Category Archives: Music

Sunshine Go Away Today….

Just a moment of insight from my morning commute. The vocal melodies of Jonathan Edwards comes on WOW 105.3, and the last verse of the song stood out to me more than usual:

“Sunshine come on back another day

I promise you I’ll be singin’

This whole world, she’s gonna turn around

Brand new bells will be ringin'”

What does that make you think of?

Heh. Well, I don’t really want the sunshine to go away (I waited all through winter just to SEE it…), but sometimes I do feel the sentiments of this song, where “working starts to make me wonder where/fruits of what I do are goin'” or other things that make me think this world is on it’s way to an idiocracy and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. And ya know what, that’s the way it’s been told.

2 Timothy tells us there will be terrible times in the last days. 2 Peter tells us that there will be abundant “scoffers”. Matthew 24 tells us there will be wars, rumors of wars, nations against nations, and not to mention earthquakes and famines (or recessions? ;-)). And there are many many more references.

Either way, things are going to get seemingly hopeless and just downright illogical and fruitless. BUT, we are called to have hope anyway, and LIVE like we have hope! After all,

This whole world, she’s gonna turn around

(because God will be doing some redeeming!)

And a brand new song we’ll be singin’ 🙂

(Rev 5 and 14)

So hey, listen to Jonathan, and especially the Bible. It stinketh right now, but it’s all gonna be all right. (Rev 21:4)


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Filed under Daily Normalcy, Music, Spiritual Application, State of the world, Stress

If only they’d look a little closer…

There’s a country song that is played on the radio quite frequently, and it’s lyrics make me sad. It shows a common mentality of average joes these days. The song is Everybody Wants to go to Heaven by Kenny Chesney. Here are the lyrics:

Preacher told me last Sunday mornin’
“Son, you better start livin’ right:”
You need to quit the women and whiskey
And carrying on all night.”

Don’t you wanna hear him call your name,
When you’re standin’ at the pearly gates?
I told the preacher, “Yes I do”
But I hope they don’t call today
I ain’t ready

Everybody wants to go to heaven
Have a mansion high above the clouds
Everybody wants to go to heaven
But nobody want to go now

Said, “Preacher maybe you didn’t see me
Throw an extra twenty in the plate.
There’s one for everything I did last night,
And one to get me through today.
Here’s a ten to help you remember
Next time you got the good Lord’s ear
Say I’m comin’, but there ain’t no hurry
I’m havin’ fun down here.
Don’t you know that!

Everybody wants to go to heaven
Get their wings and fly around
Everybody want to go to heaven
But nobody want to go now

Someday I want to see those streets of gold in my halo
But I wouldn’t mind waiting at least a hundred years or so

Everybody wanna go to heaven
It beats the other place there ain’t no doubt
Everybody wanna go to heaven
But nobody wanna go now

Everybody wanna go to heaven
Hallelujah, let me hear you shout
Everybody wanna go to heaven
But nobody wanna go now
I think I speak for the crowd.

Obviously this guy hasn’t looked too closely at what it means to be a real Believer, a true Christian, following Christ. Some people like to leave it at the imagery of halos and harps, not applying the grace and guidance and Abundant Life to daily life. Really, it just makes me sad. But it alerts me to a view on Christianity that is still common in society, that I need to be prepared to reach. Now that I’ve heard this song, I better make it a personal mission and prayer request to live out what we so affectionately call the “Joy of the Lord,” praising Him when things are good and looking to Him when things are tough. Sharing the happiness and contentedness I get from putting trust in an all-knowing, all-powerful God and not worrying about “chasing after the wind” (here it is again!) or other vanities of life that distract the attention of millions. For some individuals I come in contact with, I never know if I’m the only one they might witness that is a committed Christian, experiencing the Peace that only God gives (that surpasses understanding), and the joy that comes from that Peace.

I guess some examples could be everyday conversations when I’m out and about. That’s what I need to work on. When I’m at the post office, buying vitamins at Walgreens or asking for a price check at the grocery store. Can my patience be detected? Can my love for humanity and burden for souls be picked up on, in one small way or another? When I’m with my volleyball team, when I’m performing with my country dance team, when I meet with friends that don’t belong to a church? I guess that’s my challenge for myself, and for everyone, really. Go out and connect with people. You don’t have to make friends with everybody, you don’t have to become an extrovert. But you can live out the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), the commands of Colossians 3, the mindset of Philippians 4:8, and some more of my favorites, Matthew 5:16 and 1 Peter 2:12. I’m making those my daily instructions.

Hopefully we can show people that God’s grace can’t be bought by money or “make-up good deeds,” and that Heaven and following Jesus Christ is more than just singing with a harp and getting a halo someday.

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Filed under Allegories, Challenge, Daily Normalcy, Music, Spiritual Application, State of the world, the Bible

Well Said! (or sung)

I just can’t get over the powerful message of the lyrics of this song:

He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother
The road is long…
With many a winding turn,
That leads us to who knows where,
Who knows where.
But I’m strong,
Strong enough to carry him.
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

So on we go…
His welfare is of my concern.
No burden is he to bear,
We’ll get there.
For I know
He would not encumber me:
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

If I’m laden at all

I’m laden with sadness

That everyone’s heart

Isn’t filled with the gladness

Of love for one another

It’s a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we’re on the way to there
Why not share

And the load
Doesn’t weigh me down at all
He ain’t heavy he’s my brother
He’s my brother
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

Just the whole idea that the weight of the burden is irrelevant, because all that matters is the relationship.

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

“Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.” 1 Peter 3:8

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Circadian (among other) Rhythms

Most who know me remember that I fall asleep punctually at 10ish every night and that I get up at the same time every morning. I also like to eat at the same time every day (and on the weekends I kinda freak out if I don’t!) I like routine, and when the routine carries itself out through the week, I get this crazy high. It’s like my circadian rhythm gives me a high-five when I stick to it.

And in general, my life really does revolve around rhythm. Sometimes too much. I am the type that drums on all surfaces during a conversation or is always tapping my feet or even doin’ a little jig while (I think/hope) no one is lookin’.

I get lost in music and get this little euphoria when I am playing or participating in a song. Charles Drake told us in a worship why music is so powerful is because it bypasses the thalamus (the brain’s “gatekeeper” and categorize-er) and goes straight to our emotions. Music is manipulative and can almost reverse your mood instantly. (So, of course with any powerful tool, it can be used for good or evil. Here I focus on the good).

Sometimes I wonder what God was intending when He created music. I wonder what it really sounded like when the angels sang. If they played instruments at all or if they even had to. I wonder what made the rhythm in the angel choirs, if they had a heavenly drum set or something. Sometimes I wish I could hear an angelic remix of Queen’s “Somebody to Love”, Yes’s “Seen All Good People” or Billy Joel’s “For the Longest Time.” I wonder if they’ll take requests when we’re in heaven?

I’m also continuing with my dance classes. It is so much fun knowing that I can make my body move in harmony with a song’s rhythm. Nothing like it in the world.

Then I wonder what life would be like without rhythm. If we would walk differently, speak differently, or not be able to have the same coordination. Everything seems to operate on some sort of rhythm. It makes me think of that Volkswagen commercial from a few years ago when the drivers are cruising down the street and everything is following the beat of the song. The basketball bounces to the baseline, the jogger is in sync, as well as the windshield wipers. And in that similar but less exaggerated way, I think my life follows a beat. I think my thoughts and my actions have an underlying meter to them. And when my inherent metronome is thrown off, I just don’t function as well. That must be where the saying came from about “moving to the beat of a different drummer.”

I think God created us with rhythm so we could be efficient beings. We need something to move by, eat by, sleep by, thrive by. Good thing He gave us plenty of examples in the Bible of rhythms and steps to live by (I like Colossians 3. Put away this while putting on that. Let it be the pace of your Walk). Therefore, embrace the bounce in your step, that favorite song of yours, the way you always step out the door with your right foot first, whatever. Do what you do and thank God for your divinely instilled rhythm.

