10 2009

Why I love quiet moments

There are times when words are not needed. I tend to live my life thinking the opposite. I use words all the time: writing songs, telling stories, leading retreats, parenting my children, small talk with a friend over coffee. But there have been moments when I have seen the power of silence at work in my life and I am humbled and awed by it.

Some evenings when everyone is asleep.. (well except – my faithful dog, Lilly ) … the silence of the house slowly winds down and seeps into our home. The air in the house becomes filled with something in a way that noises cannot imitate. As I walk into each room picking up toys, turning off tvs and lights, locking exterior doors and letting Lilly out one last time while sneaking a glimpse at the stars; nothing needs to be said. In that ritual of becoming quiet I hear the most sometimes. I hear peace. I hear the sound of the fridge humming, our hamster running on her wheel in her cage, a child breathing in a soft rhythm, the dryer gently rolling clothes over and over again and I hear my own body slow to a pace that allows for sleep. Many evenings I read.

I just finished reading “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder. What I loved about his play is how Wilder reminds us of what lasts in life… of small joys of the unspoken, the blessing of life on earth. One of my favorite lines is, “You’ve got to love life to have life and you’ve got to have life to love life. Wilder himself said the play was an attempt to find a value above all price for the smallest events in our daily life. Today after a walk with a friend we sat on a curb for just a second, looked at the sky and breathed.

I am reminded of Max’s recount of his teacher telling his class ” look over your notes at night.. the last thing you go to bed thinking about will be what is retained.” Wow, if I took that to heart… how would my days … my dreams… my actions… the words I used be different the next day. When I think about the best lessons I have learned.. no words were needed… grace, forgiveness, love, hope, endurance… peace.

So here’s to quiet moments. May we trust we are where we are suppose to be, doing what we are suppose to be doing. As my son Max prayed a few months ago, “God, help everyone have a reason to live.” May you and I know our reason to live and may we hear it loudly in the quiet moments, how loved we are, how precious and unique we are and may we not need words to believe it.

Psalms 19:1-4

The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard;
yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.


15  09 2009

getting the perfect beach photo

New You Tube Video posted on Celia’s blog!

If you have trouble viewing… click here: http://blog.celiamusic.net/?p=281
Recorded in Ocean City, NJ on September 12, 2009


09 2009

Legacy: what are you and I doing that lasts?

begnaud-editThe painting in this photo was given to me as a gift on the evening of Thursday March 19, 1981 by the painter. It was painted for me by my dear friend, Don Begnaud. Real flowers would not have lasted this long, but this bouquet brightens my home still today and I have been forever changed by the love of the painter.

Recently, on Wednesday July 29, 2009, our family’s travel schedule through Louisiana took us from New Orleans to Shreveport and we passed through Lafayette where I went to high school. We decided to drive through Taco Sisters, a new restaurant started by a high school friend of mine. As we entered town and drove through familiar territory, I felt a nudge to call my friend Don Begnaud. I try listen to those nudges and I asked Ron and the boys if we could stop by for a visit. I called the old phone number I had and Begnaud answered. (We often called him by his last name; not Mr. Begnaud, just Begnaud.) He was delighted that I called and I was delighted that he answered. I hadn’t spoken with him or seen him in since we had dinner together at Don’s Seafood in Lafayette in the spring of 1991.

Don updated me on his life, “Celia, I’ve got cancer and they just sent me home. There is nothing else they can do.”

“Don,” I said, “I’m so sorry, could I come by after lunch?”

“Please come by,” he said quickly.

As I hung up the phone, I told Ron that I’d rather drop in before lunch.
When we arrived, Don’s sister Olga answered the door and Don stood from a chair in the living room. The look on his face said it all. He was as delighted as I was to see an old friend. For the next hour we talked of art and of people we had seen and kept up with.

My son Zach asked about “Hello Dolly.” (that was our senior play) and Don said, “Your mom was Dolly.” Zach quickly asked Don, “were you Hello?” That was priceless. We had a great laugh together and Don really had a great laugh.

