Sunday, December 9, 2012

Be Born in Me

This weekend I get the privilege of being a part of the Grace BIble Church Christmas concerts "Promise of Peace." We've done two out of four concerts so far and I am blown away by God's goodness. I get to sing a song called "Be Born In Me" sung from the perspective of Mary, a young teenage girl about to give birth to the Messiah. Nichole Nordeman wrote this song (I love all of the lyrics she writes) and it paints such a beautiful, vulnerable picture of  Mary and I have loved singing it. Each time I sing it, I learn something more about Mary, and what she must have been going through. Here are the lyrics:

Everything inside me cries for order
Everything inside me wants to hide
Is this shadow an angel or a warrior?
If God is pleased with me, why am I so terrified?
Someone tell me I am only dreaming
Somehow help me see with Heaven's eyes
And before my head agrees, my heart is on its knees
Holy is He. Blessed am I.

Be born in me, be born in me
Trembling heart, somehow I believe that You chose me
I'll hold you in the beginning, You will hold me in the end
Every moment in the middle, make my heart your Bethlehem
Be born in me

All this time we've waited for the promise
All this time You've waited for my arms
Did You wrap yourself inside the unexpected
So we might know that Love would go that far?

I am not brave
I'll never be
The only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy
I'm just a girl
Nothing more
But I am willing, I am Yours

This is such a beautiful song and in huge part because of the lyrics. I love the bridge, "I am not brave..." and the honesty in the first verse. It shows Mary's vulnerability and how scared and almost ashamed she must have felt. Yet she is on her knees saying "Holy is He. Blessed am I." How many of us in a time of struggle say that? That we are truly blessed to be dealing with those hardships?

And the bridge - "I'm just a girl, nothing more. But I am willing, I am Yours." Total humility. No sense of pride at all. But a sense of willingness and happy surrender

I love the idea of belonging to God. I am His... and He is mine. As human beings, we long to belong. We want to fit in. We want to be wanted. But how often do we give ourselves to less deserving objects, goals, possessions,  or people?

God is the creator of the universe! He sent Jesus to be our Savior. We were drowning in our sin and He saved us. Grace. Unfathomable grace.

I want to belong to God. I want this to be my song:

"I'm just a girl, nothing more. I am willing. I am Yours."

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fueled and Aflame

"Don't burn out; keep yourself fueled and aflame." - Romans 12:12 (MSG)

I need to be reminded of this. As a person who works in ministry or multiple ministries, there's often a concern of getting "burnt out." And it's a dangerous thing. But the key is staying fueled and flamed.

Simple idea. Hard to carry out.

For so many of us, the issue is not cutting out bad things for good. It is cutting out good for best. And not saying certain ministries are better than others- more that we have to be involved where the Lord has called us and apply ourselves... instead of piddling ourselves in a bunch of different areas.

For me, I think of this verse in terms of leading worship. It would apply to all ministries, but as I lead people into the presence of God, one of the most important things I can do to prepare is getting fueled and fed myself. It's easy to keep pouring out, pouring out until we are completely empty. But if we are able to pour out from an overflow of what God's doing, we will never run dry. I know as a worship leader, you can't take someone where you've never been. So if I haven't been in God's presence, in his word, and in real relationship with him, I'm not going to be able to lead people effectively. And I have come to cherish those times every evening when I slow down, dig deep and get swept away in God's sweet presence. I hope you all will do the same sometime today.

I guess this post is really me speaking to myself. But hopefully it will be of encouragement to someone else as well :)

This afternoon I'm attending the annual AG Village Christmas concert that happens every year the weekend after Thanksgiving. I'm not in it this year, but it's become a tradition and great way to start off the holiday season! My parents are in it and I'm sure it'll be full of Christmas cheer :)

'Til next time...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fellowship or Socializing?

For the last couple weeks I've been meditating on the word "fellowship." As Christians I think we often throw the term around in a loose way and think if there is a group of believers meeting together it's automatically "fellowship." But in an excerpt from our Spiritual Disciplines study I found this very interesting...

