Wednesday, June 29, 2011

One Way

One of my favorite things to do in the mornings is listen to music.  Some mornings, my husband will wake up and turn on some make-you-wanna-jump-up-and-down worship music.  Well, this was one of those mornings.  Jason clicked through his iPod and chose Hillsong, which is one of my all-time favorite worship bands.  One of the songs that came on was One Way.  This song is so much fun that as soon as I heard it I just started singing, dancing and worshipping in my room.  Then, my son walked in, so I picked him up and started dancing and singing with him.  And then, Jason walked in and he started dancing and singing too!  At that moment, I realized that I have so many things to be thankful for in my life.  The fact that I get to worship Jesus along with my family is truly a blessing and I am so grateful for that.  What a wonderful way to start the day!    

Check out the video to this song and make sure to give yourself plenty of room so that you can jump, dance and sing too!


Monday, June 27, 2011

One Thing Remains

Today has been a really fabulous Monday and that’s mostly because I had a really fabulous weekend.  My husband had planned to study at home all day Saturday and Sunday for his upcoming Series 7 Exam, so that left me to come up with fun activities for me and William to do that were outside of the house.   

On Saturday, I decided to take William to see the movie, Cars 2.  He’s not that much of a Cars fan, but I thought going to the movies would be a fun and exciting adventure for him since he had never been before.  So, off to the movies we went!  I had a really great time, and I think William had fun too.  I must say that it was quite a challenge for him to sit still in one seat for two full hours, but I was comforted by the fact that the theater was filled was at least 50 other two and three year olds that also could not sit still.  A few times during the movie he looked up at me and said, “Go home?”  To that, I would just respond in my nice, soft mommy voice, “No.  Look, we’re watching Cars 2!  Want some cheese balls?”  It's hilarious to me that I kept trying to bribe him with cheese balls to be still – but hey, it worked!

After the movie was over, we walked around outside the theater and came across this yellow wall on the side of another building.  I loved the bright color, and I think William loved it too because he ran right over to it to check it out.  This was a bright and cheery ending to a really wonderful day. 

 



On Sunday, William went over to my grandparents house to swim and play and I went to visit a church that my best friend currently attends.  On Sunday mornings while driving to church, I usually listen to “Enter His Gates” on KSBJ radio station, which is when they play all praise and worship music.  I love it because it prepares my heart to…well, enter His gates!  While listening to KSBJ, I heard a worship song that I had never heard before.  I was immediately hooked by the declarative chorus of the song, “Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me.”  Just hearing this song really pumped me up and got me excited about going to church.  I didn’t catch the name of the song at the time, but I knew I had to find out the name and the artist of this song because I definitely wanted to hear it again. 
 
What I love most about church is the worship time, and the worship during this service was excellent.  It got even better when the worship team started to sing the same song that I had just heard in the car on my way to church – “Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me.”  Wow, what are the chances that the very same song I heard in the car was now being sung at this church that I was just visiting!  I know that was not just a mere coincidence, but I believe that was God’s way of letting me know that He hears me and He is with me. 

I later found out that the song is called "One Thing Remains" and it is by Jesus Culture.  I love that this song talks about how God's perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18), which means that I never have to be afraid.  This is exactly what I've been dealing with lately – fear of singing and sharing my songs with people.  Sometimes that fear is quite overwhelming, but this song reminds me that God's love is bigger and stronger than any fear.  I'm going to keep singing this song until this message – "perfect love casts out all fear" – is so deep in my heart that I begin to truly live knowing that I have absolutely nothing to be afraid of when it comes to singing.  HERE is the video to this song.  I hope it encourages you as it encourages me.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Closer

I started this blog with the intention of sharing my life, talking about songs that inspire me and posting my original music.  If you have been following my blog, then you know that I have definitely been sharing my life and songs that inspire me, but I have not posted any of my original songs.  I thought creating this blog would motivate me to record myself singing my songs and then share them with you all, but it is turning out to be way more difficult than I ever imagined it would be.

