Monday, November 23, 2015

The Monday Blues: healthy Alternatives for coping

It seems like Mondays are disproportionately longer and more frequent than all the other days of the week. I feel like I drag myself through the day, getting kids fed, and dressed, and  off to school, backpacks tagging along behind, blankets and stuffed animals strewn about the house, bedroom floors littered with stray socks and legos. I'd love to say that I started Monday with a great workout, an exciting time of Bible study and prayer, and a healthy breakfast.

Yeah, right. It's more like hitting the snooze button until the kids are pouncing on the bed (or the noises coming from their bedrooms are becoming startling loud and investigation-worthy). Grabbing coffee, and pulling some clothes on in the dark, hoping they mostly match. A little eyeliner and mascara, yeah, that's a good idea, too. Forget the hair - just throw it in a ponytail and be done. Then we're pouring bowls of cereal - Lucky Charms if the kids are exceptionally lucky that day - and sweeping up at least as many spoonfuls off the floor as are in their hungry little tummies. Then it's run to the van and buckle in 6 wiggly, giggly, racuas kids.... oh wait, I forgot my coffee.  Oh wait, one forgot their lunch. Oh wait.... is it really morning already? What happened to sleep?

There just isn't time for a great start to the day, and I'm too tired anyway, even when I turn in early on Sunday night. So I try to find a few healthy alternatives to being cranky and miserable so I don't needlessly terrorize the rest of the people in my house with a bad mood.  Monday is a day to give myself a little kindness, get my little ones off and running for their week, and try to squeeze in some work where I can.

Coffee. That's a given! No day starts without coffee, and Mondays need a little extra.  Maybe you don't do caffeine - that's ok, it just means more for me.

Vitamins. I like Confianza by It Works!  (you can order it from my website here and I'll get a little comission): - It's a daily supplement to help your body deal with stress. I think it works wonders for performance anxiety, as well.

Starbucks. I know, there's controversy. And yes, it's way out of my way. And yes, it's expensive. But sometimes a peaceful ride in the car for a great tasting latte really improves my mood.

Music. Usually something along the lines of Matt Maher both soothes my soul and energizes me.

Essential oils. I'm only just beginning to understand the benefits of essential oils, but I have found that diffusing them (even in your vehicle) can help ipmrove your mood, give you energy, improve focus, and promote feelings of well-being, depending on the oils that you choose. Some enhance meditation, memory, or promote feelings of peace or family.  I became a Young Living Distributor so I could explore this avenue more - and I really like the combination of lavendar and peppermint to help me feel more calm and focused, and I also like the roll-on version of Stress Away - it seems to relieve my tension headaches.  (You can also order that from me and I'll receive a comission -

Comfort foods. For me, these are sometimes treats (dark chocolate, anyone?) or health foods - Go Picnic lunches, Larabars, or just something special to look forward to.

Quietness. Mondays are a great day to practice self-care and soul care. I work pretty hard to coordinate naps so that I get some quiet time all to myself. It doesn't always work out like I want it to, but when I do get a little alone time, especially to write and to hang out with Jesus, it soothes the nerves and refreshes me better than anything else. On Mondays, silence is solace.

What works for you on a Monday?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

I'm on fiverr

Need an inspirational message or a short devotional? I'll write one just for you! Check me out on fiverr.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Free Sheet Music for Thanksgiving

Like a blur, Thanksgiving is suddenly upon us. And between the ilk and ire of Halloween and the bigness and busyness of the Christmas season, the season of thankfulness gets lost on me.  I see my friends 30 days of thankfulness posts of Facebook, and I think, oh how nice! But I haven't taken the time to make my own.

One day is not enough to be thankful for all that God has given us, is it? I know that I need to be more consistently cultivating an attitude of thankfulness, contentment, and gratitude. I know the journey leads to joy, so why I am stuck along the road with this flat tire from greed and "if only...?" 

I am thankful for many things - and I know I need to slow down and appreciate them, rather than rushing off to the next shopping expedition. I know I need to write it down, so I can remember them the next time I feel stressed, or worried, or I don't know what my future holds. I know I need to share them with my children, so they can learn to be thankful. I know I need to share it with my church, so they know I am grateful for them. 

A friend showed me this terrific little book - it's a great place to start looking for gratitude, or a great gift to give a friend who could use a little love. It's called 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp.(Yes, I get an itty bitty commission if you purchase the book here - so thank you!).  

If you need something for your worship set, or special music, or a super easy song for your choir to learn, check this out. It's a little tune I wrote many years ago, and it's a quick learn for choirs big or small: Oh, Lord How I've Been Blessed. 

A limited number of folks can download it for free here:Oh, Lord How I've Been Blessed 
But if you really love me, you can spend $1.25 here, and make as many copies as you need for your church: Oh Lord, How I've Been Blessed

Happy Thanksgiving! 
May your turkey be tasty and your rolls be buttery, but most of all, may you know the loving presence of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thought for Thursday

What does God think about me? 

