Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday Tunes, Reflections on "Blessings"

I was driving today and I heard radio station K Love's interview with Laura Story, a singer/songwriter who has recently gotten more airtime for her new song, "Blessings." It was pretty amazing because I was just thinking on and praying about a Tuesday tune that I wanted to reflect on later this afternoon.

Music speaks to my soul. I love good worship and especially lyrics that I know have to have a story behind them. "Blessings" is one of those songs. A little while back, when I first heard the song's melody, words, and found out that the singer's name was actually Laura Story, I somehow instantly felt connected to her.

Then, today, it clinched it. I really love hearing stories where people's lives put on display God's faithfulness. Laura's family has had a lot of challenges in the past few years as she talked about coping with her husband's brain tumor. A couple things Laura said really stood out to me and resonate with some places I have been through in my own life and walk with Christ. She said that "healing is a process", and also that sometimes things happen that end up taking time...you might end up on "a detour that actually becomes the road" you have to take for a little while.

I think through these places in life we have to look for how God is still moving amidst it all. She mentioned how He is using her for His glory in different purposes than she at first dreamed, but that it has woven together in so many more awesome ways. That is basically my story in a nutshell. :) I love how we can find connections to others when we are looking. Although we might not have had near the same blueprints, lines, or words to match where someone has been, I think it is amazing how God shows up to bring people, and songs, and all sorts of stories together to help us learn more of His faithfulness that doesn't change.

Maybe because I can feel this woman's story, as well as my own, when I hear it on the radio, I sing along with her! Are there any songs that hit you a certain way when you hear them?

*Happy Tuesday Live Music: Tune in to the K Love link above and go to the live performance at 7 pm to watch Laura perform in the music room tonight.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sweet Remember

Memorial Day can be a sweet time to remember those who lived lives different than we have been used to, perhaps in completely different time in history. I know, for many, it can be heartaching, too, depending on the rawness and severity of the stories involved.

For me personally, memorial day always makes me think of my grandparents. Depending on your age, many of you may still have a grandparent living or one who you knew for some time in your lives. I know many who lived in this generation were touched by spending time in the service, and many gave their lives. To hear the stories from this period in history does have meaning for us now, especially when we think of those we knew or know who have been involved in such events.

Both my grandfathers shared moments in World War II. My mother’s father felt the tragedy more at home, because his close brother died in combat. My father’s father thankfully made it home safely from his time in overseas service.

Those who live through difficult moments in history have different reactions, it seems, but it rarely leaves someone unchanged. My mom’s dad never really talked about his experiences, but my dad’s dad, or Pa Pou as we called him, did. I don’t remember as much about this as my own father does, but my dad tells me that they shaped Pa Pou's way of life. His perspective of what it meant to work hard and to live simply and joyfully really changed. He was a gregarious and warm person by nature, but he really lived his life with arms wide open. In all the time that I knew him, there wasn’t anyone he met that did not become a friend. While I feel like I take little bits of each of my grandparents into who I am today, the idea of meeting people where they are and encouraging them has always stuck with me.

Both my grandfathers have died, and even if it was not while in the service, it is sweet for me to remember them and make those connections on days like today and many others...

The picture at the top is my PaPou at 17 (the one on far left). Below is a picture from the newspaper when he was caught in all green on St. Patrick's Day at a baseball game :).

Sunday, May 29, 2011

What's Mine is...Yours?

"I gave it to you. Give it back."

"You gave it to me. It's mine now!"

"Do you want me to be your friend? Give it back!"

"It's mine now."

"No it's not. I want it back, so you have to give it back."

I was outdoors swimming today and heard two young boys in the parking lot arguing over a toy. The above was how their conversation went down. All I know was that a big box with some kind of robot man tumbled its way through the grass and away from earshot.

Still, the conversation stuck with me because the whole idea of giving someone something and then holding it over his or her head seems fairly common in today's world. With little kids, it is easy to decide to go back on your word, because nothing seems final (unless you call the front seat of course!). The new toy looks more appealing in the hands of a friend.

Even if something was a gift, you might want it back.

What about for adults? This also happens in similar, yet adult ways, but there is also the idea of giving with the hope of getting something in return. Now, I know many who give completely generously, but I am just thinking big picture here. The idea of giving without strings attached is as foreign to some as fighting over a robot toy is to me.

