Little things matter. Along the way you discover they weren't so little after all.

Tag Archives: music

English: An old Methodist church, a week after...

English: An old Methodist church, a week after its last worship service, in Ceylon, Minnesota. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I haven’t been to a show in a few years. But when I’ve gone I’ve been surprised at the similiarities between a good concert and some of the music portions of church services (Evangelical, Protestant bigger size church services to be more specific).

Smoke machine – check.

Light show – check.

High decibel level – check.

Well-trained, talented musicians – check.

Depending on the church you go to, people may or may not have their hands in the air, but at the shows I’ve been to, you can believe they do and there will be boisterous singing along, responding to the music and the promptings of the band.

There are times when emotions run high at concerts, so much so that tears stream down people’s faces, for a myriad of reasons. That’s been known to happen in a few services as well, although it is more seldom at my church.

We are in Minnesota, after all, and some emotions are better left unexpressed. Well, most emotions.

That’s a stereotype, but there are times when I get frustrated at church because it seems like we don’t feel free to engage the music or the worship leaders or the One we’re there to worship in the first place. But you put a bunch of Minnesotans at First Ave (a famous concert venue up here) and they’ll rip up the place with their enthusiasm.

Where’s that passion on Sunday morning?

Not everyone worships the same way. I get that. Music isn’t everyone’s “thing” and that’s okay. But when people remain stoic and unresponsive for the entire.worship.service. then they ought to be sitting in a board meeting for all the passion they’re showing.

Because worship isn’t only tied to music.

It is in fellowship.

It is in the message.

It is in serving.

And if people remain unmoved and unresponsive to all these facets of worship, they miss out on an opportunity to interact with a God who is active, moving, responsive and engaged.

What ways of worship come most naturally to you? Are you part of a church and if so, what kind of worshipping body is it? Finally, been to any good concerts lately?


This is part of a linkup with LIsa-jo Baker and her Five Minute Friday. We get the word prompt, set the timer, and write for five minute. No editing. No perfectionism. Just write for the sheer joy and fun or writing. Anyone is invited so join in any time. Here’s her site:


Lisa-jo Baker organizes the Five Minute Friday activity. She gives a word prompt. You start your timer and write for five minutes. Then you post what you wrote and link it to her site. Boom. Done. It’s a great way to free yourself from constant internal editor mode and perfectionism, and it’s a great way to find new blogs and friends. This post is a part of that link up, which is open to anyone. Just check her site ( and you’ll find Five Minute Friday details.

Today’s prompt: SongHarp

I promise that if you watch and read this post you will only invest about five minutes of your day. See? I’m sticking with the five minute theme! But in order for this post to make much sense, you’ll probably have to two minutes to watch this video I made today:

This post is such a great example of everyday life.

There’s a cartoon going in the background.

One of my harp strings buzzes each time I play it.

The dog wanders in and makes himself comfortable on the couch.

Not all the notes are exactly right.

And yet, the music still comes. The notes are still there, moving forward, conveying emotion and peace.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, sometimes it is better for not being perfect. But that’s taken me a long time to learn, particularly in the world of music but also in other realms. Marriage, parenting, friendship, church life, interactions at school, womanhood – I do none of these things  perfectly, and yet they are still fulfilling, life-giving parts of my day, fully performed movements, like a song being written as it is played.

Being released from the pressure of perfection brings joy and freedom.

So even though this song is not my own composition (I don’t write music!) and even though it is not perfect, I offer it to you this morning, hiccups and meandering dog visits included. I hope you enjoy it.

Last weekend I went to the Sara Groves concert at Church of the Open Door in Maple Grove. I’ve never seen her play live before, and I had a great time. She’s very engaging, not to mention that her music is filled with poignant images and captivating wordcraft. Check out some of her music for yourself: (the MySpace site included less than a minute of the songs it listed, and that’s no fun).

Besides all that, she and her husband/manager/percussionist, Troy, made what sounded like the official announcement of the creation of Art House North in Saint Paul. She was so funny about it, and for people who like to know exact details and a laid-out plan, she probably made them a little crazy, because she and her husband don’t know exactly what will happen with it. They do have a model for it, though, and they’re basing it on what they’ve witnessed in Nashville:

From what I gather, the idea is to bring Christian artists together and help them grow into greater impact in their community. Sara — yes, I just called her “Sara” and you probably would too if you saw her in concert. She seemed like someone I have always been friends with but just didn’t realize it yet, as if just as soon as things settle down, she’ll get around to calling me and we’ll resume our great friendship. Anyway, Sara referenced a quote (I can’t remember who it was from) that talked about not looking to the government to know about a people, but looking at their art instead. It is the art, the music, the theater, the literature, the photography, that reflects the heart of a people. I think that informs the purpose of Art House North, but they are still filling in the details.