We talked about nothing and we talked about everything, everyday joys and summertime. We talked about my sons’ Max and Zach’s bed hair, and about their not wanting to cut it all summer. We talked about Ron and about our marriage of 21 years. We talked about my singing, writing, and painting and about our lives in Nashville. He talked about his family — his sisters, nieces, nephews, and about his art. I talked about how beautifully he viewed and captured life in his paintings.

I gave him copies of music I had recorded and books I had written. At the end of our visit we all held hands as we sat in a circle–Don and me and Olga and Ron and Max and Zach, and we had a prayer.

As my family filed out of the house, I sat near my good friend, hugged him one last time and told I loved him and he told me he loved me, too. He told me how glad he was that I had stopped by. Then I said, “now Begnaud, if I don’t see you again, we’ll meet in heaven by the buffet.” With his signature laugh he said, “indeed, indeed.”

As I write this, I am sitting, having just read his obituary. He died only a week after our visit. I regretted not keeping in touch with him through the years and I regretted not singing for him on that last visit, but I cannot imagine improving on our bon voyage conversation.

I am so very grateful for the opportunity to have loved Don Begnaud and for the opportunity to have been loved by him.

Begnaud was larger than life, and that fit with his love for theater, especially of musical theater. I met Don when I was only 17. He was cast as the leading man in Hello Dolly and I was Dolly as a high school senior. I enjoyed the way the whole cast fit together. As I think about it, that experience was magical for me. I believe it might have been the first Lafayette High performance that Don was recruited for. Don taught English and I still thank God that I never had him as a student (I knew many who had him and I so enjoyed our working relationship. Being his student might have changed things for us.) Prior to the musical, I remember only knowing of him. I knew where his classroom was. I knew that many of my friends loved him as a teacher. When our school choir director, Mary Jane Jones, said he would be part of the cast and the leading man in Dolly, Horace Vandergelder, I remember thinking that we were all in for a treat.

As we began rehearsals, I found him to be charming and professional. He sang great, knew his lines and reminded me of mine when I forgot them. He was kind, caring and a joy to be around.

Many times that spring and the summer following my senior year, I found myself dropping by his home. He was the kind of person you just wanted to be around. He laughed often and out loud. Our performances were for us a piece of heaven. We always talked about how magic happens. Looking back, I know now what the magic was. It was about our being together. There is something that happens in life. I think it is a glimpse of God’s kingdom, on earth as it is in heaven. When communion happens. You look around at the people in the room, at those in your circle and you are filled with joy, with love and it bursts forth. It surrounds you and you are captured by it. Hello Dolly was one of those experiences. I found it in our director, Mary Jane Jones who brought out the best in all of us and believed we could be better than we thought we could. I found it in the cast and crew, many who were friends or who became friends. We worked as a team as we cheered for each other and we knew we were a part of something special and timeless. Don Begnaud was a large part of that gift for me personally.

The things that were larger than life about Don were his presence, his friendship, his smile, his sincere delight in others, his words of encouragement… his spirit. I learned through my experience in Dolly that there are people who find joy in making others look good. Don was one of those people.

Our first performance was a matinee. As is the tradition, many well wishers sent flowers or cards to cast members. When I arrived at the auditorium for our first evening performance the next day, I met Don waiting in the parking lot for me. He handed me a package. It was wrapped simply in brown paper and masking tape. I opened it with the glee of a child to find a beautiful painting of flowers and a butterfly that he had painted for me. He said simply, “I hope you like it.” (There’s a photo of that painting at the top of this post. The real painting is about 12″ x 16″ and it still rests in the frame that Don chose as its home.) Today it brightens my home, and I look at that painting everday. I have often thought of Don and of his lasting gesture of love that day. He knew that I’d lose a card, the flowers and photos would fade and be lost in attics, we’d all grow older and move on from that night.

Don was first and foremost a teacher. I still have his painting and have carried it with me this far along with some other gifts that I learned from him.

