the trees, if I don't choose to let the right ones land there, they leave the little dirty birdies will leave their little birdie messes on the fertile ground of my brain. Not so good. I understand why the Lord wants us to take every thought captive. Otherwise, those little thoughts can pollute our minds, hearts and eventually the loved ones in our lives. Again, not so good.

Today, I encountered someone who obviously struggles tremendously with negativity. Negative comments, negative attitude.... I saw discouragement, depression, anger, resentment, rejection, bitterness and all kinds of little 'messes' that have found their ways into the life of this person. It's almost as if I could see the dirty little birds that have messed all over that brain. And who knows what happened to cause that? Difficulties in life? Disappointments somewhere along the way? Abuse? Ridicule? Scorn? God knows. God saw the whole life - beginning to end - and He understands it all.

What He doesn't want from that individual - or from any of us, for that matter - is for those little bird messes to stay around, smelling up our lives. He wants us to clean them up. His plans for us are so much better than we know. Lose the depression. Find peace in knowing that God can give us peace in the midst of our circumstances. Lose the anger. Dig up the rejection, bitterness, hate, unforgiveness....whatever it is....dig it up and throw it out of our lives. Rest in Him. Trust Him to take care of the circumstances. Trust Him to know what the best thing is for you to do. If we need to do it again to remind ourselves today, then let's do it...let's read the end of The Book. God wins. If we're on His side, then yippeee! We win, too. :)

So pray, people. Pray for each other. Encourage each other. Don't entertain the negative. Bless the Lord and yourself - bless the people around you and the ones you meet every day. Find and choose and give tons of joy to the folks you encounter. There's enough negativity - enough sorrow and sadness and all the depressing stuff to last a lifetime. How much better to leave a trail of overflowing joy, encouragement, hope, love and peace in this world!

God has a new song for you and for me. Let's sing that one, shall we?