Sunday, January 27, 2008

Just a Bit of Music Trivia

Song lyrics have fascinated me since I was around 14-15 years old. I used to spend hours listening to James Taylor and Carole King, reading along with the lyrics, writing them down word for word. Notebooks were filled with words and songs. My time in class, better spent studying, was spent writing my own poetry and copying the poetry and songs of others.

Not long ago I was reflecting on when I began to love words and writing and I realized it was at the same age that I became a Christian, age 14. I know I've always felt a spiritual connection in my writing, as if my heart was filled and my words easily became prayers.

In researching the lyrics of the song "How Can I Keep From Singing", I discovered that it was originally written in 1860 by Robert Lowry, a Baptist minister in Pennsylvania. He also wrote "Shall We Gather at the River" and many more hymns.

The folk singer, Pete Seeger, learned the song in 1957, changed the words, and his version is the one sung by Judy Collins.

The Original by Robert Lowry

My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth’s lamentation
I hear the sweet though far off hymn
That hails a new creation:
Through all the tumult and the strifeI hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul—How can I keep from singing?

What though my joys and comforts die?
The Lord my Savior liveth;
What though the darkness gather round!
Songs in the night He giveth:
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that refuge clinging;
Since Christ is Lord of Heav’n and earth,
How can I keep from singing?

I lift mine eyes; the cloud grows thin; I see the blue above it;
And day by day this pathway smoothes
Since first I learned to love it:
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,
A fountain ever springing:
All things are mine since I am His—How can I keep from singing?

Paraphrased Version

My life flows on in endless song
Above earth's lamentation.
I hear the real, though far off hymn
That hails the new creation
Above the tumult and the strife,
I hear the music ringing;
It sounds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?

What through the tempest loudly roars,
I hear the truth, it liveth.
What through the darkness round me close,
Songs in the night it giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I'm clinging.
Since love is lord of Heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

When tyrants tremble, sick with fear,
And hear their death-knell ringing,
When friends rejoice both far and near,
How can I keep from singing?
In prison cell and dungeon vile
Our thoughts to them are winging.
When friends by shame are undefiled,
How can I keep from singing?

This song lifts my heart everytime I hear it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hidden Treasure

You know what I love about reading? Finding that unexpected treasure, like searching for and finding a precious jewel. Or what about this analogy. Reading a good book is like walking along the seashore, enjoying the solitude, the beauty of the ocean's blues and greens, and the great expanse of the sky, only to glance down at the sand and discover a shell, perfectly formed, miraculous in its smoothness and color. A treasure to take with you.

Today I was reading a book called "Letters from Ruth's Attic", by Ruth Bell Graham. In talking about waiting on the Lord, she quotes F.B. Meyer,

"Prayer means not always talking to Him, but waiting before Him till the dust settles and the stream runs clear."

Those are moments that, for me, are sometimes few and far between, but they are the moments when I have truly known I was in the presence of God, that I have seen God's heart. I'm always amazed at the gentleness of His words and at the quietness of my soul as I wait before Him....

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bulletin Board of Cyberspace

Something about creating a blog takes me back to my childhood. Remember when we wrote a story or painted a picture or created something and we got to hang it in the hallway of our school? It was fun to have our work on display alongside all the others. We knew that our work could be seen by anyone as they walked down the hall, but we weren't sure if and when they read our words or saw our pictures. But it was a fun feeling just the same.

Having a blog is alot like that. We create something, write some words, add some pictures and put them on display for the world to see. We're not sure if anyone sees them, but it's fun just the same!

I actually have two purposes for my blog. One is to have fun being creative and to have a place to write my thoughts. The second is to maybe, just maybe, encourage someone who happens by at just the right moment. God specializes in that.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Just Thoughts

Today has been such a wonderful day! I attended a class teaching me how to become a teacher.
It always amazes me how when I do something outside of my ordinary routine, something I enjoy and for which I see a purpose, it just seems to fill me with hope. It helps me to see things in a new light.

My next door neighbor, who is 5, just asked me to sit outside with him and make something. That's kind of an honor, you know? So I'll add my really neat quotes at a later time.

I'm back.. .. The instructor shared some really good insights into good teaching. When I heard them I realized how they apply to being a good mother to my own kids as well.

"Be the kind of person you want your kids to be!" Mark Benthall, Texas Teachers
It sounds so simple, but what an amazing thought.

A thought on expectations: we live up to our own expectations of ourselves. Our kids live up to our expectations of them. Something I've always held in my heart is that no matter what my kids do or don't do, or say or don't say, my expectations for them will remain the same. I hope the best, believe the best and pray for the best. Always.

I guess that's what love is. 1 Corinthians 13 (love) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Hello World!

I suppose if I am going to create a Blog I should actually write something. So.... I am writing to you today, looking out my window at the bare branches of the trees in my backyard, wondering if it's ever going to be winter?

Just by chance, I discovered this quote on New Year's Day and wanted to share it with you.

"We will open the book. It's pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and it's first chapter is New Year's Day."
Edith Lovejoy Pierce

We all have the gift of a new year. Each morning we have the gift of a new day.
For me, this blog is my "book" and I look forward to writing to you and sharing my words and pictures.

"Do not give up; the beginning is always the hardest. " (found in my Chinese fortune cookie)