Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lent... what's the point?




I grew up as a Southern Baptist.  Then I spent a few years trying to get my foothold as a member of the Church of Christ.  After that came a period of time where I decided that the whole "God thing" and religion in general was a big farce and not needed in my life.  

Hahahahahahahaha..... good one Marcia!  That made for a good belly laugh.  How SILLY was I??  I mean, I actually thought I could do a better job at planning my life than God could.  Sigh.  Man, I'm glad that didn't last long because I thoroughly screwed everything up during that phase of my life. Thankfully, I discovered God's grace and mercy and slowly made my way back into a relationship with Him.  

Lent?  They didn't observe Lent in the Baptist or Church of Christ churches that I had attended in the past, so I was clueless until a few years ago.  I started noticing a few people talking about it in certain situations and it sounded like some form of punishment at first.  

"You're giving up COFFEE?!!  WHY?!?!", I would gasp.  "Lent", was the answer.  

"You're giving up SUGAR?!?!   WHY ON EARTH?!?!"  Again, "Lent" was given.

Lent just sounded like 40 days of torture to me.  No thanks.

However.... I've been doing a bit more research on the observance of Lent, and I've decided to actually participate this year.  Although I'm still learning about it, here is what I do know:

1. Lent is 40 days long... beginning on Ash Wednesday (March 5th) and ending on Holy Saturday (April 17th).   During this time, observers practice fasting, moderation, and other spiritual disciplines.  It was first practiced in the 4th century as a period of self-examination and self-denial to prepare for Easter.  

2. The "rules" widely vary, depending on who you talk with.  Some people have even decided to ADD something good into their daily lives during Lent, instead of giving something up.  

3. TODAY is Ash Wednesday, so I better decide NOW how I'm going to observe "Lent" this year.

What about you guys?   Do you observe Lent? ... and have you actually felt like it enhanced/deepened your relationship with God?   Do tell.  



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mama... One Year Later.





Exactly one year ago, my sweet Mama left her broken body here on earth and her soul flew up into heaven to be with Jesus.    Feb. 2013 was the saddest month of my life.   Deep grief followed for weeks and I wondered if life would ever feel "light" again.    This morning I woke up suddenly in my hotel room outside of Denver, CO, at almost the exact time she left us.  I allowed myself a good cry and then looked back on my blog from last year today.  Here is what I wrote:
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2/12/13


Waves.....

The grief comes in waves.....

Ever since she passed away this morning, it's like I'm riding on enormous waves.

The grief comes from deep inside me, swelling up so strong I feel I can't breathe.  And so I cry and wail to let out the pain.... and then it subsides a bit and I think I'm stronger.

But then, without any warning... I'm curled up in the fetal position again, trying desperately to get the grief to subside.

I know she's in a better place and she's not suffering anymore.  I know I should have peace from that.  And maybe I will tomorrow... but right now... I'm just SOOOO sad.

So many of you have been here before me...  Tell me it gets easier.


Visitation for my sweet Mama is tomorrow, Wed. February 13th at Woodlawn Funeral Home and Memorial Gardens from 12-2pm.

Love you Mom.....
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It's hard to believe a whole year has passed now.  Although I still miss her terribly, and I have moments of tears and sadness.... God has removed my constant sadness and gives me little reminders that she is home with Him and in good hands.  I have had several other friends lose their Mom's lately... so for all you still in the deep grief stage,  I am here to tell you..... It DID get easier.   And I continue to grow stronger, feeling her presence guide me in a new way now.

Mom was too sick to come to any of my shows during the last few years of her life.  But tonight, I'll be performing in Johnstown, CO with one of my favorite artists, with one of my best friends standing by my side.... and I know Mom will have the best seat in the house.   It will be a perfect way to celebrate her "home-going" anniversary.  I'll sing for her.

Love you all.... M

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Caribbean and California....and a broken foot

Gosh... I had a CR-AZY January, filled with new adventures, good friends, great music... and a broken foot.

Yep... started the month off tripping over my dog and fracturing my foot.  Mind you, this was the night before I was scheduled to be on the set of the hit tv show "Nashville" for a 14 hr day of taping!  Needless to say, I was lucky they didn't show my feet in any of the shots, since I've been wearing nothing but Uggs and/or an air boot since then.

