Days after a 30th Birthday


photo (8)As I thought about my twenties reminiscently last week, I realized something that brought me to tears.  I wouldn’t trade those years for anything.  I have cultivated so many friendships, experienced adventures and cultures, made strides in person character growth, felt the pain of difficult moments, learned how to push myself weary for people I cared about and beliefs I held, served in foreign lands, became a part of something bigger than myself, tackled my dreams, completed goals that were difficult to attain, graduated from college, cooked with and for those who I have loved and tried to make my own impact in God’s kingdom.

And as I look back, I’m not sad that I was single.  I have such a beautiful decade of amazing adventures and stories to share with others someday.  I’m so thankful to have experienced life and learned lessons that will make me better qualified to show true love to another individual.  Love isn’t about all the warm fuzzies.  It’s about putting forth the time and effort when it’s difficult.  Love is about reaching out even when your hand gets bit.  Love is about being there even when there are a million places in the world you’d rather be.  Love is something that holds back in times but also walks onward too.  It can also be walking away when it is time to leave it be at that point in time and walk on alone for now.

I don’t have many regrets at 30.  The ones I do have, well I still have time to work on putting them in the “no regrets” bin.  I prepared myself much better for my 30th birthday.  I am aware of the shortness of my life as I have now officially found 2 grey hairs on my head- what?  I’ve begun to realize what things are most important to me.  As my friend group grows more intimate, it it also becomes more genuine and full of quality.  I’ve learned to say no.  I’ve learned some things about human nature that are both disheartening as well as hopeful.  And I am always learning, changing, growing and breathing in the world of my Maker.

So here’s to the 30s and what they hold.  May we all appreciate every day as it comes.

~lme

Part of the Cure or the Disease?


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Photo Courtesy:  The British Library

Am I part of the cure, or am I part of the disease?” ~coldplay

This lyrics struck me as they played in my car today.  Am I the first or the second of these?  I’m sure at first each of us would wholeheartedly say yes, I’m part of the cure!  But wait, before you answer so quickly, here are 4 areas in which to consider whether you are part of the cure or the disease….

  1. Being part of the cure means you don’t spend all your time in things that only benefit yourself.  This would be the antidote in a self-sick world.  It’s easy to shop for yourself, feed yourself and spend time with only the people you like.  But really, is that what we are called to do and be as people of God?  I believe there are reasons that being trapped inside our minds and not serving others is unhealthy.  We have to get out of ourselves.  This will lead us to contentment and happiness.
  2. Being a part of the cure means you make decisions about your circle of friends, people you date and those from whom you seek advice with more than superficial things in mind.  I’ve often been struck when people try to set people up with someone who “loves music” or “loves to travel.”  Having a bunch of similar “likes” doesn’t mean you connect with someone nor does it mean they value the same things you do.  It also does not mean they will be someone who will spiritually lead you in a direction you need to go.  In fact, deciding who you will ultimately spend the rest of your life with means you consider more than yourself.
  3. Being a part of the cure means you are different than the culture around you and you’re ok with that.  The way we dress, act, talk and live out our daily lives should look different than others.  The way we react to situations should cause others to stop and think.  And counter-culture can also involve the many gadgets and distractions around us.  Sure, it is easy to have superficial conversations and also relationships, so it’s important to fight that by working at it.  As we “advance” in technology it seems to me that we’ve begun to “dis-advance” (I just made that up) in our interpersonal communications.  When I see a couple at dinner and the wife is on her phone, it seems a little sad to me.  I’m starting to wonder if the reason we can’t make true relationships work is because our base of online relationships are built on superficiality such as “likes” and “comments.”  When we have human connection in the same room and choose to connect to a device, what does that say about us?
  4. Being a part of the cure means you strive to see people as souls, not as beings from whom you can take what you want.  Don’t see people as merely physical beings to fulfill what you want but rather have their best interest at heart.  It means you say things that are difficult at times because it will help in the long run.  Being a part of the cure means curing yourself of only seeing the earthly, here and now perspective.

Sharing a blog post from Seth Godin


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Photo Courtesy:  This flickr photostream

Just thought I’d share a good one by Seth Godin that I read today in my old emails.

Does anger follow the laws of thermodynamics?

I have no idea what caused the guy in front of me in traffic to be having a bad day.

