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Immersed in the Spirit July 8, 2008

As many of you know I produce and direct live stage and music shows. My producing partner and I are directing the 1st Annual Temecula Gospel Festival this September. What a blessing!

I am so excited to share with you a new, powerful song that will be one of the cornerstones of our shows. This recording is a studio demo, so imagine it with a full band and choir… please take the words in and IMMERSE in the majesty that is our God.

The song was written by my friend, an amazing singer/songwriter David Paul Regier, who is the worship pastor of Southwest Christian Church. It is sung, by another friend, Scott Hill. Scott has mad skills as a vocalist; we featured him on our show Temecula Live last season. He is worship pastor at Murrieta Valley Church, and formerly was a lead singer with the Hill Family Singers. If you like these guys, check out their myspace Worship at the Merc . They do a monthly praise and worship night at the Old Town Temecula Theater Mercantile. It is an amazing night of praise and worship featuring regular and guest musicians and vocalists. I have to tell you that tickets go fast, and are only available by reservation. The will also be featured at the Temecula Gospel Festival. Auditions are open for the Festival, so if you are a regional So-Cal solo artist, Christian Group/Band or Choir, I highly recommend you try out. August 16, 2008 More information about auditions! or to register to audition

And now click the link, be blessed… IMMERSED … it’s worth it, I promise!

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Let God be God June 23, 2008

I believe that God heals us…body, soul and spirit. 

Sometimes it is through miraculous healing. Sometimes it is through the medical knowledge that resides in  God’s amazing creation…the brain.

I believe that God is a refuge in times of trouble.

I believe that God will work all the muck and mire in our life out for His glorious good.

Do you believe that God is enough in your life? Do you believe that there is nothing impossible for God? Or, are you like me, praying in faith…but also in parallel… that God will help my unbelief.

In order to allow God to be God in our lives… we need to trust Him. Do you at your core, trust Him for everything? To be honest, I have a hard time with this one. Some things, the ones out of my control I can give to Him, but the ones I clutch tightly too…the ones I need to give up…I often can’t. He wants it all. Our lives are like a jigsaw puzzle. The beautiful, complete picture can’t be realized when you are hiding pieces. 

We are also under attack. The moral fabric of our nation is eroding. The earth is groaning in labor. Hitting closer to home, our lack of knee time… my lack of knee time… is allowing the enemy of our souls inroads in our lives and those that are dearest.

We need to stop this cycle and be the ones to stand in the gap for each other. So many of those closest to me are taking hits in the face. It is time to stand together and pray for each other.

No, I mean now.

WAKE UP! Why do we starve ourselves on popcorn prayer when God’s amazing banquet is set and ready?
WAKE UP! We are under attack, and it’s time to fight back. Together, corporately…as a body of believers, whatever that might look like in your life.

I am praying for Alex, a friend and pastor who is facing some of his families hardest days right now. For Wade, a pastor who’s daughter is in need of an immediate, miraculous healing. For my friends, here in one of the hardest hit (financially) areas in our country, who are losing their houses, their jobs, their families. For my husband, who is in Iraq for the fourth time…for my children who are struggling with it.

Lord, we bless your holy and righteous name. You alone are worthy of our praise, and we thank you for the blessings…seen and unseen.. that you bring to our lives. Right now, where we sit… move us out of our complacency, move us out of our lukewarm faith, help our unbelief. You are a God of miracles. You are our healer, our friend, our deliverer, the lover of our souls, a strong fortress in times of attack in our life. Help us, we implore you…Help us allow you to be those in our lives. Forgive us the sins that so easily beset us, and guard our hearts and minds against falling into their trap again. Breathe afresh on our weary souls, Lord. We desire your spirit to fill us anew every day. We love you Lord, to you be all the honor that we can’t even fully express within ourselves. Amen 

I was blessed to run into the videos below that express, in worship…how I am feeling. Alex, these are for you. 

(Excerpted) On the evening of Sunday, March 9th 2008, thousands of worshippers gathered to fill the Acer Arena in Sydney as Hillsong Church recorded their latest live worship album. It was an unforgettable night. An encounter with God that left the thousands who filled the stadium humbled and in awe of the wonder and grace of God and the reality of Christ. We come together and we say, “This is who we are, God. We need You, we love You, and we’re going to give everything to You.

It was a night of unified faith and expectancy, with moments all will never forget such as when Michael Gugliemucci, who has battled his own health crisis against cancer for two years, walked confidently on stage, oxygen tank in hand, declaring the promise of God and boldly
Singing the words to his song ‘Healer’.

The evening culminated with a loud and victorious declaration of, ‘With Everything’ and a holy moment that all who experienced will remember. As the band left the stage and the name of Jesus on display, the people were not ready to leave and with little accompaniment, they broke into spontaneous song and continued to worship God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Marriage Turns Nine April 14, 2008

The Second Wedding

Nine years has flown by. I joke that we are still newlyweds – If you take out the four years worth of deployments we have weathered.

Michael holds the distinct honor of being the only man in his family to have been married twice…to the same women…within three weeks of each other. I had been planning what we dubbed “the big wedding” for about four months when the Commanding Officer (CO) of Michael’s squadron told us they were depolying to Kosovo…at the end of the week…and it was Wednesday.

We are a part of the F-18 jet community, my husband is like “goose” on Top Gun (His opening line at Pat Obrien’s in New Orleans where we met…a whole other story). That community is pretty accepting of fiancee as a status, but to the Marine Corps… unless you are married… you are persona non grata. If he had died or was injured, you would get no notification, benefits…anything.

Which takes us to the “Oh my word… we better get married quick..your going to Kosovo wedding”

Which makes me a war bride… I get a kick out of that.

I, like most girls, dream of their wedding…and this was not it. We were only three weeks away from “Martha Stewart Perfection”, and I wasn’t about to blow it on a judge. We got word Wednesday morning that they were ramping up for a Friday departure. I whirled into action, by noon I had our pastor and photographer set for five, the jeweler racing from Hilton Head with the rings, the florist putting together a quick bouquet and boutonniere, a hair appointment and a decorating force (the squadron wives) ready to transform the tower where Mike proposed to me. The hardest sell was dry cleaning. In Seattle, where I am from, you can have your clothes in an hour… it’ll cost you….but you can get them. In South Carolina, they have 7 day martinizing. So trying to convince them to clean Mike’s suit in less then 7 hours was a miracle almost of Genesis proportion. I arranged the restaurant down the street for a little reception, got a cake, brought my boom box with the sampler wedding music CD, and we were set.

The only challenge…Michael had no idea. And the groom was up in a really fast jet, only God knows where, with no way of telling him he was getting married at five. The Corporals and Sergeants were on the lookout for him the minute he landed….which was about 4:15. In which they informed him to get home, put the suit on and show up for his wedding. Fortunatly he is a man of action and takes orders well 🙂

It was a great wedding. The photograph still hangs over our fireplace. We were surrounded by surrogate family, and even managed a first dance and cake smash. We decided not to tell anyone except our heartbroken parents, thinking perhaps we would still be able to pull of the “Big One” later. The next morning we went to turn in paperwork, and got the news…

…the squadron is NOT going anymore…

shock… what do you do now?

…which leads us to the second marriage of my husband. We made it to our wedding day, May 8th. It was everything a Southern Girl at heart could ask for… Big and Glorious.

He did deploy to Kosovo, two weeks later.

And yes, I make him celebrate both dates.

I thought it would mean double the gifts, but he got wise to me. On our first anniversary he gave me diamond earrings. On April 14, 2000 I opened the beautifully wrapped box, and saw one blinking at me. The card read, you get the other on May 8th. Outsmarted again 🙂

I have been blessed. My husband is the most considerate, kind, loving and supportive husband anyone could ask for (and he looks crazy sexy in those flight suits). I know there is a God and that He loves me every time I look into Michael’s face. God blesses us, even if we feel unworthy of it sometimes. You are irreplaceable honey, and truly I am at a loss to imagine my life without you… we are epic.