Here are some that I have know to be true because of my teacher and my friend Begnaud:

  • Life is precious. Savor it.
  • Love is a genuine, unconditional, selfless gift. Give thanks for it.
  • Joy is at hand for each of us. Embrace it.
  • No stage is too small or too big, not to step onto it.
  • Be who you are. Leave it all on the stage or give it all, embrace it all, be completely in that moment.
  • No fake smile will work. Work at just seeing something to smile about. You don’t have to try so hard to be real. Indubitably was one of his favorite words and he used it frequently. Don was indubitably genuine. I believed that he was Horace (his character), because he believed. He lived into it, he embraced it, he found a way to put his heart and his life into that story.
  • Be wonderful. Don was full of wonder and delight, be it art, music, theater or acting. He was filled with the wonder of others. He wanted to know how you were, to hear your story. He listened as intently as if he were hearing a beautiful aria for the first time.
  • Be about helping others with their lives. On opening night there was this one scene that I could never get the sequence of the dialogue. I practiced it a thousand times. I wrote notes on props and then I forgot it. Don didn’t miss a beat, he covered for it and made me look good. The second night, he did the same thing, though we both got tickled and almost broke character, the audience loved it.
  • Sometimes it is not gonna come out perfectly, but it still might be better than we planned.
  • Realize that any magic that happens really has little to do with you. It is all about giving, for the pure love of giving.

So be you a teacher, singer, actor, stay-at-home mom, preacher, doctor, lawyer, importer, painter, choral director or whatever you are; do it with joy and with love and trust that nothing will be wasted.

Don taught me some great life lessons. When I think of that last visit, what I will remember is his smile. Though I knew him to be in pain, sleepy from the drugs and weary from the fight; he still had energy to muster joy, share his love for me and to live in the moment on his terms. I want to be like that. I want to be about things that last, kind of like his beautiful painting in my home that I walk by every day. When it’s all said and done, love will be the the thing that matters. Faith, hope and love abide, but the greatest of these, really, really, really is love and that lesson (in painting and in example) for me is indubitably Begnaud’s legacy.

Rest in peace, friend. I’ll see you at the buffet!
I love you, Celia

Donald Ray Begnaud
(May 24, 1938 – August 5, 2009)
Here are a couple of links: Tributes | Obituary


26  08 2009

Family Photos

Here’s a little slideshow of family fun — enjoy!

If you have trouble viewing the photos, try this link.


25  08 2009

TEARS

Summer rain… It was sunny when I left the house the other morning. It looked so good that I even grabbed my costly sunglasses as Jesse the dancing outlaw would say. Ok, I got them from the Dollar General for $6 bucks but they make me look hot! I saw the clouds roll in but the sun was still breaking forth so I didn’t think anything of it. Not much later, it was pouring.

I don’t know how emotion comes over you… sometimes I feel them roll in like those rain clouds or like an unexpected guest who just shows up unannounced. But I have cried at least once a day for past four days, not a continuous cry, but the last 4 days I have cried for a myriad of different reasons. I have had my feelngs hurt. I mean like smashed and stepped on, the kind of moments when someone on the other line sounds mean and you want to be mean in return, but instead you get nicer, but you still cry about it. I cried over frustration, when things didn’t go my way. Before I knew it I was raising my voice and I just wanted to scream, but I thought better of it so it shows up in the form of tears. I quickly poured myself a hot bath and softened my spirit with some eucalyptus sea salts and a little quiet time. I cried when a friend was so sweet, loving, kind and encouraging and it just made me cry, which made her feel like she might have said something wrong. I was in a coffee shop and quickly grabbed those faithful sunglasses. I felt like a movie star, well like a crying movie star. Glasses do not make tears stop. People continued about their day and I wondered if they saw me and thought, “that poor women” or maybe they thought, “I bet that feels good. I could use a good cry about now.”

What is it about life that makes us tear up? Maybe it’s just life. I have cried over loss, joy, fear, embarrassment, anger, all of them, at once, at times and I think it’s part of living. Sometimes the sun shines on a rainy day. There are those moments when all is well and those when we forgot a second ago all was well. When I cry over the death of my dad or my friend Kathleen, I am thankful for those tears and memories. I picture myself, long after my death, being remembered by someone who loved me. I hope they might be laughing over something we did together or something they witnessed and before they know it, tears are mixed with joy. That’s when you know you’ve loved and been loved.