What is always still so amazing to me though is that Christ is so different than the ways of this world- He gives so freely and never goes back on His world. We never see a return to sender sticker with Him and those who accept what He has done for us.

I work with kids a lot and I love them. I practically adopted a batch of them around age 10 and onward. But, sometimes I think they can show us things clearly. I hope those two got their toy situation straightened out.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Rehearsing Trouble

Do you ever rehearse trouble before it happens? I'll admit, this is something I've done before, something I'm trying to catch myself before doing now.

Rehearse trouble, you ask? What does that mean, and why would anyone do that?

I have given this some careful thought and study, and I believe rehearsing trouble to mean imagining and almost experiencing what might happen in a given situation, when it has not happened yet, beyond being wise with our actions and planning.

I'll give you a couple scenerios: one when I did not rehearse trouble, and one when I did.

I moved to North Carolina 4 and a half years ago, not long after college. The combination of my excitement over a new adventure and the whirlwind of having approximently a week to move 500 miles from home did not leave a lot of time to create all sorts of possibilities for problems with this amazing plan past the initial arrival into the land of warmth and sweet tea. I did not anticipate the struggle of major issues with housing situations, that the job I was coming down here for would not go oh-so-smoothly, and that it would take awhile before I had a close support system of friends.

Move to the second scenerio: A few years later, I was finishing up my grad school coursework and ready to start a counseling internship. I was looking for sites to do my semester long training. Our school required us to find our own site, and in my search I had only come up with one that had been a go. Something fell through with it at the last minute on the paperwork end, and there was not much time left to get everything together before the term started. If I couldn't find a new site, I would have to wait out the semester to start my fieldwork. Financially, I needed to keep going in my education, so I pursued other options. Sites were so hard to come by that I was going down rabbit holes of trouble in my head, experiencing the loss already. I figured it was a done deal.

Then, out of no where, through the counseling networking world, I heard from a contact of a contact that a different site had room for another intern in the fall!

In both situations, I could feel God moving. Perhaps it was God's loving care and grace for the first story that allowed Him to keep me from strongly reacting to the coming trouble. We know we are going to have trouble in this world (John 16:33), but also that Christ has overcome the world. It was definitely an out of the ordinary way to end up across country, one that ended up causing some unanticipated suffering for a little while. With something so poignant in my life, now I can look back and thank Him that that I didn't rehearse it and suffer twice.

And, in the case of my internship, I did rehearse suffering that actually never happened.

But in all this, it is helpful to remember Romans 8:28. We can be confident that even in places of suffering or when we are unsure of the times of our lives that seem to be out of place, God works those for good as well, regardless of how they turn out in the moment.

This is definitely easier said than done. Have any of you had experiences of this in your lives?

Friday, May 27, 2011

On Forgetting...

Sometimes I think I have lived a couple of lives. In my life now, living in the south, I have found great community with people following Christ and those who have helped me follow Him more closely in the past several years. Sometimes, though, I wonder, despite my strong ties to the life I also have in my other home up north, if I am forgetting any of the parts of me that once were. I remember an even simpler time, a time when things weren't so disconnected.

I think what binds me is my family, that I know will always remain the same and the fact that I have a mesh of friends from many walks of life, and those things don't go away. I've never wanted to forget how things once were, but I think some parts of life grow sweeter with time, and learning more about each other as time goes on.

Linking up with Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Friday.

A New Post-It Formula

Well, hey there!

So, as the thunder crashes in the background, I've decided it's time to enter into the space of Mercy Notes and join others in a community of learning and living out the adventures of life God has in store for us. I never knew I would enjoy Blog land. I have been a writer of all sorts for years, but I have always been the simple girl, who wrote first in notebooks before my writings turned to print. And, instead of writing in blogs, I kept neon Post-Its in order to keep my life and my thoughts straight. However, in recent times, I have found myself immersed in the online community more and more, and have found it to be a place of encouragement and resources for all sorts of people, places, and seasons of life. I am now hopeful that my writings and my love of posting things everywhere will easily transfer onto this new vehicle.

I will keep you "posted" (I promise, no more puns:) ) on how this transformation is going in my house. I am sure it will save a lot of trees.