There is a famous movie line that says “You complete me.” It is WRONG. Part of the reason our marriage works is that we came into it two complete individuals, and we enhance each other. I am the delightful color that livens Michael’s black and white life, and he grounds me. Together we have grown, and God willing, will continue for many decades to come. Nine years feels like we are still just beginning our journey together. I can truly say that I love him more today, nine years later, than I did on that South Carolina tower…

Honey, here is one to add to the soundtrack of our lives. After nine years, this is what marriage means to me…

Across a crowded room
I know you know what I’m thinking
By the way I look at you
And when we’re lying in the quiet
And no words have to be said
I think to myself, I think to myself
This love is a beautiful gift
I have been blessed
And I feel like I’ve found my way
I thank God for all I’ve been given
At the end of every day
I have been blessed
With so much more than I deserve
To be here with the ones that love me
To love them so much it hurts
I have been blessed. from Blessed by Martina McBride

Blessed by Martina McBride

Michael, I love you.

 

 

 

 

American Idols Shout to the Lord

First Off….

Praise God! Christ was preached.

I had to rewind my TIVO several times before it sunk in, then I called a bunch of friends to verify. I have mixed reactions to it…and I have heard downright Pharisee”ic” reactions to it. The bottom line for me is this, American Idol is the biggest venue and “pulpit” on the planet these days. Take it for what you will, but one of the most powerful testaments to the majesty and redemptive grace of the Living God was sung in front of a needy and spiritually dry world. I was praising!

Let’s invite people to jump into this fantastic adventure with us, instead of walling them off with spiritual piety. Christ came to the sick… needy, downtrodden, unloved, unworthy… hmmm…us. When did we as Christians stop making Christ accessible to all?

When God is glorified, it is worship. If we won’t, God will raise up rocks… or tv contestants?

Christian music falls into two categories for me…Worship to God…singing directly to Him in praise and adoration… and Songs about God… Songs about God, stir the heart, talk about how great and wonderful He is, testify into our souls….and can serve as a wonderful evangelism tool. Shout to the Lord, in my mind, falls into both categories…

and who knows if that song wasn’t written…for such a time as this. 

I don’t know the condition of the souls that sang it. I don’t know the motivations of who chose it. (I would have liked to be a fly on the wall in the production meeting when it was selected.) I am not going to “judge” the musicality. Only God, is to judge the heart. What I do know is the Bible says:

Philippians 1:15-18 (NLT)

15 It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives. 16 They preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to defend the Good News. 17 Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me. 18 But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice.

And, if you are looking for a great read about making Christ accessible check out Rob Bell’s Velvet Elvis…highly recommend it!

I didn’t hear the “Idol gives back” track, so I am just going to lay a shout to the next evenings full version, check it out….and hey, leave a comment…taking all comer’s.

 

Mr. Piano Man March 18, 2008

Filed under: art,children,Culture,family,humor,life,shopping — writetools @ 4:07 am
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I live in a mid size, Southern California hamlet whose motto should read “Kid’s Rule.” As a parent, it is a great place to raise children…a bit intense, bordering on Stepford….but for a kid it’s one step away from nirvana. It is with this framework in mind, I ask you, what would you do?

First, a little background. To the horror of the So-Cal SMS (Suburban Mom Syndicate), I have decided to teach my children to play the piano…myself. I grew up playing, and am not without skills. However, to the Mommies support group who hold counsel at our local park, the thought of my bucking tradition (tradition is to hire a team of competent professionals to mold your progeny) is “cute”.  Their french tips tap as they seriously caucus over this break in parenting protocol.

“You know, Amber London Kate only takes lessons from Mr. Pianoman. He really gets that kids M-U-S-T must learn proper fingering.” she bends into tree pose. “If they don’t learn to hold their fingers correctly, then why bother even getting them lessons. I mean, maybe if they only want to play at Nordstroms.”

“Oh,” I ask, “do you play?”

“Well I own a Yamaha baby grand, it looks so cute in my living room. My designer Heath picked out the mahogany one, because everyone has black.”

