Monday, September 17, 2012

A New Direction

Hello!  Wow, I can't believe it's been a whole month since I last wrote something on the blog.  Where has the time gone?!

Well, I will tell you that I haven't totally abandoned my little space in the blogosphere.  In fact, I've been doing some work behind the scenes as I prepare to take this blog in a new direction.  There's going to be a new name, a new look and a new feel that is going to be more consistent, more intentional and more purposeful.  I don't want to give anything away just yet, but I will say that I'm quite positive you're going to like it.

Talk to you all soon!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Work In Progress


Some days, I feel like that tall glorious building in the background (the Williams Tower), standing tall, basking in the glow of the sun, and feeling like I can conquer the world.  

Other days, I feel like that small building in the front - the one that is under construction.  There's no pretty glass, no finished architecture, no beautiful sight to see, just a work in progress.

Today is one of those days - a work in progress day.   

It can be frustrating to know that I'm not complete, my dreams are not yet fully realized, and my accomplishments are not as great or as many as I would like for them to be.  

But there is hope!  Philippians 1:6 says, "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."  

That is the hope that I'm holding on to today.

Monday, August 6, 2012

As Surely As The Sun Will Rise


Good morning, friends!  I always enjoy starting off the week by writing a blog post.  It's a fun way to share my thoughts and ideas on life, especially the lessons that I've learned while walking on this spiritual journey with God.

One lesson God has been showing me lately is about His faithfulness.  Have you ever wondered about God's faithfulness?  I know I do.  There are times when I am certain, but there are more probably more times that I doubt.  But thank goodness that God does not waver in His faithfulness in the way that I waver in my believing.  God is faithfull all of the time.  Even when we don't think He is going to be, or when we don't think that we deserve it, He still is faithful.

Last month at work was incredibly challenging for me.  My workload increased significantly as our group took on a new project, and I honestly didn't think I was going to be able to meet all of the deadlines for my monthly reporting.  But God was quick to remind me - just as you have met all of your deadlines in the past, you will still be able to meet all of your deadlines.  God was faithful before, and He will be faithful again.  Amen!

After four weeks of long hours and lots of overtime (and lots of prayer), I met all of my deadlines, and was even able to get things finished before their deadline!  To me, it was a miracle, and a sure sign that God is faithful to His word.   

Hillsong sings a song called You'll Come, which is about this very subject of God's faithfulness.  I blasted this song on my CD player as I was driving home from work last week, and I was overcome with emotion everytime I sang these words:  As surely as the sun will rise, you'll come to us.  As certain as the dawn appears, you'll come.  (Inspired by Hosea 6:3).

It's comforting to know that if I ever find myself again wondering about how faithful God really is, then all I have to do is look at the sun and know that as surely as the sun will rise, then surely our God is faithful. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Ever Heard of The Katinas?

Have you ever heard of The Katinas?  If your answer is no, then you're not alone.  I had never heard of them either until they came to sing at our church yesterday.  The Katinas are a group of five brothers who sing, play instruments and write awesome worship songs.  By the end of them singing their song, Home, I was an instant fan.  Check it out below.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Revelation


I took this photo on my first morning in Blue Ridge, Georgia.  I woke up extra early that morning so that I could have time to read my Bible and spend some quiet time alone with God.  I felt like He wanted to speak something to me, and this seemed like the perfect place.  The perfect spot for God to show up.  The perfect moment for a revelation. 

But it didn't happen that day.

That day ended up being the only day that I would wake up early to read my Bible.  I was so tired every morning from staying up late that I chose to sleep in and get as much rest as I could.  I never did build in any other quiet time.   

The vacation week passed by me in a speeding blur, and I left Blue Ridge without a revelation.  I was a little disappointed - mostly in myself for not making an effort to have more alone time with God - but I realized that if He really wanted to tell me something or reveal something to me, then He would.

Well, let me just say, God is faithful.

On the drive back, it was nearly midnight when I turned onto the freeway that would lead us to our home, and that's when it hit me:  the revelation. 

I am where I am supposed to be.
Living in Houston.
In my home.
At my job.
At my church.
With my family.
With my friends.
Where I am is where I am supposed to be.

