Milestones, Transition and Living With Purpose

Milestones, Transition and Living With Purpose

~Janet’s Blog

Early Milestones…

In Washington State you cannot get your driver’s license until you are 16 years old.  I think this is a very good rule and always will.  Why?  Let me tell you a story…

Shannon was a nice friend to have at church.  She added a lot of joy to the singing quartet I led when we were in high school.  She always invited me to youth group and encouraged me to hang out with her and her friends.  And she made me feel wanted, cared about, like one of the gang.

Shannon was a social butterfly, very comfortable around boys, laughing, joking etc.  She taught me a lot about being a teenage girl, kicking back with gal pals, and flirting with the guys.  She was a fun, popular, and genuinely a nice person.

In the Spring of ’85 (yes, a long time ago), she invited me and my dear friend, Katie, to go to a Michael W. Smith concert.  I’d never gone to a concert before.  I was so excited!  That night we laughed, sang, linked arms, and swayed to the music.  I had never had so much fun with gal pals ever!  In spite of the fact I couldn’t hear worth a darn afterward, it was awesome!

Some Milestones Are Better Than Others

No sooner had this whole new world of fun and frolicking opened up to me when, “BAM!,” I was overcome by complete devastation. Some milestones aren’t welcome.

Shannon died.  She was in a car accident the night before we were to sing some special songs at church.  We were all crushed.  How could this be, God?!  She’s just a kid!  Everyone loved Shannon, so why not take me instead?!  Oh, I wrestled with that feeling of guilt and unworthiness most of the summer.

Our quartet stopped singing.  We went through a time when we really didn’t even interact with each other.  It hurt too much!

Thank God, our mom’s were watching out for us. They helped us pick up the pieces and move forward.  It was hard, at first.  Shannon’s parents stopped coming to church.  This was sad.  I felt like if I had just run over to them and hugged them that maybe they would have stayed.  I think the reality that even kids can die was so frightening that I was just emotionally frozen for a while.

It’s amazing how some of our greatest losses can have the most incredible impact on the directions of our lives.  At church, I was suddenly viewed as a leader in the youth group.  I ended up changing my career path from majoring in Music to majoring in Youth Ministry. More milestones.

Little did I know the pain I experienced as a kid would provide me with the tool of compassion.

As the years go buy I think of Shannon often, all the amazing gifts of life she has missed out on because of one mistake in a car.  I sing this song and share this story so kids can hear first-hand about the importance of taking driving seriously.   No texting, speeding, goofing around…please!!  You have so much ahead of you. Don’t miss it! Arrive at all the positive milestones you can.

What has been a significant life-shaping event in your life?

Add to the conversation! We’ll be glad you did. And if you’d like, you can listen to a sample of my song, “Milestones” on iTunes.

photo credit: Viernest via Photopin cc

Blessings

Blessings

Blessings

This is a song I wrote for my sister, Catherine, and her husband, FJ, for their wedding day (Catherine & FJ Abaya). At the time I had to sing it acapella because my hands still hurt so much. This made me very nervous, but after singing acapella on the cruise ship, I was determined to do it! I hoped it would be a blessings for their ceremony, as well as a chance for me to pray out loud my hope for their life together.

When it came time to record this song I was ecstatic to surprise them with me accompanying myself on the guitar.

This song underlines the importance of having God woven into your marriage, “three cords combined.” Life can provide you with joyful times but also many challenges and disappointments. Sometimes circumstances around you can get so bad that it can use up everything you’ve got! When two people who love each other are both dealing with their own difficult situations at the same time it can get really rocky. God can be that third cord to keep you strong and keep from breaking apart.

If you ever find yourself wondering who it is you are living with and even questioning whether you like them.

You are just normal!

We all unknowingly bring so much of our past experiences into our lives that we don’t always see the other for who they are but either who they remind us of or even who we wish they would be. It’s important to stop and recognize this.

We need to get our heads wrapped around the fact that we are all broken doing the best we can with the tools we were given.

It’s also important to be open to the fact that we could learn more through counseling.

Counseling has been a helpful tool we have referred to off and on throughout our marriage. It’s part of the reason we have made it this far.

I encourage you to embrace your spouse and the fact that you are both imperfect and can still learn and grown no matter how long you have been married.

Ultimately though, welcome God into your marriage every day. He can give us compassionate ears that can listen to our spouse when we really don’t want to. He can give us self control when all we want to do is scream about our own boss, or our own relational situations. It is purely by the strength of God that we can have what it takes to care for each other in the midst of our own stuff.

Seriously, let God give you what you need to be there for each other. Don’t turn your pain into a competition, where you compare who has the worst situation. Everyone’s feelings count. We normally know this but when we are hurting it’s hard to think clearly. Remember you are a team. You two are one, but you don’t need to do it alone! Praise God!!

Can you relate? What are some tips that have been helpful in your marriage?

Add your thoughts below. We’ll be glad you did.

Maria

Maria

Maria

This song was written for our God-daughter, Maria, who lives in Norway with her parents, Katie & Kjell Møgster, and three big brothers.  Back in 2006, the Møgsters called us from Mali, Africa (during their missionary years) and asked us to be her God-Family.  They invited us to meet them in Norway to attend Maria’s baptism.  Well, of course, we said “yes!” with great enthusiasm and immediately started the process of obtaining tickets that would eventually have us arrive in Ålesund, Norway.

Now, a baptism is always a special event. But in Norway, it is a HUGE event.  Many hours of preparation were put into decorating the house, setting up tables, making centerpieces, organizing name tags, and preparing group games.  Oh yes, then there is the never-ending supply of food!

The morning of the baptism was spent preparing for the special baptismal worship service.  The worship experience was amazing!  I couldn’t understand a word of it, but the rhythm of the liturgy and prayers felt familiar, especially the Lord’s Prayer.

There was only one part of the service that was in English, the part when I got up and sang.  The Møgsters had informed me that it is often a tradition for the God-parents to have one of their gifts be a poem or song.  So, I happily wrote Maria a song, in the weeks before our Norwegian odyssey.  The words of the chorus were projected onto the screen and I invited everyone to sing along during the last time through…which they did, in their conservative Norwegian way of doing things.

After worship, we drove back to Kjell’s mothers home with the family.  Immediately, their friends and family started arriving for the festivities.  There must have been about 40 people there, each with a name tag showing them where they were going to sit.  We heard Norwegian songs, ate Norwegian food, played group games and learned a lot about … Norwegians!!  The last visitors (who weren’t going to be sleeping at the house) finally left around 8pm that night.  Finally, it was down to just the…15 of us.  This included 7 children, 5 of them young elementary school boys!

The whole trip was an amazing adventure. Being immersed in another culture for 2 1/2 weeks gave me a much bigger understanding of our world. My family and I didn’t want to leave!

In June, 2011, during one of our reunions with the Møgsters, here in the States, Maria asked me to sing her song. I happily agreed.  Maria was 5 at this time, so I could look her in the eyes as I sang.  She would blush and turn away, but soon I found her looking at me again.  It was a precious moment.  Clearly she felt very special about having her own song.

I am so glad that my song touched Maria’s heart. It clearly made her feel loved and cherished.

Has anyone done something extra special in your life while growing up?  Have you ever told them what it meant to you?  If not, think about doing that.  It would mean a lot to them.

Too Much Caffeine

Too Much Caffeine

Ode To The Bean

“Too Much Caffeine”

Writing songs for me is like getting a buzz from too much coffee. After I wrote “Let’s Get a Latte” I was so amped up that I had to keep the caffeinated lyrics flowing!  Hence, “Too Much Caffeine.”

Being a person who loves learning the behind-the- scenes information, here is a little behind-the-scenes tid bit for you.

For some reason when I perform this song I feel like I am singing on stage in a Broadway musical.

Ever since I was in the musical Annie in 6th grade I have had a desire to bring a little drama into my music once in awhile.

I even have these hand gestures and dance moves that are acted out in my head. Due to the guitar in my hands it is a bit difficult to act them out. Instead I express my drama through my face and pregnant pauses in my guitar playing.

Anyway, speaking of drama, this song reminds me of how serious some people are about their morning coffee.

Not quite a year after moving to Boise I attended a women’s convention with a bunch of church ladies I was getting to know. We had a delightful time together.

On the final morning of the event we all gathered in the conference room at the hotel for breakfast. We had all just received our breakfast when I heard some grumbling sounds across the room. I looked up and saw that this older lady had just discovered that we had already run out of coffee. Up to this point I had not realized  how important it is for some people to have their morning cup of joe. It’s like coffee is the key to opening the door to their “smile”. No coffee. No smile.

Since I had never really witnessed this before, I almost started laughing at her behavior. But luckily I stopped myself from letting loose a giggle. The look on this ladies face told me that this was no laughing matter. Eeesh!

I had to work hard not to laugh. Don’t you hate that! It’s seems the harder I try not to laugh the funnier the situation is to me and it just gets harder to keep it under control. Hee hee!

Caffeine To Go, Please

Stressing over a small cup of coffee seemed silly to me. However, I have my own moments when I take things too seriously, also. How well I played my guitar, sang a song, shared my thoughts with the audience…yep, I get pretty serious about those things. Countless other things, too. But, when I take things too seriously I just suck all the joy right out of it.

Now back to our story. I am happy to announce that the hotel did had more coffee and peace reigned on earth once again.

What are some things that you stress about in life? Is it necessary? Anything you get just a little too serious about? How do you deal?

Comment below. Add to the conversation. We’ll be glad you did.

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