Monday, October 8, 2012

HEAR ME giveaway/review INCREDIBLE!

Matthew West, Jeremy Camp, Chris Tomlin, Brandon Heath, Christ August, Stephen Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith....the list goes on.

Incredible voices.  Solo artists in Christian music that are household names in many Christian homes that love contemporary music.  Whether new or a bit mention the name and a song immediately pops in your head.

A new name that I honestly believe will be on such lists in many homes in the coming years:

Kyle Sherman.

I was offered the opportunity to review his first album before it is released tomorrow (October 9th).  In the last 10 days or so that I've had his music in my hands, I think I've listened from beginning to end 30 times or more.  This wasn't one of those reviews that I listened to a couple of times, enjoyed and then didn't spend much time listening after the fact.

This one GOT me.

Incredible voice, lyrics with depth that reached in and grabbed my heart from the first second.

Those of you that know me well, KNOW I love contemporary Christian music and how it MOVES me, provides healing and puts my heart into an immediate mode of worship.

This album and artist MOVED me like only some of my favorite artists have been able to do.

Songs such as Hear Me, Come to Me, Healing Coming Down, He prayed for Me, etc...  wrapped their lyrics around my heart and have STUCK in my head.

Just this morning, lyrics from "One True Friend" were the first thoughts in my head as I woke up.  That was a beautiful thing to know that the first words in my heart this morning was that Jesus is always our one TRUE friend, no matter what is going around us!

Kyle Sherman.  We WILL be hearing more from him.

I'm THRILLED to get this in the hands of one of you.  THIS is one you will definitely listen to over and over (it's actually playing in our house for at least the 5th time today!).  

Leave a comment to enter and be sure to leave an email contact!  Winner will be chosen at RANDOM on the 15th! 

Album Bio
Fort Worth-based singer-songwriter Kyle Sherman recently signed on as the flagship artist to brand new label RayLynn Records, an opportunity that presented itself during a time period when a record deal wasn't even on his radar.

"It's crazy how God works," Kyle says. 'Five years ago, I pushed pretty hard to do my own thing as a singer-songwriter, but every well I approached would dry up. It clearly wasn't the right time." So Kyle continued on a path of leading worship, taking a full-time role as worship leader at Lifechurch.TV's Fort Worth campus under the leadership of renowned pastor/author Craig Groeschel.

Just 3-years later Kyle made it back to Nashville, pouring his heart into a microphone at Sony studio with veteran producer and country singer-songwriter Mark Collie making his first album. God is faithful. Hear Me, the result of those sessions, is an eclectic and authentic mix of rootsy, southern soul.

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Lesson from an Apron

Aprons tell stories.

They are symbolic of many things in my life and in my God-given role as a wife and mother.

I think I could write pages about why I love them, cherish them, and embrace them with such an importance.  Yet, for the sake of time I'll just say:  they are just something that speak depth, history, and love.  Some women love shoes.  I love aprons.  No matter how many I have, I get excited like I kid on Christmas morning when I receive a new one (especially ones handed down or handmade).

Tonight an apron taught me another valuable lesson.  We've often laughed after the fact about all of the "strange" places God finds me and teaches me something I'm needing.  Tonight was another such night.

The last few weeks I've found myself in a very odd place.  Our family is stretching and growing....and searching.  We are struggling with the direction of the world and what it means to us as a family.  We feel the attack of Satan on us every direction we turn.  God is making it very clear that He is preparing us for something and as we wait for His direction, we are finding ourselves torn and broken.  Especially me.

I'm drained.  I'm spilled out.  I don't feel as if I have much to offer or give right now. We don't know if this is a time to pull inward as a family and just "hole up" for awhile or if God is getting ready to "move" us in another direction.  It's become very apparent by many recent situations that we are not in the right place in some different areas.

Because I'm highly emotional and tender hearted, I'm finding myself broken and frustrated much quicker than ever.  Even today, I found myself sitting in my closet floor having a melt-down.  Feeling as if I'm failing my family and those around me.  Feeling as if God is asking the wrong person to do things for Him.  Doesn't He know my weaknesses?  Doesn't He know I feel incapable?  Doesn't He think He can find someone else? Doesn't He know that my scars, wounds, and baggage are just not what He needs to fulfill His purpose?

Kevin met me in that floor.  He lovingly and prayerfully brought me to back to the real world.  Back to the place of picking myself back up and getting back on with life.  Helping to put my focus back in the right place.  Speaking truth to drown out the lies I've been letting in my heart and head.  He allowed God to use him to bring me back to a place of allowing God to minister to me even deeper.

And He did that.....through an apron.

I have a stash of aprons hanging in my kitchen on the shelf that Kevin made me at Christmas from antique window molding and porcelain knobs.  I noticed that they had become pretty unsightly. I gathered them all up and did ANOTHER load of laundry.  When they came out of the dryer, they somehow had become tangled in one giant ball.  A knotted mess.

Like me.

Knowing they couldn't be left like that, I start the untangling process and pulled out the ironing board and iron.

* Gasp *

For those of you that know me well........I don't iron.  Practically ever.  It's a standing joke that before I agreed to marry Kevin I had to make sure he knew that I would do ALMOST anything to take care of him, but ironing just wasn't one of those things I would do often.  Our marriage deal was pretty much sealed when I found out that He actually "enjoys" it (or at least tolerates it!).

He came in and offered to iron them tonight, but for some reason I TRULY wanted to do the task.

Reason:  God was working in my heart at that moment.

He was showing me that something all tangled, wrinkled and that looks pretty useless can turn out to be something beautiful.

Applying heat and pressure can make things beautiful again.  It's a refining process.

Just like the place we are right now.  He is refining us for a new purpose.

Stains. Wrinkles. Scars. Wounds.

All of it.

To make us new again.

So we can be used.

My aprons may be well worn, well-used, and stained.  Yet they have a purpose.  They have a story.  

They have been made "new" again.  

God is making me new again.  To be used.  He's in the process of applying heat and pressure right now to make us more usable for Him.  We just have to hang on through the process. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

"Kingdom Come Now" review and giveaway

It's been awhile since I've hosted a give-a-way and I'm thrilled to be able to offer some great Christian music today and then another one next week!  

Vineyard Worship
THIS IS YOUR KINGDOM COME NOW - featuring Casey Corum & Friends
Live from the Sugar Land Vineyard
(releases Tuesday, 10/2)
Album Bio
This dynamic new album features veteran worship leader and songwriter Casey Corum and a cast of friends recorded before a full house over two nights at Corum's home church. Listeners will also be introduced to the powerful voices of Torri Baker (Vineyard Church - Columbus, Ohio) and Crispin Schroeder (Northshore Vineyard - Covington, Louisiana), as well as a 17-voice gospel choir. Threads of R&B, gospel, and modern rock are woven together to create a fresh sound while, at the same time, being deeply rooted in the hallmark Vineyard worship value of intimacy with God.

My review: In the last year, I've reviewed several albums from Vineyard Music.  I've enjoyed the different genres of great worship music presented on each of them. With that said, let me just say, this newest one is by and large my favorite! Not only did I LOVE the style of the majority of the songs, they spoke to my heart.  REALLY touched my heart in a deep way, well beyond the surface!  There is nothing like feeling the weight of the world just melt away when you can come into His presence through music.  That is worship.  That is what this particular album did for my heart.  "This is Your Kingdom Come Now" is an album that I am certain I will listening to again and again!  

I'd love to get a copy of this into the hands of one of you!  One winner will receive a copy.  Entering is simple this time:  just leave a comment letting me know you want to enter.  Be sure to leave your name and email (most especially if you use the anonymous setting for comment).  Otherwise I can't contact you!  Enter to win through Monday the 8th at 6 PM (central).  I hope to announce the winner on Tuesday the 9th!  