This was not the exact revelation that I was expecting, but I can see now that this was the exact revelation that I needed to receive.  Sometimes, when I look at the big picture of my life, I start to wonder if I'm doing what's best for my life.  Am I on the right path?  Am I doing what I'm meant to be doing?  Am I fulfilling my purpose?

These questions tend to overwhelm me at times, but in that moment, in the dark of night, I received my answer.  I am on the right path.  I am in the right place.  I am where I am supposed to be.

Monday, July 9, 2012

4 Things I Can Cross Off My Bucket List

Hello there!  I'm finally back from vacation!  It was so nice to get away for a while, but it definitely feels good to be back at home and back on the computer typing away on my blog.   

We had the best time in Blue Ridge, GA.  It was an especially great vacation because I got to do some things that I've always wanted to do.   

Here are four things that I accomplished in Georgia and can now officially cross off my bucket list.

1.  Whitewater rafting.
I have always wanted to go whitewater rafting.  This was actually the very first activity we did when we got to Georgia, and it was by far my favorite part of the entire trip.  I can't wait to go again! 

2.  Zip Lining.
When I heard that they had zip lining in Blue Ridge, I knew that I could not pass up that opportunity, and I'm so glad that I didn't.

3.  Go down yonder on the Chattahoochee.
Ever since I was a kid, I've been singing Alan Jackson's Chattahoochee song, and ever since then, I've wanted to go to the Chattahoochee River.  The river was about an hour drive from where we were staying, but it was worth every mile.  We even stopped by the Chattahoochee National Forest which was truly a sight to see. 


4.  Stay in a cabin in the mountains. 
About two years ago I went to Tennessee and drove through the beautiful Smoky Mountains.  It was then that I made it my goal to one day stay in a cabin in the mountains.  Well, our cabin in Blue Ridge was just that - right smack in the middle of the mountains.  Breathtaking!

I hope you all enjoyed seeing a few photos from my vacation.  And I have to say a big THANKS to my step sister, Lisa for taking the photos of me whitewater rafting and zip lining.  Thanks, Lisa!

Monday, June 25, 2012

It's Finally Here!

It's finally here!  It's vacation time!  And I'm enjoying every relaxing and adventurous second of it.


Photo credit: escapetoblueridge.com

Monday, June 18, 2012

Search My Heart

I had another post planned for today, but my mind is in serious vacation mode (I'm leaving for Blue Ridge, Georgia next week!) and I'm not able to write two sentences without erasing them and starting over again.

I thought I would give my mind a little break (I think that it thinks it's already on vacation anyways) and share a new favorite song with you instead. This song is called Search My Heart, and it's by Hillsong United. I heard this song recently, and I had to stop what I was doing just so that I could sing along and worship.

If you're looking for a good worship song this week, I encourage you to listen to this one.



Have a wonderful week!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Six Years Ago Today...


...I married this handsome man.

Wow, I can't believe it's already been six years!  The time passes by so quickly, and I'm thankful that every day with him just gets better and better.

We'll be celebrating our anniversary with a quiet dinner at home tonight, and then later this month we'll be taking a week long vacation in the mountains of Blue Ridge, Georgia with our family and then we'll spend a couple of days by ourselves in New Orleans, Louisiana.  It will be a wonderful way to celebrate our six years together. 

Here's to many, many, many more blessed and happy years of marriage!

Monday, June 4, 2012

What To Do While You Wait

If someone ever told me that fulfilling my singing/songwriting dreams would take me 31 years to accomplish, I'd laugh out loud because that would seem so ridiculous.  But truth be told, that is my reality at the moment...

I'm 31 years old, and I'm still waiting for my music dreams to come to pass.  There are times when I can the realization of those dreams so clearly, like I can reach out and touch them.  But the moment that I reach out is the moment that I realize that it's still too far away.  So there I stand.  Waiting.  Hoping.  There's something within me that does not want to give up, even after all these years. 

So, what do you do while you're waiting, you ask?  Well, a lot of times I grumble and complain that things are not happening as fast as I would like them to.  Other times, I cry my eyes out and say that I never want to sing again.

Neither of those things are good to do while you're waiting for your dreams to come true.  In fact, I believe that these things may even cause you to take steps backwards, away from your dream.   

