Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Sing Your Song

Thank you whoever first posted this photo last weekend:)

I have played music for as long as I can remember.  I began taking lessons as a four-year-old. I began as a solo instrumentalist but my favorite thing, by far is to play WITH other people.  I've played in ensembles, quartets, as a duet, in symphonies and orchestras, in worship bands, in instrumental bands...and NOTHING compares to that feeling of playing a note that fits so perfectly with another.

Classical music if fantastic and reaches a different part of my soul than other music. Fiddle music reminds me of my grandaddy.  Folk music brings me back to college coffee shops and gigs.  Hymns take me back to our small churches as a child, as I played side-by-side with my siblings and parents as we led the congregation together.  Songs played for funerals and weddings carry their own weight and music played to words that sing about our God and who He is...NOTHING compares.

But you know what?  I've always wanted to be able to sing.  Like REALLY sing.  

Now, I can carry a tune...and it'll for sure be IN tune, but it just doesn't come out like when my friend Patience Leino (or so many of the other vocalists I have had to privilege to play music with/for) who quite honestly sounds like I imagine an angel sounding.  I struggle to remember lyrics without a prompt and my voice gets shaky and unsteady, and I've heard those things are kind of important, ha!

Still, I can hardly contain myself.  I feel like it might explode through my chest at times as I get so caught up in the words of the song and try to wrap my mind around their reality and what they mean that I simply can't NOT sing.  I often have to remind myself that I need to "come back in in about three more beats" or that I am going to need to bring it back down in order to keep that consistent rhythm or steady bow hand.  

It's not that I'm not allowed to actually sing, but there is a reason I don't have a microphone.  Because that's not my thing.  It's not the song God gave me to sing.  My song is made on a violin.  I sing my notes through a melody of tones strung together.  My personal song complements the lyrical song and all the other pieces that fit together to make it complete. Individually we all sound just fine, but when you bring us all together there is no denying its purpose.

Nearly every time I am playing I am reminded of the gift that it really is.  To be able to have a way to express my heart to the Lord, even though I can't sing my worship the way I want to, is a true blessing which I am immensely grateful for.

Josh just reminded me of this breathtaking message that Louie Giglio has about the different parts of creation and how they all fit together to make a beautiful cacophony of sound in worship of our great God.  They aren't even trying for it, they are just doing what God created them to do!

If I sat on the sidelines simply because I can't sing the way I wish I could, not only would I be missing out on this avenue God has given me to jump on board with His mission, but my part, my notes, my song and my worship would be missing.  The body of musicians would be affected as a whole.

Maybe you are reading this and wondering what in the world I'm even talking about.  Your song has nothing to do with notes at all.  You are an engineer, a teacher, a smart computer person (there are so many of you out there, and THAT is for SURE not me!), doctor, builder, landscaper...you name it.  That is your song.

Or maybe you care deeply for children, or the marginalized, or the homeless, or strong families.  You pour into those things with all your heart.  
That is your song.

I have other avenues of singing as well.  Being an intentional mother and wife, teaching my kids, shaping hearts, encouraging friends, feeling deeply, listening without judgement, crying with those who cry, fighting for lots of white space in order to fill it with the multiple interruptions God brings my way...these are all some of the songs I feel like God has given me to sing.

What is YOUR song?  What notes do you bring to the cacophony of sound that reaches far above the heavens that shouts how great God is, even when our world is crumbling around us?

It doesn't have to be glamorous. 
Most of the time it's not. 
In fact, many times you'll get dirty as you sing it.  
But embrace it for what it is.

We've all got a song to sing for Him.
Just find your song and sing it!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Track Out Adventures ~ The NC Zoo

One of the first things we planned for track out was an outing to the NC Zoo.
And it did NOT disappoint!

It did begin pouring while we were in Africa, but isn't that just like Africa, lol.

Also, some of the animals weren't in their habitats which was a little disappointing,
but we have promised the kids to go back
(since a year family pass was cheaper than just one trip to the zoo with our family).

