Every song on all of my CDs represents a moment in my life. Experiences that have made an impact on me that were important enough to put on paper and partner with a tune.
After experiencing a great sense of accomplishment producing my first two CDs (Strings Attached and Up & Strumming), I felt a tug to write some blues. I have always loved the blues. I was about 9 years old when I was introduced to the song, Stormy Monday. I fell in love with it immediately. I sang it all the time at home and at Girl Scout camp-outs. Whether people were listening or not I just loved singing that song over and over. Something about it was different. Something about it resonated with something deep inside of me. Blues spoke a special language. A language I needed to speak to. (more…)
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?
“I may be unstrung but I’m not undone. I’m praising the Lord and I’m having fun!”
Unstrung by Pain
I wrote this song during a 5 year period of time when I was unable to play my guitar due to chronic pain in my hands. This was a very difficult time for me. Not only did it feel like I had lost a part of me (I had played the guitar since I was 8 years old), but the never-ending pain soaked up all my energy.
Becoming more and more depressed about life, I finally decided to write an acapella song. I needed to feel empowered to sing a song on my own without any instruments required. In my Orcadians Choir and Chansons Jazz Choir, at Shorecrest High school (Go Scots!!), I learned how to sing many acapella songs and knew I could do it. So, I wrote this song as a gift for myself to lift my spirits up when the pain in my hands would bring me down.
In the past the guitar had become my way of communicating my feelings. Without the guitar, but with a friend, I was able to discover that I could be very musical through writing and singing songs. The inability to play guitar forced me to stretch and discover my song writing skills. After 5 years of writing songs without the guitar, my husband encouraged me to try playing again just a little bit to see how it would go.
At first I was resistant because I didn’t think I could survive the disappointment if I couldn’t play. However, the desire to play again ran so deep within, I just had to give it a try! After a few minutes of playing–and then a few minutes more–I just about fell over. It seemed that there was a chance I could play again! Over time I gradually built up my little hand muscles enough to be able to play multiple songs again. Now I can play for a couple hours!
Restrung by Hope
I am so grateful to all those who prayed for me over the years when I had run out of hope, myself. Sometimes we need to keep hope alive for others until they are able to hope again! My story reminds me of the paralyzed man whose friends lowered him through the roof down to Jesus so he could be healed. My friends and family raised my prayers up to God continuously for me when I couldn’t.
Even though my hands are not fully recovered I am incredibly grateful! I have been given a second chance to do my favorite thing – accompany myself on the guitar while singing for myself and others.
The most important things I learned from this experience is, be grateful for each day and that no matter how bad things get it isn’t necessarily the end of the story!
Have you ever experienced having something very important “taken away” from you? Have you ever got to the point of feeling hopeless? Did you share your burden with someone else so they could help you? How did it go? Are you still hanging on?
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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?
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Hosting the Hope-Filled Hearts Concert was a huge endeavor. I wanted to 1) provide everyone with a great experience from the moment they walked in the door, 2) inspire people to try new things and make room for hope to grow in their hearts, 3) touch someone deeply so they would know they are not alone in their trials, and 4) impact our local community positively by gathering food for the Idaho Food Bank and the Idaho Humane Society.
This meant a lot of details needed to be taken into account and many volunteers would be required to reach my vision. After much time, concentration, and a couple hours out of my sleep time, I came up with a long list of jobs.
The two most amazing things about working on this project were:
I always knew there were at least a few people who had my back from the start. They planned on filling in anywhere and everywhere they might be needed. Not feeling alone in the situation, I was really able to hunker down and work hard. Many phone calls, announcements, articles, and requests were written asking for volunteer-help during the final two weeks before the event.
As each day went by I had this little fire of hope growing inside. It wasn’t because I had crowds of folks wanting to help. It was but because those who volunteered really wanted to be there and help out. They said “Yes!” with enthusiasm and often added, “what else can I do for you?” It was clear these people had planned on coming to the concert anyway, so I was truly touched. Their joy and enthusiasm to help me out just fed my own little fire of hope! Even when little speed bumps came along the way I just held on to the hope that I had been given by others.
The help of others was what really kept my hope-filled heart burning so I could shine some hope back into their lives! It is good to be hopeful, isn’t it?
What are ways you can help others discover hope for their lives? Who can you help by feeding their flame of hope?
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