So, I guess I will be ok with the rain and with the tears in my life. I’ll embrace my tears. Cherish them.. feel them and know that where we are is where we are supposed to be. Now I’m not talking about depression or avoiding life, or about always going to a dark place for a long time. I am talking about the healthy balance that tears bring. I have had moments in these last four days where I have… laughed with a friend, sat alone and had a time to reflect on my day, read in bed while everyone was asleep in the house, walked in the woods as a soft rain fell and been grateful for all the good that comes my way and those there to sit with me when I’m going through the valley, when I’m crying behind my sunglasses.

Some days you just cry and maybe that’s ok.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

P.S. When it rained that day, the windows were down in the back seat of my car. Rain in the back of your car is not so nostalgic.


20  08 2009

video devotional

Aug 20, 2009

Let me know what you think!


30  06 2009

Inspiritation

Where do you find inspiration? I woke up pondering this question this morning. When I do that, I am always listening throughout the day because without a doubt I know God is trying to show me something and I should be on the look out.

Last month, my family visited Chicago to attend a surprise party for friend turning 50 — woo hoo! While in Chicago we visited a Saturday evening service at Willow Creek, a church where our friends had served on staff. The music was amazing. The waterfalls outside the windows were soothing. Hearing Bill Hybels speak about the fishing derby with children and adults for special needs was moving. But what really stirred my spirit was what happened during the sermon time, one of the pastors spoke with Catherine Rhor about the ministry with prisoners she founded in the Houston, Texas area. Right out of college she pursued a high powered job making a great money on Wall Street. Yet she kept asking herself if there was more to life. Finally she surrendered to God and prayed the prayer, “Lord Bring it!” Wow, I thought. I’m not sure I’ve prayed those exact words. I thought if you do pray those prayer, you had better be prepared for your world to be turned upside down. Following a mission trip to an orphanage for children with HIV she embraced those hurting and in need and begin to feel her life change. She was invited to speak at an all-male prison in Houston and with that acceptance came an incredible shift in her life. “Lord, bring it” brought on a new way of looking at life and a new passion she had not experienced on Wall Street. It brought compassion for others and helping them through tough times, believing everyone can make a difference simply given to tools and encouragement to do so. After one trip to the prison she began to lead classes with young men to encourage them to follow their passions and dreams and equip them for business once paroled. She finally quit her job, moved to Houston and founded a program the “Prison Entrepeneurship Program” – PEP. She said today the prayer, Lord, give us our daily bread has taken on new meaning. At the end of her interview, 3 graduates from her program spoke. One had been paroled only the day before. To say it was inspiring was an understatement. As we heard their stories and heard about the changes in their lives, the room felt lifted by the hope that was alive in their presence. We cheered as they talked about the work they were doing. I thought, as they spoke of their future, how refreshing it must be to be these three men, standing before this congregation. They seemed fearless, yet I’m sure have been in much scarier situations. They spoke with poise, grace and a confidence in themselves and in a God who always believed in who they were and in what they could achieve. I met Catherine afterwards and said, “I’d be willing to come speak or sing for your guys. Please know I’m willing and able and would love to come.” She smiled with such love and said, “You’ve said it now! When can you come?”

Inspiration — it moves me to action; it moves me to surrender; it moves me to let go of control; it moves me to look around and see what I can do today, where I am, right now.

Years ago I sang in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I have always been inspired by art and was quite a follower of Georgia O’Keeffe’s painting. While I was off on Sunday afternoon I made a visit to her museum to mainly see one of my favorite paintings of her in a series called, “Above the Clouds”. I had a book at home and was drawn to that series and to her interpretation. She said she looked out of a window of an airplane and simply painted what she saw. As I entered the room where one of her paintings of clouds was on display, I sat against the wall of the back of the room, stunned. I had no idea that it would be HUGE. It is the size of two rooms. It was grand in front of me and I was taken by my misjudgement of its size from my coffee table book back home. It was so much better in person. In front of me I saw Georgia’s vision. She wanted it to inspire. I believe that’s why she painted it so big.