Required fine print: "Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Combating Lies

In this day in age of the takeover of social media, it's becoming increasingly hard to not get caught up in the "world" and get lost in a distorted view of ourselves.

I'm ALL for social media when you are cautious about how you use it.

However, there are times you realize you are just as swept up in the hoopla as the next person.

Today, I'm keeping it real.

In this social media hyped world, I think we get inundated with images of perfection.  "She" is the perfect mom.  "She" is the perfect wife.  "She" always looks like a super-model. "She" never loses the juggling act and drops the ball.  "She" has it easy.  "Her" kids are prim, proper, and well-mannered.

Yes, those don't really exist.  We just tend to see the good because that is what is most often posted or written about.

Yet, we live in a REAL world.

Keeping it real says:  I'm not like that and it's OK.

Keeping it real says:  I'm struggling.  I'm failing.  I'm far from perfection.

Today, I'm keeping it real.

I've got caught up in the comparison trap.  I've been comparing myself to too many others and feeling as if I don't measure up.

It doesn't matter that I know the truth.  I've still fallen into that trap.  A lie of Satan.

We've embarked on an incredible journey with our elementary kids (about 85 1-5th graders) on Wednesday nights.  Our staff put together a FANTASTIC program this semester that we call Combat 607.  We get all decked out in our camo gear and show up READY to combat the lies of Satan.  Spiritual warfare.  We are going through popular lies that Satan tells us and we learn how to combat it with the truth of God and scripture.  My heart has been overwhelmed seeing the enthusiasm of the kids and listening to them repeat scripture that is hidden in their hearts.  I'm not talking little 5 or 6 word verses.  I'm talking passages.  Some of these kids can put us as parents to shame!

In the teaching, which is obviously meant for the kids, I've found that I'm learning just as much as they are.

I'm realizing that I've been in a battle and I've not been pulling out the power that LIVES inside of me.

I've been listening to lies.

At the risk of being more vulnerable than normal, I admit that I have abandonment issues.  I have confidence issues that stem from being an in process reformed perfectionist.  I just now am fully embracing the meaning of unconditional love.  I greatly struggle with balancing what forgiveness means and what it doesn't (that's a HUGE one!).

I realized that I was allowing the lies of Satan in my own heart.  For me, it was most apparent in my responses to what I would see on facebook.

Because of my own struggles and past (they do shape us!---we just have to learn healthy ways to respond), I was getting so caught up in the comparison trap that I was crushing my own spirit and blocking my connection with God.

Why does that person support him/her, but totally ignore me?  How does that person always keep it together?  I can't do anything NEARLY as good as that person, so why bother? That person clicks "like" on EVERY one of that person's posts....but if I had put the exact same thing, they would have avoided my post like the plague.  I could go on and on........

It was breaking me.

It sounds ridiculous to write it out now, but at the same time I KNOW I'm not the only one facing it.

We want people to like us.  We want to be seen as having it all together.  We want to be connected.

THAT is why social media sites like facebook and twitter have exploded.

We want our voices to be heard.

We want people to support us.  Acknowledge us.  We want people to see inside of us and still like us.

Yet, we are ending up disconnecting.  We end up discouraging ourselves and others.

I've been caught up listening the the lies of Satan.

You don't matter.  You aren't good enough.  No one sees you.


The truth is found throughout scripture.

The battle is won with the truth of God.

I just failed to embrace it fully enough.  I "know" the truth.  I just haven't been applying the truth.  I've not been waging war against the lies.  I've just been accepting them as normal and as reality.  Lies may hurt.  Lies can destroy if allowed to take root.

Yet, TRUTH is MORE powerful.  Today, I choose to embrace the truth.  Even if it means repeating it over and over so that it moves from my head to my heart or from my heart to my head.  Even if it means shutting off the outside world for awhile.  Even if it means avoiding relationships that are toxic.

Embracing the truth.  Combating the lies.