July 20, 2011
I was getting ready this morning and I heard Weston’s voice in a slight panic…”mommy?” “Yes, Weston, “I’m right here, getting ready”. He continues to play with his dominoes and a few minutes later same thing…”mommy?” “Yes, Weston I told you I’m upstairs getting ready.” I make my tea and head to my office (which is in our home). A few minutes go by and I hear and even louder and more panicked “mommy?” I said “Weston, mommy is right here.” “I would NEVER leave you honey.” “I love you so much!” Please know that mommy is right here and I am not going to leave our home. Weston is constantly calling out for us ALL the time, to my husband, my mom and my dad. He wants to know that we are right there by his side.
I was doing my quiet time and thought this is exactly what God wants us to know. He is right here by our side and is never going to leave us. He assures of this through his word, but because we are human, we continually let circumstances and situations cause us to doubt that He is right by our side waiting for us to call on HIM. Why do I doubt sometimes when things get me down? Why do I take on all the worry and analyze things in my head and try to figure it out on my own. God is right here, right by my side waiting for me to call on Him. He alone can give me perfect peace and I don’t have to feel panicky about any situation. He has been there for me through all of the ups and downs of life in the past and he will be there for me today and tomorrow, all I need to do is call out to Him.
Joshua 1:5 “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you or forsake you.”
Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”
June 29, 2011
We just returned from an overnight trip to Chicago and my son, Weston realized he was missing his favorite stuffed animal. This was quite alarming to him as his stuffed animals are his very special buddies. Since Weston does not have any siblings or pets, his stuffed animals keep him company throughout the day and night and comfort him when he is sad. The tears flowed freely when Weston learned that the housekeeping department of the hotel had checked the room and had not been able to locate Rusty, his very favorite stuffed bunny. It is very difficult to explain to a seven year old that loss is a part of life and a stuffed animal is definitely not the same as losing a loved one. I so much wanted to erase the hurt and replace Rusty for him.
As I was trying to explain the loss of someone you love to Weston and how it hurts the very core of your heart, it took me back to several difficult times of loss in my life… so I tried to explain to Weston that we can’t get Rusty back just like daddy can’t bring his mommy back whom we loved so very much. I told him that Grandma Karen is in heaven with God and that she is safe and cared for. I know at his young age, he does not comprehend the magnitude of losing a loved one. The closest he can come to understanding this is relating it to the loss of his stuffed bunny Rusty. Sharing all of this with him, also brought me back to the four times I miscarried. Suffering through those losses, I questioned God, was angry and so sad. Had I not known God I don’t know how I would have made it through.
Writing music has become therapeutic for me. It helped me worked through the losses of these little ones and provided me an outlet for my grief. The song “Mister Birdie” from my first album “A Sunny Day” is really a song I wrote about the babies I lost and how I will see them in heaven someday.
Weston is praying, processing his loss and slowly recovering. For anyone suffering with loss right now, I want you to know that God is there to comfort you and see you through this difficult time. Know that you will be reunited with your loved ones in heaven someday for that is the hope of our faith.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort who comforts us in our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the suffering of Christ flows over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”
June 24, 2011
I didn’t know I was going to have such a close encounter with Professor Owl! One night last week Donny and I were awakened by what sounded like santa clause landing with his sleigh and reindeer and then tap dancing on our METAL roof! The sound was extremely loud and annoying. We both jumped out of bed and Donny went outside to try to analyze the situation. He though the animal was a huge hawk devouring its prey, but I was not a happy camper as my much needed nights sleep had been rudely interrupted. We thought it was a one time occurrence…
Day 2, Usually I am a tea drinker but today I needed coffee!!! Donny now began researching and devising a plan to get rid of the intruder as he knows I can be difficult without my sleep. So I head off to guitar center to pick up some cords for my concert and grabbed a strobe light to scare the intruder. Donny spent hours preparing this deterrent.
Night 2, Repeat. Again we were startled from our sleep by the ruckus on the roof. Donny again went outside at 1:30 in the morning and still thought our intruder was a hawk. Donny’s brother, an avid outdoorsman told us it had to be an owl because of the weight. Sure enough, Donny sees an owl on our roof!
Day 3, I needed more coffee!!! Now we were planning “Operation Owl”
Night 3, Donny, my father-in-law and my dad get out 3 large strands of Christmas lights and make zig zag formations with the lights on our roof. We were awakened again at 1:30 am by what sounded like St. Nick and his friends. Donny makes another middle of the night trip outside and what to his wondering eyes should appear but FOUR owls and they are having an “Animal Party” up there!
Day 4, I head to Starbucks for a double shot of espresso! And now look like Roger the Reading Raccoon with circles around my eyes! Operation Owl needs some tweaking. Donny works on putting roofing nails through duct tape and attaching them to the chimney where the owls have been spotted perching.