If you want to forge ahead and take positive steps toward your dreams while you're in the season of waiting, then here are three things that I've learned to do:

1. Increase your prayer time.
Prayer is simply communicating with God.  Often times, when things aren't going our way, we stop communicating with God because we think that maybe He is not listening to us or He doesn't hear us.  That couldn't be further from the truth.

Psalm 145:18 (The Message) says, "God's there, listening for all who pray, for all who pray and mean it."  When you communicate with God with a pure heart, He hears you, so keep talking to Him even while you're waiting.

2. Confess God's Word over your life.
A lot of times when we are on the path towards our dreams, we may feel discouraged and begin to think negative things about ourselves, and eventually begin to speak negative things about ourselves. 

Instead of saying those negative words, choose to say what God says about you.  Proverbs 18:21 says, "Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit - you choose."  Find God's promises in the Bible, and let those be the words that come out of your mouth.  Remember, it's a choice; no one can do it for you.

3. Rejoice in the Lord.
While you are waiting, go ahead and thank God for the victory, for the fulfillment of your dreams.  There's a beautiful portrayal of this in Habakkuk 3:17-18 when he says, "Though the cherry trees don't blossom and the strawberries don't ripen, though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat fields stunted, though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty, I'm singing joyful praise to God.  I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God." 

You see, Habakkuk could have easily complained about his situation, but instead he rejoiced in the Lord as he was waiting on victory.  Oh, this is my desire as well!  While I'm waiting, I want to sing, shout, dance and rejoice in the Lord, trusting that victory is on the way.

I have come to the conclusion in my life that even if I have to wait 31 more years before seeing my dream come to pass, then I will still wait with great expectation.  And while I'm waiting, I will continue to pray, confess God's word over my life and rejoice in Him, trusting that He is working out everything for my good.

So tell me, what do you do while you're waiting for your dreams to come true?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

12 Things I Learned Over Memorial Day Weekend


I hope you all had a fabulous Memorial Day weekend last weekend.  I know I did!  I spent time with good friends, ate delicious food and enjoyed the beautiful sunny weather.

I also learned 12 things which made the weekend all the more enjoyable: 
  1. Take a leap of faith and jump into the deep end of the pool.  If my son can do it (with “floaties” on, of course), then I can do it too.
  2. God is BIG. Bigger than any circumstance, problem or issue that you have ever experienced, are experiencing or will ever experience. 
  3. You can still look and feel attractive in a one-piece bathing suit.  There's no need to try and squeeze into that old two-piece suit anymore.
  4. When you’re on a limited clothing and accessories budget, don’t get all worked up about what you can’t afford.  Get excited about what you can afford.
  5. If something is important to someone you love, then make that something important to you too.
  6. You’re never too old to jump off a diving board.
  7. Take the time to have a conversation with a young teen.  You might find that they are more polite, kind, considerate and compassionate than you imagined them to be.
  8. Leave the fancy camera at home.  Your iPhone will be perfect for capturing those extra special moments.
  9. Spend actual face-to-face time with a friend that you haven't seen in a while.  It’s a whole lot better than just chatting with them on Facebook.
  10. Don’t rush your child to do something they aren’t ready to do.  In their own time, they will get it done.
  11. Give $25 of your personal money and sow a seed into someone else’s dream.  You’ll be glad that you did.
  12. Never complain about having a busy weekend.  Instead, be thankful for your busy weekend because it means that you have things to do and people to share those things with.  

Monday, May 21, 2012

Lori's Music Blog Turns One!

Lori's Music Blog is ONE year old! 

I wrote my very first post on May 13, 2011 (which technically means that my blog is one year and eight days old today, but who's counting!?) and I'm so excited that I'm still here blogging a whole year later.  What a blessing!

This blog has been the best creative outlet for me.  It has also helped me learn a lot about who I am and, more importantly, who I am not.  In the past year, I have overcome my fear of sharing my songs with the world and I was able to share two of my original songs with all of you.  I've also had the great opportunity to meet lots of wonderful new friends that have been a huge blessing in my life.  To God be the glory! 