Something in me was very attracted to the idea behind Art House. Maybe it was the thought of doing something of significance to a larger segment of the world besides my own family (don’t worry, fellow mommies, I definitely am of the mind that raising with children is of the utmost significance, and creating a home that is filled with love and peace and safety takes an untold amount of hard work). Maybe it was the idea of  being an artist, someone who is driven by that inner force to create. Maybe the appeal was a connection to community, that adolescent desire to belong that we never completely outgrow. It may even be old memories of dorm life or time spent working at camp, when a whole bunch of pals were always nearby. There was no telling what kind of antics would occur in a 24 hour period.

Who knows what will come of Art House North? Only the Lord knows, because from the sounds of it, they are remaining open to His leading, which is rarely neat and never on our own time schedule, right? But I bet there will be some exciting things to come from Art House North, so keep your eyes open and if you find out anything, be sure to let me know!

Postscript: I would be remiss if I discussed Sara Groves and didn’t mention International Justice Mission, an organization that fights human trafficking throughout the world. Here’s some information from the IJM website, which is

International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local officials to secure immediate victim rescue and aftercare, to prosecute perpetrators and to ensure that public justice systems – police, courts and laws – effectively protect the poor.

IJM’s justice professionals work in their communities in 13 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America to secure tangible and sustainable protection of national laws through local court systems.

See why I didn’t bring it up earlier? That’s a lot to process, and definitely a topic for a future night. Be well!

It is cool this morning, the air is dry, and there is a subtle scent that has me thinking that even if the calendar didn’t say it was the middle of August, I would still know that autumn is on the way. My sweetie has been saying it is the end of summer since July, though, so I’ve been resisting and trying to be the summer optimist.

My family is in for a serious reality check this fall. Over the past year, we’ve had very few things regularly scheduled in our lives. I homeschooled my oldest son, my middle son did a few days of preschool, and our youngest, our daughter, just hung out and did whatever the rest of us did. Even this summer, my husband and I chose not to sign up the kids for many activities, for a few different reasons: we wanted to be free to spend time at the family cabin, we were just getting settled into a new house and town, we don’t want to be the parents that schedule every waking moment for our kids…and we missed most of the deadlines in the spring!

A few weeks ago, however, I wished we had more structured outlets for the kids. There was one five day period when they were all crabby and difficult, which made me feel crabby and irritated. I realized then that there is a certain amount of schedule that helps define a summer, helps punctuate it and make it flow. Of course families who sign up their kids for multiple clubs or sports also have times when their kids are ornery too, but they have more times when they don’t have to hear it since their kids are off doing something else with somebody else. There’ve been times when I wished for that this summer, if I’m totally honest. But shhhh, ’cause I’m not supposed to say that out loud.

As we get ready to start life with a 2nd grader and kindergartener (the preschooler hasn’t gone anywhere, but we aren’t sure if she’ll attend a program or not), we want to be purposeful about which activities we enroll the kids in. There are so many things available for kids to do these days, and they’d probably have a great time in any number of them. But we’re trying to look towards the future, and not get ourselves committed to something we’ll regret later.

Let’s take sports, for instance. What if we sign up our oldest for hockey this winter? Do I ever want to see my baby get checked up against the boards by a boy twice his size? That sounds like a really stupid idea! But what if he tries it and likes it? I had a brother who played hockey growing up, and I’m familiar with the sharp smell of indoor ice rinks and the smell of stinky hockey equipment cluttering up the laundry room. And football doesn’t seem much better, without even bringing up the expense of the required equipment.

It’s not only sports that we’re thinking about. In an attempt to raise well-rounded children, we also want them to be involved in music (a high priority for me, especially). Do we automatically start them on piano? Then I’ll have to draw them a keyboard on the dining room table, ’cause we don’t have a piano, nor do we intend to purchase one. (Do they have indestructible, outdoor pianos?) Then there’s the mid-week church activities, not to mention all the after-school clubs they offer these days. We could already choose between chess, Legos, science, cooking, art, and even more “enrichment” activities.

How does one choose? That’s where you come in, Dear Reader. I have my own ideas, but I’d love to hear your words of wisdom, as my family enters the world of elementary school schedules, and grooming my children to take over the world. How do you pick between “the better” and “the best” for your family? Post your comment so I can come back and blame you when I’m stressed out from driving my kids all over the place! Ha! I’ll need somebody to be the scapegoat.

My Children's Musical Future

Would you believe that this song was played during the offering at church today? It really reminded me that sometimes, not every time we might need it, but sometimes, God sends a little “love note” or very specific way of encouraging us. Could it be that I was looking for this? Sure. But that doesn’t negate the fact that this song was played on this exact day, and while it could be interpreted in many different ways depending on the listener, it spoke directly in response to the things flying around in my head and spirit. Pretty cool, if you ask me. The video here doesn’t make oodles of sense to me, but if I just listen to the words and the music, that’s the message I needed. And He knew it. Amazing.

%d bloggers like this: