2.01.10 To everything there is a season!
As the New Year fast approached, January quickly made its way out of 2010. It reminds me that summer will be here before we know it. Time flies doesn’t it? Speaking of flying, I thought of writing while I sit in the airport waiting for my flight home. I have been at a Women’s Retreat this past weekend. I can’t express enough how fulfilling it was to be part of this amazing weekend. Women of all ages attended and while I ministered, God certainly made His presence known to His daughters. There is nothing more precious than to see Him working in the hearts of others. After I shared my music and testimony, many women also shared their stories with me about their lives, of past trials and joys. One thing we all have in common … the storms in our lives eventually pass and joy soon follows.
My heart goes out to the people of Haiti. I am sure all of you have had Haiti on your mind since the horrible Earthquake that hit a couple of weeks ago. Although this disaster hit the poorest country in the world, it’s beautiful to see God’s people coming together, from all walks of life, to help in many ways. There is much work to be done in Haiti, but one day… they will be restored. I have no doubt that the people of Haiti will be stronger because of it. They will overcome the trials because God will continue to send His people to bring hope to the needy.
To everything there is a season ~ A season of hope, a season of despair, a season of light, a season of pain, a season of grace, a season of loss, a season of mercy, a season of love. What season are you in? If you are in a season of trial… hold fast and believe in the promises that Christ has given us. This season will soon pass. Although Christmas is over, Emmanuel is STILL and ALWAYS will be with us. “Let Go and Let God” carry you through this season. There is nothing too small or too large that God can’t handle.
"But Jesus looked at them and said, with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. " - Matthew 19:26
Although you may be facing an uphill battle, be encouraged! Surrender your journey and outcome. Give it all to God... and rest in peace that He has your situation in the palm of His hand.
Faith, Hope and Love!
12.09.09 It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!
As the song goes... "It's the most wonderful time of the year!" I love the Advent and Christmas season. There's just something about listening to Christmas music, decorating the tree and starring at the twinkling lights. I have fond memories of growing up and doing the same thing. It brings the family together. My family and I just returned from Thanksgiving holiday in Colorado with my parents and brother ... and yes, we saw SNOW! Lots of SNOW!! It was incredible and truly started the season off right. As we were heading back to the airport to catch our flight, we glanced at a lake as we were driving down the mountain. It was completely covered with ice. We noticed families ice skating on the lake. It was like something out of a movie! We parked to watch them and I don't know why, but it brought tears to my eyes to see all the families spending time together... holding hands and spinning their small children around and around. As we were watching and listening to the radio, at that very moment the song, "It's the most wonderful time of the year," came on. Indeed it is!!!
Since my last blog, I have been blessed with many ministry opportunities. I had several national radio interviews including an interview with National Pro-Life Radio. I recently performed at a fundraiser adoption concert in South Florida. It was a great success! In addition, I introduced my school assembly program at a couple of schools in Kansas City where there were close to 900 kids in attendance. It’s amazing to see the fire in their hearts light up! I praise God everyday for giving me gifts to share with all ages.
I was happy to hear this past weekend, my cover tune, “I Can See Clearly Now,” hit #6 on KBCU Radio’s top 12 at 10. This week I fly out to Philadelphia to perform a concert in Delaware. If you’re in the area, I would love to see you!
Lastly, I am excited to announce a new book for moms. It’s titled, “The handbook for Catholic Moms,” by Lisa Hendey. I was privileged to be a contributor in the book! It’s set to release in February but you can pre-order your copy now by clicking here.
The holidays can sometimes be hard on us. There are so many people that are suffering in the world, whether it is… someone who has lost a loved one close to them, financial stress, addiction, loss of a job or illness. One thing is for certain, “Immanuel” is with us! Jesus has many names; Lamb of God, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Son of God and many more! A name that I have always loved for Jesus is most used during Christmas, Immanuel! It was revealed long ago by the prophet Isaiah.
“The Lord himself will choose the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel – God is with us.” Isaiah 7:14
St. Augustine said it so beautifully, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Although this world may be hard at times, we will not have “Peace on Earth” until we rest in Him. I pray that God will penetrate in your heart so that you can truly “rest in Him” this Christmas and that you may know… Immanuel – “God is with us!”
Merry Christmas to you and your family!
08.24.09 What are you waiting for? Go Move that Mountain!...
It has been an amazing month and I am so excited to tell you about it. After months of writing and being in the studio my third CD, Leap of Faith released and the response has been wonderful! I also was a guest on Atlanta Live TV, had numerous radio interviews throughout the U.S. and have booked many events for the upcoming year. It has been such a blast to meet so many wonderful people who share the love of Christ.
Aside from my ministry, I have been busy getting my kids ready to head back to school as they started last week. I remember when school use to start after Labor Day and it seems like they are starting earlier every year and going longer. I never look forward to sending my kids back to school as I really enjoy summer time with my them. Every year it saddens me to see them go back because it means that they are getting older and one step closer to giving them their wings to fly. It's so important for us to create family memories that our kids can hold on too.... and for them to carry on to the next generation.
This upcoming month will be full of exciting things. I will be featured on Sirius Radio - Familynet Radio on Monday, August 31 from 6:35 AM ET to 6:50 AM on Mornings with Lorri and Larry. I also have some other interviews scheduled. Check out my tour dates on my website for the latest!
Now that school has started I am booking school assemblies, workshops and student retreats. I have a program for Middle School and High School students. If you are interested, talk to your school principal or youth director about having me come out to your school or church. I am also busy confirming dates for Advent and Lenten Retreats for adults. It's going to be a busy and faith filled season which I am very happy about!
Exciting news.... Just last week, I found out that Soul-Audio has me featured on their front page along with my interview. Click here to read the interview.
It's funny how God can get our attention. This week God has continued showing me the same scripture...
Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God ALL things are possible." Matthew 19:26
After spending much time in prayer and asking God what he wanted me to seek in this scripture, this is what I learned....
When you place God first in your life, HE can make ALL things happen. You might wonder how in the world your going to get that camel through the eye of a needle or make that mountain move. But God can do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. God wants us to place our trust in HIM ... and when we do, the sky will open and He will pour out his spirit among us and allow His graces to flow through us! In Philippians 1:6 it says that God, who began the good work within us, will continue His work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.
So what are you waiting for? Go move that mountain!
Peace & Love!
07.10.09 Prayer Request for Pensacola Family!...
You may have already heard about a couple who were murdered Thursday night in the Pensacola area. Tragedy happens all over the word everyday but when you hear something like this happening in your community, it truly brings you to your knees in sorrow. It makes it even more personal when you either know the victims or know someone who knows the victims. I have a friend whose family is close to the Billings and sent me an email with the following information asking or prayer.
“The Billings family is an amazing family where they parents have adopted about 10 children, several with special needs over the past 25 years. The kids are now without parents and several were in the house when it happened. The parents were so unselfish and gave so much to those children! Tonight they are figuring out even what to do with all the kids as they had to remove them from the house. It is so horrible and I ask that you all pray earnestly for them and the kids and the plans that will have to be made”.
The Billings were known throughout my community as the most giving and loving people. They had 16 children, 12 that were adopted. My heart aches for this family and I can’t imagine the pain the children are going through. Please pray earnestly for mercy, grace and peace. Let us join together and pray for the Billings family and our community, as we all deal with this loss.
Psalm 119:28 - My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.
May God’s Peace Be with All of You and This Family!