Let me start by saying that as a wife and the mother of an energetic two-year-old boy, it is not often that I have a chunk of time all to myself to do what I want to do.  When I’m at home with my husband and son, they are my priority, and I – by choice – put my singing and my blogging to the side.  So, over the past couple of months when I did have an hour here and there to myself, I would get out my camera and start recording myself singing a couple of songs that I had written recently – “Beautiful in You” and “Can’t Get It out of My Head.”  After I looked at the videos that I did, something seemed to be wrong with each one – either I missed some of the notes or sang the wrong words.  I decided that those videos were completely unusable, so off to the delete bin they went.  One day, my husband suggested that I use our video camera instead of the regular camera.  I thought that was an excellent idea, so I ran into his closet to get the video camera only to find that the plug I needed to charge it was missing!  Ugh.

As each day passes by with me still not posting my music to this blog, I feel more and more like a failure because I am not living up to the goal that I set for myself and for this blog.  On a positive note though, I have really, really, really enjoyed writing on this blog.  Writing has turned out to be a wonderful creative outlet for me that I have come to cherish and enjoy.

As I was getting ready this morning, some of my I-guess-it-just-wasn’t-meant-to-be dreams came to mind.  I remembered going to college with the dream of becoming a doctor, but after three years of studying biology, chemistry and anatomy and physiology, I realized that I didn’t even like any of those subjects.  I walked away from that dream saying, “I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.”  I changed my major to Business Administration, which turned out to be right up my alley and also helped me figure out that I wanted to be a financial advisor so that I could help people manage their money.  After graduating college, I got a job with a well-known financial company and became a licensed financial advisor.  After about three months on the job, it became apparent to me that this job is part helping people and part selling people stuff.  No one ever told me that you had to be a salesman to be a financial advisor!  If I had known that, I’m sure I would have taken a different career path as I am definitely not gifted with the characteristics of a good salesperson.  Side note:  when I was younger, I absolutely hated going door to door in my neighborhood selling cookies or candy for my school.  With each house that I went to, I prayed that no one would answer the door so that I wouldn’t have to sell anyone anything.  I knew that if I couldn’t sell cookies to my neighbors then there was no way I would be able to sell investments to strangers.  Once again, I found myself walking away from a dream saying, “I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.” 

Jump to the present, and here I am still chasing my long time dream of being a singer/songwriter, and boy has it been a struggle.  Every time I sing in front of people I get so nervous that it almost cripples me.  And while I can say that I've gotten a lot better about dealing with my nerves before singing in front of people, that fear is still very real to me.  Even just singing by myself in front of my little camera was super nerve-racking for me!  So, I’m starting to wonder, am I really meant to be a singer?  Is singing what God has for me?  And if it is, then why has it been so difficult?

Shawn McDonald has a new song out called “Closer.”  I’ve been hearing this song on KSBJ (Houston’s local Christian radio station) for the past few weeks, and it's now permanently on my list of songs that inspire me.  The song reminds me that whether this dream of singing ever comes true or not, it’s all about being closer to God.  As I continue to draw near to Him and stay in close relationship with Him, I believe He will reveal His dreams for me and show me the right paths to take. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blog Award



Last Friday, Amber Rose from Notes for the Goats gave me a blog award.  What a wonderful way to start the week!  Thanks Amber Rose! 

How It Works:
-  Thank the person who gave you the award by linking back to them in your post.
-  Tell us 7 things about yourself.
-  Award 15-16 recently discovered bloggers (or however many you choose)
-  Contact those bloggers and let them in on the exciting news! 

7 things about me:
  1. I am an aspiring singer/songwriter.
  2. I am married to a very talented, handsome and God-fearing man named Jason.
  3. I have an incredible two-year-old son named William.
  4. My son is surprisingly polite.  He says “Please,” “Thank you” and “Your Welcome” all the time.  No terrible twos here – only terrific twos!
  5. On the weekends, I love to sit at home and watch TV.  Boring…?  Definitely not!  To me, it’s relaxing.
  6. I really enjoy spending some alone time with my husband.  When we go out by ourselves, it always reminds me that he’s my best friend and he’s also the funniest person I know.
  7. I love all things Twilight.
Blogs I Award:

Father's Day

On Sunday, I had a wonderful day spending time with my dad in celebration of Father’s Day.  My dad is the most calm, cool and collected person I know.  Nothing seems to get to him.  He’s wise, he's giving, he’s funny, he loves God, and he is who he is without any apologies.  He’s one of my role models, and I’m so proud to call him my Dad.