I couldn't celebrate this day without also saying a big THANK YOU to all of you who read this blog, write comments and encourage me along the way.  I sincerely appreciate each and every single one of you, and I hope you'll stick around with me as I continue on in this next year of blogging.  There are a ton of great things in store for Lori's Music Blog, and I can't wait to share them with you!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Second Chances

Years ago, I had a giant collection of Oprah magazines.  I owned every issue since the magazine first launched in 2000, and I was quite proud of my collection.   

When it was time for me to move out of my apartment, however, I was faced with a decision - do I keep all of these magazines, or do I give them away?  At the time it didn't feel like I had a real need for them, and so I made the decision to give them away...to the recycle bin.  

As time passed, I began to regret that decision.  I started to think about how special it was to have the first very issue of the Oprah magazine and how cool it would have been to display my collection of magazines in my new home.  But it was too late, and there was nothing that I could do to get those magazines back. 

Well, a few months ago, my husband said that he wanted to buy me something with his Coca-Cola reward points.  He gave me a list of options he thought I would like, and a subscription to the Oprah magazine was one of those options.  As soon as he mentioned it, I immediately knew that's what I wanted.  I saw this as my second chance to start collecting Oprah magazines once again.

As soon as I got that first issue, I was so thrilled.  It almost felt like I was being reunited with an old friend.  I was also quickly reminded of why I kept the magazines in the first place - the beautiful pictures, the inspirational articles, and the powerful life lessons. 

Slowly but surely, I've been building back up my collection of Oprah magazines.  This time though, I don't plan on letting them go.

Thinking about all of this makes me think of all the times that I passed up an opportunity to sing because I was too scared and too nervous.  I get so mad at myself just thinking about those times!  But, I'm trusting that if God can give me a second chance at building up my collection of Oprah magazines, then surely he can give me a second chance at singing.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms out there!  I pray that your children are rising and calling you blessed today because that's exactly what you are - blessed!  And a special Happy Mother's Day to my mom.  Thank you for all that you are and all that you do.  I love you!

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Labor of Songwriting

Last week, I heard a new song on the radio called The Sound of a Million Dreams by David Nail. The song is so moving and speaks directly to my heart, especially the chorus:

And I'll labor for hours 'cause I know the power
Of a song when a song hits you right
Pouring my soul into stories of life
Hoping someone'll hear one tonight
Maybe my voice will cut through the noise
And stir up an old memory
Out of these piano keys
Comes the sound, the sound of a million dreams

I am particularly inspired by the words, "And I'll labor for hours..."  I find comfort in knowing that I'm not the only one who labors for hours in the songwriting process.  In this season of songwriting, the process for me has actually been a very long and arduous one.  I find myself playing the music over and over again until it feels completely right.  Once I settle on the music, then I continue playing it over and over again in order to get the lyrics, or the words of the song, just right.  Sometimes the words come pouring out like rain; with little effort, my heart starts singing the words that match perfectly with the music while also helping to convey the story that I am trying to tell.  Like when I was writing My Offering, it took me a few weeks to get the music, but the words just came very naturally. 

With the latest song that I've been working on, Simply Worship, the words have not been flowing as freely.  I've been laboring and laboring over the words, nearly to the point where I'm wondering if maybe I'm laboring too much!  But just as I was starting to think that maybe this song that I'm working on wasn't meant to be, I heard this Sound of a Million Dreams song, and it gave me the extra little push that I need to keep laboring.  I know it will be worth it in the end.   

Monday, April 30, 2012

My Everything

"Simply put, if you're not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can't be my disciple."  Luke 14:33 (The Message)

Jesus Culture is one of my new favorite groups to listen to for worship music.  Their song, My Everything, describes exactly what this scripture is talking about.  If we want to be followers of Christ, then we must make Him our everything.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Desires of Your Heart


For years, I have been going to the Houston Rockets basketball games.  And for years, I've wanted to meet Clutch, the Rockets Bear.  Clutch is adorable, funny and always makes me want to smile.  I've only ever seen Clutch from far away, but it was always a desire of mine to meet him.  It wasn't anything that I ever put on my goal board or my bucket list, it was just a little something that I hoped to be able to do one day.  

Well, just last week, that desire came true.  We were at a Rockets game, and we happened to be at the right place at the right time (Thank you, God!) and we got to meet Clutch, get his autograph and take our picture with him.  I was more excited about it than anyone else in my family - even William!