07.07.09 Count down is here!...
Hello Family and Friends! I hope you are all enjoying your summer.
Summer is one of my favorite times of the year. I love having the kids
home and creating memories with my family.
As you all may know, my long awaiting project, "Leap of Faith," will
be releasing next week! We have been busy working on the final
details, updating my website, social sites, etc! The new CD will
release JULY 15, 2009! Mark your calendars now! I have uploaded some
of the songs to my website, so you can go there and preview. One of
the songs, called Generations was written for my grandmother, mom and
daughter. We are already receiving great feedback from emails of those
who are truly touched by it. This song was inspired by a picture that we took of our hands.
I hope you find a song on the album that
touches your heart as well.
We are also busy booking dates for the fall and winter. It's such an
exciting time. If you think your church or ministry may be interested
in scheduling a date, be sure to visit my contact page.
I want to thank you all for your love, support and encouragement. I
pray that God continues to shine his light in your life. God is our
strength in all things.
I encourage you to read Psalm 18:1-3.
Peace and Joy in the Lord~
04.27.09 Last and Final Diary Blog on new album...
Well…we finally finished editing my new video diary 3 on the making of my new CD titled LEAP OF FAITH. On this third trip to Nashville I take a bit of a detour through ALABAMA for a really cool visit to a special landmark. You’ll also see first hand what it’s like at a CD cover photo shoot. I am so excited to be working with photographer Misty Blount. Misty was fantastic! So patient with me and all my wardrobe changes and she picked some terrific spots too. I’ll be posting some of my new photos very soon but visit Misty’s website at www.mistyblount.com
Also, you’re going to get a really good laugh when you see the blooper reel we’ve added at the end. I was trying to record my diary portion and got a VERY VERY VERY bad case of the giggles! I think I was probably over tired but I gotta put it out there…because it’s real!
Have fun watching (click on over to the video section of my site) and thanks again for sharing this journey with me. Can not wait to introduce you to this new record! Watch for more info coming very soon!
04.01.09 Moving along...
I know, I know...some people might think I'm crazy posting a new blog on April Fools Day-April 1...but it's also the first day of a beautiful new month! In just a couple of weeks we'll be celebrating the Resurrection of the Lord. How glorious! I feel like it has been a long Lenten season and many of us have been challenged in some way or another. It certainly has given us time to reflect and focus on a cleansing of the heart and "all things new".
Speaking of new...I excited to tell you that the progress of the new CD is moving forward. I was in Nashville a couple weeks ago laying down the vocal tracks for 9 songs. Whew it was a lot of work, but no doubt God was with me the whole time and your emails gave me such encouragement when I checked them at the end of each day. I hope you enjoy this second little video diary we've put together to chronicle the events. We've included some different music this time so you can really get a sense of how it is coming together. Gosh I hope you like it as much as I do. There's some pretty upbeat stuff on there, which I had a blast recording, but still filled with the message of hope and faith. Look forward to your feedback... so click on over to my video section!
03.04.09 And away we go...
So last month I let you know that the process of recording my next CD was starting. I can’t believe how many emails I got from people offering their prayers and encouragement. I spent three days "up north" at The Downtown Batterie in beautiful Franklin, TN..... This studio is owned by my producer, Tony Morra, who also happens to be an accomplished drummer. So many times you hear me say that we must encourage our children to seek and use the very gifts that God bestows on them. Tony’s parents must have been a great example of that. He started playing at the age of 3 or 4 and has truly made it his life’s work and passion.
Tony assembled an incredible group of guys to really create the music for this record far beyond what was just on the demo. Joining Tony on the drums was Matt Pierson on bass (who sort of took on the role of musical director…how that guy charts out a song… just blows my mind), Mike Payne on guitars (this kid was on fire and he pushed himself harder than anyone else pushed him), and Jason Webb on the keys (so gifted…so humble…and so creative…we actually wrote a song together right there on location!). Mark Drury sat at the board and turned all the important knobs (he engineered the project) and ....Brandon.... (the intern took care of all the other little necessities to keep things moving along). Either Bill or Aly B from ALBIE Entertainment also popped in to help keep up the encouragement, check on the progress, take photos, etc. Three days went by very quickly…but I am so excited about how it all came together. No doubt God was there (as He always is).
So anyway, as promised we put together a little video to share the journey with you. We had terrible lighting, a hand held video camera, and tight quarters…but I think it gives you a pretty good sense of the experience. You can view the video diary by visiting my video section on this site. I can’t wait until Round 2! I head back to Nashville March 19-21 to start work on the vocals. So check back again for Video Diary 2!
Peace and Hugs-
02.06.09 So the Journey Begins...
OMG! I can’t believe we are already into February and I haven’t posted a blog for the new year yet! Forgive me (and thank you for sending me all those reminders), but I promise I’ve had good reason.
First up…I just got off the road celebrating Catholic Schools Week throughout the Southeast! What a blast I had with my school assembly program. I was able to introduce my ministry message to over 2200 students! Throughout this experience this week I was able to confirm, more than ever, that the youth really are on-fire for their faith. Their faith is alive and they are so ready to STAND UP and embrace their convictions. The cool thing is that the message is so ecumenical! I met tons of kids during this Catholic Schools Week run…that aren’t even Catholic. Nonetheless they so share the love of Christ with each other…no matter where they go to church. I was really encouraged by this. When you see stuff on TV or on the internet, sometimes you start to question what’s happening to our young people today. But this week had so much energy it was almost an affirmation that we’ve got to keep believing in our kids and setting an example for them…because they ARE listening! I can’t wait to get back out on the road again and carry on in my mission.
But, for now…I’m taking a little break from touring to record my third CD. Please pray for me as I travel to ....Nashville.... this week to start work on this new project. I have to be honest…I’m nervous but I’m really excited about it too. I think we’ve got a great collection of songs and I’m excited about the new direction, stylistically! We’re going for a more pop contemporary project this time around. Many of the songs are songs I’ve actually been presenting in my workshops and concerts over the last year. Each time I do an event, I get tons of emails from people asking me where they can get this song or that song that I performed, so it’s time to get in the studio and knock them out.
I really want to share the journey of this recording experience with you so I’m going to be posting a video diary of sorts as we go through the process. I hope you’ll take the journey with me both visually and spiritually. I really believe that God has me in this place for a reason-but it won’t make a “hill of beans” difference if I’m not doing it for HIM and for you.
12.29.08 Hope, Preparation, Joy, LOVE:Week 4
"For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting." John 3:16
So here it is…my last of the four blogs I promised. OK, OK so I didn't actually get them all up in timing with the Advent season, but nonetheless they are posted with full commitment! So by now the presents are unwrapped, the cookies have been "picked over", and for some on Christmas break…boredom may be settling in. But the fact is…we are and still should be, celebrating the birth of our Savior. I can't stand that it all comes down to one day for some people and then they are done with it! Just like that! Christmas is the season of LOVE!!! A season isn't just one day. Spring isn't just one day. Summer isn't just one day. Fall isn't just one day. Winter isn't just one day. Quite honestly the season of LOVE should be with us all year long!
