Dear Diary – My weekly Michael’s flyer arrived in my inbox today. It said “Summer is here!”. Meanwhile, it’s the end of May and I’m watching it snow outside! I took a video clip of the lilacs dancing in the breeze, as large snow globs fell from the sky, but I can’t seem to post it here. I took still photos as well, but they don’t begin to capture the horror! By the time it was thick enough for a good photo, I was too depressed. How did it go from deep summer temperatures to this?!? Good thing the cars’ snow tires are still on?
Dear Diary – On Saturday I attended a Worship Conference. I bounced out of bed early, showered, and put on a fresh pair of pjs. I threw my hair in a top-knot, applied some make-up and filled the kettle all the way to the top! From 9 to 5, I sat and swilled with other musicians, pastors and technical peeps worshipping and growing together.
This last year, it seems, has been a year of feast or famine, an extreme spectrum for us all. While some have grown weary from high expectations and great challenges to connect online with their congregations & beyond, others have grown weary from inactivity, loneliness and soul-searching. Both extremes are God’s way of challenging hearts, both in terms of who He is and who we are in Him.
I know that I have wrestled with self-doubt, especially in terms of my place and purpose in my own church home, and in the greater Church. I had left my job in October of 2019 and faced 2020 as a year of personal growth. I adopted the song, “Finish Line” to inspire me to run well. I would dig deeper in the Word. I would take steps to become healthier physically. I would write. And I would see where God was leading next. None of us had any idea that “next” would become an intense time of isolation, separation and mourning. I have dug deeper in Word and that has been my source of strength and joy. I know God is moving. Even in my life, as I continue to wait to see what’s “next”.
The second speaker, Christy Nockels, singer/songwriter, talked about life on the road. She was living “the dream” but also reaching a point of complete exhaustion. She just wanted to go “home”. It was during a time of rest that she realized that her fatigue was God’s way of rescuing her. She had everything she thought she wanted, but not what she needed most: Him. She talked about how a ready heart can look like an exhausted heart, because you have come to a place where you are ready to lay it all down and rest in Him. When we live from God, instead of for God, and when we learn to love and been seen by Him, we come home. The enemy keeps us busy so we are ineffective; God offers us rest so that He can propel us forward.
She also said “God unfolds dreams bigger than our own”. That just blows my mind, and it makes my heart ache. I don’t know what my dreams are…except to say they are to follow His dreams. And perhaps that is enough.
I also joined a break-out session for women in ministry called Boldness, with Leah Andrade. What a phenomenal woman! She said this: “You are chosen by God, divinely woven together to bring change to the world with your unmatchable story” and “your fabric is woven with God’s purpose”. O Diary…my story is pretty unremarkable, but it’s exciting to know that there is so much more going on that just what I see on the surface. To be reminded that I was chosen feels like a hug around all those places inside that hurt. I can feel the rejection and the longing to be loved melting away and being replaced by a sense of belonging. I feel hope and joy, and yes, peace. Even peace to wait. Something is coming and I want to be ready to run…
And me? I’m a mess. I’m nothing and have nothing: make something of me. You can do it; you’ve got what it takes – but God, don’t put it off.Psalm 40:17
Dear Diary – I’m not gonna’ lie. Slipping from the softness of my bed at 6:30 Sunday morning was hard! It hurt! I wondered if it was worth it.
I had showered and laid out my clothes the night before. All I had to do was get dressed, fix my hair, apply make-up and make a large tea before heading out the door at 7:30 so I’d arrive for set-up on time. I had been asked to play with a worship team at another church. Services are still limited to 10 people so I felt comfortable in that environment. We were spread out and only 2 of us would be unmasked, and only while we were singing. I was going to get to sing and play, and not irritate anyone while doing it.
Set-up/rehearsal ran late and with 3 minutes until the start of the live service, I had to race to the restroom. I should have waited and slipped out during the sermon (sorry Pastor)! I had 20 seconds to get my in-ear monitors in. They had to be in place because, unlike the worship teams at my home church, this team played with tracks. That meant you can’t go off course or juggle your timing. You have to be precise. In addition, the only sound in the room came through the-in ear monitor…the vocals, drum, guitar and piano, which I was playing. And I was the first instrument to start with the song.
I felt like I was in a Mr. Bean skit. As the technician counted down from the back, I was scrambling to plug in my “ears”. I might have made it…had I remembered to take my face mask off first. The same thing happened at my home church 2 weeks before, as I wrestled with a face mask, 2 in-ear pieces, and a mic that clipped over one ear. I didn’t make it for the closing song, but I could hear the other musicians so I could manage. But with the only sound coming from in the in-ear, I was doomed!