"Though our feelings come and go, God's love for us does not." -C.S. Lewis

"There is no pit so deep, that God's love is not deeper still." -Corrie ten Boom

"Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion." -Brennan Manning, Abba's Child:" The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Wednesday Worship Tip: Apps for worship planning

I have a few favorite apps that I use when I plan worship service music. Since I typically use my iPad for most tasks, apps are key. But many of these apps will also sync to your home or work computer, making them an invaluable cross-platform resource. Here are a few apps that I seem to use the most.

 Evernote. I love using Evernote for worship planning, admin tasks, and just about everything else that needs to be organized or filed. In high school, I had a wire notebook for every subject, with the topic clearly labeled on the front with a Sharpie. Evernote is the digital counterpart to a host of notebooks. With it, you can create pages or notes that contain text, photos, media, and web clippings. These notes can then be grouped together in notebooks, according to subject. You can copy, paste, share with others, chat, and organize just about everything. I have a notebook for worship planning that contains notes for each month. I list all the pertinent details as they come to me: topic, preaching  pastor, Scripture passages, etc. Then I prayefully fit the music needs into the framework like a puzzle. I also use Evernote for everything from household chore lists, doctor appointments, my personal prayer list, as well as corporate needs. The simple notebook system ensures that I don't lose anything!

I also love to use Dropbox. Dropbox is great because I can upload any pertinent file - such as a music file - and save it on to Dropbox. Then I can access that file from anywhere, any computer. I just need my login information. I often use Dropbox to keep music files for the week so that I can easily retrieve them or share them with another musician - it's great for PDF's, photos, MP3s, etc.

Another fav app is simply YouTube. With YouTube, I can create playlists of worship songs for the praise team to watch, or share videos of techniques, worship services, and devotions. Plus you can learn to do just about anything if you can search for it on YouTube.

ForScore is a great app for music reading. I keep copies of all my scores in ForScore so that I can pull them up at a moment's notice. With this app, I can create set lists, organize, rearrange, and save music. I can annotate PDF's just like I would mark up a score in pencil. I can share these scores, print them, and add notes, genre, key, and style information. This cool app includes a built in metronome, dark room for taking pictures of other scores, and works well with blue tooth capable pedals such as the AirTurn.

I like the Tempo metronome app, the Pearl Guitar app which turns your iPad into a guitar, and Pages for writing sermons and song intros. The next app I intend to try is "Remind" - an app that lets you text reminders to your team's cell phones without divulging your number. Naturally, I would be lost without my calendar, messenger app, Safari, and Facebook. But the best app of all - the one I need to use the most- is the NIV Study Bible App, complete with reading plans, additional translations, and lots of great notes. With the power and flexibility of all of

these apps, I rarely need my actual laptopo anymore.

What about you? What apps do you like to use for worship planning?

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Monday Blues: Is this how Wile E. Coyote feels?

I lay in bed, pretending my alarm is not about to shriek its awful chorus into my ears, imagining that 6 my children have not already greeted the day with their excited chatter and and the pounding and bounding of many small feet in the bedroom over top of my head. I drag the covers up, wishing I could hide in this warm blanket cocoon until Tuesday. But Mommy duties demand attention, and hungry little tummies need nourishment, lunches must be packed, and little shoelaces require double knotting. I escape from beneath my cozy, purring kitty and test the chilly floors with my toes. And then it hits me.


Suddenly, I'm aware of every aching joint in my body, a heavy weariness that not even my morning java can dislodge. I feel as if I dreamed all night of being Wile E. Coyote, victimized by anvils crashing on his head. It's going to be a long day. "Dear God, " I pray, "Help me. Help me, please."

As the fog clears, I see it for what it is, the Church hangover, the Monday blues, adrenaline dump. What bothers me the most is not the physical symptoms, but the emotional: the pervasive feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness. It's ironic, feeling this way after a Sunday of serving God and the church, because without Him, we are worthless and hopeless.

I can't shake those 'feelings' so I call them what they are: feelings, not facts.  Feelings will pass, and tomorrow I'll be back to feeling like myself, optimistic, hope-filled, energetic. For today, I'll look for truth - what does God say about me? A few verses come to mind as I think about how God thinks about me, about us. I'll try to focus on these things - God's love, His care, His plan - rather than my weariness, as I pour milk into cereal bowls, change diapers, and begin to work on next Sunday's worship music.

Psalm 139:13-16 NLT
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb.  Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

Romans 8:37-39 NLT
 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow-not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below-indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Ephesians 2:10 NLT
For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Romans 5:6-8 NLT
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

John 10:10 NLT
The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

How are you feeling today? What Truth is God pointing you towards to draw you closer to Him?

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