The other day I had to run over to a store to pick something up and was stopped in my tracks when I saw a whole display set up for Valentine's Day. Initially, I had to compose myself because it almost infuriated me…but I reminded myself that CHRISTMAS IS THE SEASON OF LOVE! And maybe seeing heart shaped candy boxes are actually a subtle reminder that I need to stay focused on love all year long. I'm not ready to pack it up for 2008 yet…I want to celebrate the blessings I've had this year before the clock hits midnight on December 31st. I want to ring in the New Year with the same joyful attitude I experienced over the Advent season. I want to celebrate New Years Day as the World Day of Prayer for Peace! I want to celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord with the same amazement that the three wise men felt when they saw Jesus for the first time (the twelfth day of Christmas). I want to make resolutions to do more for my neighbor and my community in the coming year. I want my family to follow the example of the Holy Family! I want to help you to embrace life, love life, and share your life with others.
My dear friends…the clocks ticks on but what a blessing that is…a chance to start again, to keep going, to try harder, to share your joy, to LOVE others just as Jesus loves us! Yes…seasons come and go…but LOVE is with us and in us…and for that our life will be everlasting.
Be abundantly blessed in this New Year and remember to always let your light shine and that LOVE is not only the meaning of Christmas...but the foundation of faith!
Peace & Hugs-
12.17.08 Hope, Preparation, Joy & Love:Week 3
If it was up to me… the 4 themes of Advent would be, JOY, JOY, JOY and JOY! I absolutely love JOY! OK I admit it…I may even be a bit obnoxious about it…I can't contain myself. (Oh yeah I bet you're envisioning me jumping up and down right now…LOL).
A few nights ago, I was driving around my neighborhood looking at lights. (This is one of my favorite things to do each year.) I couldn't help but notice…EVERYONE had white lights. There were white lights on their homes. There were white lights on their trees and shrubs. As I peeked in the windows, I saw their Christmas trees glistening with white lights. Certainly it was all beautiful, but when I arrived home at MY house… it looked like the Griswold Family Christmas! My outdoor lights are OVER THE TOP. As you look in the window, you can't help but notice my Christmas tree dancing with disco Christmas lights in ALL colors. Later on, I told my husband that maybe we should put some different lights on the tree since our lights "dance" so fast… I told him that it might look a little crazy to the people who drive by (just as I described earlier). He said… "Why would it bother them... it's full of Joy! It matches your personality"! This little observation (and the profound words of my husband) sure made me think. It doesn't matter what everyone else does …. It's about the Joy that is created in OUR hearts… it's about keeping Joy alive in OUR lives. There no method or formula for joy. We just live it and love it and feel it and share it with others. Joy is contagious! Sometimes it's gentle and peaceful like the smile you see on a person of age who realizes the blessing of their lifetime. Sometimes it's in the eyes of a child when they see or hear something new. Sometimes it's wild and crazy…like dancing lights!
Chuck Swindoll said this: "Joy becomes a transaction between you and God that others can't help but notice. It's God's life spilling over the brim of your life and into others' lives. When you trust Christ with the details of your life, you experience his life in wonderful excess, and it can't help but give you reason to smile."
There are so many things that are all around me that bring me during the Christmas season. For example, I love decorating my tree! Each ornament has a story and JOY always seems to be associated with each one. My husband and I have our first ornament from our first Christmas together. We have all the homemade ornaments from our kids from preschool. … Even the paper ornament that has scribble on it…. Yep…I'm smiling!
Tell me what brings you joy in your life? What do you celebrate every day? What do you do at Christmas that brings you joy…or better yet…brings joy to others? What color are your lights? Are YOU being a light to others?
Peace & Hugs-
12.13.08 Hope, Preparation, Joy & Love:Week 2
Yep, yep…I promised a weekly blog during Advent and here it is just hours from lighting the candle for week three and I'm just now posting for week two. Will you forgive me? Sure hope so as forgiveness no doubt is a major part of the Advent preparation. Ahhh yeah…preparation, the topic I am addressing for this week. Maybe it's kind of a good thing I'm posting this at the end of the week instead of the beginning because it has given me the opportunity to look back over the week and see if I really "walk the talk".
Mark 1:1-8 says "Let us prepare for God's coming through humility and repentance." I really don't think the theme of "preparation" is set aside just for week two…but obviously a primary focus for the entire advent season. Gosh…shouldn't preparation be part of our daily lives? As faithful Christians aren't we really preparing our entire life to one day sit next to our Creator? Our lives need to be filled with more than I have space to write…but let me mention a few to you…We need to use our hands and voice in this world. We need to teach the lost and weary to remain near to the Good Shepherd. We need to focus on a season of peace and rest (not a season of hustling and busting). We need to trust that the Holy Spirit will be there to guide each step we take. We need to ask for forgiveness and ask Jesus to save us and deliver us from evil and in return we need to tell the nations of ALL of His wondrous deeds.
I'm feeling good about my week. I started it off celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and finished it with Adoration (with my daughter) as we joined in the audience at the recent Adore Tour that came through my area. I'm so proud of her (and my son) for their commitment to their faith. These are the special memories she and I will cherish. But I wouldn't be honest if I didn't tell you I enjoy preparing the gifts, the cookies, the decorations too. I know it's a tad "mainstream", as some call it, but I believe these times are preparing us for great things as well. We learn patience. We learn about spending quality time together as a family. We use our tree as a symbol of light and hope and growth. Spiritual preparation, along with "mainstream" preparation is a beautiful combination. Embrace them both for the most joyful Advent/Holiday season!
How are you coming along with your preparations this year?
Next up…it's week three! The pink candle…the JOY candle! See you soon!
Peace & Hugs-
12.05.08 Hope, Preparation, Joy & Love:Week 1
So as I mentioned in my Thanksgiving note…I'm going to post a different blog each week now through the 4 weeks of Advent. A lot of these thoughts come from my Advent Mission which I present to different churches throughout the country. (I have a similar mission for Lent too). Regardless of the "denomination" (or non-denomination) of the church…it seems like such a blessing that we all celebrate Hope, Preparation, Joy and Love in this season leading us to the celebration of the birth of Christ. This first week…let's look at HOPE.
Unless you were living under a rock this last year, you must have noticed that HOPE (along with the word CHANGE) was used by many politicians throughout their campaigns (including our President-elect). Seems to me there is a lot of power in those 4 letters that form this word. And still yet…if you add –ful (hopeful) you can go one direction…but if you add –less (hopeless) you can go another. Thing is…from my observations, HOPE is really alive in all of us. It's there every single day, not just at Christmastime. True some days we have more hope thus making us hopeful and other days the light doesn't burn as strong and we often feel hopeless. Yet, we continue to embrace this word and hold it in our hearts each morning as we take our first breath. There's no doubt HOPE is used throughout the Bible both literally and figuratively. And obviously it has a profound effect on us because "forever" it has been translated through ancient proverbs ("Hope for the best!"), in poetry ("For hope is but the dream of those that wake." Matthew Prior), in music lyrics ("I hope you never lose your sense of wonder" from I HOPE YOU DANCE by Lee Ann Womak), in film titles (ie: HOPE FLOATS), even in TV shows (remember CHICAGO HOPE?) Crazy huh…just 4 letters…
Someone recently told me the Biblical definition of HOPE is "confident expectation". WOW! What do you think of that? How profound is that when you stop and think about the Virgin Mary being chosen by God to carry his Son. She was just a teenager. Was probably scared to death…but she believed with confident expectation that this was God's plan for her. Are you making plans this Advent season with "confident expectation"? Are you finding "peace" in being hopeful? Hope in the return of Christ is the very basis for believers to purify themselves in this life. (1 John 3:3)
Tell me what you hope for? Tell me what makes you hopeful? Have a favorite Bible verse or quote focusing on hope? Share it here!
