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.

Hopeful of Being Helpful, Part Deux

Hopeful of Being Helpful, Part Deux

Hopeful, Face to Face

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.

Helpful…Big Time

The two most amazing things about working on this project were:

  1. 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.
  2. 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?

Leave a comment below. Add to the conversation! We’ll be glad you did.

Hopeful of Being Helpful

Hopeful of Being Helpful

Hopeful

Ever since I was about 8, I have felt compelled to share music with people. It’s been like I was on this mission to help people feel good and feel God. Hopeful.

Over the past dozen years or so, I have had an even stronger nudge to write, record, and share music, like this was what I was called to do.

So, in spite of having no idea what I would do with my music I found myself happily following through with this odd nudge. At times I have stopped to see if I might get some clarification on the plan.
Every time I ask God to shed some light on the future, my writing and recording just gets slowed down.

So, since I have not been blessed with a holy light bulb from the Big Guy, I have just continued on making music. It’s actually a lot  of fun to be clueless. It’s hard to get nervous when you have no clue what to get nervous about!

My hope is to shine a little light in this world. Ultimately, that’s my goal.

In my own life, I have found that the light of hope is a very important element. If I let my chronic pain rule my world I lose hope, I get depressed, and self centered. Thinking beyond the needs of myself gets difficult. That’s when depression impacts your kids and your spouse. That is not where you want to go. So, I make myself think about my family’s needs. This compels me to get up.

Because I’ve been there I felt compelled to name my first major concert event the Hope-Filled Hearts Concert. I wanted to shine a little light into my circle of influence.

There are people out there who need to know they aren’t the only people on the planet with their struggles.

Music and storytelling is one way I can communicate this.

Through humor and honesty my hope is to make people feel welcome, cared for, and inspired to live their lives with gumption!

Helpful

My goal with the Hope-Filled Hearts concert was to share a little bit of my story and, more importantly, have two creative friends help me to help others discover new ways to experience hope especially during difficult times.

Lisa (a painter) and Angela (a potter) worked on either side of me throughout the concert, taking lyrics from my songs and fused them into their own work.

At the end of the concert we invited everyone to come up front and try out playing instruments, painting, and working with clay. People of all ages came up and participated.

My friends and I brought a little hope into many lives that evening. We were able to make a difference by using our art, engaging our passion to create and leaning into our calling.

Add to the conversation. How does hope work in your life? What do you find helpful during difficult times? What do you do to help others find hope? Let us know your thoughts and feelings. We’ll be glad you did. And we’re hopeful you will!

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