Maybe he has a stressful meeting coming up, or his butler burned his bacon at breakfast. Maybe he’s having trouble paying his rent, or his industry is under seige. All I know is that he’s weaving in and out, giving people the finger and yelling at other cars, all at the same time.

Unlike cupcakes, anger isn’t conserved.

If I have a cupcake and I give it to you, I don’t have a cupcake any more. But if someone who is angry gives you their anger, now you both might have it.

You’ve seen it too many times before. Someone is afraid, untethered or just upset about something that happened long before you walked into the room. Unbridled agita is dumped on you, spittle flying, eyes wide, personal invective unfiltered. Just feet away, the angry person is saying, “here,” and dumping vitriol in your direction.

All connection gets severed, any chance for positive engagement seems long gone. The opportunity, it seems, is to pick up some of that anger and throw it right back, where it came from.

And now, of course, both of you are having a bad day.

Shared anger destroys trust. It eliminates dialogue. It activates the lizard brain of everyone within earshot, and produces nothing of value.

No credit goes to the person who vents, who opens his spleen and shares his anger. No points for bravery or honesty or getting in touch with his feelings. Anger shared is not anger ameliorated.

Talk about it, don’t talk with it. Point it out, and then leave it there, on the floor, where, unengaged, the anger can’t help but wither and die.

For more great blogs by Godin, please check out his blog right here!

Happy weekend~

lme

Wrapped in grey


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Photo Courtesy:  NSW photostream

I remember the day

The day the world was wrapped in grey

It came fast

And it stayed

For a good long while this way.

 

The minds plus and minus of the world

The logical

Their intelligence unfurled

Began to notice missing things

All lines became straight which once were swirled

 

The paintings were no more on walls

No music heard down through the halls

the colors in the fabric

began to melt away

and everything began to fade into grey

 

the calculators were there

and the pens and the paper too

but slowly through the day

all the pants, shirts, picture frames and foods

began to drip their colors and what was left was grey

 

people began to disappear

the people who were odd and funny

so different, the laughing stock

the ones we could not understand

the ones with wrinkled frocks

 

oh there was math and science too

the methods above the madness

there was what they told us

was so important

and the color slowly melted

into a massive pool of sadness

 

and as they reveled in their logic

believing they had won

with each passing day their hearts grew heavy

without the variety of the ones who were gone

and upon the lips of the dying man, I heard him say

now I know without the other shades

I am sinking into the saddest shade of grey.

~lme

Plateaus, Laurels and Comfort Zones


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Photo Courtesy:  This flickr photostream

Plateaus:  If we aren’t careful…. At points in our lives we realize we’ve been on cruise control spiritually.  We work really hard, achieve some level of success in some way toward our accomplishments and then it happens.  We quickly become comfortable in our complacency.  We get used to routine or people or our career and how hard it becomes as we age to break some of our comfort molds.  But I challenge myself and you to do this…. Even on a daily basis.  Don’t be afraid to talk to someone new.  Don’t be afraid to push yourself or do something you’re afraid of.  Even if you make a tiny step every single day, imagine what strides you might make by the end of the week or month or year. 

It’s so easy to grow lazy in my daily life.  It’s so easy to whine and tell myself that life is hard and God can only expect so much of me, because hey, I’m tired.  But here’s something I’ve thought about …. We are light bearers.  If that is truly what we are, are we not to go out into a darkened world and literally shine our lights?  If we stay in our own communities of light and never take that into the darkness, how much good have we done?  If I only love others who love me, then how can I say I am doing much more than everyone else?

Laurels:  It’s really easy to dwell in the past- both negatively and positively.  Look at all I have done for God- look at these great things… and we begin to lose moments of the now to affect positive change.  We can also dwell in our misfortunes, imperfections as humans and failings in the kingdom long after they have passed.  This is unhealthy from both sides of that coin.  Right now- think about living in this one moment you have been given and what you can do, big or small, to serve God.

Comfort Zones:  We love them.  We live in them.  We wrap them round us like a blanket.  Well, some people more than others.  Stop loving them.  Right now.  Push them, stretch them, watch them grow until you begin to reduce your own sense of fear in many situations.  I believe fear is something we let begin to reign in our minds and bodies and God never meant for us to have such a spirit of fear.  He wants us to grow and thrive and heal and help others and do good (and this is such a run-on).   But seriously, I do think he wanted such good things for us, but I also think he wants to push us.  Do you think it was easy for David to stick his neck out for his people and fight a giant?  Do you think it was just a walk in the park for Abraham to leave everything he had ever known and jump faithfully into the arms of God?  Do you think it was simple to die for humankind?

