Category Archives: the music of my heart

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how you live


Driving down a country road one fall evening after an engagement photography session in South Haven, this song – Turn Up The Music by Point of Grace (above) – was playing in my car. I can’t remember if it was on the radio or if I had the CD at the time, but it brought tears to my eyes and it filled me with such a peaceful and hopeful feeling.

I remember that feeling very vividly. It was at a time when Jake (my husband) had lost his job because the company he worked for closed its doors, and my little photography business was keeping us afloat. Barely. It was very stressful and I felt anything but peaceful at the time.

“Wake up to the sunlight with your windows open
Don’t hold in your anger or leave things unspoken
Wear your red dress, use your good dishes,
Make a big mess, and make lots of wishes …”

I longed for the peaceful, carefree feeling this song brought out in me. To focus on the little things, my children, my husband, the beauty of nature, letting go, dreaming, taking chances. No regrets! I wanted to feel like that – happy and hopeful.

“Turn up the music, Turn it up loud
Take a few chances, Let it all out
‘Cause you won’t regret it
Lookin’ back from where you have been
Cause it’s not who you knew
And it’s not what you did
It’s how you live.”

I wanted a sense of security again, and I prayed for God’s help. And He provided! Time and again. (HERE is an awesome example of that!)

And here was this song, encouraging me and calming me. It was just one of those moments that has stuck with me. I posted the above video back in September of 2007 with just a brief comment like “I’m loving this song right now.” I probably didn’t say more because of the stressful emotions I was dealing with, but I’m glad I threw it up there that day because it was there for me to find again, to remember that things did get better. The job situation worked out. God took care of us.

And I’ve had many days, enjoying the sun on my face, thanking the Lord for the life He’s given me, letting myself be truly happy where I’m at, taking chances, and feeling so hopeful for the future.

“Wherever you are and wherever you’ve been
Now is the time to begin …”

“Make peace with God and make peace with yourself
‘Cause in the end there’s nobody else.”

I hope you’ll give the song a listen. :)
Oh, and here are a few pictures from the engagement session that night.

And if you want more, here’s their engagement post over on my biz blog, which I no longer update, but it remains online for all the lovely people I worked with.

On to today’s giveaway!

GIVEAWAY INFO: There are four ways to enter through the giveaway box below and each will get you five entries in the drawing.

• The first option is the only one you HAVE to do in order to be entered. I’ll ask one question in every day’s giveaway. You just have to enter your name and email address, give a brief response to the question, and you’re in the drawing.

If you want more chances to win, you can …
• Join my mailing list (if you already have, enter your email address so I can verify)
• Tweet about the giveaway and copy/paste the link from Twitter
• SHARE about the giveaway and the BLOG-IVERSARY on your own blog, Facebook*, Pinterest, etc. and link to that as well.

All giveaways will end on my actual BLOG-IVERSARY, next Thursday, February 26th, so the giveaways will all be OPEN until then.
The winners will be announced in a blog post on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27th!

* Note: If you share on a private Facebook account and we aren’t “friends”, make sure you change the audience of that one post to “public” so I can see it. ;)

TODAY’S GIVEAWAY

Last fall, I whipped up these little pocket calendars to match the ING Journals. I am using one every day to keep track of all our stuff. Here’s your chance to win one in the color of your choice. It’s a 2-year calendar with simple, blank calendar pages. No holidays or cycles of the moon or anything like that on any of the pages since I knew I would be writing all over it with appointments and gymnastics practices and such and I wanted every millimeter of space to do that. ;) They are about 4″x7″ in size.

Enter below. Tell a friend!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

CLICK HERE to see all the GIVEAWAYS on one page!

TGIF! Hope you’ve enjoyed looking back with me this week. The fun’s not over yet! SEE YA’ BACK HERE ON MONDAY!

10 YEARS!

You’re here! I’m so excited! On February 26, 2005, I started this blog, and for the next two weeks, I will be looking back at the past TEN YEARS of blogging!

Ten years has gone by in the blink of an eye. At least, it seems so at times. I’ve been browsing back through old posts and, while the style of my photos (lots of borders and filters in the early days) has changed, the core of the posts has not. It started with a few posts about my kids and that’s pretty much the same today. I wrote about things we did, places we traveled, movies I loved, following my love of photography into a business, family, friends, parties, scrapbooking, memories, happy times, sad times, publishing my novel. So much of our life.

Ten years is a really long time.

So, for the next TEN DAYS, I will be looking back, sharing old photos and favorite posts, and there will be GIVEAWAYS!!!

GIVEAWAY INFO: There are four ways to enter through the giveaway box below and each will get you five entries in the drawing.

• The first option is the only one you HAVE to do in order to be entered. I’ll ask one question in every day’s giveaway. You just have to enter your name and email address, give a brief response to the question, and you’re in the drawing.

If you want more chances to win, you can …
• Join my mailing list (if you already have, enter your email address so I can verify)
• Tweet about the giveaway and copy/paste the link from Twitter
• SHARE about the giveaway and the BLOG-IVERSARY on your own blog, Facebook*, Pinterest, etc. and link to that as well.

All giveaways will end on my actual BLOG-IVERSARY, next Thursday, February 26th, so the giveaways will all be OPEN until then.
The winners will be announced in a blog post on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27th!

* Note: If you share on a private Facebook account and we aren’t “friends”, make sure you change the audience of that one post to “public” so I can see it. ;)

TODAY’S GIVEAWAY!

I’ve got a paperback copy of my first young adult novel ready to sign. The Truth About Drew was published last May.
It’s a sweet, uplifting, heart-warming story full of friendship and family with a journey to faith and a mystery surrounding a boy and his notebook.
Enter below. Tell a friend! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you have any questions at all about the giveaway, feel free to ask.