Even for just one day this week, or one hour…step away and reflect on the word HOPE. It leads us to preparation, which no doubt will make your Christmas season that much brighter.
With HOPE & Hugs-
11.21.08 Thanksgiving Dinner Prayer
It’s hard to believe that the tradition of the Thanksgiving Holiday (which started in 1620-btw) is less than a week away! If you’re anything like me…you are already salivating for juicy turkey, saffron stuffing, candied sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie with whipped topping…or maybe you have your own delectable dishes that bring a smile to your face and fills your belly with the comforts of “home”. Other than just food, families have all sorts of traditions for this Holiday. Some eat on fancy dishes saved for special days passed down through generations. Some gather round photo albums and peruse through pictures that make you laugh and make you cry. Some cook meals for shut-ins or those who are less fortunate. Some bundle up on parade routes keeping warm with hot chocolate with marshmallows as they watch gigantic balloons of our favorite characters floating above. Some celebrate with a pre-meal football game in the park…followed by a post-meal football game on TV. Whatever it is, whatever you do…these are the memories that keep us coming back to “tradition”-when much of our effort is focused on change.
For many, the Thanksgiving Dinner Prayer also has become part of their tradition. Some recite the same prayer/poem spoken by their ancestor’s years ago. Sometimes the prayer is offered by the “head of the household”. Sometimes the prayer is offered by the person hosting the dinner celebration. Some families are lucky enough to have a Priest or Pastor join them for their meal and the blessing is bestowed by them. Other families have the smallest child say Grace before the meal is served. Some people read a Bible verse where others gather with a hymn. Some take turns going round the table and simply stating something or someone they are thankful for. Whatever we say, however we say it…we must thank God for all that was, all that is and all that is yet to come. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says “Give thanks in all circumstances.” Sometimes those circumstances can be hard. We are challenged with a struggling economy, war in many parts of the world, healthcare issues that are taking the lives of our loved ones and more. But even in the hardest times and the darkest days we are ALWAYS able to find something for which we are grateful. Recognizing that one thing can often provide the light to a brighter day. A new day (as it is) is reason for Thanksgiving!
Share with me in this Thanksgiving season the “traditions” you celebrate with your family. What’s your favorite Thanksgiving recipe? What’s your favorite pre-meal or post-meal activity? And more so…what are you going to be thankful for this year? And if you need a “prayer to share”, consider this…
Dear Heavenly Father,
“Thank You for this special day, a day to remember Your goodness to us.
I want to thank You for a roof over our heads, and more than enough food to eat.
I want to thank You for the relationships You have given to us -- for family and friends.
Also, I want to thank You for all the bad experiences we’ve had. We have learned that you were there for us all the time. For this, we thank You and praise You. In Jesus name, AMEN.”
Peace and Hugs-
PS: Join me here, on my blog, in December as I focus on ADVENT! Each week, for 4 weeks, I’ll address a different topic relative to this season of preparation. I hope it inspires you to keep the faith alive in your household as we prepare for the birth of Jesus. See you soon!
10.09.08 It’s all in those email “forwards”
If you are anything like me…you get tons of email “forwards” as they call them. Some are political. Some are prayerful. Some are inspirational. Some are scriptural. Some are funny. Some are heartwarming. LOTS go into SPAM…Some days I take the time to read them. Some days I do actually forward them. And some days (I admit) I just hit DELETE. But last week I got one that really stuck with me. I must have read it 10 times. It was almost like God specifically put it in MY inbox. It was just 19 words and a line drawing of an ANGEL. It said…
When you’re down to nothing, God is up to something.
Worry looks around, sorry looks back, Faith looks up.
I don’t know if I was just frightened about the economic situation of our country, or if I was confused regarding issues of the upcoming Presidential election, or if I was angered by the actions of certain individuals that didn’t follow through on promises made, or if maybe I was just having a bad week. But I stared at that statement for an hour and let it consume me with all that it was saying. In the toughest of days, we need to remain FAITHFUL. We need to remain HOPEFUL. We need to stand behind our convictions. We need to RESPECT each other. We need to be courteous to each other. We need to be a LIGHT for each other. We need to TRUST God and be ready to confront challenges and obstacles that get in the way of our commitment to HIM. We absolutely can’t wallow in self-pity, when God alone has given us the very strength we need to pull ourselves up. God is holding that rope for us tighter than anybody else. He won’t let us fall, or fail, as long as we LOOK UP. Don’t cha think?
Let me pray for you this week. I know you can pull through whatever you’re going through. God, indeed, is up to something. He will not abandon you. Don’t abandon Him.
Pray for our country. Pray for our troops. Pray for your neighbor. Pray for peace.
Peace and Hugs-
08.31.08 HISTORY…more than just the textbooks!
So…like many families these days, we are back into the swing of yet another school year. If you’ve read my blogs before, you know how sad I get when summer comes to an end. But, then again it seems that with a new academic year ahead for my kid’s new opportunities become available: new classes, new extracurricular activities, new community events, new church events and more.
Just recently I was covering textbooks for the new school year when my son’s history book caught my eye and made me stop and think about things for awhile. Wow…we’ve been witnessing so many historical events lately…haven’t we? The first African-American man was just nominated to be President for the Democratic Party. The first Woman was nominated to be Vice President for the Republican Party. New Orleans recently coordinated efforts to get almost 2 million people out of harms way from Hurricane Gustav. The U.S. military handed over control of once brutally violent Anbar province to Iraqi forces-marking a major milestone in America's plan to eventually send its troops home. …and a single athlete brought home 8 Gold medals as he represented the United States in the Beijing Olympics.
Thing is…history in one way or the other is really made every single day. History “makers” can be you and me. History makers can be our neighbors. History makers can be our children. History makers are actually Disciples! Isn’t it amazing how it all comes back to discipleship? God gives all of us gifts so that “we” can make “history”… “we” can be his light… “we” can take a stand on what IS right in this world. WE can be his disciple in our families, in our home, in our workplace and to the stranger who doesn’t know Christ. But…you’ve got to embrace that light. You’ve got to teach your children to embrace that light. We’ve got to show the children of our world how to live for HIS glory. We can make a positive impact now in the lives of children. They are OUR FUTURE… We will one day, be the generation who they will talk about in history, and therefore follow in example.
Take time out in your day today to thank God for his abundant blessings on us. Thank him for the opportunity to witness history. Thank him for the opportunity to learn from history. Pray for our leaders. Pray for inspiration. Pray for our future. Pray for our country. BE history. MAKE history. BE A DISCIPLE!
…and you know me…I love to hear your stories of how YOU are making your name in history! So write and tell me…and I’ll be praying for you and your mission.
Peace & Hugs
07.23.08 It's in YOUR hands!
This year my grandmother celebrates her 90th birthday. That just blows me away. I mean really…to be born in 1918…Wikipedia tells me that worldwide sales of phonograph/ gramophone records were estimated at 100 million records that year. Seems a lot for those days when a dollar didn’t go very far. Interesting how history repeats itself.
Nonetheless, my mother and I decided to take a picture of 4 generations of hands… yep hands…the ones at the bottom of our arms (LOL!). This picture included my grandma, my mom, me and my daughter. (But, just our hands.) When we got the picture back…I stared at it for hours and hours. It said so much. It told so many stories. It represented so much history of my lifeline. It was thought provoking. It took me down memory lane. It was spiritual. It truly reminded me that… no matter what role you play in your family, we are all on different journeys and our spirituality can take on different meanings throughout those journeys.