I hope all you dads had a very Happy Father’s Day!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Dreaming With My Eyes Open



I heard this song on the radio a few days ago when I was driving home from work.  As soon as I heard it, I instantly remembered being a young girl dancing around my room singing this song.  At that time, all I dreamed about was being a country singer.  It's funny, but that is still my dream today.  I have no idea what the future holds, but I know it's something great.  Enjoy your weekend and enjoy this song! 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

“In my end is my beginning.” – T.S. Eliot

So, I’m finally wrapping up my last thoughts about my trip to Pittsburgh.  I’ve been meaning to post this message for the past few days, but other things kept coming up, and I think, maybe, subconsciously I just wasn’t ready to let this subject go....

It’s been about two weeks since I’ve been back from Pittsburgh, and I can honestly say that I’m still very sad that we had to leave.  I was sad to leave my mom and step-dad, sad to leave the beauty of the city, and also sad to leave the place where my mind was clear enough to get a new perspective on things in my life.  Now that some time has passed, I realize that every ending always means there is a new beginning.  Like T.S. Eliot says, “In my end is my beginning.”  

As I wrote about in a previous post, I had a big revelation that I rely on makeup to make myself feel beautiful.  Well, on my last day in Pittsburgh, I decided that I didn’t want to live that way anymore.  I refuse to let makeup define me, and I refuse to search for beauty in something that fades.  So, I decided that it would be good for me to go on a makeup fast.  For 30 days, I am not going to wear any makeup – except for mascara and lipstick (I mean, I am 30 years old, so I'm not willing to go completely bare).  Here's a picture of me, Jason and William at the Pirates game on June 3rd, the first day of my makeup fast.  Can you tell I'm not wearing any makeup???  Wait...don't answer that question.






When I first decided to start a blog, I began checking out other successful blogs for ideas and inspiration, and I came across these amazing fashion blogs created by beautiful, talented and stylish women around the world.  Now, I'm a huge fan of some great style blogs, and one of my favorites is Kendi Everyday.  I absolutely love her style.  Also, she has this thing called “30 for 30 Remix” where you take 30 items and make 30 outfits.  You can read more about it here.  I love this because it really forces you to get creative with the items that you currently have in your closet.  I often find myself thinking that I would be so much happier if I had a new jacket or a new dress or new shoes, but that is simply not true!  I can be perfectly happy with the things that I already own.  Right when I got back from Pittsburgh, I started this 30 for 30 remix, and I’m enjoying the challenge of remixing my clothes and finding ways to make old things feel brand new again. 

I’m excited about this new chapter in my life where I am discovering (or maybe rediscovering) the beauty and confidence that lies within me.  I don’t have a song for today, but here are a few quotes I found online that are fitting for today’s blog.

“Don’t cry because it’s over.  Smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide

“Courage doesn’t always roar.  Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

“People are like stained-glass windows.  They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” – Elizabeth Kubler Ross

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." – Marcel Proust


Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  If you want to see all of the pictures from my Pittsburgh trip, check out my facebook page!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Best Thing That's Ever Been Mine

It's only 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and today is turning out to be a really lovely day.  I walked to the Galleria mall, had lunch with my husband to celebrate our 5 year anniversary (woohoo!), bought this super hot white blazer from Zara that I've been wanting forever, and then while walking back home, I saw a lady pushing her little dog in a stroller which really just made me smile. 

The joy that I'm feeling today makes me think of the song "Mine" by Taylor Swift.  When I was vacationing in Pittsburgh last week, I heard this song at least ten times while we were driving around town.  I know I’ve heard this song before and definitely liked it, but after hearing it again, I began to fall in love with the fun, catchy beat of the song, which is now permanently stuck in my head.  Every time I hear this song, I can’t help but to smile, and today is all about smiling.  :-) 

Here is a picture of me with my husband and son - the two best things that have ever been mine.


  

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog, and I hope you are having a lovely day too!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My Revelation in Pittsburgh - From the Inside Out

On my 2nd morning waking up in Pittsburgh, I was filled with excitement about being in a new city, being on vacation, and getting to spend another sunny day with my family.  We were going to the Strip District that day, so I was excited to visit all of the local stores and restaurants and take lots of great pictures.  As I walked into the bathroom to get ready, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to put on my full face of makeup since it wouldn’t be able to stand up against the 90 degree heat.  Then, all of sudden, I started to think about how terrible I would look in pictures because I wouldn’t have my full face of makeup on.  I thought, “You’re not going to look good if you don’t have your makeup on... 

