Let Your Life Sing

I like to sing. Not necessarily because I’m exceptionally skillful in that department, but just because it lifts my spirits. I feel a little happier, the load feels a little lighter, when I’m singing.

For a while though, you wouldn’t hear me belting out the lyrics of “When I Fall in Love” {as performed in High School Show Choir} around our house. Because somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I’d become convinced that it probably got on the Hubs’ nerves to hear me squawking out a song, whether the lyrics were from my latest favorite Christian song or a century-old anthem.

Not wanting to annoy him, I decided to hush.

But when I came home from the hospital with our second precious baby boy, I was singing to the rafters again. My justification was that it’s good for babies. It’s good for them to hear music, it’s good for you to talk to them, and in the Tank’s case, it kept him peaceful through a lengthy diaper change and helped him fall asleep.

So, at the risk of spraying the Hubs in the face with a bottle of annoying, I decided to wholeheartedly sing. A lot.

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And then a funny thing happened. He wrote me a card — I think for Mother’s Day — and one of the things he said was, “I love how you fill our house with music. I love it when you sing.”

I could not have been more surprised. I was so surprised I had to ask him about it.

Doesn’t it annoy you when I sing? You mean I don’t get on your nerves?

The answer was no — and I realized a little lie had crept in, and I’d been letting that little lie tell me what to do, and what not to do. Meanwhile, something was missing from our home — a source of joy was nearly stolen, because un-truth had become truth for me.

I don’t know whether you have an awesome singing voice or the ability to make music with an instrument, but I want you to know that your life can sing.

You have your own lyrics. You have your own gifts. And sometimes fear of how other people will receive your gifts can hinder you from giving them. Fear of what other people will say or think about your art can incorrectly define you — whether your art includes baking or dancing or teaching people how to manage their finances or serving a cup of coffee with a smile.

Un-truth will draw lines, put boundaries around places in your mind and in your life. Un-truth will tell you where you can or cannot go, what you can or cannot do.

But there’s no one like you. And no one can achieve the things you were created for.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

And that is the truth.

We are God’s workmanship — created in Jesus for good works, which God planned out before we were even born — a plan for what He gifted us to do with our lives. {Eph. 2:10, my paraphrase}

So what’s stopping you from making your music? Are you letting your life sing?

xCC

When It Ain’t Easy

There are things that come naturally to some of us, but not so much to others. You might find it really easy to open up your home and life to the people around you. Or you may find hospitality totally draining and prefer to leave it to the people who like it. From learning to creating to performing, music or painting or writing or cooking or listening or building — we have some beautiful gifts in this world. Hopefully it brings us joy to use those beautiful gifts to be a blessing and it brings others joy to receive from the overflowing cup of our giftings.

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We know that we’re blessed to be a blessing. And I hope you’re convinced that God doesn’t have a second string or a “B Team”.

Sometimes, even the things that we’re very gifted at don’t come easy. While words very often feel like they come through my fingertips before my brain fully considers them, sometimes I stare at the screen, wanting to write, but not wanting to write. Knowing there is a gift that I ought to be stirring — perhaps through reading or writing or thinking or praying — but there’s also a wall there, and it holds me back and I feel unable to move forward.

But writer’s block isn’t just for writers.

Sometimes we stare at the wall for a while. We think about whether we can go around it, or go over it. We want to continue to create, to use our gifts, to bless, to enjoy, and we hope to find a way to move forward. But the wall doesn’t always move easily. And we sometimes get stuck on the wrong side of it.

The things that used to bring us joy begin to bring us dread. The thing we used to call our passion might start to be called a calling or even a duty or worse still an obligation. And this thing that was once so full of life feels like death hanging around our necks. It’s a soggy fish out of water, facing the frying pan with a frown on its face.

If the thought of pressing on, along the road with your gifting, makes you feel like a frowning fish right now, I’d like to make a few suggestions.

Change your route. Have you been travelling the same way, doing things the same way for a long time? Could you add or take something away from your day to day, considering the old saying that “Variety is the Spice of Life”?

Look for some new destinations. What are your goals? Are the things you have to do the biggest hindrance to doing what you want to do? Get creative, and think about how you can spend more time doing what you want to do every day (or even once or twice a week, for starters.)

Pull off at a rest stop. Perhaps it’s time for someone else to be a blessing, and time for you to let yourself rest (and maybe recover) and find the heart to be a blessing again.

Stop and ask for directions. Talk to someone else who creates. Even Edison had an off day. Perhaps Mozart was moody. You may be surprised that the people around you who never seem to miss a beat have walked through something similar.

