Thursday, December 20, 2012

Perfect Last Day



So, tomorrow the world is supposed to end.  At least according to the Mayans and Nostradamus, and whomever else.  I was standing outside earlier, watching the snow flurries fly all around me.  I was waiting for my kids to get home from school.  I had sent my dad to go after them, since he has 4 wheel drive, and my car could never make it in the current snow storm.  There was almost a complete whiteout in the sky, and I couldn't see very far ahead.  I began to worry for their safety.  I said a quick prayer, to which I felt God give me a quick reply, "They're okay.  I've got them."  Suddenly, the intense white and crazy flurries seemed so peaceful to me.  It was a beautiful blizzard of sparkles... a cozy blanket that covered as far as I could see.  I know we are going to be okay.  He's got us.

That got me thinking a little... let's just suppose the world does actually end tomorrow, which, for the record, I don't believe; I would truly die a content soul.  Is my "bucket list" complete?  No.  Have all of my dreams come true?  No.  But, the things that are most important in life, in the universe, in the grand scheme of it all, I have.  I have been blessed with the opportunity to be mother to the three coolest, most wonderful kids.  I cannot even find words to describe the depth of my love for my babies.  They are my purpose.  And I have been blessed with their love, as well.  I have been blessed with such a great, loving family.  I have what truly matters.  I had to thank God in that moment.  I lifted my face to the sky and let the swirling, tiny, ice crystals land on my face.  I am content.

Content.  And how could I not be?  How could I ever wish for more?  I got to cuddle and kiss on my kiddos and let them know how much I love them today.  I got to hear it from them as well.  I got to tell my folks I love them, and give them hugs.  This afternoon, my boys played for hours in the snow, building their first ever igloo.  In fact, they are still out there perfecting it, taking an occassional break to come inside for hot chocolate. Also today, my daughter and I played Rock Band together... that's always fun.  A little bit ago, my dad invited us over to eat dinner with them, so we did that, and had a nice family time.  My kids and I plan to do a little baking this evening, and play some board games.  You know, I honestly could not ask for a more perfect last day on earth.  ;-)

Nate, getting a good start on the igloo.












Caleb and Nate... I love it when they work well together!
Pilin' on the snow.



Monday, December 10, 2012

I Will Not Move


This is a song I am working on.  My keyboard is at the church, so I couldn't lay out the music, but the lyrics just needed to come out, so here they are, in rough draft form.  I'll work on the music part later.  I have at least the basic melody in mind.

~~~


“I Will Not Move”
mg ~ 12/10/12

When I hear no sound, save my beating heart
I will not move.
When I look ahead and see just dark
I will wait for you.
When I think I know the way to go,
But I’m unsure what to do,
I will not move.

When I’m tempted to take a leap and trust,
I will not move.
When the options are so numerous
I will not choose.
Unless You speak straight to my soul,
And make the muddled unconfused,
I will not move.

I will not believe,
Unless you tell me it’s so.
I will not proceed
Unless You tell me to go.
I will not retreat.
I’ll stay planted and grow.
I will not move,
Until I know.

Years ago on this road I wandered off coarse
And I got lost.
Here and now I am found, though I seek higher ground,
But at what cost?
So unless things are clear, I will stand unmoved.
I will stand and wait this through.
I will not move.

I will not believe,
Unless you tell me it’s so.
I will not proceed
Unless You tell me to go.
I will not retreat.
I’ll stay planted and grow.
I will not move,
Until I know.


~~~



God has made it very clear to my heart that I am not to make any decisions based on emotion or whimsy.  I am keenly focused on not moving in any direction at all until God clearly leads me.  I have gotten myself in trouble so many times in my life when I did not have that focus.  When I am faced with scenarios and what-if's and am confused about the options that lie before me, I will stop and be still until answers become very obvious and clear.  When I am unsure, I will wait patiently until He reveals His path.    

"But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope."  Galatians 5:5

"He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved."  Psalm 62:6

"Wait on the LORD. Be courageous, and he will strengthen your heart. Wait on the LORD!"  Psalm 27:14

Sometimes God speaks while the rest of the world sleeps...

