this girl turned 6

My dear, sweet, spunky Mackenzie turned 6 last week.  I was ecstatic and devastated all at once, for obvious mama-type reasons.

To explain just how delightfully fun and intelligent my little six year old is, I’d like to tell you this short story from our birthday weekend of celebrating.

In the pantry I keep lemon sandwich cookies that happen to be Michael’s favorites.  To be clear: It is understood that they are Michael’s cookies.

One evening, while I was finishing up the supper dishes, I heard some rummaging around in the pantry.  Nothing unusual, so I kept on with my chores.

A few moments later, more rustling.  And again a bit later.  I turned around to see my baby standing right next to me – with a mustache of crumbs encircling her smile.  This exchange followed between us:

With great curiosity I said, “Whatcha eating, sweetie?”
Eyes sparkling, she replied,”lemon cookies.”
*grins ear to ear*
“How many did you eat?” I tried to ask without accusing.
three
“THREE?  Oh wow.  Did you ask Daddy if you could have three of his cookies?”
Oh yes!  I did.” she said confidently; then a bit quietly…  “I whispered.”
“Oh….”  *mama desperately trying not to giggle*
Thoughtful confession,  “He probably didn’t hear me…”

As a Mother I’ve spent many hours hoping and praying that I won’t forget each stage with my children.   And often, in my case trying to retain three sets of memories, I wonder if I have room in my brain for all the “Mackenzie” memories.   I am grateful for all of the precious moments with each of my children, but especially the quirky, little, funny ones like this that I know I’ll never forget.

Happy sixth birthday to my sweet Mackenzie!

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wrapping things up…

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Tonight the North Shore Children’s Chorus sang together for the final time this spring.  We sang at the Morning Pointe Nursing Home in Hixson.   The children did an amazing job this evening sharing God’s love with the residents.

On my way to the facility, I listened to an old Hezekiah Walker song that says, “Every Praise is to our God.”  And it resonated so deeply in my heart – each praise, even these words spoken and sung by these young voices, are heard by our Heavenly Father.  Not just the grown-ups words, but every word of praise He hears. And I was reminded one more time just how worth while it is to teach our children to praise Him!

When we finished singing, we went to a nearby park, ate a few ice cream sandwiches and popsicles and played.  I loved watching my precious friends fellowship the way children do best.   It really was a delightful evening that I won’t forget any time soon.

I have to say that I have loved working with these beautiful children.  It is hard for me to finish up for the school year, because I will miss seeing their precious faces and experiencing all of their craziness each week, but I know we will be back to together when autumn comes.

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A quick note to my choir families:

To all of the dedicated parents who brought their children to be with me and sing praises every Wednesday : thank you!  I pray you will be blessed for your consistent efforts and sacrifice; I know it wasn’t “a breeze” to be there, on time, every week, all year long.  And I pray also that your children will continue to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

And to my sweet sisters in Christ, Patti and Kris – I am blessed by your servants’ hearts and your faithfulness to encourage me and the children week in and out.  I could not have survived Children’s Choir without you!

I’m full of joy today, remembering this calling He has given me to serve our children teaching about praising our Heavenly Father through the gift of music.

I look forward to being with some of my favorite kiddos again soon!  We’ll all be ready to be kind, be polite, and try (your best.)  Oh, and don’t forget: No shout singing!

See you in the fall!

with much love and gratefulness to you all,

Melody

 

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my eggs were cold

This morning my son begged for scrambled eggs.  I indulged him, because, well, I like eggs too.  But, as I got his breakfast and everyone else’s ready – I found myself not sitting down to eat my own eggs.  I’d warm mine in the microwave – and then, “Mom, I need some juice.”  oh right…  let me get that.  Followed by, “Mom can I have some fruit, too?” oops, hit the reheat button again… and so on, and so on.

When I finally sat down with my eggs and coffee, my eggs were not warm – and they were a bit tough. Definitely not a beautiful culinary experience – but, that doesn’t bother me near like it used to…   This is my life as I know it right now.

Motherhood is a balancing act.  It is learning to walk the tightrope between teaching independence and serving.  I struggle – I lose my balance -leaning far to the right, then far to the left – I fall off completely sometimes…  Am I doing too much for them, too little? I mostly have no idea.

However,  often I find myself leaning towards the self-centered side of motherhood – looking for my rights, searching to have my needs met, rather than serving my children in love.  Yep – that’s how I roll.  I find ways to rationalize or excuse myself from service. I’m sinful.

Where are my fresh, hot eggs?

Later this morning while I finished up the breakfast dishes, I thought about my lukewarm, chewy eggs.

And I realized what I need to remember right now, just a few days away from mother’s day.  On a day when our culture wants me to believe I should be served, I should be pampered, I should be given gifts – I have to recall the truth:  being a mother doesn’t deserve any of these things.

Okay, so I know that sounds harsh, but it is real.

As a follower of Christ, I’m called to be sacrificial, to love, to disciple, whether or not I’m a mother.  And in reality, I’m only able fulfill these good works because of the way that Christ has loved me, because of His immense sacrifice.  That love and sacrifice activates the same in me.  If I am a successful mama to my sweet children, I deserve nothing.  If I am successful, it is because of the goodness He has brought about in my life, enabling me to follow His example.  Truthfully, He deserves the glory on Mother’s Day, if there’s any to be given on my count.

On this Mother’s Day, I will give thanks and celebrate the work that He continues in my life.    May it be so, on every day, not just Mother’s Day!

One of my favorite passages from Ephesians 2, reminds me of His gracious work:

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly placesin Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

now hear this

There it was in my inbox : an email from my hubby with a list of the audiologists in the area who are in our healthcare network.

You see, I’ve been asking questions like these for some time now: “What’s that?”   “What did you say?”  “Pardon?”  *raises eyebrows* “Can you repeat that?”    And I do mean that I ask these questions many times a day, especially of my kids.  And it isn’t because I’m not paying attention.  No, I’m intent.  But, I’ve thought for a while now that my hearing may be slipping away.

However, every time I’d mention it to Michael in the past, he’d brush the suggestion off and tell me not to be so concerned over it… until now.

This email on the screen was like a flashing neon sign. (which is a good thing, since I might not have heard a buzzer or alarm.)

Up until this point my family has been so patient, repeating two and three times what they’re trying to say to me.  But, sending me this email was like confirmation: He agrees with me.  He thinks I’m loosing my hearing, too. Or possibly he’s finally tired of repeating 5 million times a day.

I feel a bit like Beethoven and not in a glamorous, famous composer kind of way.  I mean, I’m a musician – I can’t loose my hearing, can I?  I guess this may be payback for all those hours in a tiny practice room…

At any rate, I’ve been praying in a bit of a desperate fashion that this will all be sorted out easily,- and it got me to thinking…  Why am I not worried about hearing God’s voice?  I mean, if my physical hearing is so important to me – what about my spiritual hearing?

Daily, I move through life – in silence, not hearing the things my Heavenly Father is saying to me…Oh how my heart would be changed, how my behavior would change,  if I would listen more carefully for His gentle voice.

But, I heard him this morning. Kindly, patiently He began speaking all of the promises my forgetful heart needed to hear:

that He is for me.  that He forgives me.  that He is with me, and I don’t have to fear anything.  that He has a plan.  that He is in control. that His way is best.  that He is still at work, and He’s not gonna give up on me. that He is my friend.  that He is good, in all circumstances.  that He loves me unconditionally.  and that these promises are gifts – not one of them I can work hard enough to earn.

With these thoughts, I’m reminded to make two appointments.  The first one with Him, recurring daily on my calendar, to take quiet moments and hear His voice.  And the second one with a doctor on the list in Michael’s email – maybe I’ll only need one of those appointments!

Thank you, Heavenly Father for being faithful to your Word and to your Promises!  And that You are willing to speak them loudly to me, when I don’t hear the first or second or hundredth time!  amen.

 

 

life’s beautiful music

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(Remembering our friend today, who left this world a year ago- I feel sure he has been making heavenly music ever since.)

A friend called last night and said to come on over.  We’ll hit up a few tunes for posterity’s sake.  And it’ll be fun. like old times. He can’t say it quite like that these days, but I feel sure that’s what he meant.

So, Michael and I said of course.  But later, while I was trying to fall asleep, I found myself captivated by fear.  That I wouldn’t play well.  And that my poor playing, would indeed be trapped for all earthly time, captured on a record… I can’t forget my husband’s advice:  Just soak it in.  enjoy it.  remember it.

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There’s something that happens when you hit that certain”niche” with fellow musicians –  it is unexplainable, and intangible, but, oh. so. real.  It doesn’t happen often, but when it comes about, you can feel it in your soul, and you realize you don’t want to ever miss playing with those folks, if you can keep from it.

That’s how Michael and I feel about this fella who called for us to come play in the studio today.

We sang and played, our hearts soaring above the noise of it all.  You could not pay me any amount of money to trade our time together this afternoon.

DSC_0040 Life is short, no matter how long it turns out to be.  The Heavenly Father has every day numbered for each of us .  But, it doesn’t make it easier, the not knowing how many days that actually is.  I do find great peace in this knowledge:  The Giver of All Life has given me this earthly music, as just a foretaste, an appetizer of what is to come.  Hard times come and go – but there is an eternity waiting – everlasting days without fear, only the most beautiful music we will ever know.  And there we will play and sing to our hearts’ content, worshiping The One who has composed and  orchestrated it all.

(originally posted on February 11, 2014)

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Last weekend I had the privilege of flying home to spend the weekend with my parents.  It was a special time of honoring my folks and giving glory to God for their 41 years of ministry serving the body of Christ.

I couldn’t share in a speech how proud I am of them.  Their faithfulness to God’s Word and their perseverance in His work is remarkable.   But to explain the entirety of their service – and how their story has become a part of so many people’s lives – there just wasn’t enough time.

But, I was able to do one thing.

For all of my growing up our home was full of singing and music.  And – last Sunday I got to sing back to my Dad songs that I remember Him singing from the time I was a little girl ’til the time I left home.  From songs that were silly to songs that shared the Gospel or urged on the Faith- I sang them as a tribute to my Dad and Mom.  And I made Dad sing one of our old favorites with me.

I won’t bore you with all the details – but, here are a few photos from the weekend with friends and family.  It is a time I will always treasure, grateful I was able to be there.

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a poem: Morning Flight.

I snapped these photos a few days ago, and could not resist putting my thoughts down – It was a glorious morning in the heavens!

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Like a needle piercing fabric
The plane noses thru thick gray into the deep blue,
and floats above layers of clouds
Posing as great white puffs of cotton.
There the morning sun perches
above the gloom
Where It has always been.

Here the brightest truth takes flight:
The Glorious  Morning Star resides
Above the darkest blanket of storms.
Unseen, the view obscured by the fog of my own humanity,
Still, He remains, shining.
Unflinching, unmoving, unchanging.

Not showing up barely in time, when I call,
But rightly settled above all
For the full expanse of time
As my Creator-Sustainer.
Set free on wings of faith and hope,
My heart soars.

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