I ripped the mask from my face and holding the plug by one ear, I counted. When it was time to start playing, I dropped the plug and played the first 4 bars. I could only hope that I played the correct ones! I spent the remainder of the first verse wrestling to get these things in, and praying it wasn’t all being caught on camera. I was horribly embarrassed; I’d never be able to face these people at the end of the service.
That’s when the hotflash started. It began with prickling around the back of my neck and spread into my armpits and up my face. Instead of looking like a pasty-white zombie, I was going to resemble a tomato! My hands started to shake as the back of my knees grew damp. And I wondered, what else can go wrong?
By the time we started the third song, the flush had died down. I was thankful we wouldn’t be sitting together because I was certain I no longer smelled like a rose. I allowed myself to set aside all the distractions and just worship.
As we moved into the interlude where would build toward the bridge by adding layers of complexity, our in-ear monitors went dead. I saw the lead singer stiffen and heat rising up the back of her neck. The guitarist stopped strumming. We knew the track was still playing live, and every note I was playing, but we had NOTHING! In 7 bars, the bridge would start. Would the lead singer keep going, hoping that our timing wasn’t off? Would she apologize and cite technical difficulties? Would it magically fix itself in time?
7 bars passed and I kept playing open chords. By now, the guitarist had indiscreetly turned to look at the drummer. The lead singer was madly communicating with the drummer with her eyeballs. So I glanced over too. By now, it was already past awkward. It had to be obvious to those watching that something was wrong!
But the lead singer was able to reset the track to the bridge and we had sound again. We continued on… we finished the song. The pastor prayed and introduced a short missions video. As soon as the video began, the drummer shouted “I’m so sorry”. One drumstick had gone flying (we watched it later on the video and it was hilarious) and he was preoccupied with how to discreetly pick it up. He knew he had lost the track but it wasn’t until the lead singer glanced over with fear in her eyes, that he realized he had hit the main power switch!
Needless to say, technology is great…when it works.
I picked up Tim Horton’s on the way home. I figure I deserved it after my early morning. And unlike 2 weeks ago when I treated myself to Tim’s, I got it home in one piece without spilling it and ruining my sweater! Too bad they gave me black coffee instead of black steeped tea!
I won’t be impressed with technology until it can download food.
Dear Diary – I got shot today. I knew it was probably going to happen.
I showed up at the rheumatologist’s office full of pepto bismol and sweating through my t-shirt. I don’t think the doctor quite believed me when I said I’m in bad shape, until he asked me to raise my arms…his eyebrows went up and he grimaced and shook his head before commenting, “nope, definitely going to do the cortisone shot”.
I was prepared for “the worst”. I had envisioned a 6″ needle being forcibly stabbed into my shoulder, followed by searing pain right before I lost consciousness. Instead, it was just a small prick. As he went to sit down to print my prescription, I said “that wasn’t so bad”. Famous last words! No sooner had the words left my mouth, that my body realized the violation to which it had just been subjected, and it screamed at me. I bit my lip under my mask and with curled my toes, tip-toed to the pharmacy next door. I had to replace the shot for the next
I texted Hubby from the car: “ow!” Both Hubby & Little Guy met me at the door at home. They cooked dinner and brought me my plate of spaghetti. They even grated cheese on it. The next day, before my “24 hours of rest” ended, Little Guy suggested I leave the dishes…for Hubby. I washed them anyway, but not with my usual vigour.
Now I have to book physiotherapy appointments.
You know you’re getting old when..your address book has mostly names that start with Dr.
Dear Diary – I was excited this week because a current contestant on the Great Canadian Baking Show liked my scone photo from Monday’s post on my Instagram account! He isn’t a celebrity, but it’s the closest I may ever get!
Apparently the CBC is accepting applications for Season 5 of the show. I told Hubby, just to see the look of panicked horror on his face. Even I know my limitations!
Dear Diary – It was
Christmas grocery week again, and everything seemed to come together so smoothly. It shoud have been a red flag. When the guy came with my substantially loaded cart, he apologized because they lost one of my bins, and I had already been charged for everything. I was going to have to call and ask for a reimbursement. My stomach immediately twisted in a knot because I knew this was going to be a hassle. Then I had a moment of illumination, and asked nicely, “since you know what’s missing, might there be someone free who could grab those 4 items now”? He supposed he could, if I was willing to wait.
I was willing to wait.
Eggplant paremesiana, a new experiment for me, doesn’t work so well with no eggplant!