Lovely look, right?  :-)

Anyway, armed with my fashionable footwear and a crutch, I taped a few scenes as part of Deacon's band (look for me in a couple of the Bluebird scenes on the episode "Too far gone", original airdate Feb. 5th.)  



After my acting debut, I headed down south to the Caribbean, where I got to perform with the AMAZING Miss Patty Loveless on the 2014 Holland American Country Music Cruise.   It was wonderful to get to hear that lady SING again.... plus a little warm weather was a nice break from the January cold.  

My friends Ellen and Monica were on the cruise too, we got a little "sista hang time".. and they sweetly helped me manuver that big ship with crutches... which wasn't easy at times!

Next stop.... CALIFORNIA.....

I got off the cruise ship in San Juan, and flew out to LA to do 2 shows with my new "boss", the AWESOME Christopher Cross.  I swear, I am having a ball singing with this man.  Most of you know his earlier music (the original album, which has the mega-hits "Ride Like the Wind" and "Sailing" won CC 5 Grammy's in 1980), but he has made several other records in the last few years and they are each unique and wonderful.  This man has a way with a melody that makes my heart flutter.  So yeah... I'm digging the new job.  :-)

While we were out in California, I got to visit old and new friends (Thanks for the great lunch on the ocean, Kerry and Kimberly!).... hang out in Stephen Bray's studio in LA (He's responsible for all the HUGE early Madonna recordings), watch a bgv session go down in SWAHILI, do 2 amazing shows with CC, and meet Michael McDonald and his wonderful wife Amy.   Michael actually joined us on stage in Santa Ynez to sing "Ride Like the Wind" and I felt like I was living a dream on stage with CC and MM at the same time.  PINCH ME PLEASE.

Kim Parent, Chazz Frichtel, Michael McDonald, and MOI after our show in Santa Ynez, CA

Feb is proving to be a busy month so far as well.  We are currently on a 6 day run with CC... doing shows in Johnstown, CO - Houston, TX - Midland, TX - and Rochester, WA.   We also have a "Twelve Against Nature" show this month on Feb. 28th in Nashville... so come get your "Dan" on and come see us!  

One more thing....If this post sounds like I'm bragging... I'm NOT.  I am acutely aware that I am blessed.  2013 was HARD for me... for many, many reasons. So it's nice to have fun and enjoy life again.   I definitely learned alot in 2013 and as hard as it was, I'm truly grateful for the difficult times because I learned SO much.  God is good.  He is always good... even when things aren't going so easily.  So if you are struggling right now through a difficult season, HOLD ON.  The darkness doesn't last.  And if you are having trouble finding HOPE right now.... this book might help:  "Let Hope In" by Pete Wilson.    Hope changes everything.


Life is a journey with crazy twists and turns.... thank you all for being a part of my journey!
Love.... M



Saturday, January 11, 2014

Prayer time.....

There are certain "disciplines" that never fail to add value to my life, yet I struggle to always include them in my daily life.   You know, things like exercising, eating right, prayer/meditation time.....  all of those enhance my day if I actually getting around to doing them.  So, WHY is it SO EASY to put them down on my list of priorities??  I mean, I don't mean to put them low on the list, but it's just so easy to get distracted by... well.... life.    

I decided to pick ONE thing to make my main priority in 2014, and that is my prayer life.  I want to enhance that so badly.  I've been getting alot of "messages" sent to me via emails and websites I have stumbled across lately that are reminding me of the importance of prayer....   

Romans 12:12 -- "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." 
Commentary:  Prayer does not come easily. It takes consistent application in order to discover the great benefits that prayer bring to the life of the believer. Faithfulness in prayer shapes the heart of the believer in ways that no other activity can, and once you have experienced the power of prayer it is hard to live without it.

.......and how we should find a specific PLACE to pray. 

Acts 16:13 -- "On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there."   Commentary:  Places to pray were mentioned often in Scripture. Many of the men and women in the Bible had a specific spot where they went to pray. A place of prayer keeps us from trivializing prayer and helps us to focus when we do pray. That place could be a closet, a wooded area, or a certain bench in the city, wherever it is, establishing a geographic location of prayer can help revitalize a devotional life that is languishing.


  ... and a specific TIME each day to pray. 

Psalm 145: 1-2 -- "I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever."   Commentary:  The history of Christianity is filled with communities who set specific times of the day to pray. Setting a time to pray ensures consistency in the rhythm of our week. Conversely, if we don’t schedule a time for prayer, we will fill that time in with something else, and days will become weeks of prayerless activities. Don’t wait until you are so dry in your spiritual life that prayer becomes a chore to be re-learned. Get out your schedule book and make time for God each day, then guard that time just like you would any other appointment.