That night, God reminded me that although I may have counted this desire as something small and not that important, He still knew it was a desire of my heart.  Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart."  It is so awesome to know that God loves us and He longs to give us the desires of our heart when we first delight ourselves in Him.   

Have a great week!
Lori

Monday, April 16, 2012

Beautiful in its Time

I've always envied other parents whose children held their hands.  Whenever I try to hold William's hand, he refuses with a loud "No!"  Even when we are about to cross the street, I tell William that he needs to hold my hand so that I can make sure he is safe, but he still refuses.  In those instances, I just grab his hand anyways and he ends up walking next to me kicking and screaming.  This always made me so sad because I started to believe that William would never want to hold my hand. 

Well, a couple of weeks ago, something wonderful happened.  One afternoon, William and I were walking across a parking lot, and when I told him to hold my hand, he simply reached up and grabbed my hand without any protest at all.  He held my hand and walked peacefully across the parking lot with me.  It was an awesome moment!

Ever since that day, William is much more willing to hold my hand, whether we're crossing the street, going down a flight of stairs or just walking in the grocery store.  The desire that I always had for William to hold my hand is now a reality, and I thank God for it.       

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says "Has has made everything beautiful in its time."  Having William hold my hand without protesting was one of those things that God made beautiful in His own time.  In His perfect time.  Sure, I would have liked for it to happen a lot sooner, but maybe William wasn't ready yet.  Maybe William needed more time to excercise his independence.  Or, maybe God was teaching me a lesson to be patient and to wait for Him and His timing.

There may be something that you are wanting and waiting for in your life.  A business you are trying to start.  A book you are trying to write.  A song you are trying to sing.  Your dream and vision may not look as beautiful and lovely as you would like it to be, but I encourage you to keep pressing on, through the "ugliness" of it all, and trust that God will make everything beautiful in its time.     

Have a blessed week,
Lori

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Winning Side

Last Tuesday night, I had the incredible opportunity to witness the Baylor University women's basketball team defeat Notre Dame to become the NCAA National Champions.  Although I was only watching the game from the couch in my living room, as a graduate of Baylor University, I felt like I was right there on the court celebrating with them.  I even felt like I was a part of the team - the national championship team.   

This reminded me a lot of my relationship with God. 

Yesterday, on Easter Sunday, we celebrated Jesus Christ being risen from the dead.  You see, when Christ rose from the dead, he conquered the grave and proved victory over death.  Jesus was and is victorious!  And since I am in relationship with Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:28-29, The Message), then I believe that means that I, too, am victorious.

For so many years, I told myself this story about how I wasn't good enough, how my voice wasn't good enough, and how my songs weren't good enough.  Well, today, I have a new story. 

My new story is that I am good enough!  I am good enough not because of anything that I have done, or anything that I ever will do, but because of what Jesus did when he died on the cross and then rose from the grave three days later.  That alone makes me good enough.  That alone makes me victorious.  That alone makes me know that I'm on the winning side.   

Monday, April 2, 2012

My Blessing Has Come

Two weekends ago, we celebrated our son's 3rd birthday.  The entire week leading up to his party, I kept telling him that his birthday was coming.  When we sent out the party invites, I told him it was because his birthday was coming.  When we picked out the decorations, I told him it was because his birthday was coming.  When we baked cupcakes, I told him it was because his birthday was coming.

With every chance that I got, I wanted William to know that his birthday was coming. 

On the day of the party, William was so excited.  Even though I had been preparing him for this moment, I still wondered if he fully understood that we were all there to celebrate him and his birthday. 

Well, while William was eating his birthday cake, he turned around and quietly said to me, “My birthday has come!”  I responded back with a big smile, “Yes, buddy, that's right.  Your birthday has come.”

That was such a special moment because it helped me to see that William had recognized his blessing.

There are so many times when God blesses me with something awesome, but unlike William, I fail to see it as a blessing.  Like with this blog, for example.  God has given me the desire to create and maintain this blog.  He also gave me the courage to share two of my original songs on here.  Up until now though, I haven't recognized those things as blessings. 