Dear Diary – Last weekend, Hubby was worried he was coming down with Covid. He only had to wait 24 hours for a testing appointment, and in that time he gave us all a wide berth. I started to feel like I was the one with the plague, and with such close contact in our small house, if he had it, it was toooooo late! Sunday morning he came home relieved that he had not been lobotomized during the testing. On Monday afternoon, I was in the process of calling to reschedule an appointment, when he hollered up the stairs, “I don’t have the plauge”!
On the plus side, he can now taste his coffee.
That might seem like an odd comment, but the man has virtually no sense of taste or smell. I believe him after, several years ago, he stuck his nose next to Little Guy’s horrifically smelly bum (I could smell it on another level of the house) and inhaled without passing out.
Dear Diary – Why are dermatology offices always pristine, minimalist, and white? Soft flute music was piped throughout. I felt like I was in a spa (or what spas look like on t.v. having only been to one once in my life). I could certainly have used a relaxing massage…and maybe a pedicure!
Dear Diary – Hubby farted and I asked him, “what is that? B-flat?”. I was close. He farted a perfect middle C.
We already know I scream in A.
Talk nerdy to me!
Dear Diary – It’s nearly time to clean the oven again. Little Guy commented last night that he thought he smelled smoke. The oven had just been on because I had just baked another batch of pumpkin chai scones, so I told him it wasn’t smoke, but the incense of many burnt offerings.
Today me will live in the moment, unless it’s unpleasant, in which case me eat a cookie.Cookie Monster
It was the Sunday following the attacks on September 11th, and I was still trying to wrap my mind around it. So we gathered as a congregation, clustered en masse at the altar, praying and worshipping. It was the first time I heard this song taken from Isaiah 66:1-2.
And as I sang, in the midst of the fear and confusion, God whispered in my ear…”Heaven is my throne and earth is my footstool”. What a mental picture! The God of the Universe is so much greater and stronger that this planet is a small piece of furniture in comparison. He is not a God who stays at a distance, but One who saw each tear and heard each cry that day, and this day. I could trust that He would hear us in the days ahead, and I could trust Him, God of the Angel Armies, to keep us safe. I don’t ever need to be afraid.
Daphne Rademaker (c) 1991 Mercy / Vineyard Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (Integrity Music, David C Cook)) Vineyard Songs Canada (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (Integrity Music, David C Cook))
Today’s tune is a surprise, even to me. It’s been a tough week, and this old hymn, first published in 1918 by Helen Lemell, has been an anchor. I can remember singing it as a kid and being confused by the line “and the things of earth will grow strangely dim”. How could the things around me, the trees, my house, my toys, just fade? I knew it wasn’t by magic; I knew about miracles and Jesus’ power. Was it like drifting off to sleep?
As I’ve grown older, I have understood the deeper meaning. That when I take my eyes off Jesus and focus instead on the things the world values, I lose intimacy in my relationship with Christ. I become proud and arrogant, going my own way, being swayed by “fine-sounding arguments”. I get beaten up and overwhelmed. I lose sight of Who I am to follow and to Whom I belong. I become no longer who I was made to be, and to serve as I’ve been called to serve.
But if I focus on Jesus only, the opinions, the conspiracies, the craziness of the world will fade away. I can have lasting peace and joy. Don’t get the wrong impression. I’m not a naive, “airy-fairy, ignore-it-and-it-will-go-away” person. I am not living in fear. I am not afraid to speak up, in love. I hope I am wise enough to know when to shut up. I have a choice in Who and what I listen to, and I choose Jesus.
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Gal. 6:14
I haven’t shared a Friday’s tune in a few weeks, but it isn’t because I haven’t been singing! Sometimes it’s better to take a break from writing, than to force it and lose joy in the process. 🙂
I hesitated to write today. Sharing something you wrote requires a degree of vulnerability and this song is one I wrote. It’s so easy to let the opinions of others steal your joy or crush your soul. But I have been singing this all week.
I have been frustrated by the on-going opinions and “theories” related to Covid-19. In particular, those restrictions that are viewed as restriction of rights. I believe some of the restrictions are necessary to protect one another in love, and are for a season. I get tired of “entitled” people spewing poison and creating conflict. Some just for the sick pleasure of doing so.
Worship, especially music through worship, is important to me. I can’t imagine attending a church service without singing because that is one of the greatest forms of expression, for me. But if I’m asked to refrain for a season, then I will. I will sing in my heart when I’m in public, and I will sing with all the breath in my lungs when I’m at home (or in the car)! You’ve been warned! 🙂
It might have been on my mind Saturday night as I slept. I had my frequent Saturday night nightmare. I am panicking!! I’m late for church, I’m leading, and my sheet music has vanished. I’m supposed to provide the offertory as well. Just me. So as we rushed out the door to get to the church (this time I wasn’t even in the building yet), I started to write a song…and I woke up with the first 2 lines still in head.