"Although socializing is often both a part of and the context of fellowship, it is possible to socialize without having fellowship. Socializing involves the sharing of human and earthly life. Christian fellowship, New Testament koinonia, involves the sharing of spiritual life. Don't misunderstand - socializing is a valuable asset to the church and necessary for a balanced life. But we have gone beyond giving socializing the place it deserves. We have become willing to accept it as a substitute for fellowship, almost cheating ourselves of the Christian birthright of true fellowship altogether. When this happens, our practice of the Spiritual Disciplines suffers and our growth in grace is stunted." The author goes on to say that at the end of the day, we often settle for "little more than the fast-food kind of socializing that even the world can experience."

This was a good point to think on.  Socializing with other Christians is often important, but there is nothing like sitting and sharing what's going on in our walks with God. Where He's stretching, teaching and loving us in every day life. These are the conversations that I truly cherish and will continue to think back on.

On that note, I had a great weekend full of great true fellowship. I am thankful to God for the wonderful relationships he has blessed me with and the way we are able to love and encourage each other. I was fortunate to have a free weekend! My Friday morning consisted of coffee with Shelanie, a dear friend and true worshiper. We chatted about life, me becoming an auntie, and the role of worship leading in our church bodies.

That night I attended a chorale concert directed by an old mentor/friend/pastor. Afterwards, a group of us went over to our friend, Anne's house, sat by the fire and talked about life. Then Saturday I had coffee with Joanna, who I've known since I was 10. Sitting in Starbucks talking about being a good steward of God's gifts and how to best glorify him in our uses of those gifts was so encouraging to me.

That afternoon I met Amanda for Thai food (our favorite!) and walked over to the park to sit in the grass and reflect on God's goodness. That night Danielle and Alisha (two of my awesome high school girls) came to spend the night at my house. We had dinner with my fam, went to Boba Stop, watched girly movies, ate cookie dough, and painted our nails. Socializing at it's best! ;) Then we got up this morning and went to church together!

Tonight, Cara, Amanda, and I drove up to Paso to see the choir perform at Shelanie's church and mostly to support our friends and see old friends :) It was a great time! What a full, uplifting weekend! Feeling really blessed tonight.

I hope you all make the time to have some good fellowship. It's so important and so wonderful when we can experience it to the fullest, appreciating all of the ways God is working in our lives.

Love you all.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mary and Martha

Just wanted to share this article with you this morning by Tim Sheppard, one of the worship pastors at Gateway Church. I highlighted some points that really stood out to me. I hope it encourages you today, to not just think about the task to be done, but choosing to be in the presence of God. "The person who called the meeting is more important than the meeting..."


Both Martha and Mary were in Jesus’ presence, but they responded in entirely different ways. It’s admirable Martha wanted to honor Jesus by preparing an excellent meal for Him—she may have even been functioning in the spiritual gift of hospitality!

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.
Luke 10:38–42 (NIV)

However, Martha was so task-driven she became distracted from the “one thing” that was needed. In all her doing, she missed the moment.

The battle for most fully committed Christians is not in choosing between right and wrong but rather in choosing between good and better. Good may look very similar to better, but they’re worlds apart. We can even use the gifts God gives us to help us miss the mark … with excellence!

Surely Mary knew she shared in the responsibilities to host Jesus well. She must have felt the pressure to do—to help with the meal preparation. Yet Mary chose to be Presence-driven. She just wanted to be with Jesus.

Much like Martha and Mary, we, as worship leaders, have been given the high privilege of welcoming God’s presence into the “house.” As we invite the congregation to join us, some may only peek through the windows to observe while others may walk right in. Either way, they learn to “host” by our example.

If we’re caught up in getting the “meal” just right, we—and the congregation—will lose sight of the “better thing.” We will be blind to the moment … blind to God Himself. Left to our doing, we’ll migrate to the Martha mentality every time.