Instead, I’ve been wondering about all of the other things that I still want to accomplish, such as what is my next song going to be, or will I ever have enough songs to make an album?  I've spent so much time focusing on all of the things that I have not accomplished that I've forgotten to celebrate the things that I have accomplished. 

Everything that God has allowed me to do with the blog, so far, has been an incredible blessing.  And, thanks to my three-year-old son, I am learning to say, "My blessing has come!"

Monday, March 19, 2012

Don't Quit

I recently read this poem, Don't Quit, and I was so encouraged by it that I just had to share it with you all.  Enjoy, and have a great week!

Don't Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

- Author unknown

Monday, March 12, 2012

Creative Space

For the past few weeks, I've been waking up thirty minutes earlier than my usual time so that I can work on my dream of singing and songwriting.  When I get up, I head straight to a small space that's right in front of our fireplace.  We don't have a separate room in our apartment for music and singing, so this spot has become my "go to" place to work on my dream.  I hope one day to have a music room of my own, but for now, I am thankful for my little creative space in front of the fireplace.


So tell me, where is your creative space in your home?

Monday, March 5, 2012

My Offering

Happy Monday! 

I'm super excited today because I'm sharing a new song that I wrote.  This song was inspired by Romans 12:1 (The Message) which says:
"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him." 
It is my desire to always lay down my life before God as an offering, because everything that He has planned for me is far greater than what I could have planned for myself.

Here is my song titled My Offering.  I hope you enjoy it!


Have a great week,
Lori

Monday, February 27, 2012

Bold Confidence {Goal Board 2012}

A few months ago, I shared my goal board with you.  Since I created that one over four years ago, I figured it was time for an update.  

Here is my new goal board for 2012:  


One of my favorite things about this goal board is a quote that I found from a Joyce Meyer magazine.  It says, "Only God Can Change Insecurity into a Bold Confidence."    

As I've been working more and more on my music, I see that I still struggle with insecurity...am I good enough?  is my voice good enough?  are my songs good enough?  My prayer for this year though is that God will completely change my insecurity into a BOLD CONFIDENCE!  Woohoo!  What an exciting transformation that is going to be!

So tell me, what's on your goal board for this year?


Monday, February 20, 2012

Tribute

Whitney Houston is someone that I've looked up to ever since I was a little girl.  Growing up, my dad always played her songs on the piano.  He would ask me to sing along while he played, but I never wanted to because I knew that no one could sing like Whitney Houston could sing.  

 



Monday, February 13, 2012

The Story of Lori

For about three months now, I've been a member of Toastmasters, which is an organization that helps you improve your speaking, communication and leadership skills.  It took me the entire three months to work up enough nerve to give my first speech, but I finally did it. 

Last Wednesday, I presented my very first speech.  This first speech is called the Ice Breaker because you're supposed to "break the ice" with your fellow members by telling them something about yourself and your life.  Well, of course, you know that I couldn't tell my life story without talking about my passion - music. 

I wanted to share with you a poem that I wrote and included in my speech.  It's called The Story of Lori.

Toastmasters, Toastmasters lend me you ear,
For I have a story that I want you to hear.
It's a story about Lori, yes that's my name,
And I promise it will be great, not boring or lame.
When I was a little girl, I had a big dream.
I wanted to travel the world and sing, sing, sing.
But there was one thing that held me back - I thought my voice wasn't any good.
But with a little time and a lot of encouragement, I started to believe that I could
Fulfill my dream and sing and play my guitar.
Looking back, I can't believe that I've come this far.
And although I haven't quite reached my dream finish line yet,
I'm never giving up, on this you can bet.
So if you take one thing with you today, let it be to follow your dreams
Whether it's to be a golfer, a drummer or the coach of a high school football team.
Whatever you are and whatever you do,
Do it with your whole heart and let your confidence shine through.


Enjoy the rest of your week, and Happy early Valentine's Day!
Lori

Monday, February 6, 2012

Emotion

You may already know this by now, but it bears repeating...American Idol is one of my favorite TV shows, ever!  I don't know what it is about watching other people chase their dream to become a singer, but it moves me to tears almost each and every single year.  