With that one thought, I discovered so many hidden things about myself:  I don’t feel pretty unless I’m wearing makeup; I hate taking pictures when I don’t have makeup on; and, I hate when other people see me without makeup because it means they can see all the imperfections of my skin – uneven skin tone, dark circles and acne scars.  I always thought that I wore makeup because it was a way to enhance my beauty and express myself creatively with color, but subconsciously, I believe I used makeup to feel better about myself.  This was a huge revelation to me.   

While reflecting on all of these new thoughts about myself, I continued with my usual makeup process of applying foundation, eyeliner, mascara, blush and lip gloss.  I felt a sense of security knowing that I had makeup on my face, which meant I wouldn’t scare the locals (ha-ha!), but I still felt down about myself.  I didn’t want these thoughts to linger with me throughout the day, so I tried to remember a scripture that would encourage me and help me feel better.  As I went to grab The Message Bible from my suitcase, I immediately knew which scripture I needed to turn to, as this is often the one that I read when I’m feeling down about myself.  It is Psalm 139: 13-14 and it says, “Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb.  I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!  Body and soul, I am marvelously made!  I worship in adoration—what a creation!”

Why didn’t I think of this earlier??  I am marvelously made (or, as the NIV says, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”).  And God shaped me first inside, then out.  To me, that means that He was more concerned about my inner parts working properly before he got started on shaping the outside of me.  This brought to mind another scripture that says, “People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7; NIV)

Reading these words uplifted my spirit and helped me to get out of the little funk that I was in.  The song that came to my mind during this time was “From the Inside Out” by Hillsong (they have so many amazing worship songs, don’t they?).  I know I thought of this song because it has the words “inside out” in it, which were the exact words that I had just read in Psalm 139.  As I started to sing this song to myself, the words began to resonate within me and my focus slowly shifted off of me and onto God.  It was amazing.  Suddenly, I knew that my purpose is not to always look great, but to love great because He is great.  I want to love and praise Him from the inside out, just like the song says.  Check out the video to this song.  It’s an amazing encouragement to me and I hope it encourages you as well. 




Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Awesome God

Hi everyone!  Wow, I can’t believe it’s been more than a week since I wrote my last blog post.  I was actually on vacation in Pittsburgh, PA all last week, and while I was there, I completely disconnected myself from all things electronic (except for the TV, of course).  But now that I’m at home again, I’m ready to get back to one of my favorite things – blogging! 

My mom and step-dad, Jim, have lived in Pittsburgh for about a year now, so I was excited when my husband, my son and I decided to visit them for a week.  I knew I would enjoy spending time with my family there, but what I didn’t know is just how beautiful the city is.  From the moment I arrived, I saw these huge mountains covered with beautiful green trees, and there were hills and rivers and bridges, oh my!  It was truly spectacular.  When I got to my mom’s house, I was in for an even more delightful surprise.  Right in their front yard, I saw blue jays, robins and cardinals – birds that I had never seen before in my life!  Seeing the brilliant colors of these birds just took my breath away, and I was in complete awe of the incredible beauty that surrounded me.    

After the first night there, I woke up to the most glorious sunrise.  It was like heaven on earth for me.  To see the sun shining so brightly and to hear the birds singing so beautifully reminded me of how awesome God is.  He created so many beautiful things for us to enjoy, and sometimes while I’m in my regular world of rushing to work, rushing to pick up my son from daycare and then rushing back home again, I tend to miss the beauty of the things around me.  But, in this moment, I was taking the time to soak it all in.  All I wanted to do was sing and rejoice and give thanks to God for the wonderful things He has created and for the wonderful life that He has given me.  I am so blessed.

The song that came to my mind was “Awesome God”.  The words of the chorus are simple but powerful:

Our God is an awesome God
He reigns from heaven above
With wisdom, power and love
Our God in awesome God

I love this song because there really is no better way to describe God than simply….awesome.  There are lots of different versions of this song, but my favorite is the one performed by Hillsong United.  Check it out and enjoy.