Which tells me she can’t even play chopsticks.

“You should go to the Yamaha store and talk to Mr. Pianoman.” Can you sound reverent and superior at the same time? “He is the only one I would trust.” 

I have decided it would be cheaper to send my children to Julliard. With compound interest on what I would pay Mr. Pianoman, I can at least make it through their junior year.

My mantra, I will not cave to BMS (Burb’s Mommie Syndrom). I will not drink the kool-aid. Definition of BMS: the belief that a well rounded child must play like Mozart, translate Proust, solve quantum equations, be on the Olympic track in (pick whatever sport costs the most) and have their first gallery showing by eight.

I pile the kids into my gas efficient domestic, and drive to see Mr. Piano Man. We walk into the store and I bee-line to the piano primer books. It was like navigating Barnes and Noble. I look for help.

And there he was… the Piano Man. I was schlepping, I admit it. I had on my ball cap, rainbows, and cargos…. but hey, he has a comb over. Evidently, I didn’t deserve help from Maestro. I gather up some books and head to his desk. I wait, and wait…wishing now I had sprung for a manicure, so I could tap my french tips.  Seeing that I am not going to leave, he peers at me.

“Which book would you recommend as a basic piano primer.”

“Who teaches them?” a slight flicker of interest.

“I am going to.”

Superior sneer. “Oh…I see. Can you play?”

I blink. Really? Why would I try to teach something I can’t do. The door bell chimes from across the room. Through the windows I see a mom dragging her kids out of a black Denali. As her Manolo heels click across the marble floor, Maestro leaps like a gazelle to help her.

Suddenly, he stops mid stride and bellows. “Who is playing the piano?” I hear nothing.

Finally, I hear a quiet tinkle coming from the corner. A tinkle mind you, not a pound, not a slap….a tinkle. As he begins striding toward it, I see a shoe… dangling from a bench. I know that shoe.

“Oh. that’s my son.” I say proudly.

“Does he know how to play?”

I guess chopsticks doesn’t count. I look at the primer books in my hand. He looks at the primer books in my hand, level 1.

“That’s a 30,000 dollar piano. You need to leave and take him out of here.”

I look at the cheap Yamaha Chinese knock off. It is not 30 grand. He sneers. I raise my chin and stare him down…then snort with as much queenly air as my ball cap can muster.  “So I guess you don’t want my business then.”

“Not if it is going to ruin my piano.”

“To bad, because that is the model I was looking at buying.” I lied. I wouldn’t buy that cheap knock off.

He turned away, back to Mrs. Manolo’s.

I grab my children. Never will I darken those doors. I am calling Yamaha, I am calling the Chamber, I am calling my SMS. I hear a click on the marble and a rush of kids running past.

“But Mrs. Manolo’s, I didn’t mean YOUR children.”

“Evidently, you don’t know what kind of town you work in. We are child friendly here. You must not need the business… and it was a tinkle.”

Wow! I look at her. She blinds me her zoom whitened smile. “We moms need to stick together,” she says sliding into kid leather seats.

Evidently she must think I drank the kool-aid.

So, here is where you come in. Revenge….a dish best served cold. I am thinking of borrowing my brother-in-law’s convertible BMW, and sliding out of it in my Manolo’s and Armani. I am sure that Piano boy won’t recognize me. I am thinking of sitting at the real 30 grand piano, and playing him my first concerto. Ohhh, he will be so impressed. I will knock him over with my piano knowledge, and generally waste and hour or two of his time. Maybe I could borrow Heath for the day. I will sit in his pleather chairs, and decide to purchase it. Shocked, effusive, imaging the new car he will buy… I will start to hand over my credit card (To bad it’s not a black one…for true shock value) and then stop. I will look at him, as if trying to remember a distant memory….and as he grabs for my card…I will say. “I remember you now. Last week, you did not want my business. You wouldn’t let my son tinkle on your cheap, Chinese knock off piano and told us to leave. Then turn on heel, walk out,  and slide into my borrowed kid leather seats….

…hmmm….would it be so wrong? Accepting all comments…..

 

 
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