Category Archives: Priority One

Life on Sundays

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Do you have a day of the week that stresses you out more than most? It can fluctuate, since most of our schedules do that these days. For a while now that has been Sundays for me. Stephen leaves before the girls and I, and for a huge chunk of our lives we only had 1 car, so me getting there was always changing and adding car-time. That lead to less getting-ready time and with 2 toddlers and a closet that morphs my clothes to fit weird only on Sunday mornings, it was far from my ideal start to a day. Thankfully I’ve found the 2 pair of pants that consistently semi-fit and just slowly swap out shirts. Can’t help but be thankful for a church full of people that enjoy wearing jeans as much as I do ;)

Moving closer to the church last Spring definitely helped with saving us time, as well as getting a 2nd vehicle back when Stephen worked with Bayer. He used to be the associate pastor and youth leader, then that changed and Stephen became the worship leader. He leads us in praise on some Wednesdays, and then both services on Sunday.

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He has been asking me to help with music on Sunday evenings for a few months. Months upon months, really. The girls usually go to bed at 7pm, so going to the 6pm service seemed like far more work than my brain could handle, especially since Sunday mornings are a bit nutty around our house. Well, I finally caved and started helping him a few months ago, and, surprisingly, I really like it. It isn’t consistent, but it’s been a really special time to me. Getting to practice and worship our Savior together, it’s such an amazing and new way to love our God together. And thankfully, after a few trials, we have figured out a little bit of a groove.

 

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I love singing with Stephen. For the past 8 or 9 years it’s always been behind closed doors, in a vehicle, or me harmonizing softly while he plays a guitar. Into a microphone was 100% away from my comfort zone. I decided I’d try it out one Sunday evening (most because attendance is much lower) and quickly discovered that worshiping with him in front of our church family, a lot of very dear friends and fellow believers, wasn’t as uncomfortable as I thought it’d be. Still not my scene, per say, but it’s worth the mild discomfort if it means getting to praise the Lord along side him.

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The girls had to adjust also. Sarah sits or stands in the pew pretty easy, either with a friend or by herself. Elanor took a few weeks to get used to it. The first 2 times she came on the stage and sat in my lap, which I loved. It probably didn’t help that she took a 5:30pm nap just before church, and woke up in a pew instead of her car seat where she fell asleep. Now she sits with Sarah and waits for me to join them after we’re done. It’s usually just a 4 song set, so it doesn’t take long.

 

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I have a few photos that sweet friends from church snapped and sent to me. I’m so thankful for our church family. The Lord knew over 5 years ago that I would sit on a stage and sing with my husband with our little girl in my lap, and I couldn’t imagine a better life.

Psalm 147 -

Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.
The Lord lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre!
He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills.
He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry.
His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.
Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!

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Risen Indeed

Two days ago it happened. The cross was carried and Jesus took the weight of this earth and all it’s sinful nature and died for us. He was carried to the tomb and buried. People mourned, while some celebrated. That much hasn’t changed in this world. Except that between those 3 days of loss, emptiness, confusion and wavering faith, God’s plan was still in action. The stone was rolled away and Jesus was no longer lying there. He rose. Praise God and sing out unto His name because His word was, is, and will always remain truth. His followers gazed upon His warm face. They feasted and celebrated because their faith was alive before them. Oh to have seen that sight. A vision that all believers will get to be in the presence of. To hear His voice, words of a melody I can’t even begin to imagine. Thank God if you have the honor of knowing Him today. To have the peace of His salvation. There is no greater gift.

Our day was able to be filled with that reminder. It began early as Stephen went to the church for a sunrise service. The girls and I followed soon after and got to spend time with friends. Hearing daddy practice the Sunday music set. Keeping the girls entertained while they patiently awaited the church-grounds egg hunt. They had a blast, of course. Picking up eggs and showing them off. Placing them in our plastic grocery bag because this mom didn’t think about bringing a basket. Opening each egg was like a new present. Erasers, candy, pencil sharpeners, Sarah showed me all of it. Elanor opened a pack of fruit snacks and that was all she cared about. I love her minimal spirit. Content with something small. I’m highlighting this time in my mind because you can’t know how they will be in 6 weeks or next year. Sarah was the first born, and she is quite aware. It’s not a bad thing, not even slightly. I just have to keep her in check at times. To be appreciative for the everyday things and anything beyond that is a gift to be extra thankful for. She has a tender heart and is so compassionate. She hurts when you hurt. She wants to fix you so that we can be joyful together. To laugh and tickle and play without ceasing.