If we understand that the Person who called the meeting is more important than the meeting, we’ll choose to be a Mary every time. Our role as worship leaders, then, is not to get through a song list; it’s to get through to Jesus. Somehow, when we touch His heart in worship, His presence magnifies to touch others.

I once knew a tall, lanky farmer who lived in the Arkansas hills. He was as strong as an ox—a man’s man. His name was Roscoe Benjamin Harrison Garrett. I just called him Grandpa.

Grandpa loved life, and he loved family. He was always ready for a good laugh and told hilarious stories about my mom and her siblings when they were kids growing up on the farm.

What I love most about Grandpa is the way he prayed. Before every meal, the atmosphere would change from jolly to holy as he would bless the food. Before he could even get past the first few words—“Our gracious heavenly Father”—Grandpa’s piercing blue eyes would fill with tears, his voice would quiver, and he could barely speak his words of gratitude to God.

For me, those meals weren’t about the place settings or the food (though Grandma did make some pretty amazing biscuits from scratch). I don’t even remember the words Grandpa prayed. What I do remember is that he could never pray without weeping. I decided then, even as a young boy, I wanted to be tender toward God like Grandpa.

What memories are we leaving our congregations with the worship “meals” we serve up? Will they remember that all the knives and forks were in their proper places … that the glasses were sparkling, the food presentation colorful, the flavors exquisite and the service excellent?

Or, will they remember that our hearts were so tender toward God we could barely sing? Will they remember “only one thing is needed”? Will they remember that we chose “what is better, and it will not be taken away”?
Tim Sheppard
(You can see the original article by clicking here.)

Happy Wednesday everyone! 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Where You Go I Go

Had to share this video. I love this song "Where You Go I Go." Kim Walker/Jesus Culture have become one of my new favorite worship bands. Their music is so authentic and genuine. It's inspiring. And they effectively lead people into God's presence - which is what we're created for, isn't it? I have this song on repeat often. I love journaling with song lyrics because it's great having something that is already written that expresses things I could not easily express.  And writing the words down helps me to process and internalize them. It's fun looking back on song lyrics I've copied down and noticing the lines that I underlined. It reminds me of what I was thinking/feeling when I wrote that entry. Enjoy :)

Where you go I go
What you say I say

What you pray I pray

Jesus only did, What he saw you do
He would only say, What he heard you speak
He would only move, When he felt you lead
Following your heart, Following your spirit

How could I expect to walk without you
When every move that Jesus made was in surrender
I will not begin to live without you
For you alone are worthy you are always good

You are always good
You are always good
Always good
Always good

Though the world seems to forget
We will not forget
Who you are and what you've done for us

You are my God

Blogging, I've missed you :)

Friday, April 27, 2012


So for those of you watching "Smash" on NBC these days... it's gettin' good. Alright maybe it was always really good.  But this last week Megan Hilty sang "Second Hand White Baby Grand" and I cannot stop listening to it. Megan Hilty delivers it in such a beautiful way and I just wanted to share it with you all. Oh and PS does anyone else hate Ellis and want to see him get punched in the face?? haha

Watch it here:

Enjoy and have a smashing weekend! :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Kony 2012

Invisible Children is a great organization that launched a new campaign this week: "KONY 2012 is a film and campaign by Invisible Children that aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice."

Check out the video and stay informed. There has been a lot of controversy since this campaign started and this link has some great resources with different peoples' opinions. Check it out here. And Invisible Children has made an official statement here. Watch the video above and spread the word.

Be informed. Be a part of change.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Playing Tourist

I went to visit Jo this weekend in Burbank and we did all sorts of fun things in a span of 48 hours. We started the weekend off at a fun little sushi bar that had a 9-12 happy hour. Saturday morning we had brunch/mimosas (my fav!) at the Eclectic Wine Bar and Grille in North Hollywood. That afternoon we played tourist in downtown Hollywood. I totally forgot it was Oscar weekend so it was a bit crazy but so fun to see all the set up for the awards. We saw the red carpet and all the huge Oscar statues.