So, that's what I have done.  I have picked my prayer "time and place" each day and I'm going to commit as faithfully as I can for one year.  It's going to be exiting to see how God speaks to me during this specifically set aside time.  I believe He will.  And I believe it's going to rock my world!!  

How about you?  Do you take your daily "prayer time" as a serious commitment?  And do you have any tips on how to make your prayer time more consistent?   Share with the class please.   :-)


*all commentary above is by Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor at GraceNYC.org






Sunday, January 5, 2014

2014; Touring again; ..and The Ryman Project!!

Welcome to 2014!  ----    Shouldn't our world look like this by now??


Man, I don't know about you, but I'm sure glad it doesn't look like that.   I'm struggling with the high-tech stuff that we DO have introduced into our lives.  I'm not sure I could figure out how to drive one of those flying cars.  And I'm certain I would program the Robot Maid incorrectly so that she burns dinner and bleaches out the darks instead of the whites.  AND, I'm scared of heights, so I would hate living in one of those houses perched on a pole!!

Anyway.... my goal for 2014 (notice I said "goal", NOT "resolution") is to SIMPLIFY.  I've just got too many things pulling me this way and that way and I feel I don't get anything done in an efficient manner because I'm too distracted.  Do I really need THREE calendars?  Trying to sync up 3 calendars has taken up way too much of my time, so....i'm saying good-bye to one of those calendars and I feel good about it!    I'm cleaning out closets.... and getting rid of anything that I haven't worn in 3 years.  I WILL say good-bye to those jeans I used to love but are 2 sizes too small now.  It's ok.  They'll find a new home and be happy... right?    ---SIMPLIFY.  I'm ON it.  :-)

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My BIG 2014 news is that I will be hitting the road again (finally!).  I have enjoyed staying home the last few years, concentrating on sessions, being a wife, raising Sam, and helping with my parents.  But after talking it over with the family, they have all agreed that they think it's time for me to go back to doing what I love to do, which is performing.    So PLEASE check my calendar on my Official Site and if I'm at a venue near you, PLEASE come see me!  One of the best things about touring is getting to see friends and family while I'm on the road!!  There is nothing better than getting to have lunch with a familiar face while being in an unfamiliar city!

I'm starting the year by performing with the QUEEN, Miss Patty Loveless on a country music cruise in the Caribbean this month.... then flying out to California to meet up with the AWESOME Christopher Cross and his band to do a couple of shows out there.  I'm super-blessed to be working with such amazing artists!  Gonna be FUN!

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One more thing... Many of you have been following the story of our friend Ryman Little and her parents, Jeremy and Brandy.  And many of you have asked how you can help.... Well, here is a WONDERFUL video to check out.  Warning:  Get ready to have a warm, warm heart after watching this!!!  Her little smile is infectious!!   Please feel free to share this video and help spread the word!!  What a great way to raise awareness about organ donation!    Here is "The Ryman Project":





Monday, December 16, 2013

Helping them help themselves... The Zim Chicken Project




Most of you know I'm currently serving on the Board of Directors for a wonderful non-profit organization called "Beautiful Feet Global Outreach".  Many of you have generously supported our efforts, either by becoming monthly donors, or participating in the "Adopt a Child" program.  THANK YOU so MUCH!  It's been such a joy to see how we REALLY CAN make a difference by bonding together and each doing a little bit, which ends up becoming HUGE in the lives of these orphans!!  

Our amazing director, Melissa Irwin has come up with a way to actually help these kids help themselves.  I mean, isn't that what we ALL want... to somehow be self-sufficient in this world?  She has come up with the Zim Chicken Project and it would mean SO MUCH if you would take the time to go HERE and read the details and see if you could help jump-start this project...??  

Remember, all your donations are tax-deductible, so if you are looking for one more donation to help your taxes before the end of 2013, I would greatly appreciate you considering "Beautiful Feet Global Outreach".  You can help with the Chicken Project, Adopt A Child, be a monthly donor, or just make a one-time donation.  ANYTHING you can contribute will be used directly to help those in need.  

Thanks so much to you all.... and may the Joy and Peace of this holiday season be with you all!
Love ya'll.... M