We saw cute little otters, one of which we think may have had some mental instability.
Bears and coyotes and PUFFINS!  Alligators and zebras and bison...

Alethia even got to see her beloved flamingos.

We had several favorite parts (another of mine being the adorable porcupine)
but one of them was the dome with all of the exotic birds.

And since we have the big party bus we were able to take my parents with us!

What a fun day we had!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Sitting Outside The Ring Of Fire

Josh and I sat outside by the fire pit for over 2 hours last night.  We saw the sun drop behind the trees and then the atmosphere slowly turn to darkness outside.  The stars were so bright above our heads, yet the darkness around us slowly swallowed us up...except for the light that the fire put out.

As I was gathering sticks to slowly add to the low-lit fire a bat kept sweeping in right around our heads.  It was creeping me out!  And every time I stuck  my hand down in the stick pile to grab another handful I was afraid I was going to pull out a spider, or even worse, a snake!

The fields around us are always an unknown.  We've seen coyotes and raccoons and numerous deer.  The random person has also been known to traipse through the tall grass on the far side of the field.

But the lower and lower the fire's flames got the more our eyes adjusted to the darkness and we were made more aware of our surroundings and the potential for critters, and who knows whatever else, to creep up on us.  There is a reason why I never enjoy the fire pit by myself when Josh is out of town.  Maybe if it was located closer to the house?

The fire was reaching an all-time low so I broke some longer twigs and sticks to add to the kindling.  All of a sudden the fresh new wood caught fire and began blazing brightly.  Immediately everything went pitch black around me.  The darkness didn't matter anymore, even though it appeared that it were thicker than ever.  The impending dangers were still all around us, but they seemed to have disappeared. Nothing mattered in that moment except for the nearly blinding light in the fire.  And as long as I stayed focused on that light that is all that consumed my mind.

The darkness will always surround us on this side of heaven.  The dangers and storms will always seem to be just over the horizon, but when we focus on the light  the fear goes away and the comfort is restored to the soul.

And in that moment, nothing matters but the light.

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."
John 1:5

"The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear? 
The Lord is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid?"
Psalm 27:1

"Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light."
John 12:36

"the people living in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death the light has dawned."
Matthew 4:16

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Track Out Adventures ~ Falls Dam

Josh and I are such creatures of habit.  We love adventures, but we always tend to go to the same places and do the same things and eat the same foods. But this year we're trying to branch out a little bit.  Like going to new places.  Ordering foods we have to look up on google just to figure out what they are and try new activities.

This new found desire to get out of the box decided to make its way into our track out adventures too.

Typically my anxiety keeps me from getting out and taking spontaneous adventures with the kids.  Who am I kidding, I hardly ever get out and adventure at all, lol.  But NOT THIS TRACK OUT! I was determined NOT to let my anxiety limit the possibilities as best I could.

I called up my partner in crime, we loaded up the party van and headed to Falls Dam. 

First of all, I hardly ever go to new places with all my kids without Josh.  Secondly, I NEVER am the one driving because that makes my anxiety even worse.  But again, I wasn't going to let that stop me this time!

We had no agenda, no time restraints and a party van full of adventure seekers just waiting to be unleashed. The weather was perfect and the setting was beautiful. This outing birthed an idea within Heidi and I.  We want to try to knock out as many new parks in our area as we can with these kiddos before they get too old to enjoy them (maybe...HOPEFULLY they never will!).

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Rainy Goes Ice Skating For Her 14th Birthday

Birthdays look a little different around the Colony Casa.
We've changed it up for the past couple of years.

We let the kids pick a couple of friends and invite them to an activity.
An activity that we don't typically get to do on the regular because we have such a large family

This year Rainy chose to go ice skating (a first!) at The Factory!

But first, she had to make her own birthday cake,
which she DIDN'T EVEN EAT
because she's not a cake person,
but she is a loves-to-bake person.
So, happy birthday to HER, ha!

It certainly was delicious as always though.

I canNOT believe that Rainy is 14!

Alethia, Chloe, Rainy, Savannah, Olivia