I woke up at just after 3:00am this morning and could not for the life of me get myself back to sleep. There is so much on my mind.  I wouldn't say that I am worried or afraid, because I have reached a place where I have simply given up on giving any power to those negative emotions.  Admittedly, it is a work in progress, and a continual concerted effort.  I've realized I cannot change what has happened, and I have little power over what will happen.  I am focused on living in the now, accepting life as it is and things as they are, and allowing myself to feel a supernatural peace in the face of the unknown.  God has me in the palm of His hand, and I know He will not let me fall.  There is such a sense of tranquility in that sort of blind surrender.  So, I wouldn't say that worry was really what kept my mind awake, even while my body wanted rest. I guess it was more of just trying to process things and wondering about what my tomorrows will hold... wondering... wondering... how I am going to make it... thinking about my kids... so many other things... feeling a little overwhelmed, but asking God to cover us all... feeling a lot alone in this world... wondering how and when this dense fog that is clouding my life will dissipate.  Praying... praying... praying.

 I tossed and turned and prayed and tried to shut my brain off and laid there and laid there and finally decided to get up to make myself some tea at about 4:30.  I decided to do my devotions from "Jesus Calling", so I sat down on the couch with my green tea with lemon, and opened the book to December 10th's read.  The very first sentence took the breath out of me: "Make Me [God] the focal point of your search for security." ...well, hello!  Maybe if I'd have been doing that last night, I'd have gotten more sleep!  So I read on, and here is what it said: "In your private thoughts, you are still trying to order your world so that it is predictable and feels safe.  Not only is this an impossible goal, but it is also counterproductive to spiritual growth.  When your private world feels unsteady and you grip My hand for support, you are living in conscious dependence on Me.... Instead of yearning for a problem-free life, rejoice that trouble can highlight your awareness of My Presence.  In the darkness of adversity, you are able to see more clearly the radiance of My Face.  Accept the value of problems in this life, considering them pure joy.  Remember that you have an eternity of trouble-free living awaiting you in heaven."  Wow.... so good!  So just what I needed.

I love how when I open up to hearing from God, He speaks.  There were a few things He spoke to my heart in those very early morning hours.  Things I needed to hear, but didn't know it.  I also felt He was reminding me to relax and rely on Him for strength in the now, and continue to consciously let go of my worries and cares.  And after my read, I definitely felt He was reminding that if HE is the focal point of my search for security, then those bothersome thoughts will just fade.  I will rest in the knowing that He; the great, mighty, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, compassionate, protective, strong and gentle God holds my future.  No matter what lies ahead, the battle is already won because the battle belongs to the Lord.  And I will rejoice in the problems in my life, and even thank God for them, for they are an opportunity to see His mighty hand at work, and an opportunity for me to grow in faith.

A song I heard in church a while ago when I was living in Redding came to my heart just after my devotional read/prayer/epiphany time.  I just wanted to belt it out and sing it to God, but I couldn't because it was about 4:45am at that point, and my kids were still sleeping.  I searched it up on YouTube, and found it.  I've listened to it about 3 or 4 times now, and I feel much more at peace.  I'm going to be tired today, but that's okay.  I guess sometimes God needs to wake us up in order to communicate things to us that we need to "get".  Things we probably wouldn't get when the busy-ness of our hustlely-bustlely lives gets in the way.  Maybe that is why He often waits until the stillness of night to speak.

Here is the link to the song: "Hungry".  Enjoy, and be blessed today.  Make nothing but God your focal point.

~m~

http://youtu.be/Az9kMZyNNCM
(you may need to copy and paste this link into your browser if you can't click on it)

Monday, December 03, 2012

Musical Collaboration w/ my Bro

My brother, Ben, and I have been working together on a few musical projects.  We are just starting out on this creative endeavor.  He's producing, and I am singing and playing on my keyboard a couple of the songs I wrote many years ago.  You can see by the pic in the attached link that we are working from his small, in-home studio in his living room.  We've only had 2 short recording sessions so far, and we were very limited on time, so I did not get to re-record until I got the piano and especially my vocals where I wanted them.  I wish we would have had time for Ben to lay down some guitar tracks to insert into the songs, because I think that would add a lot to them, and also maybe some background vocals, harmonies, etc.  In listening to the finished product, I am mostly pleased, and am happy about the collaboration and my brother's amazing productive talent, but I am a bit frustrated by my pitchiness and by other details I know could have been a bit better.  Ben says imperfection is beautiful, so I am trying not to pick apart these amateur projects.  I do appreciate things that are "organic", so to speak, so I am gonna just let these be what they are.