I was recently invited to speak at a youth retreat. The topic is dear to my heart and I anxiously waited to speak about my passion… FAMILY. When I arrived at the church, there was a statue of Jesus outside. He was reaching his arms out and I noticed he didn’t have hands. At that moment, I knew I would begin my talk by asking the participants why the statue of Christ didn’t have hands. They had told me that a few years ago, someone had stolen the hands of Christ and they never replaced them. I quickly responded by stating that WE are the hands of Christ on earth and it’s important to share the word of God with our families…. Some of the students at the retreat shared with me that their parents were not receptive to them when they showed “excitement” about Christ. I encouraged them to keep planting that seed…. One day it will take root. Interesting isn’t it how sometimes the students actually take on the role of teacher. (Hmmm.) As you may (or may not) know, recent Gospel readings have retold the parables of the sower and the seed. (Matthew 13:1-9 & Matthew 13:24-43) It doesn’t matter if you are a teen praying daily for your parents to have the same spark as you have in your youth group. It doesn’t matter if you are a parent whose child left the church years ago… whom you pray for at every moment. It doesn’t matter if you are a grandmother who worries about the time when you leave this world wondering what life will be like for your family. Continue to plant your seeds in the garden of life. Teach them by your example…. BE the hands of Christ. Yep…hands tell a lot of stories.
Peace & Hugs-
06.04.08 Finding new meaning of "working out."
Ahhh…. Just what I have been waiting for… SUMMER is finally here! Well technically not until June 21st… But my kids are out of school (although I know many in other parts of the country are still in school). Things are not as hectic and we've got a lot of downtime both in my family and with my ministry. I love the down time. It's a time to create lasting memories but things around here generally move at a slower pace.
I thought with the down time this year that I might start "working out" a bit. It takes a lot of physical energy to be performing as much as I do and staying "in shape" is part of the process. But the bad thing is…I just don't like working out…I never have…but nonetheless…I recently joined a gym. This is one of those "circuit gyms" where a little man's voice comes on the loud speaker every 30 seconds and says, "Move to the next station." (Where is that guy hiding?) I can't wait to move forward to the next station … just knowing that soon, (hopefully, VERY soon), I will be finished with my workout. So I listen hard for that voice. Then, once I get done, I feel great… it's just getting there … which is the hardest thing for me.
The other day I really felt that God was showing me something while I was working out. We are all moving forward in our life. Sometimes it feels like walking on a treadmill than never stops. God asks each one of us to draw closer to him. We may not always enjoy the ride… but he never said it would be easy! He doesn't just want us to keep doing what we have always done. That gets boring and monotonous and we often lose focus. God asks us to move forward and take bigger steps so that he can take us to new heights. If we keep doing the same thing day in and day out, we won't experience what God has to offer. We have to continue to take steps forward and have faith that we are on the path of righteousness. He wants us to move in a direction where we can be closer to heaven…closer to HIM! We have different experiences in every direction we turn. But as long as we keep our focus and move closer to the Kingdom of God, we will begin to see things more clearly. Within the last month, God has introduced me to some amazing people in places I never originally thought I would meet them. I would never have had these encounters if I wouldn't have accepted HIS challenges and moved forward… in a new direction. This world has so much to offer and it's because of the people out there that are spreading the good news of Christ in their churches, in their communities and even on these social networking sites, that more people are seeing the light of Christ.
I have had so many experiences lately that have motivated me more than ever to write music. I have always had writing on my heart but this time it's different. God is calling me to write about my own life, about the people I meet, about the places I visit, about the joy in finding love, and about the pain of being lost. He wants me to write about YOU and ME and last but not least HIM! So as I MOVE forward in this direction, I want to thank you for sharing your friendship with me. I pray that all of you enjoy the blessings that Christ has given you and that YOU can move forward and proclaim His glory in your own unique way.
…and if you are walking on that treadmill this week…know that I am right beside you in spirit and encouraging you to keep moving…or better yet, get off and try something new!
Peace & Hugs-
05.04.08 Having that "in Heaven" feeling...
One of the things I love so much about the song WITH EVERY BREATH (from my SHARMANE cd) is the very opening line that proclaims, "Alleluia from the heavens"…On this Ascension Sunday I just can't stop singing this song. Every word, so cleverly crafted by Christine and Mark Byrd (the songwriters), really illustrates the beauty of the risen Christ. So with everything we have, with every breath, we praise the Lord because He is our pathway to eternal life.
I've been thinking about heaven a lot lately. I think about it when I look at the beautiful star filled sky at night over the ocean. I think of heaven when I see the puffy white clouds amidst the blue sky. I think about heaven when I see tears of joy and hope in prayer. Sometimes I feel like I'm "in heaven" when I come home from a road trip and my children are waiting at the door ready to greet me, or when my husband encourages me when I tell him about a new song I wrote. Sometimes I feel like I'm "in heaven" when I get a prayer request from someone and I pray for them and they write me back sharing how their prayer was answered, or when I hear good news of a friend who is healing after a life threatening illness.
At the end of April, I had the opportunity to perform my song, I SURRENDER (which was recognized as a final nominee for Song of the Yeat the 2008 KCCM Awards in Kansas City. (Check out the video of my performance on my video page.) The awards and "concert of friends" was a multi-faith event held at the Bell Cultural Center at Mid America Nazarene University in Olathe, KS. It was a gorgeous venue and sound check went so smoothly (which doesn't always happen) that I heard many comment, "wow…this is heavenly." In addition to performing I was also nominated for two awards. I was so excited just to be there for this event (…and it was fun to get dressed up too!-LOL!) Needless to say, I was shocked when they announced my name as FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR. Suddenly I felt that little piece of heaven…again. I quickly composed myself and went up to accept the award-but not for one minute did I forget to give all glory and honor to Jesus…not only for showing me the light in regards to my music ministry, but more so, for giving His life so I could have that very moment in time.
I guess we all have "in heaven" moments, in our lives. For some they come daily. For others they don't come nearly as often-but we learn quickly how to embrace the moment. But what we shouldn't forget is that those "moments" are a gift from God and gentle reminders to us of the glory that will be revealed to us when we do get to heaven-if we are faithful to Him.
Do you have a time in your life when you felt you were "in heaven"? Let me know so I can celebrate that moment with you and pray that you are blessed with more times like this in the days to come!
Peace & Hugs-
04.14.08 The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.
“The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.” Ahhh yes…Psalm 23…one of my very favorites-as it is for many Christians. In this Psalm we see God as our Protector and our Provider. This past weekend, when it was the focus of the Gospel, I couldn’t help but really think about how each of us are called to be shepherds in some way and how God bestows that on us. Parents are certainly shepherds to our children. Your boss may be the shepherd at your work. Children are often shepherds to the family pet…feeding them, loving them and training them…
I certainly have been taking on the role of shepherd as I’ve been presenting my new Middle School and High School workshops lately. So many of these young sheep (students) want to stray from their flock-their communities (whether the community is their family, their church, or whatever…). I definitely feel the responsibility to help them stay on track, and lately… it’s been quite encouraging. Tweens and teens have a much harder time visualizing the consequences of their actions. But, nonetheless it appears that dialogue helps a lot. Kids want to talk-they sometimes just don’t know how to express themselves. I don’t know-maybe it’s because I’m a woman that so many teens are able to open up to me. (I’ve heard from some of the guys who do what I do in ministry that getting kids to open up can be a real challenge.) Thing is…I OFFER to listen. I OFFER to spend time in prayer with them. I OFFER their needs to the Father in my prayers. YOU sometimes need to make the first step in communication. Sometimes YOU need to take the first step. Sometimes YOU need to take hold of the staff and become the shepherd…Tell me…are you a shepherd in your community?