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Child of Rhythm: Of high tides, snare drums and puzzle pieces

A stream of consciousness from today:

On my way home from work, an advertisement on the radio had crashing waves as a sound effect for advertising a summer getaway travel package that you could book from a local travel agent. Though the commercials were soon over and there was a song playing, the sound of crashing waves kept going through my head. It had triggered a memory.

When I was a kid, my family took a few trips to Hawaii since my grandparents had a timeshare. For the latest trip, I was in high school and was concerned more about getting a good tan than I was about many of the touristy activities we were going to do. But on a Sabbath morning, when we went down to the beach for a bit,  I decided to make my towel-dwelling, ray-soaking self a bit more productive than just absorbing sunlight. I had a good 20 minute prayer (and for an attention-deficit high-schooler, that was pretty good). I remember praying for God to make my hair not frizz so much, and other silly things, but it turned into a rather profound conversation with my Creator. And the crashing waves and soft breeze just made it all the more meaningful and memorable.

I remember talking to God about how I thought it was cool that he put rhythm into everything. Right before I prayed, I counted the seconds between wave crashes. I started moving my toes to the “beat” that the waves were creating. I remember the timing between the waves slowly getting longer and longer as the shoreline moved with the tide. I started singing songs in my head along with the waves. And I remember thinking that God knew what he was doing when he put in me the desire to be a musician and a dancer, and an appreciator of nature.

Pulling from the theme of the previous blog, I really like how God finds really clever ways to remind us that we are who we are for a reason. That I can take comfort and joy in the simple fact that I am me. Even with all the silly things that I almost hate about myself, I would never give them up if it meant my identity would change. The fact that I cry at most movies, that I laugh a bit too loud, that I sometimes speak out of turn, that sometimes I like people a little too much that I overwhelm them; all those things have been annoyances to me in my life, and yet when I think about what I would be without them, I slowly begin to embrace them. And when I still get a little bit down about the things that aren’t ideal about myself, God reminds me of crashing waves, tapping toes, and warm sunlight, and the acceptance of who I am and what I am moved to do.

Predominantly, I’ve found that most of my life revolves around people and/or rhythm. I’m very shy and introverted, but I love connecting with people and each person I meet immediately becomes meaningful to me. I remember names and faces very well, and my biggest social fault lies on the end of the spectrum that makes me appear nosy. On the rhythm side, I’m always tapping on something, always finding connections in the sounds around me. I remember in 8th grade, my science teacher called me a “child of rhythm” after the end-of-the-year band concert, when I had my first solo snare drum sequence. I find that when NPR plays classical music over the lunch hour, I seem to want to drive faster during heavy snare drum and crash cymbal choruses. Sometimes I think I should have been a choir or band conductor because those movements are just so natural to me (but I’m too afraid of being in front of a lot of people). And there is no morning pick-me-up like my 5:45am jazzercise class, the only exercise routine I have been able to stick with for over a year.

Back on the relational end, I also think of myself in terms of my relationship to my husband. He is all verbal (he is an English teacher, so I guess that comes with the territory), and I am all nonverbal. The messages we receive from each other or people around us vary so much when we both tell our side of things. But once we figured out how each other worked, it’s amazingly perfect the way we complement each other.

Life is a big jigsaw puzzle and we are all shaped differently, and we all fit together differently. (even more on this topic later). I have come to like the shape of my puzzle piece, and the way it fits with others. Thank you, God, for opening the puzzle box, shaking it up, and letting each piece discover where they fit.

(Random though these thoughts are, pieces of these concepts float to my consciousness just about daily. Maybe it is God reminding me that “I am who I am” (go Popeye!) and that I better be true to myself.)

“All together now—applause for God! Sing songs to the tune of his glory, set glory to the rhythms of his praise.” (Psalm 66:1, The Message Bible)

“… May God, our very own God, continue to be with us just as he was with our ancestors—may he never give up and walk out on us. May he keep us centered and devoted to him, following the life path he has cleared, watching the signposts, walking at the pace and rhythms he laid down for our ancestors” ( Kings 8:56, The Message Bible)

“…The God who gives rain in both spring and autumn and maintains the rhythm of the seasons, Who sets aside time each year for harvest and keeps everything running smoothly for us?’…(Jeremiah 5:20, The Message Bible)

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