Night 4, We now have strobe lights, Christmas lights and duct tape nails on top of the chimney and also added Repel deer urine around the chimney.
Day 5, FINALLY some much needed sleep!
Night 5, Just to make sure we are effective in getting rid of the owls, Donny meets a wildlife expert in Metamora and buys another $45.00 worth of special animal repellant strobe lights. “It is beginning to look alot like Christmas” as we now have strobe lights, disco lights and strands of Christmas lights strung around the roof. I am afraid that the St. Francis helicopter might be confused and think my roof is the launch pad and land here.
Night 6, Batteries must have gone out….Their back!!!
Who is that sitting in the tree, who is that laughing at Donny & me
Who is that sitting in the tree, who is that professor owl please leave!!! HELP!!!
June 14, 2011
Roger To The Rescue
Yes, my song “Roger the Reading Raccoon” is indeed about my good friend and audio guru Roger Potter! The lyrics “Roger the raccoon can do lots of things” truly speaks of my friend Roger. When I was asked to sing for Congressman Aaron Schock’s summer reading program event with special guest Laura Bush, I wanted to write a special song about reading. I was actually in the completion stage of my 2nd album “Animal Party” and needed one more song about an animal. Roger thought he was just being funny and sent me a text message of some great lyrics which just happened to turn into the perfect song.
God brought Roger into my life at just the right time when I needed someone to help with my business. There are no coincidences in life. Roger really can do everything! He tries to get me organized, runs my sound, helps with set-up and tear down, helps with planning events, and even creates marketing materials. I am convinced there really isn’t anything he cannot do! Most importantly, he and his family have been there to encourage me on the days I was down and wanted to quit. Not only have they volunteered countless hours to help make my concerts a success, but they have prayed with me in difficult times, from my dad’s medical issues to my own insecurities.
We all need “Roger’s” in our lives, those who give to help someone else rise up, and when we find this person, we are truly blessed. We also need to be “Roger’s” to others and by giving of our time and talent to help someone in need, we find the joy God meant for us to know. You never know when you are going to be that special person for someone else. Roger always comes through no matter the need.
Oh and those blondies (my comfort food) that Great Harvest took off the menu for the month of June…Roger special ordered half a tray!!!
June 3, 2011
The past couple of weeks have been very interesting and very looooooong as I have been doing double duty as nurse Julie! I now know why this was not my chosen career path! My husband Donny has been in a full cast after surgery to repair his torn bicep and can’t drive or do much of anything for three more weeks. While trying to be the good wife,I have also tried to be the best nurse possible and of course patient mom to my sweet 7 year old. Early on, I garnered strong marks as I helped with two showers a day for both “boys”, fixed their meals, cut their food, tied their shoes and taxied them around to camps, therapy and doctor appointments. I just learned today that I now need to massage Donny’s less than attractive scar. Let me remind you that I went to music school, not nursing school!
The worst part of all of this for me is the driving! Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not fond of driving on any given day and now to be the taxi for Weston and Donny is stressing me out! I truly dislike being critiqued when I am trying to drive! Not to mention I am trying to run my own business and feel as though I have completely neglected it. I know compared to others this is a little hiccup in life and I am trying to keep that in perspective but….
I am so ready to turn the keys in and give up. I have asked God how am I supposed to handle all of this? I’m completely overwhelmed and exhausted! How can I be a good wife, mother and business owner? God gives us 24 hours a day and I know that is what I am supposed to focus on, not jump to the rest of the week and start worrying and stressing out about what is to come. Got it! But then I find out that my favorite comfort food, “Blondies” have been taken off this months menu at Great Harvest Bread! Help! What’s a girl to do?
I sure do have a new appreciation for all the moms out there taking care of two or more children! I am one exhausted caregiver and I am now slacking as the domestic diva I had hoped to be. A little retail therapy has helped but three more weeks of driving Donny might just do me in! I have to remember that God is walking with me today. I know I must give my worries to Him and trust that He will see me through. God will not give me more than I can handle. Maybe it’s fitting I am working on my new song “SuperMOM!”
“We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” Romans 5:3-5
May 23, 2011
May 23, 2011
The Fear Monster
You know that monster. It’s the one that from a young age you thought was living under your bed or in your closet. But what most people don’t realize is that as we get older, that monster continues to live within us – in our brains, in our hearts – as FEAR – and keeps us from going out on that limb and taking those chances and leaps of faith.
It is truly amazing how debilitating the Fear Monster can be! It can paralyze us and keep us from opportunities that have come our way. I know if I look back on my life, I can see many times when the Fear Monster got the best of me.