What inspires you? When have you been inspired? Where do you gather inspiration? Normally for me, it’s from the everyday things — a picture of clouds, a late-night family swim under the stars, Max having a food drive with his birthday party, or my flowers that grow in spite of my neglect. Sometimes it sneaks up on me, like that morning when I heard the PEP graduates speak of their dreams and desires for the future or when I stood in the presence of that magnificent painting.

While writing this note, I spoke with our dear friends Beth and John Page whose 5-year-old daughter Tanner has bravely been battling leukemia for the last couple of weeks. (You can read about their battle here or visit her Facebook page.) — I went to the hospital and sang for Tanner and despite how badly she must have felt, she still mustered up a smile for “Over the Rainbow”. She and I talked about what kind of hat she might like to wear when she loses her hair. Now that kind of attitude inspires me. It reminds me that everyday we are faced with a decision to choose to surrender ourselves and to trust that wherever we find ourselves — we can do it with grace. Her mom and I recently went to the movies. She let me pry her out of the house. I knew she was tired and a friend of mine suggested I see if she could use some girlfriend time. She and I laughed that at the snack counter as we ordered the couples’ combo – it was a great deal!

Much of the evening she shared how Tanner has handled this with grace. I think of the 5-year-old who should be riding her bike, eating ice cream, catching fireflies. She was planning on taking swimming lessons in our pool this summer. She was having slumb-overs. (A slumb-over is where you cross the street to a friend’s house in the neighborhood with your pjs and a sleeping bag in tow. You have a bath, enjoy a snack, watch a movie at a friend’s house and then when it’s time to go to bed, you cross the street to go back home to her house for the night—I love the idea!) Now Tanner is faced with not only this disease, but with treatment and the side-effects of treatment–feeling terrible, missing out on a ton of fun kid stuff this summer, feeling different, and cares about her future. Her mom says the word that she’s surprised to use, but fits best is grace. Wow! Ok I’m inspired. Tanner has taught me, but also her mom and dad, Beth and John, our dear friends, have bravely, wearily and courageously walked each step of this with such grace. Daily in small ways they have moved me to be more grateful and more thoughtful of others. One of the best parts is that they have been transparent and honest in their response. There are things in life we don’t understand and can’t change, but we can choose how we each respond. We can choose hope each day. We can choose to live hope and grace today. We can celebrate today, to enjoy and to savor each tiny moment (I love the day they shared that Tanner was feeling good, so they had a picnic upstairs in her room.)

We have this moment and we can look for inspiration right here, in front of us. These moments of potential inspiration are the real deal. Like Catherine, Georgia and Tanner, there are those around us who would remind us that life is bigger than we are. Life is filled with inspiration, everywhere. It is more, we are more than where we find ourselves, than our circumstance or what we are going through. Our lives are a blank canvas, so paint away friends, make chocolate covered strawberries for a friend, have a picnic, order the couples combo and don’t be afraid to pray, “Lord, Bring it” and then to be on the lookout to be inspired!


05 2009

Mothers’ Day 2009

As I think about the upcoming Mothers’ Day, I am mindful of what Max says when I ask him to kiss me goodnight. I tell me he loves me and say something sweet. His something sweet is the same every time and it said with the spirit of “I want you to give me something!” Moms and dads out there know the tone! He says, “You are the best mom ever!” I kiss him, tell him I love him and say something sweet back like, “You’re the best Max ever!”

Honestly, there are days when I don’t feel like the best mom ever. In concert, when I set up the song “Most of All You Were There” (It is found on our new lullabies CD and in my new gift book for women “One Wish For You” It is about our son Zach at school a few months ago. Ron and I got our trays and sat with Zach and his first grade class. Two girls immediately begun to talk to Ron and urgently want his attention, “Zach’s dad, Zach’s dad.” As Ron turned around, they said, “Zach’s dad, Zach is so gross, he’s sticks his finger up his nose.” About that time Zach interrupted quietly, “Dad, Dad.” As Ron turned around Zach said, “Dad, you know those girls you were just talking to? They bug me all the time. If I want them to leave me alone, all I have to do is stick my finger up my nose!”