Make sure you’ve got the right map. Pray some good, honest prayers. Talk to the Creator who gave you the gifts that you have, and let Him know how you feel about using them. Sometimes we’re our own worst enemies — we create false obligations for ourselves — and we hold ourselves back when it’s time to move forward. Do His plans feel like hope and a future? If not, maybe those are your plans.

Before you start hanging pictures (or spraypainting graffiti) on the roadblock that’s holding you back, take the opportunity to re-engage. Re-evaluate. Re-examine and re-think. You’ve got something to give, and when it ain’t easy, that’s often a sign it’s a good time to step back and take a good look at your map.

xCC

The Gift Heard Round the World :: Part Two

And now to share the joy of our second Christmas! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, please read this post right here. Along with the gift from my Mom (the one ‘heard round the world,’ where folks in Scotland and America offered to help it get through customs and I received encouragement from all over the place), my friend Amiee sent a gift, and Samaritan’s Feet sent a box, too. And they all arrived on the same day! Party at the Collie house!

This was our Santa:

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These were our stockings:

Stocking 1Stocking 2

Sorry I forgot to take pictures of Stocking #3.

Amiee sent her gift through the US Postal Service which took an extra two-ish weeks to arrive, and showed up on the same day as the gift heard round the world! Crazy! We didn’t have any trouble receiving that one because she declared the value quite low. Shew! Here are some highlights from the awesome and incredibly thoughtful gift she sent. Check out this presentation!

Thoughtful presentation

And what might you spot in here…?

Do you see Veggie Tales

You guessed it…Veggie Tales! New songs for me to memorize!

What does the Bear see?

More More More!!

Gerber Graduates Puffs!!!!! He is signing his fingers off…more, more MMMMORE!!!!

A few other highlights from Amiee’s awesome gift:

Heaven's Preferred SeasoningChristmas!tasty bear treatsGoodiesManly Grooming Tool!Tissue is fun!

Thank you soooo much, Amiee!

ChristmasinMarchStocking #3 contained:

To Have and to ShareSome important documents for us to get our stuff together around here, and copies of our founder’s new book. Don’t worry, one copy is ours and the others are to share in this neck of the woods! We’re not so greedy. πŸ™‚

And finally, the gift heard round the world! It was totally worth the wait…Christmas in a box!

Neat & Tidy & Not Water Damaged

Look at all the adorable gear G.C. sent the Bear! He is going to be set for the next growth spurt!

Adorable Gear!

And these AWESOME fold-out books!

Awesome Books

She’s a school teacher, so she has to send books. The books she sends inevitably become the Bear’s favourites, so I think she knows what she’s doing. πŸ™‚

Look how dapper the bear is in his new PJ’s!

Dapper Bear

The top says “Bananas Over Mommy” but he was too busy enjoying Gerber Graduate Puffs and raisins to give us a proper modelling. And it was just a little too warm for the matching monkey PJ pants but dern they are cute. I’d wear em if they came in my size. But not right now… It’s hot around here!

I was spoiled with some cute new tops! And there’s another adorable comfy hoodie I forgot to take a picture of because I’m already wearing it! (Only in the evenings because…did I mention it’s hot around here?)

New Tops

How my Mom is so good at sizes when we’re not around to try stuff on…it’s pretty awesome. Hero Hubs got a vest and a really cool t-shirt and a warm top but I just didn’t take enough pictures!

She also sent us Whoppers. A personal fave. We argue about whether Maltesers (a similar British candy) or Whoppers are better. I say whichever ones we’re eating at the time.

Here are a few more highlights from the gift heard round the world!

The CardAdventureWe <3 WhoppersStocking StuffersLike Christmas!Lazy Try On!

The card made me cry.

I love the blue t-shirt for the Bear because Adven- ture is one of my favourite words. πŸ™‚

Whoppers…yum yum…that box has already been devoured. Man, it went fast. But we still have one box left. And that’s make up in that wee plastic bag. I <3 makeup. HH is handsome in his new stuff. I wish I’d taken more pictures! Weren’t we spoiled?

So that, dear friends, was the gift heard round the world! I don’t think I’ve ever fit so many pictures into one post before, but I hope you enjoyed it! Totally worth the wait and the bit of a faith challenge we experienced before its arrival. Thank you, Mom, for sending it! Thank you, brother for helping it get here! Thank you, friends, for the encouragement and prayers when I was discouraged! And thank you, Lord! Every good and perfect gift comes from you!

HH’s folks are visiting this week so I may be a little quiet on the scene for the next few days. Maybe they’ll be playing with the Bear and I’ll have a chance to write more! Either way I’ll be sure to update you when I hear the good news that the Bear’s first cousin has arrived!

xCC