Because these are older songs of mine that we are working on, they reflect emotions that are just not where I am at at this point in my life.  With a few exceptions, I've had song-writers block for a long, long time now.  There was a time in my past when I couldn't stop writing if I tried!  I miss the days when songs would just flow out me, although I do not miss some of the emotions that drove me to that creative deluge.  That time in my life was a like a melodic waterfall.  It has been surprisingly therapeutic for me to get the old stuff out. I am hoping that in doing so, it will free up creative space and that working with Ben will inspire some new musical productivity.

It's especially been fun for me to lay down my very vanilla tracks, and let my brother use his creative talent from a production aspect and just jack them up in a cool way and make the songs more colorful by adding in all sorts of melodical, rhythmical, and varying sound elements.  This is an adventurous segment of my musical journey.  I have to say, working with my brother is awesome, challenging and new.  I hope there will be much more of it to come.  After I was kinda beating myself up during our most recent recording session about not sounding like I wanted to on these tracks, he said this to me (I'm totally paraphrasing, but this is what I took from it): In creating music, the focus shouldn't be on the sound, nor how it makes you feel, but rather on the emotion and passion behind it, how it is perceived by others and how it makes them feel.  Hmmm.... something to think about.  I just love his philosophical nature!  It must run in the family. ;-)

Aaaaaaanyway, that was a long disclaimer, and a lot of words about nuthin', huh?  Ha!  ...Here is one of the projects we worked on recently.


My Mom's Christmas Letter 2012...


         Thanksgiving 2012 Family Picture


"Glitter, Sparkle and Glow"
                by Julie Grossman Christmas 2012

Christmas traditions abound like glitter
They are memories that sparkle and glow.
The relationships cherished are held in our hearts.
The love on each precious face takes the show.

We make ginger bread houses with candy and grahams.
They are glued with sugar and egg white
We craft gifts and then wrap them with paper and ribbon
Under the family Christmas tree they’re a sight!

Julie bakes goodies and plans Christmas Eve.
But first come the d├ęcor and cleaning.
Andy preps for his sermon with Power Point
And the kids in the Pageant are beaming.

The sparkle of snow on the earth and the trees
Bring shouts of joy and excitement.
Our hillside driveway is perfect for sledding
We make snowmen with twig arms that are bent.

Of course there are snow fights through laughter and tears.
There are trips to the lighted Christmas lane.
There are candles aglow in the paper bags lining the walk
And wreaths hung on the front door window pane.

We sing “Noel” and “Joy to the World”,
And all the songs we have learned through the years.
We carol to loved ones wearing mittens and hats.
We’re cold so hot chocolate with marshmallows get cheers!

We look forward to the sparkle of closeness and chatter
Over the winter puzzle and games on each table.
We are thankful for bounty at the dinner feast
Then we listen to Christmas movies on CD or Cable.

There’s warmth from the fire and warmth in our heart
As we listen to laughter and glee.
The kids still delight in the simplest things
Like a sandwich at afternoon tea.

We gather the grandkids to put on a show.
They act out the First Christmas story.
Come Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and kings
To behold the Christ Child in his glory.

There’s a handmade ornament we give to each guest.
We share finger food and good cheer.
Our hearts are full with happy cherished moments
Of family, church, students and friends dear.

We continue to improve our property, “Juland”,
Which is Julie and Andy’s land too.
Julie’s Dad is a gardener and has an active heart.
His pace maker makes him feel all brand new.
                   
TuscInn, our rental, is home for Monica and her kids.
The closeness it brings us is wonderful.
They have their own space and we do too.
With Caleb and Nate it’s never dull!
            
Breauna & the boys love their Mt. Shasta school.
Breauna’s active in sports and her studies.
Nate gets to do clay pottery in his class
And Caleb did track and field with his buddies.

Ben got a new house, a beauty in the North State.
Cheyenne has grown by leaps and bounds.
Cass has her horses and so does Chey
And they both have their cousins around.

This year may you notice Glitter, Sparkle and Glow.
It shines forth in your eyes and mine.
Let Jesus’ genuine love be your glitz
And center us in what’s good and what’s fine.

The warmth of family, the sparkle of friends,
The glow of Christ’s story we share.
We love the glitter and sparkle and glow,
Of a season with love and with care.

May you and your Christmas be “Merry”.
May you abound with the gift of glee.
May you glow with glitter and sparkle,
Because of love and hope from God and family.

Contact info: Andy Grossman 530.261.2639
Home 530.938-1567 – 780 S.Weed Blvd. Weed, CA 96094
Julie: mjulianne@snowcrest.net 530.261.5854
juliannesofcalifornia.com (Juliart School)
juliannesofcalifornia.artfire.com (art creations)