And then we walked to Grauman's Chinese Theatre. We saw the Harry Potter cast hand prints, along with Bing Crosby, Shirley Temple, Gene Kelly, Meryl Streep (Who won the Oscar the next day for Best Actress) and my hand fit perfectly in Julie Andrews print :) Does that mean some of her talent will seep in through my hand??

That night we relaxed at Jo's house, made some pizza, watched Harry Potter and baked cupcakes. Pretty successful weekend!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Coffee Mornings

This was definitely a coffee morning. I got up to meet a friend for breakfast at 7:30am. Did I mention I'm not a morning person?

Well, I'm not even a regular breakfast-eater, but I will joyfully wake up for good food and great conversation. And that's exactly what I got :) I'm thankful for that this morning. And the thing I actually like about getting up early is having the rest of the day to be productive. But where did I end up after my breakfast date? At another coffee shop... go figure. Apparently the 3 cups of coffee at breakfast didn't do the trick.

But now I've paired music and coffee. Another great combination right? I'm meeting a different friend in a half an hour and so I came to put our Wednesday worship set together. And I'm pretty sure if I went home and relaxed I'd fall asleep haha.

That's my day so far and I'm loving it. Work tonight. My life is so exciting, huh? ;)
Well, I hope you all have a happy Tuesday! Take the time to drink some coffee, chat it up with a friend and enjoy this beautiful life that God has given us.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Great Way to Start Off The Weekend...

Okay so it's not exactly the weekend yet, but I'm having a slow start today. I only teach a few lessons today so it kind of feels like the weekend :)

I'm catching up on some stuff and am listening to this beautiful cover of Jason Mraz's "I Won't Give Up." I'm singing it for a friend's wedding in a month...

Enjoy :)
And have a great holiday weekend!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I had the best dream last night. Have you ever had one of those dreams where when you wake up it's quite devastating that it wasn't real? I kept going back to sleep hoping it would continue (and it did!). Seriously... I stayed in bed until almost 11am :) So here's what happened:

I was in an audition or a workshop of some kind. (I think it started out as an audition and turned into a workshop halfway through. Oh dreams). I was preparing to sing "Meadowlark" from "The Baker's Wife."

And what do you know? Patti LuPone was there! YES.

And so was Bernadette Peters. Whaaat?!

Anyway - Patti LuPone sang through the song with me. How did I not know this was a dream?? (It felt so real, though!) And then we analyzed the song together, she gave me some tips and I performed it for them... and it was good! I feel like I can say that without being cocky because it was a dream haha.

That's about it. But Patti and Bernadette were sitting in a room listening to me sing and enjoying it. What? Okay, I'm done. Just thought I'd share, because even though it wasn't real I enjoyed it and am still pretty jazzed about my fake performance for two brilliant women in musical theatre.

I'm going to go to bed now. Maybe Sutton Foster and Laura Benanti will make an appearance next :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Drive-in with dad

Last night my dad and I had a date :) When I was little my dad would take my sister and me to the drive-in when my mom was out of town. He would load the car with blankets, a pizza, and our favorite snacks. So this Saturday night my dad and I did just that. We loaded up the car with all of those fun things (including my favorite Flourless Chocolate Souffle Cake that he surprised me with) and headed to the Sunset-drive in theatre. It may not have looked like the old picture above haha - more like this...

But it was great all the same. We saw "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island" and "Man on a Ledge." The acting in the first movie was comical, but the 2nd was good. But the real reason for the drive-in is the outing, the atmosphere and the fun of the whole trip... I mean who doesn't love to sing along with the "Let's all go to the lobby..." song in between movies?? :)

Even though I'm 24 I still love the occasional father/daughter date night :)

Santa Barbara Saturday

Last Saturday I took the 1.5 hour drive to Santa Barbara to meet up with my friend Dana :) She lives in Pasadena so SB was our half way point. We had the most relaxing day and fortunately for us it was a beyond beautiful day on the coast...