A lot of the contestants shown during the audition process really do have great voices, but I can sometimes tell when someone is singing just because they can sing.  Every now and then though, there’s a glorious gem that shows up and sings because he has a story to tell, and they are able to tell their story with moving emotion.

Last Thursday night, there was one young guy who did just that when he came out and sang these words from Lean On Me.

Sometimes in our lives, we all have pain, we all have sorrow.
But, if we are wise, we know that there's always tomorrow.


I couldn’t reach for my tissue fast enough; I was crying like a baby after hearing these two lines of the song.  Earlier, this guy shared his story about how he was bullied in high school, and as soon as he started singing, I felt like I could feel his pain (and his triumph!) through the words of that song.  It was very touching.

I love singers that are able to convey an emotion through their music that makes you want to stop and listen.  I'm working on one song right now that is an emotional one for me.  The song is about how I try to hold on to "things" in my life that are important to me, only to find that they eventually slip through my fingers, and then I come to the realization that I can't live this life alone.  I need God's help. 

It's been a slow process writing this song because I want to make sure that I stay true to the genuine emotion of the song.  I look forward to completing it though, and of course, sharing it with you all.  

Have a great week, and we'll chat again next Monday!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Two Sides

What I love most about songwriting is that it allows me to capture a moment, a thought or a feeling that I can keep with me forever.

About a year ago, I was involved in a business deal gone bad.  It was especially crushing to me because it involved someone that I knew personally.  Since I considered this person a friend, I assumed everything would go smoothly; but unfortunately, it didn't.  It went very wrong, very fast and I left the whole situation feeling very hurt and upset. 

Long after the business deal was over, I continued to be angry about it.  I just couldn't let it go.  One of my closest friends noticed this and asked me about it, and without holding back, I expressed how mad I still was about the situation.  In a gentle response, my friend shared with me the other side of the story, as she happened to know the other person involved, and she also told me that I had been holding on to anger for too long and that I needed to bring it before the Lord.

So that's exactly what I did.

That night, I went home and prayed.  I first asked God to forgive me for holding on to so much bitterness and anger, and I prayed that He would help me to forgive the person that hurt me.  In that moment, God revealed to me something I wasn't expecting...that person was hurt too.  He also showed me that there are two sides to every story, and the other person's story is just as important as mine.

That was a humbling, life changing experience for me, and I knew I needed to capture that lesson in a song so that I would never ever forget it.  Here are the lyrics to my song, Two Sides.  I haven't come up with the music yet, but I will one day soon.  (I'm imagining it as a country song ;))

Two Sides

I was driving in my car one day, blasting my radio
Smiling as the sun beamed down on me
When I stopped at the light, I looked up at my window
Just to see the same old man begging for money

But what I didn’t know is that man used to have it all
A house, a wife, two kids and a great job too
But when he lost that job, everyone abandoned him
And now the street was the only home that he knew

It’s in moments like these
That God gently reminds me

(Chorus)
There are two sides
Two sides to every story
And you can’t understand it all
You gotta show some compassion
And open up your heart to see
There are two sides to every story

Well, I had this friend; yes, she was my best friend
We did just about everything together
And at the biggest time in my life, when I needed her there
She wasn’t anywhere to be found

But what I didn’t know is that she used to have it all
A house, husband, two kids and great job too
But when her husband left her, she lost everything
And now loneliness was the only friend she knew

It's in moments like these
That God gently reminds me

(Chorus)

It's not always about me
Lord, help me to be humble so I can see

(Chorus)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Back on Track

I have a hate-love relationship with Mondays.  I hate Monday because it means that it's the end of great weekend, and I love Monday because it means that it's the beginning of a great week.  Every Monday comes with an opportunity to start fresh and anew, and that's what I'm doing with this day....and with this blog.

I created this blog so that I could share my original songs with the world, but over the past few months, I've gotten off track.  I spent so much time trying to figure out what I was going to blog about that I left no time for singing or songwriting.  And while I've enjoyed writing each and every post and sharing each and every story, I'm still faced with the fact that I've gotten away from my true purpose.

My desire for this blog is to share the music that I create and the music that inspires me to create.  So, every Monday, I will be sharing a song - whether it be one of my original songs or a song that inspires me.  I'm excited about getting back on track and getting back to my purpose, and I hope you will continue along with me on this journey.

See you next Monday!
Lori

Monday, January 9, 2012

Reason to Celebrate

Mondays have never been a favorite day of mine, but on this Monday, I have a reason to celebrate.  Today is my dad's 60th birthday!  Happy Birthday, Popi!  I wish you all of the best on this day and this year.  May you enjoy 60 more wonderful years!

And if you read my post from last Friday, then you know that my dad blessed me and my husband with tickets to the Houston Texans playoff game this past Saturday (YAY!  The Texans won!!).  It was the most intense football game I've ever attended.  The excitement in the air was so tangible that I just wanted to bottle it up and take it home with me!  It was a day that I will never forget.

Friday, January 6, 2012

It's Football Time in Houston!

Do y’all know what time it is?

That’s right, it’s football time!  The Houston Texans are playing in the playoffs tomorrow (for the first time ever!) and I couldn’t be more excited about it.  

When I first heard that the Texans were going to the playoffs, I told my husband that I had to be at that game.  My dad is a season ticket holder and he gives me his tickets for a few games throughout the regular season, but I knew for sure that he would never give away his playoff tickets, so I figured I was going to have to buy some.  

Well, when the tickets went on sale, they were sold out in a matter of seconds.  It was unbelievable.  Then I checked a few of the ticket websites, and the price that people wanted to sell their tickets for was even more unbelievable!  It looked like we were just going to be hanging out at home watching the game.

A couple of days ago, however, my dad asked me to meet him for lunch.  It turned out that something had come up and he wasn’t going to be able to make it to the playoff game.  And since he wasn't going to be able to go, he told me that he wanted me to have his tickets so that I could go and enjoy the game.  How awesome is that!  He could have sold his tickets for hundreds of dollars, but instead he chose to give them to me.  What a gift!  

So, want to know where I’ll be tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 p.m?  I’ll be at Reliant Stadium with 70,000 people cheering on the Houston Texans.  GO TEXANS! 
Photo credit:  www.houstontexans.com

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Encouraged to be an Encourager

As I was going through my emails last week, I noticed one from my high school that was titled, "Blessed to be a Blessing."  I don't usually read the emails that my high school sends out, but the subject of this particular email caught my eye.  We are blessed to be a blessing.  God blesses us, not just so that we can keep it for ourselves, but so that we can turn around and be a blessing to someone else.

This got me thinking about something else...I am encouraged to be an encourager.

Let me explain.

One morning last week, I stood in front of the mirror for about twenty minutes trying to fix my hair, but no matter what I did to it, I felt that it looked like a big, frizzy mess.  I left the house feeling really horrible about myself.  I was prepared to go about my day with that miserable feeling following me around, but all of that changed very quickly. 

When I arrived at work, I was greeted by a smiling young lady who said to me, "Your hair is so cute."  I smiled really big back at her and said, “Thank you so much!"  I walked away just as happy as could be.  Her words changed my day...for the better.

There have been many times in the past where I have wanted to compliment someone, but I ended up holding back my words because I felt like they really didn't matter.  On that day, however, I realized that words - especially positive words - really do matter!  God used that lady to encourage me and lift my spirits, and now it is my responsibility to go out and encourage someone else.  Not only I am blessed to be a blessing, but I am encouraged to be an encourager

John C. Maxwell said it best:  "Remember, man does not live on bread alone: sometimes he needs a little buttering up." 

Monday, January 2, 2012

12 Things in 2012

I've never been good at making New Year's resolutions, but what I am good at is making a To-Do List.  So, that's what I'm going to do this year.  Here are the top twelve things that I want to accomplish in 2012: 
  1. Organize my closet.
  2. Re-decorate our master bedroom.
  3. Organize our hallway closet.
  4. Buy some cool modern/vintage pictures to hang in our bathrooms.  
  5. Hang some personal photos in our living room and front entry way.
  6. Take William to the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center.
  7. Follow through with my idea of a new blog name and look.
  8. Post six original songs on my blog.
  9. Go white water rafting and zip lining.
  10. Go on a Disney Cruise.
  11. Get a big boy bed for William.  No more toddler crib!
  12. Build our emergency fund up to $20,000.
So tell me, what's on your list of things to do in 2012?