The Lord gave us these children and I pray they come to know Him early on. That they understand His mercy and love for them.

After church we went and had lunch with my family. The kids played and our fellowship was relaxing. A good quiet pace for after a busy morning. We later went to the Ringl house to visit and have dinner together. The kids were excited and played their sugar filled hearts out. We couldn’t have been in a better spot for their sugar rush to take place. Cousins, a swing set, sandbox and slide. The weather was cool so they didn’t get overheated, which made it easy to help mom in the kitchen without any munchkins all around our feet. The food was just as good as lunch, and afterwards the kids played during a movie and we all sat watching.

All these children were not even a forethought in our minds when I met Stephen and his family. I never could have guessed that I would one day be sitting in this home watching my children laugh and play. Growing up is full of such wonderful surprises.

It was a good day. The kids got a lot of great family time and we are able to celebrate the fact that we have eternal hope. Our lives do not end here when we leave our bodies behind. His glory is real and redemption is free. Lord, give us the courage and boldness to share Your truth. Let the truth of this day never be overshadowed in the busyness of all our lives.

“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:16-20

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We hope you had a wonderful Easter

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Strumming My Heart Strings

I love listening to musical families. I think that is one of the things that drew me to Stephen when I first met him. Back when we were dating I used to sit on the couch in my parents living room and watch Stephen play his electric guitar. I would quietly observe as he picked through the different notes making them produce familiar tunes, such as the Mario Bros theme, or Jaws, and my personal favorite, My Girl.

I’m happy to report that I think we lucked out and Sarah has taken after her father in the music department. I may have played piano as a young girl, but that was with the help of lessons from a teacher. Not Stephen. Stephen hears a tune or a song and moves his fingers across the keys finding the notes required to duplicate what he just heard. It’s incredible. It’s something I can’t quite comprehend, and I absolutely love getting to watch his eyes and fingers go from thought to production. When he reads this he will think and probably tell me that he is far from a musician. That he doesn’t have real skills with instruments, but just knows his way around a few notes and songs here and there. Hogwash. My husband is humble, which is one of the many things that I love about him. Sure, he may joke about being awesome and rad and asking you for a high five when hanging out with friends and youth groups, he’s a kid at heart and I’m pretty sure he’ll always have that quality that keeps me laughing. But while he is a kid at heart, and a jokester to the core, he is also a hardworking husband, father, friend, son, youth leader, worship team player, employee, and mentor. That’s a lot of roles for one person to manage, and I’m sure he can get overwhelmed at times with filling those parts each and every day. After being together for over 7 years I think I know how he stays sane. Music. Music is an escape from the world and it’s many responsibilities. It’s a way for him to reconnect and focus all of his responsibilities around the most important role in life.

I know writing this won’t suddenly make his believe that he has a gift with music. No matter what you tell him he still won’t, and that’s not why I’m writing this. Stephen knows great musicians. He knows people that get paid to play music. People with top of the line equipment and almost a lifetime of experience. People that he admires and asks advice from. I’m sure they have helped contribute in his ability to learn new instruments and how to best work with what you have. The first guitar we bought Stephen was at a yard sale for $7. He still owns that guitar and I hope we never get rid of it. I’ve seen and heard him worship using that piece of equipment and it’s been some of the most humbling experiences of my life. To have the honor of listening to my partner worship our God that has given him that exact talent.. The God we have given our lives and marriage to. I hope that is something I never take for granted.

Music is part of Stephen’s soul. He gets joy out of showing others how to play and giving them tips that have helped him along the way. In my eyes, my husband IS the greatest musician I know. Every time he sits at the piano with our daughter in his lap and encourages her to bang on the keys, he is a teacher. When he grabs his guitar and sits on the couch to sing to our daughter, he is a vocalist. When he plays around with different tunes and cords, he is a composer. Even back when he put headphones on my belly when I was pregnant, he was a DJ. Every small thing he does, especially when he dosen’t know someone’s watching, he is using his gift to encourage people. He is using wood, strings, keys, and drums to show, speak, and spread his love for God and all the people who need to hear of that love. He is using something he enjoys for a cause much bigger than himself.

Today I got to watch the start of our next generation using an instrument for joy…

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She’s no Beethoven, but it’s my favorite piece to date.
In case the video’s being goofy, click here

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