Ok, I am not condoning this practice (no cards and letters, please. I have talked to him about this behavior and if you have been to one of my concerts with your children and I have told this story, I apologize.) I’m just saying no matter of talking to him is gonna keep his finger out of his nose!

As I think about Mothers day and about what makes a good/best mom, here are a few thoughts:

  • If I am any good at being a mom, it is because of all the best moms I am around and that have learned from. I try to pay attention. I think of one mom I babysat for. Her 5-year daughter showed her a picture that she had drawn at school. The mom gently said, “I bet that picture makes you feel so proud and happy. I am delighted to see what you have created, tell me about it.” And then the mom listened intently to the explanation. I also remember the daughter who told me that her mom stood at the front door everyday before the daughter left for school and told her, “You are amazing!” The daughter told me that everyday she walked out of my door believing that I was amazing and capable of whatever I would encounter. Another friend told me that when her son lost his temper one day and began to yell and cry, he said “what’s really wrong is that I miss dad and I’m so sad he died.” She sat down and said, “me, too” and they had a long cry together.
  • I guess I have been a student all my life and will always be. When it comes to becoming the best mom I can be. The best mom’s encourage, apologize, empathize, aren’t afraid to say, “I’m sorry,” aren’t scared to say, “I didn’t do that so well,…I’m gonna get better,” handle the most joyous times with humility and most challenging moments with grace. One of my favorite compliments was received while having dinner with the President of our alma mater, Centenary College of Louisiana, Dr. Kenneth Schwab and other members of the faculty and my family. Our best behavior would have been very appropriate and we even had a family talk about it prior to the event. It was one of those events that a sitter would’ve been great for, but it was an opportunity for my sons to be exposed to an event that was good for them. It was after I spoke at the President’s day convocation to the student body a few years ago. While we had dinner in the cafeteria, my boys were quite busy and entertaining. Zach played his armpit during the dessert, as I tried to silence him while keeping my composure. My aunt Dinah came up to me and whispered in my ear, “Celia, I can tell not only how much you love the boys, but you all really like each other.” I feared I would be judged as my friends and my aunts, yet I was embraced with such a sweet compliment that made the lunch feel right at home.
  • If I am becoming my best mom, it is because of others who parent along side me. One reason is because I am raising my boys with a best dad. Ron Whitler makes me a better mom simply because he is an incredible dad. I am more than blessed. Most days I feel my life is a dream. I am constantly receiving these outlandish moments — they are gifts. Daily in small ways, he gives over and over all he has. We are partners in this and I am thankful everyday that we are walking this earth together and that Max and Zach know and are known by their father. He is slow to anger and quick to compassion. He is fun, caring and can still swing from a rope swing into a river with the best of ‘em–he did it last week.
  • I truly feel we cannot do it alone. Even when we feel as if we are working alone. There are those who help, who fill in, who nurture, who parent alongside us–dads, grandparents, neighbors, doctors, teachers, Sunday school volunteers, counselors, coaches, aunts, uncles, cousins, church members, babysitters and friends. They all make me better as a mother. They quilted my journey as a child. I have often thought of ways my mother did the best she could and about how many others filled in the gaps. I am counting on that with my own sons. There are so many ways I am going to fall short and so many wonderful mothering my two will receive from other people. Thank goodness I do not have to do this alone and I believe our children are better when we raise them together. When I had Max, we traveled so much and there were so many who held him as I sang. I always thought he wasn’t just mine and I still feel that way. I so wanted to share him with the world and for all of us to love him. I think of those children without mothers, even those times I have been in the park and seen a child be mean to another beyond the sight of an adult. I have gently stepped in and said a word. I am counting on you to do the same with my sons.
  • Each night I pray that God would make me more loving. I have so many days when I know that I am not my best. I have lost my temper before 8 am. I have said the mean thing, when I knew self control was a better option. I have forgotten the class tee shirt for the field trip. ok that happened two days ago, it was the right color, so it was 2 sizes too small because it was little brothers from last year. Instead of sharing shame, Max, when I saw it was the wrong one shared grace. “Mom, no worries,” he quickly said, “and I’ll wear it on field day, too. It was the right color, who cares if it doesn’t have an eagle [mascot] on it.”
  • I am much harder on myself than anyone else is on me about my performance as a mother. I know if the super Nanny came to my house today, it would be a two hour show! So I am on my knees saying a prayer that one friend shared with me a couple of years ago, “Lord, you got me in this mess, so you are going to have to get me out.” I continue to go study the fruits of the Spirit — Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I also revisit the love chapter: I Corinthians, Chapter 13. I guess I would say that I am the best at trying, the best at looking for ways to improve. Maybe that needs to be on a plaque that I can look at each day. I have always joked that I heard the first 30 years are the hardest for a mom, but I know that isn’t true. When I delivered those two boys I played U2 and BB King’s version of When Love Came to Town in the delivery room and I believe it is true. Love did come into my life as it never had before.