One of my early memories of giving in to this cunning creature was when I cancelled my opportunity to attend the North Carolina School of the Arts as a sophomore in high school. I had auditioned and was thrilled to be accepted. I was assigned a room and roommate, and we had talked and made plans over the phone. But as the summer wore on, I grew more apprehensive and the Fear Monster took hold. I totally gave in to it on the drive to North Carolina, and we turned around and came home.
The Monster had me in its grip for years, and caused me to live with countless “what ifs”. What if I would have stayed at Indiana and continued with the Singing Hoosiers? What if I would have stayed in Florida and followed through with my Disney audition? What if, what if, what if! The Monster says nothing.
Ever since I was very small my mom has often quoted Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Though I was always encouraged by my family, I turned my back on what God had provided to me and gave in to the Fear Monster. I felt like I was being suffocated by fear. I wanted so much to be that confident successful daughter, that well-spoken sister. But by the grace and strength of God, he has helped me overcome the Fear Monster. He knows it’s there and doesn’t desert us. He just loves us and waits!
With His help, my grip on the Fear Monster slowly loosened. No more what ifs! I finally let go and let God, and began to give him a chance to work in my life!
I started my Music Together Business, then Julie K Music. I created my first children’s album, and then a second. When I first started performing my own music to an audience, I clearly remember the Fear Monster paying me a visit. I was singing for a special event at a local boutique and the owner directed me to this tiny, cramped dressing room. A friend stopped by and saw my digs and said, “Julie, is this what you are going to do now, sing in closets!” She didn’t mean any harm, but it was enough to make me look that Fear Monster in the face again. In my fragile state, I questioned myself and my decision. I could barely contain the tears, but I knew right then I had to quit or trust – release the Monster, or trust in God.
I chose God. I turned the Fear Monster over to him, and was amazed to see how He tossed it aside and worked to sustain me through my fear of these uncomfortable, challenging first steps. I realized that He is stronger than Fear, and will help me overcome and get me through, even when I question myself.
April 25, 2011
“Music is what feelings sound like.”
HEADLINE: Never too Late
One of my goals for the New Year was to create a blog so that I could share my adventures with you – and believe me, there are many. Obviously it’s not January 1st but yesterday my pastor, Cal Rychener started a new series called “Launch”, so I now thought it was appropriate to “Launch” my blog! For those of you who know me, selling my Music Together business and starting all over with a dream I have had since I was young was the scariest thing I have ever done. But it has also been one of the most fulfilling because I have had to rely on God every step of the way.
So for all of you out there who are stymied by your situation, perplexed with your predicament or wistful for your wants and desires, tune in here. I’ll show you that it’s never too late to make that dream come true.
Part I: I’m not “Sporty Spice”!
Everyone in my family eats, sleeps and breathes sports. Except me. Despite my best efforts to play one season of basketball in my pink turtleneck with pastel ice-cream cones and matching hair ribbons, I just wasn’t cut out for it.
All the attention my sister received for her basketball skills caused me to drum up a pretty hefty inferiority complex. I didn’t like sports; I liked singing and performing. But, unlike all the hours my dad spent shooting hoops with my sis, I had never had any training – no voice lessons or acting classes. It wasn’t that my parents didn’t encourage me. They just weren’t quite sure what to do with this seemingly out-of-the-box talent of mine – and one that didn’t require a ball.
I was fortunate that our school decided to produce The Wizard of Oz when I was in 6th grade. I was cast as the Tin Man and I think it was in that moment on stage that I realized what I wanted to do with my life.
And it’s taken half of it to get there.
Though I performed with Children’s Community Theater, high school productions and college performances, I still had that nagging feeling of insecurity. As a result, I wondered if I had neglected to seize that brass ring that may have given me the opportunity to really grow as a performer when I had the chance.
But chances have a way of, well, giving you seconds. After thinking I had buried the dream, I have come to live by one of my favorite Bible verses: “With God, all things are possible.” Philippians 4:13
So, after a series of miscellaneous office jobs later, I started my own company called Music Together and taught music and movement to children and families. I think that was what gave me the confidence and security to create my own music. That and the best thing that ever happened to me – my son, Weston. I wanted him to see the beauty and joy of music at an early age, so I began making music specifically for children.
There’s more to come, but the lesson I want to leave you with is this: So many little things happened along the way to actually get me to the point where I am today. I realize God is in control and has a plan, and I am just trying to follow His lead. Each step I have taken in this journey has helped me shed layer upon layer of insecurity, even though I still get butterflies in my stomach before getting up on that stage. I encourage anyone who has a dream to never give up on it. Today may be your day. If not today, then tomorrow. Or the next. Don’t wait for it to happen – make it happen. With God’s help, you can make beautiful “music”, no matter what your tune.
God’s blessings to you!