I’m not a morning person. It was 6 a.m. and my eyes were still heavy with sleep. But I rolled out and foraged in the dark for a notepad and pen…
If there’s no music, then I will worship in the silence
I will soak in the reverence of Your majesty
And in the silence, I will glory in Your splendour
I will wonder at Your depths of love for me.
If there’s no music, then I will worship in the silence
I will whisper the name of Jesus, He is King
And in the silence, I will praise You for Your goodness,
I will marvel at Your depths of grace to me.
In the quiet, when I’m trusting You
You are my strength, my joy
In the quiet, I hear You calling me
I know Your voice
My heart and soul will always sing to You
If there’s no music, I will worship in the silence
I will wonder at Your mercy, how You lifted me to stand
In the silence, I will tell You how I love You
How much I need You in the silence, make me whole
I am Yours
(c) Jenn Simpson, August 23, 2020
The sun was shining this morning. It had rained through the night and broken the oppressive heat. A gentle breeze was blowing, and the birds were all singing their glorious songs. But I was sitting there in a bit of a funk. I felt guilty because I knew I shouldn’t be feeling this way. My unwelcome and long-time companion, insecurity, was hanging around too.
I had participated in an exciting venture this week, but it felt like no one noticed. Of course, they did! I had worked hard to make sure other players were acknowledged. But wasn’t I also part of the team? Like a person on fire, when a pity-party threatens, I need to stop, drop and roll before the Lord. I need to remind myself why I did what I did, why we all did. It was to honour Him with our gifts and talents, with the creativity and the opportunity He gave us. It was an honour, and each of us had an important part to play.
As I confessed my insecure heart and my ungrateful, selfish attitude, a song started to play in my heart. A hymn I have I loved for a very long time. There is nothing more that I need.
All the Way My Savior Leads Me (c) Fanny Crosby / Richard Mullins Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management
In vain have I struggled. It will to do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. –
“Just Peachy” is a real summertime treat. Big Guy gave me this tea for Christmas and I’m so glad he did. While on the sweet side (and slightly artificial tasting) when served hot, it is surprisingly refreshing served cold. With temperatures hovering around 30C these days, cold is good! In fact, David’s recommends it as an addition to fruity cocktails, and I heartily concur. Even if that cocktail is non-alcoholic! 😉
Just Peachy is an herbal tea comprised of apple pomace, artificial peach flavouring, sweet blackberry leaves, peach, natural sweet blackberry leaf flavouring, and artificial apricot flavouring. While seeing “artificial” anything in an ingredient list can be off-putting, keep in mind that it contains less sugar than juice and no added artificial sweeteners like diet pop.
Serve it hot or cold, tall glass or cup and saucer (who says cups and saucers are reserved only for hot drinks)! Or think outside the square…
But indeed I would rather have nothing but tea.” -Jane Austen
Sometimes we just gotta’ wake up and count our blessings. Widen our focus. Put on some music and dance. Each day is a gift. Even the hard ones.
When we “count our blessings”, we shift the focus from our circumstances or the 4 walls of our minds. It helps us appreciate what have, or who we have, in our lives. It encourages us to say “thank you”, thereby spreading the blessing. Renewed gratitude renews relationship, even the one you have with your own soul.
Like a conversation with someone else, we are forced to rethink our perceptions, talk through what is holding us back, or holding us down. We can see where we have been and where we are going, and where we are growing. If we don’t like the direction, we can start to make choices to change it.
This life could almost kill ya’ when you’re trying to survive
When all your energy goes into just surviving, ask God to show you the blessings in your life. Share the pain, the guilt or whatever it is that is threatening to overwhelm you. He can handle it. He can handle your anger, your disappointment, and your sorrow. He can fill your loneliness, restore your peace, and strengthen your resolve.
Each day is a new beginning, a little resurrection. A chance to start over. A reason to find joy.
Photo courtesy of Jasper Geys on http://www.unsplash.com
Writers: Tom Douglas, John Cooper, Zachary David Maloy
It’s summer and to start it off, Canada celebrated its birthday. Mostly without fanfare because we are all staying home. Which will also mean fewer road trips this summer.
BUT you can still experience the great Family Road trip right at home. Just pile everyone in the car in the driveway for a few hours. Once the heat threatens to overwhelm and the electronic devices are dying, throw in a cd for a fabulous family sing-a-long. I can recommend just about anything by the Arrogant Worms. Our favourite album is Live Bait, released in 1997, and in honour of Canada Day, this Friday’s Tune is Canada’s Really Big…the classy orchestral version!
So stand up and be proud and sing out very loud
We stand out from the crowd ’cause Canada’s really big