SEE YA BACK HERE TOMORROW!

the music of my heart | all this time

When I was younger, I would sit in my bedroom late at night and listen to songs on my “boom box”. I would tape songs from the radio, especially ones that tugged at my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

I was a pianist then. I would take the songs I loved and try to pick out the tunes on the piano keys. I accompanied friends when they sang in church. I wrote songs of my own. The piano helped me get out my feelings and my aggressions. I’d play light and fast when I was happy, slow and soft when I was sad and heartbroken, tears falling on the keys.

I loved music and I surrounded myself with it.

But somewhere along the line, that stopped. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment. All I know is I stopped playing my piano and I stopped listening – I mean really listening – to music. Yeah, I would have the radio on the in the car or have a CD in, but it was like I wasn’t really letting the music in. I wasn’t letting it move me in my soul like it always had before.

The last time I remember really loving a song was after I saw the movie “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” (Oh gosh! I just looked that up and it came out in 2005.). I loved the song “Unwritten” and I went out and bought the soundtrack after the movie just for that song. I popped it in my car CD player on the way home and turned it up LOUD with the windows down and the moon roof open. I played it over and over. I loved the words, the music, everything about it.

In the past few months, I’ve started listening again, paying attention to the story of the songs, connecting and relating to the lyrics, crying many tears as my heart opens and remembers and heals.

And it hurts, but it feels good to surround myself with the music again.

I want to start sharing some of the songs that have been speaking to me lately, deep down in ways my heart hasn’t been spoken to for a long time. Being open and remembering and letting go of some of those feelings I’ve locked away is allowing me to let the music in again.

I recently shared about the song “Come However You Are” by City Harbor. I probably listen to it ten times a day and really wish I could just put it on a loud speaker on top of my car and drive around playing it for everyone.

“Come with your regrets. Come with the things you can’t change. Come with all your fear and all your shame with everything. Come with the pieces of your bruised and broken heart. Don’t wait. Don’t wait!” OK … this post is not about that song, but I love it and wish I could share the message of that song with everyone I know who is dealing with difficult things in their lives right now and have turned far away from God.

But today, I have to share a new favorite by Britt Nicole. I downloaded her latest CD, Gold, for Chloe this weekend because she loves that song (such a great song for girls, by the way, and for boys for that matter) and I found many songs that I love, but one that really stands out to me and moves me to tears. It’s not really a new song since the album has been out for over a year and I’ve heard it on the radio before, but I never really listened to the words before now.

I won’t type out all the lyrics, but here is the first verse and the chorus of “All This Time” that really got my attention this past weekend.

All This Time by Britt Nicole

I remember the moment
I remember the pain
I was only a girl
But I grew up that day
Tears were falling
I know you saw me

Hiding there in my bedroom
So alone
I was doing my best
Trying to be strong
No one to turn to
That’s when I met you

All this time
From the first tear cried
‘Til today’s sunrise
And every single moment between
You were there
You were always there
It was You and I
You’ve been walking with me all this time

All these years, since the moment all my hopes and dreams came crashing down around me, I know God has been there with me. I love the lines in the chorus – from the first tear cried ’til today’s sunrise and every single moment between. Even when I wasn’t listening or paying attention, when I was wrapped up in my life, when I looked within myself for the strength to get through things instead of trusting Him (which never worked, by the way), He was walking with me all along, loving me through it all.

If you haven’t already, have a listen to the YouTube video at the top. I hope the message and the music will touch you as it has me.

Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to stop by here and read my blog. It means so much to me, more than I could ever express in words. :)

come however you are


I spend a lot of time in my car. Driving here and there. These days, it’s pretty much the only place I listen to music. For the past few months, I’ve been stuck on Taylor Swift’s last two CD’s on repeat. Before that, it was all of Bethany Dillon’s. Every once in a while, I’ll decide to mix it up and flip over to the radio, ’cause I’m crazy like that. ;) Yesterday, I heard a song on the Christian music station that I instantly loved. Not sure how long it’s been playing on the radio since I haven’t been listening much lately, but it’s new to me. The song is called “Come However You Are” by City Harbor, who are also new to me and I believe are just releasing their first album.

What I love most about this song, besides the beautiful harmony of their voices together, is the message of the lyrics. Whatever you are dealing with, whatever pain or regret or mistakes you’ve made, no matter what your past looks like, you can give it to God. All of it! Right now! Because He loves you more than you could ever know.

Here are the lyrics, but if you’d rather hear the music, I’ve added that at the bottom.

Come However You Are by City Harbor

To anyone walking down a hard road
Worn out with blisters on your feet
To anyone with a heart that’s shattered
Doing your best to hold it together
With no prayer to pray and no song left to sing

Whatever pain you’re dealing with
Let me offer this

Come however you are
Come with all your heart breaks
Come with all the mistakes you’ve made
Lay them down at the cross
Give them to the God who loves you
Hurt, scarred, falling apart
Come however you are

To the girl who never had a father
To the guy who thinks he’ll never
Amount to much of anything
To those of us who feel unwanted, unneeded, unloved and desperately incomplete

Come however you are
Come with all your heart breaks
Come with all the mistakes you’ve made
Lay them down at the cross
Give them to the God who loves you
Hurt, scarred, falling apart
Come however you are

Come with your regrets
Come with the things you can’t take
Come with all your fears and all your shame
With everything
Come with the pieces of
Your bruised and broken heart
Don’t wait, don’t wait

Whatever pain you’re dealing with
Let me offer this

Come however you are
Come with all your heart breaks
Come with all the mistakes you’ve made
Lay them down at the cross
Give them to the God who loves you
Hurt, scarred, falling apart
Come however you are

Here’s a video from YouTube of the song. The only one I could find.
)

I hope this song has blessed you as it has me. Love you guys!

AJAXed with AWP