This week a historical event will take place as the Pope visits the United States for the first time. For Catholics (certainly worldwide), he is the shepherd of the church. Many are traveling across the country to be witness to this visit. This visit may indeed inspire those travelers to return to their faith if they’ve wandered afar, to find hope in the message of the Word, and to accept a greater role to return home as shepherds in their own communities. I hope you will join me in praying for the Pope’s visit this week-for safe travels and for the words to speak the message that will bless the hearts of those who hear him.
Peace & Hugs-
03.09.08 Sometimes.... Life is Like a Roller Coaster.
OK…so we all know life is full of ups and downs, trials and tribulations. Yes? Are you reading this right now and saying, “I hear ya sista!”? You might be a student, cramming for that big exam after a week where you scored a big ole “A” on that paper you wrote. You might be a career professional who just found out a big deal fell through after celebrating just a week earlier that it finally came through after you worked so hard on it. You might be a Mom trying to figure out how to get your car fixed after you just figured out a brand new carpool schedule! In any case…it’s always something…highs and lows…
I’ve been having a roller coaster type of month it seems. No doubt I am always trying to juggle my family, my community commitments, and my ministry events. I’ve been riding a pretty good emotional high lately. My new middle school and high school assembly programs are getting great feedback and the phone is ringing with schools asking me to come. I found out that the new winter issue of Grapevine Magazine released, and I was excited when they selected me as the Featured Cover Artist (www.gvonline.net). I got to go on a fabulous field trip with my daughter that I’ve missed in previous years due to conflicts. (Who thought the ZOO could be so much fun!) Like I said…things have been good. BUT…I also had some terribly devastating news as well. A good friend of mine from my local chapter of the Confraternity of Christian Mothers suffered a serious aneurysm and had to be air-lifted to a hospital in Birmingham where she remains in stable condition. Wow!…talk about having the rug pulled out from under my feet. Suddenly that emotional high became a tremendous low.
Needless to say…I am always drawn to God’s word when stuff like this happens. It’s hard not to think that only YOU could be experiencing such drama in your life. But as I read my Bible I saw so quickly that Jesus had so many highs and lows too. Of course ultimately he experienced the greatest “low” as he was crucified on that cross, but what tremendous joy followed on Resurrection Sunday.
We are quickly winding down these last few days of the Lenten season. It’s hard to believe that Palm Sunday will be here soon enough followed by Holy Thursday, Good Friday and then Easter…certainly Holy Week alone is filled with tremendous highs and lows but thanks be to God we have Faith to get us through it. Seems like something (Faith) that we should apply in our own roller coaster lives too…don’t cha think?
May God bless all “my friends” during this Lenten and Easter season!
Peace and Hugs-
02.13.08 Love is ALL you need!
“Love, love, love…Love, love, love…Love, love, love…Love is All you need”…everyone knows the lyric from this very famous tune by The Beatles, but it has always intrigued me how the Beatles made zillions of dollars on this when it came to us from Jesus over 2000 years ago. One of those things that just makes me go hmmm…
So yeah…believe it or not…Valentine’s Day is here already. I like Valentine’s Day because I LOVE my family…I certainly don’t need a “hallmark” holiday to tell them that…I tell them everyday…but that’s just me. It’s not the same for everybody. I see all these stories on the morning shows and stuff about “the perfect valentine’s gift”, “how to survive Valentine’s Day if you’re single”, or “Valentine’s Day love songs for your ipod”…again…something that makes me go hmmm…
As a Christian it is my responsibility to LOVE everyone…everyday…Jesus told me in His words…”Love one another as I have loved you.” So there ya go…nothing big…nothing dramatic…but my gosh…if we followed those words…I mean…really followed those words…Can you imagine what a beautiful and peaceful world we would live in? Hmmmm…
So as this Valentine’s Day is upon us…I pray for each and every one of you…single, engaged, married, divorced…I don’t care…I love you all and I pray that you are blessed with abundant joy not only on Feb 14th but everyday!
Oh…and just for fun…let me know what your favorite LOVE song is…I might just load it on my ipod anyway. ;)
01.25.08 Are you stuck in the Middle?... is that a bad thing?
So next week I start my new YOUTH Workshop that my ministry team and I have been working on for some time now. I kick it off here in Pensacola, FL for 400 MIDDLE SCHOOL kids. In my process of preparing for this I’ve really been thinking about that word…MIDDLE…in this case in regards to middle school age you are sort of at this point where you’re no longer a “child” but not yet a “teenager”. You are a “tweenager”…in other words…you’re STUCK in the MIDDLE, and that can be hard for a kid. There are so many emotions at this age. You try so desperately to fit in. Suddenly kids discover things like gossip and rumors. Suddenly as a parent you have to address issues of bullying. Your kids fight you to wear clothing that you see as inappropriate. Kids start to imitate celebrities. Paper dolls and Barbie dolls get put away, and cell phones and makeup seem to be on the “wish list”. Tonka trucks and Lincoln logs get replaced with video games and I-pods. In many circumstances parents and their kids start fighting and then all of a sudden…YOU are caught in the MIDDLE…trying to find balance between watching your baby grow up…and how much they should be allowed to grow.
To top it off…it’s sometimes even harder for kids who are “labeled” as the MIDDLE child. Not the baby, not the oldest…just stuck in the MIDDLE. It seems in this case that the pressure is even worse because they are always fighting to get outside of that box. So instead of just loving that child and encouraging all that they have to offer, society just makes up a name for it and calls it “Middle Child Syndrome”. I wasn’t a middle child, and I don’t have a middle child, but I certainly remember my middle school years…and believe me…they were not pretty… (There’s a photo I show in my workshop of my middle school days…I really don’t think the kids are going to believe its me…you know what I mean…we ALL have those photos…)
So the more I started thinking about it…the more I got stressed about it and I started getting nervous about this workshop that I have been so excited about. I wrote it really for high school aged kids and all of a sudden I had to adjust it for MIDDLE school aged kids. Could I do it? Could I get the same message across to these “tweenagers”? Would they even care? So as I was thinking about it and praying about it…then all of a sudden God revealed something really cool in regards to being in the MIDDLE. It was this picture of THE LAST SUPPER by Leonardo Da Vinci. I looked closely at the painting and realized HOLY COW…JESUS is smack in the MIDDLE. For me it was a true testimony that God was listening to my heart and that he knows every minute what is on my mind.
So maybe you are a MIDDLE child…maybe you have a MIDDLE child…maybe you just feel like you are caught in the MIDDLE of some sort of disagreement or confrontation...whatever the case don’t let the MIDDLE stand in the way of your full potential…being in the MIDDLE forces you to get involved-you can still be a DISCIPLE-even if you are in the MIDDLE…If you’ve got a MIDDLE child or a MIDDLE school aged child…try looking at it from another perspective… that maybe they are just trying to be heard…
Peace & Hugs-
PS: OK, OK a bit of self-promotion here…we are in the MIDDLE of the voting process for the 2008 KCCM Awards. I’ve been nominated as POP artist of the Year and FEMALE VOCALIST of the Year. Would you consider voting for me? This voting stage is open to the general public and goes until February 5th… go here to vote…I appreciate your support!