So on this Monday- the early part of your week, I challenge you and me and everyone.  I challenge us to not necessarily think of our lives and the way we act in the same ways we have always done.  I challenge us to think of ways we might be able to serve even if it scares us.  I challenge us like Peter to step out of the boat in faith that God will help his children when they trust Him and truly desire to do His will and share the Good News and do good things in the world.

 

Go forth.
~lme

Thoughtful Thursdays


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Photo Courtesy:  This flickr photostream

“I can’t really say 

why everybody wishes they were somewhere else

but in the end 

the only steps that matter

are the ones you take all by yourself.”

~the Weepies

–Somedays we’re self-conscious.  Some days we are other-conscious.  May we learn to be content in our skin and love the others in theirs as well.

–Many do I affect and others affect me as well.  May we all affect each other for good.

–I am no longer a kid, and my parents can no longer make decisions for my life.  May I make decisions that make both them and My Maker proud.

–There are daily pressures and concerns on my mind and shoulders.  May I be strong beneath the weight.

–Relationships and friendships are always difficult to keep tied and strong.  May I have the patience, wisdom and love to foster them so good things will grow.

–Love is sadly misunderstood.  It isn’t a warm feeling at all times, but a choice to put someone’s needs and feelings first.  May we all strive to love “in word and deed.”

~lme

The need to be seen and the gift of getting lost


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Photo Courtesy:  State Library of New South Wales flickrstream I do not condone the usage of cigarettes in this picture… ha.

Each of us is a cog in the wheel of the great symphony of mankind.  Our voices blend in cadences and sometimes result in dissonance.  We all want to be seen, heard, appreciated, understood and loved.  We vocalize thoughts for some validation and eat heaping platefuls of both negative and positive energy from social media feeds daily.  A desire to be seen is something we feast upon.  But is being seen really what it’s cracked up to be?

Do I really want others eyes upon me continually?  We musicians tend to strive for recognition as if our art is only validated through more and more exposure.  But recognition comes with a high price on the pathway to fame.  Perhaps we are diseased with a weight of self.  Look at me, adore me, follow me, share my stuff, like me, love me, befriend me, idolize me.  Is that really what we want?  If I should never be able to get lost, disappear from the world for a day and run free, my soul would suffocate.  I sometimes pity the creative people, especially high-profile artists, in this world. They have intense pressure put on them to daily perform on a level of perfection.  I pity their inability to quietly slip into the unknown to observe, write, think and be.  It isn’t natural to think that someone can be switched on that often.  True art needs a cultivation period.  To get lost in the woods for a day is a blessing taken for granted.  To latch the door and head outside and feel the ground beneath our toes is something we have yet to do because we’re far to busy every day.  To learn how to be still and know that He is, and that we are not, is an aspect of life we too often choke out.  We let the “cares and the deceitfulness of riches” suffocate our hearts and smother our souls.   And I must ask myself why I let my soul wither away from malnourishment of good things and a lack of breath.  If breathing is important for physical life, perhaps it is important for me mentally and even spiritually.  Take some time to really meditate on the blessings and your purpose, vision and goals in life.  Don’t half-heartedly bounce from activity to activity without really comprehending and assessing the significance of each thing you do and whether it draws you closer to your Maker or farther away.

To the artists… don’t let recognition or lack thereof be your ultimate goal.  Are you any less of an artist because only two people hear you or 2 million?  Not in the least.  Keep sharing your message with the world and if you are genuinely in line with your truest self, practicing what you say, people will listen and take it upon themselves to also share your message.

Ponder the reason why you do what you do.  What is your purpose in pursuit?  Steeping in your ultimate goals can help you eliminate daily tasks or events that are merely cluttering your time and mind.

~lme

Tuesday Nuggets


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Photo Credit:  Queensland flickr stream

Why are you spending time trying to get people to notice you? Is it because you feel empty inside or you need recognition to give your art validation?  Get over it.  It’s not less of art if they don’t listen, watch or read.

Why do you think they care?  They don’t, so give them a reason.

Why do you want to cast pearls (creative music) before swine (the record execs)?  You should really just be honing and creating and crafting and trying to find those who love what you do.

Why do you not believe in yourself?  Other people do- look around.

Why do you listen to those 3 people in your life who don’t believe you can do it?  Ignore them, the majority is stronger for you.

Why do you do what you do?  If it’s for money, quit.  If it’s for fame, you’ll probably get it.  Though you might not want it afterward.  If it’s for the pure, unadulterated love of music and giving it back to the community to enjoy, you’re nearing a better place. 

Tip your hat to Tuesday. 

~lme

Boundaries, Creativity and Music Therapy


Music is woven in me and I have yet to be able to separate from my love for it.  This morning I recently read these two amazing blog posts that remind me that music doesn’t’ merely have  a self-involved process.  There is so much more to it being on this earth than that.  Music Think Tank is a great blog for those in the music industry, and this article on Creativity in Constraint really hit home.

We are such musical beings…. Just like the birds and the chimps and even trees and flowers.  There is so much music continually around us in earth and the sky.  Sadly, we are often too plugged into our indie rock to really listen to the music of nature.  But music is a healing thing from God.  It’s awesome the way that a song can transport us or lift our spirits.  God created that in us to do just that very thing.  Music is part of worship and He knew that it would bring us closer to Him.  Why is it that so many of us as musicians tend to think that we must shirk our God to pursue the thing He wanted us to be a part of?  Why do so many of us cut Him off in pursuit of that?

This article discusses our limitations as creative people.  If our limitations are what encourage our creativity such as creative fashion coming from poverty and resourcefulness arising from want….. perhaps there is a connection between spiritual limitations and creative limitations.  Perhaps the boundaries God has given me are not something to be angered about.  They are rather constraints that guide me and teach me how to excel in them.  Is creativity going beyond the lines?  Perhaps, but what if the most creative approaches to certain things were staying within some sort of parameters and finding ways to do that in more innovative ways?  I hope to find ways to do this through my career.

As I listen to some of Neil Young’s greatest tunes, I know he had limitations in both his technical abilities as well as his voice.  I can relate to that.  I’m no picture of perfection.  I get upset when I lack more abilities than I wish I had and to be disciplined to become better.  I am someone trying to change the world for good with my art.  I leave you with an image that tugs at the heart of every songwriter…. Thank you to this blog for sharing:

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And as my wheels are turning, how could I ignore the healing power and therapy of music that have existed since long ago…. Through God.  King saul utilized David’s musical gifts to ease his depression and whatever mental demon he was continually fighting.  Music heals our pain in different ways.  This girl’s blog is an amazing testament to the healing properties of music and is a great resource into the world of music therapy.  I think this new field gives validity to the scientists of the world who don’t believe art and music are really something that can be effective in large ways.  It is intriguing that science and art are closely tied and the health of our bodies and minds can be changed due to it.  This is all just more evidence that points us to our Maker.  God knows us and knows how to heal us, and He equipped us with the tools for this.  Thanks mom for the realization.

Pensive on a Thursday am I,

~lme

For shoulders beneath the weight of the world


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Photo Courtesy:  Florida memory flickr stream

Heavy the Heart

~a poem

Lone, dark house on a hill

Above darker secrets it sits

Grey and blues meld together

In the haunting. in the quiet still

Sad willow dying outside

Cracking paint

And rain seeping

in my windowsill

 

Lights camera, infraction

Where the pain sets in

I won’t leave you lonely

To find your way again

Hiding from the pressure

Away from it all

I can tell that you’re aching

Like weary king saul

 

Walking like bodies

Dying in spirit and flesh

With so much potential

Exhaling each breath

Resting in my bed

Possibly forever alone

This has never scared me

Perhaps i’ve been turned to stone

 

The devil breaks my body

But he won’t claim my soul

Chewing at my heels

I take the bridge, and pay the toll

He walks around in circles

Lighting fires in an open field

Chanting that I am no good

Whispers love can never heal

 

Dark as the night water rushes in

And small as I know I am

I will take my shoes off

and in the blackland soil, I will stand

as the storm begins to near

My brown eyes will be set

Wrapped in what I know

Against what has not happened yet.

~lme