Tuesday, March 27, 2012

joy in the midst of quiet

Spring Break was filled with many wonderful things, but something sad happened as well. It was something that made me want to wallow up in tears and have anger at the world. It was a utter disaster. Are you ready for me to tell you what happened?

My CD player/ radio in my car died.

That's right... it died. It plays no longer. My drives are silent. I have no music. My life is but a dark and empty cave. It is gray, there is no color. It reminds me of a song I sang in choir my senior year of high school. 

"I dreamed a dream. A silent dream. Of a land not far away. Where no birds sang. No steeples rang. And tear drops fell like rain." (It's talking of a land with no music... in case you missed that)

All right... so maybe I'm being a bit dramatic. But I'm the girl that can't stand to go anywhere without the radio on... or a CD playing. My parents are the same way... always had music playing in the car... and we jammed to it loud. Music in the car---- that's my thing. 

And now I have none. 

Remember how I said that I was getting into listening to Christian music? I miss doing that. I tried singing songs myself... but it wasn't the same thing! 

Then I remember the Lord gives and takes away...but blessed be the name. I need to be joyful. That's my goal this year. To be joyful in all things. 

So I started praying during my driving time. Outloud. No Shame. It's pretty therapeutic actually. It's like I have a moment to think clearly and pray about things on my heart. Maybe God was trying to tell me that I needed to talk to Him more. 

My drives can still be boring, and no doubt my 5 min drive to work feels like 15 min. I'm finding joy in praying to God during that time. 

So if you see a gal talking to herself as she's driving her old beat up Ford.... it's probably me. And I'm trying to create the joy! 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Nostalgic For Christian Music

In my last post about my resolutions, I mentioned that I was finding joy from listening to christian music in my car. A couple weeks ago there was someone sharing a story about how christian music has changed her life. She said one of the hardest challenges of trying to convert to only christian music is that you miss the nostalgia that comes from listening to the secular music of your past.  I've been thinking about what she said.

Yes, I've listened to plenty of secular music in my past. I have great memories that come up when I hear certain songs too. Sure.... it's very nostalgic. That IS why it's so hard. Somedays I want to crank up the country station and remember the hot sticky summer days in Houston when I rolled all 4 windows down and blasted "I've got a feeling" and sang along at the top of lungs even if I was a red light. Or I want to listen to Lilly Allen remembering all the times me and the girls sang along to her bitter sweet music in our poor British accents.

That is a huge challenge to face.

However my parents have given me a great blessing. As a family, we listened to a lot of Christian music together. With my youth group, we listened to a lot of Christian music together. So I have many nostalgic memories with Christian music as well. I have to say- those memories are a little bit better. There are no high school crushes attached to those songs... no bitter enemies... no bad choices... just times of revelation or times of growing.... times of clean fun with my church friends.... times of being with my daddy.

I'm not one of those people that think it's a sin to listen to anything other that Christian music. I do think it's important to filter what we listen to. I haven't always thought this way.

My senior year of HS I really wanted to go to a My Chemical Romance concert. More than anything- I wanted to go. My dad pulled up their website and it didn't take long for him to realize he didn't want his baby girl listening to that trash. He told me that the words to those songs were always going to be in my head. He told me to think about what those words were saying. He told me about one of his songs from youth... it had a fun catchy tune but it was ultimately about the devil. Those words don't ever leave your head. He was right. It took me about a year and a half.... but I got to the point where I couldn't listen to that CD without feeling guilty. I threw it out.

I've just recently started trying to really filter what I listen to. It's not just about bad words- it's about content. Really... I feel a lot more happy when I listen to christian music. With all of the distractions of the world I have a hard enough time remembering to look to God. Every time I hop in my car I'm reminded.

When I have kids, I want to give them the blessing my parents gave me. Filtering their music when their young and giving them nostalgic feelings about Christian music.

Because our life should be all about God, and what a great place to start.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Resolution Status

I've been working on my resolutions! I'm still not there yet- I think I might have made a few too many resolutions but I don't regret making any of them! I'll get there! It's only March!

1. Read 4 books. 
OK, so I announced last month that I'd been reading The Unofficial Guide To Walt Disney World. I haven't yet started my next book, but I just got The Hunger Games for my Kindle and so I'll be working on that.

2. Read Karyn Henley's Day By Day Bible
I've continued to be pretty good at this one. I got a few days behind when I forgot to take it with me on our Chicago trip, but I'm almost caught up. I'm currently getting into Saul's reign, which is one of favorite times in the bible to read about because it involves David! And I LOVE David's story.

3. Run for 30 minutes without stopping. 
I'm working on it. Enough said about that one.

4. Write a note of encouragement every month. 

5. Cook 3 new dishes. 
I made:
Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies
Italian Dressing from Our Best Bites cookbook
Roasted Red Pepper Soup
Savory Couscous

(You can click on underlined ones for recipe)

6. Say a prayer of just thanksgiving every week. 
I did this one a couple of times but I didn't take out very much time to make them as meaningful as I had wanted to.

7. Pray for the requests in the church bulletin. 
I didn't keep this one up all month. When I was doing it I was looking in my picture directory as I prayed for people. We don't know many of the people listed so it helped the prayers to feel more personal. I really want to make more time for prayer this month.

I've continued to seek joy under all circumstances. It isn't always easy, but I'm already beginning to feel more positive. I've recently begun to listen to mostly christian music when I'm in the car. It's made such a difference. Also when I listen to christian music as I exercise I feel very uplifted. It's a neat thing. When I focus on the Lord, He brings me joy!

February came and went very fast! That's why I'm so behind on getting this up! Praise God for his countless blessings!