01.02.08 It ain't over till it's over!
"It ain't over 'til its over"...we've all heard this saying before in many different circumstances, and this week I'm fighting for it in regards to CHRISTMAS! Oh I know many of you have already taken down the decorations, put away the Christmas music, taken the wreath off your door and have eaten every last Christmas cookie in the house...but WAIT there's more to come!
On January 6th we celebrate the Epiphany! This of course is the Christian feast commemorating the revelation of Jesus to humanity, specifically the visit of the Magi! Sometimes I wonder why we open all our Christmas gifts on Christmas Day verses waiting until Epiphany to exchange gifts. Technically that's when Jesus got his...(although of course I certainly understand that we received the greatest gift from God on Christmas Eve with the birth of Jesus).
Still though...I wonder why we don't celebrate the arrival of the Wise Men with more fan fair. They came from so far away and trusted that beautiful star in the sky to guide them...seems like we really should wait until this feast is over before we clean it all up...
Believe me...I'm super excited about moving forward in this new year. I pray that God blesses all of my "friends" with abundant joy, good health and good fortune. I remain steadfast and committed to HIS plan for my music and ministry. I'll try to remain focused on my resolution to remain a good steward for others and to set a positive example to my children. I'll remain a "spiritual champion for faith and family" by honoring your prayer requests, crusading for strength of the family, and for spreading the message of the Gospel to all who will listen.
But first...I'm going to focus on the arrival of the Three Kings...because it's really not over...til it's over...Is that OK with you?
Peace and Hugs-
12.01.07 The Front of YOUR Christmas Card
Yippee! We're on the thresh hold of the Advent season. Some people call it the Holiday season...and that's OK too... because at the end of it all...regardless of what you call it...we get to celebrate the birth of Jesus! Other than the birth of my own children (which is certainly a special event in our household), I can't think of anything BIGGER to celebrate than Jesus! Jesus is part of my family and we can't live without him so we want to celebrate his glorious and miraculous birth and all the preparation days leading up to it as well.
I really love to get into the heart of the season and so many of the things we do, we do as a family. I remember my kids as babies when they were fascinated by the twinkling lights on the tree or the shiny ornaments. It would bring tears of joy to see their smiles. Now they are getting older and I see that they are fascinated by new things-different things...that still bring tears of joy. Whether its caroling in the neighborhood, singing in the Christmas pageant, or picking out the perfect gift for Toys For Tots...I'm starting to see that they are embracing faith, family and community for all that it is. It's such a beautiful picture of life as we grow through the years.
Speaking of pictures...that's another thing I LOVE about the Christmas season. Our family PHOTO Christmas card! Many of my friends make fun of me because I always get them out earlier than everyone else...but I do it because I know it will start a chain reaction and we just love getting those cards in the mail. It's fun to see how kids have grown over the year, where some people take their photos, what people wear in their photos (everything from PJ's to Parkas!). I love the cards that are traditional, but I love the photos that are fun and creative too. (Did your little dog really want to wear those antlers?...hehehe). I love the photos of the babies, and the toddlers too, but WHERE ARE THE PARENTS? Come on guys...you should be in the photo too...it’s about FAMILY...not just the kids! We LOVE YOU ALL! Regardless if you are a single parent, a grandparent, a special caregiver, or just the regular family on the block ...You should be in the photo too! And if it's just the two of you... without kids...you should be in the pile too! ...I love the cards that single people send too! Some are with their pets, some are with funny characters, and some get very creative with Photoshop...hehehe
Anyway…it’s a beautiful time of the year…enjoy it for ALL that it is!
Peace and Hugs-
PS: On a little side note...because of popular demand...we've extended the deadline to download I SURRENDER for the St Jude Children's Hospital Project until December 8th. It's the giving season...so I hope you'll consider downloading the song today! Hey one guy ordered 10 downloads! What a blessing! Go here to check it out www.indieheaven.com/artists/sharmane
11.02.07 A Season of Gratitude
I nearly fell off my chair this morning when I saw an ad on TV for Christmas! I wanted to yell at the television and say “STOP-WAIT-DON’T PUSH ME THERE! THE ADVENT SEASON HASN’T EVEN STARTED YET!” And more so…we forgot about a really important Holiday in my opinion called THANKSGIVING!
As a “spiritual champion for faith and family” THANKSGIVING (and the time leading up to it) shouldn’t be overlooked. Oh yeah, I hear the stories about how Thanksgiving dinner stresses people out…”Where are we going to eat? Your Mom’s or mine? Do we have to eat Turkey? Martha Stewart said do it this way…I hate cranberry sauce!”...it makes me sad because THANKSGIVING is really the season to celebrate AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE!
As with every holiday there will always be people who have a hard time celebrating…those in CA who lost their homes in the recent fires are certainly struggling-but think about ALL of the homes spared from devastation…aren’t we grateful for that? There are those battling illness, many of who are clinging to their last days on earth-but what about ALL those who have been healed…aren’t we grateful for that?
I talk with my musician friends who tell me their CD didn’t do as well as they had hoped for-but what about the music on that CD that DID heal a wounded or broken heart…aren’t we grateful about that?
Everyday I find organizations and people and ministries who are devoted to a specific cause. It may be in their own community, it may be global but these folks work tirelessly as advocates to bring awareness to their cause when someone else might not have done so…AREN’T WE GRATEFUL FOR THAT?
And most of all how can we not be grateful for our Lord and Savior who made ALL of this possible for us? “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” Psalm 100:4
In the next few weeks leading up to THANKSGIVING write to me and tell me what YOU are thankful for and I will join you in prayer for His abundant blessings in your life!
09.17.07 I SURRENDER!
Wow! This is a blog I’ve been waiting to post for some time now…there are a million emotions running through my head. I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m humbled, I’m amazed, I’m grateful, I’m sympathetic…seems like I can’t find just the right “smiley face emotion” that really says what is on my heart.
This week I am releasing a brand new radio single called, “I SURRENDER”. Just about a year ago, my girlfriend called me and told me her son was being treated for a life threatening illness. I was scared for her. I wanted to be with her. I didn’t hesitate to get on my knees and offer my prayers for them as they faced the unknown. I just knew she didn’t want to hear one more person say “Is there anything I can do for you?” I asked God how I could help my friend, and He truly spoke to me by telling me to put my efforts into my passion…music. For me, music can uplift a hurting soul, make a bad day turn good... mend a broken heart and rejuvenate the mind! God speaks through me ... through the lyrics... through the sound. Christ draws me closer to him through HIS music.
“I SURRENDER” was the result of this effort. The words in this song are from the crying heart. A heart that totally surrenders to HIS will. God is in control, plain and simple! …and when we set everything aside…HE can pour HIS grace upon each of us and WE can accept HIS mercy and see HIS infinite beauty!
It’s interesting to see that many others have been drawn to this same thought. In a document titled “TOTAL SURRENDER”-Mother Theresa said these profound words…
“Jesus Christ has always told us that we ought to "always pray and not faint.” St. Paul says, 'pray without ceasing.' God calls all men and women to this disposition of heart--to pray always. Let the love of God once take entire possession of the heart; let it become to that heart like a second nature; let that heart suffer nothing contrary to enter; let it apply itself continually to increase this love of God by seeking to please him in all things and refusing him nothing; let it accept as from his hand everything that happens to it; let it have a firm determination never to commit any fault deliberately and knowingly or, if it should fail, to be humbled and rise up again at once, and such a heart will pray continually."