I just tucked love into bed for the night with their favorite blankets, bear and dog… nite nite … mommy loves you!

God could not be everywhere and therefore He made mothers.
Jewish proverb


29  04 2009

Bluebird Cafe

Here are a couple of pictures from the Bluebird Cafe.

Bluebird Cafe 4/28/2009
This is me singing at the Bluebird Cafe. Billy Montana is in the back left. Will Dyer is in the front right. Photo by my friend Kim Jameson.

Bluebird Songwriter Round April 28, 2009
From Left to Right: Billy Montana, Keni Thomas, Celia Whitler-me, Amy Dalley. Photo by my friend Kim Jameson.


11  02 2009

In the Palm of God’s Hand

“Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m being held in the palm of God’s hand.”

I heard that today and I thought, me too. What does it really mean to feel held in the palm of God’s hand? I’ve always thought it meant that I am trusting that God has got me–that no matter what I am going through, I am held. I am supported. I am able to relax and to know that someone else is carrying me.

I love the story in the gospel of Mark of the four friends who carry the paralytic man to Jesus. The amazing part of that story is what Christ says to the them is that it was because of their faith the man was healed.

What must it have felt like to have been carried by those four? Has someone ever carried you? Your face is in their face, there is no where to hide. That man had to allow those friends to carry him. He had to be willing to receive their help. So many times others have lifted me. So many times I have needed help. Why is it that we are a group of folks who are so comfortable giving to others, yet receiving we are not so great at. We go out of our way to do something, something big or small to show others we are there for them, yet saying ok I am in over my head here and I need some help is not only difficult, it can be almost unbearable. We would rather stand on the deck and sink rather than sending out a mayday. It doesn’t make sense, but I am here to confess that I do it too.

Recently I was really behind the eight ball with a small travel detail I was trying to work out. It was really not that big of a deal, but I called a friend, who I knew would understand it. I said, “ok help me brainstorm some solutions for this situation.” A single thought came out of her mouth about how she could help and my dilemma was solved. I felt so silly. Such a burden was lifted and she kept saying, “this is not that big of a deal.” I had fretted, worried, dreamed and problem solved, all alone of course. The minute I opened it up and let someone in, it was done.

What, my friends, are you waiting for? There may be something in your life that you feel is too overwhelming, too difficult, too shameful or like me, too complicated to find a solution for. That’s a lie, but you have to share it. The thing that’s hard is that you have to tell someone about it before it can be resolved.

The same is true with God. I want God to guess what I need, to guess what is troubling me. I am sure it is already known, but there is something wonderful about surrendering and resting in the palm of God’s hands. The first part of that is rest.

This past weekend while at a youth retreat, I encouraged the youth to find someone to get knee to knee with to share what is going on in their lives, to trust that God has provided and is providing what they need, if they would simply look around. The last night of the event one of the students on the retreat sent me an email. He had spoken with one of his youth leaders and he said, “I feel a burden has been lifted, like I have taken one step closer to God.” Ok, I need to take my own advice, that we would share each others burdens, that we would turn to God at these times and lay our burdens down. I know is the desire of a God who spoke, time and again, a simple message that we are not alone.


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