For some reason I came up with the bright idea to meet at the Starbucks on State St. But little did I know there were 3 Starbucks' on the same street. (Smart, Tamara). After a few confused and comical phone calls we found each other and proceeded to take a walk down to the beach. We walked the length of the pier and had a grand view of the expanse of water sprinkled with sailors, fishermen and paddle surfers. We sat at the edge of the pier and soaked up the sun and its wonderful warmth.

We had lunch at a nice restaurant on the pier that had a great view. Yummy food and good company.

After lunch we walked along the water and again sat down to enjoy the view and sun.

We then walked along State Street, did some shopping, and stopped for frozen yogurt.

(And Dana may or may not have tried to take a nap in World Market...)

We ended the night with a relaxed dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and what girls outing is complete without cocktails and laughter? :)

Day trips are a blessing... and so are good friends.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

On my bookshelf these days

I just finished reading the classic Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre for the first time. I loved it. It's not my typical book of choice, but I've been wanting to read it for years (It's one of my mom's favorites). The thing that always stopped me was that it is a massive 552 page novel. And it's definitely "a journey" as my mom puts it... not a crazy page turner at first and not one you want to read in 3 days. But alas I made it through and enjoyed the journey. If you haven't read it, you should.

My reward for finishing Jane Eyre is moving on to my latest purchase, Patti LuPone A Memoir. If you're not familiar with Ms. LuPone's work, she's most known for her Tony Award winning performances in Evita (1979) and the revival of Gypsy as Rose (2008).

I've already read the first three chapters and I'm hooked. The very first quote at the beginning of the memoir got me:

"It's a curious thing. I suppose most people think of artists as impatient, but I don't know of any first-rate artist who hasn't manifested in his career an appalling patience, a willingness to wait, and to do his best now in the expectation that next year he will do it better."
-Mark Van Doren
(from The Dialogues of Archibald MacLeish and Mark Van Doren)

The very fact that Ms. LuPone chose this quote to start her book gives me a hint that this is going to be a good one. I'll tell you more as I keep reading! But so far, I can relate to a lot to her life... falling in love with music very early in life, being involved in school choirs, studying music in college and having a problem with judgement and not fitting the "mold" the school put on her. So far so good.

More to come :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Performers and Competition

It's weird. Sometimes I feel like I picked the wrong profession. Don't get me wrong - I love music. I can't help but want to sing all the time. (Seriously... all the time. It's probably annoying). But being in music means being around musicians (or those aspiring to be in the music business) all the time.

I have to tell you. I love performing. I would be holding a microphone, standing on a stage all the time if I could. But sometimes I really dislike performers. It's more the arrogance and pride that bothers me. This is not to say that all performers are arrogant and prideful. But so many times in my life I've been paired with other artists to put some sort of show on and there is this weird vibe between us because the other person feels like we're in competition. Whether they think they're a better singer, choreographer, teacher, organizer, whatever. And I'm not saying they are not better - but when you are teamed up, you are working towards the same goal - putting on a great show!

SO. Where was I going with this? I feel like there are so many amazing performers out there. We don't need to compete with everyone we meet in this business. I don't care if you can sing a High C. So can I. If you are a great singer, I will respect you for it. Let your skill win me over, not your talking yourself up (because that won't win my respect). Let's just be encouraged and inspired by great performers! Don't knock other people down and compare yourself to them. Learn from them and get excited about getting better yourself!

Okay, my rant is over. :)

If you want to hear some great music and see some awesome performances, check these videos out. I've been totally obsessed with watching the old Kennedy Center Honors tributes on youtube lately. The links are below. Enjoy! And be inspired!

A tribute to Jerry Herman

A tribute to Barbara Cook

And if you need a good laugh, no one can compare to the comedy of Victor Borge :)

Happy Tuesday!