Today my friend’s son continues to get well and build his strength. It is truly overwhelming to have been a witness to this difficult period but also to have witnessed God’s healing. Yet, there are so many out there, young and young at heart, who have not fully healed either physically, emotionally or spiritual. For you…I continue to pray that you will soon accept the words “I SURRENDER” and that God leads you to a path of new life.
For more info about my new single, I SURRENDER, and how you can be part of my impact project to help raise funds for children’s cancer research, visit my news page at www.indieheaven.com/artists/sharmane …
Peace and Hugs-
08.10.07 A New SEASON!
When I was little I remember telling my parents that I wished there was a pill I could take to keep me a child forever! Most kids can't wait to grow up but I was one of those kids that enjoyed the simple things in life. Last weekend I was on the beach watching my husband and children surfing.. (well trying to anyway ;0) I said to myself, "I wish there was a pill that I could give my kids to keep them this age forever!" My eyes filled with tears as I was remembering my thoughts from long ago. It has come "full circle" -- but now it's my children who I want to stay young.
This week is the last week of summer vacation for my kids. They start school next week. It makes me sad because the realization is... is that this means they are getting older. Childhood innocence is such a sweet thing. I want to keep this innocence in their hearts FOREVER! I want this time with them to be engraved in their hearts! I want them to know that whatever trials they may face, they can always lean on GOD. For HE is bigger than life! I want them to remember that butterflies ARE kisses from God.. Doves ARE a sign of HIS grace... and that rainbows show HIS love for us. I ask God daily to protect my children and give them purity of heart. I pray that every season that changes, they will always seek HIS ways.
God calls on us to joyfully accept each season of life as it comes. No matter how old we are -- God gives us what we need to be all that we can be. He asks us to turn everything to him and accept the struggles and strengths he provides.
By you I have been upheld from birth .... My praise shall be continually of YOU. Psalm 71:1 -21
We just returned from vacation in Colorado. We visited family and some of our best friends from college. I was concerned that the kids and I would have some kind of effects from the altitude. I would often encourage us to drink water and take a deep breath... Being conscious of our breathing,took shape in the 9 days we were there. It was part of our daily routine. It's amazing because when you stop to breath.. it seems as though you can feel the wind blowing ..the world slowing down.. your hair moving.. a cool breeze caressing your face.
It was funny, I guess God was trying to get my attention! We stopped in Snowmass to listen to a band on the mountain. They were singing a song about "breathing in" At that moment, I realized that God is telling all of us to take time out of our day and breathe. He asks us to place our focus on HIM. He wants us to see his goodness in all things.... like the mountains, the sunsets, the streams from the river that gush forth from the melted snow. For God created the universe! It is such a gift.!!!
I LOVE family vacations!
It’s a perfect time to build on family moments with my husband and children.
It’s a perfect time to hold my sons hand that may not be as willing when he is at home in front of friends.
It’s a perfect time to relax with my daughter and tell her how much I love her!
It’s a perfect time to attend Mass in a different city and THANK GOD for the UNIVERSE and the AIR that we BREATHE!
05.02.07 God will carry you through!
I have seen a lot of suffering lately.
Many of you might know that my dear friends’ son has been very ill since Christmas Eve. He is a 5 year old boy who is like any other child at that age….
Full of life, spunk and spirit.
The family has been through so much.
I also reflect on all of the children of the world who suffer.
As you know… we are all “children of God.”
I am comforted by the Divine Mercy Chaplet. I sing the chaplet and meditate on all those who are carrying their cross. For Christ himself suffered so that we may have eternal life in him. Christ is our light that pours out through his mercy. We are never alone in our suffering and pain.
02.09.07 God is all around us!
I can’t believe Lent is almost here! I sit here reflecting on the importance of life.
I woke up this morning with these words on my lips. God was speaking to me from within. He said..
Be still and know that I am God!
Be still and know that I am!
Be still and know that I!
Be still and know that!
Be still and know!
Be still and!
We are living in the presence of God. The Rule of St. Benedict is, “keep the reverence of God always before our eyes, and never forget it.”
God is not hiding behind a cloud. He is not hiding in the dark. God is in every moment… every situation.
Giving glory to HIM.. shall always be on our lips. We are to see as God sees. I personally have many conversations with God daily. I ask God to show me what HE wants me to see. He is very much alive in my heart. I can hear HIS voice deep within my soul.
I also have conversations with Our Blessed Mother. The other day I was in the grocery store and I couldn’t remember a verse to a song.. It was driving me crazy. For over an hour, I would sing the song and when I got to the verse I had forgotten, I stopped… start over again.. and then.. have to stop. Finally, I asked Mary to place the words on my lips. At that instance, I began to sing the missing verse.
I realized that Heaven is not that far away and that “they” are with us always…
God is all around us… everywhere we go!
So close your eyes and listen to His voice,
“Be still and know that I am God!”
11.29.06 Novena to St. Cecilia!
I am amazed daily of God’s endless love and embrace! As always, he shines His light on our world and it illuminates like the light that shines in His Divine Mercy… Jesus … I Trust in You! The rainbow is so beautiful … which shines from His heart.
I recently completed my 9 day Novena to St. Cecilia. Her Feast Day was last week.
Miracles always seem to happen during and thereafter the Novenas.
As many of you know… I have a motto that is taken straight from Luke 1:38, from Our Blessed Mother. She says, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word.” We… as children of God… are to live by faith and trust.
Surrender to His will … and His Grace will be bountiful!
This reflection is so appropriate during this Advent Season… as I was reminded today by a Seminarian from our Diocese. Mary was waiting in anticipation for something great to happen. Although she did not feel worthy…. And was afraid.. The Angel Gabriel said, “Do not be Afraid.” The Angel also said, “for nothing is impossible with God.”
In my life, personally, I feel that I need to walk as a child of God… To do what I am called to do. In my music ministry… that is… to lead people closer to God through conversion of heart.
On that note, I was lead to this scripture which is so profound.
Those helped will glorify God
Now he who provides the sower with seed will both give you bread to eat and will multiply your seed, and will increase the growth of the fruits of your justice; that, being enriched in all things, you may contribute with simplicity of purpose, and thus through us evoke thanksgiving to God; for the administration of this service not only supplies the want of the saints, but overflows also in much gratitude to the Lord. The evidence furnished by this service makes them glorify God for your obedient profession of Christ’s gospel and for the sincere generosity of your contributions to them and to all; while they themselves, in their prayers for you, yearn for you, because of the excellent grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift!
Trust in the Lord God with All Your Heart… And you will not stray far.
We are all called to call others to faith…. Let us reach as far as we can to fulfill God’s will. I encourage everyone to use your gifts and talents to walk by faith and join me in this call! Be Not Afraid… I am with YOU!
11.23.06 Happy Thanksgiving!
God, Creator and Giver of all that is good,
We thank you for our many blessings.
Mindful of your generosity, we acknowledge
that all that we have is from you.
Daily, we offer you thanks and praise for
the beauty of the earth, our work, our family
and our loved ones.
In the dawning of a new day, you are with us.
In each dark hour you are here.
Blessed by your grace, we show gratitude to
you by sharing what we have.
By serving our brothers and sisters,
we serve you.
As you protect and guide us on our journey,
we remain ever grateful for your constant love.
Thanksgiving Blessing by Bishop John Ricard, Pensacola-Tallahassee Diocese