one day (and year) at a time

2013 rang in while I was working on a composition deadline
and the rest of my family were tucked soundly in their beds.
My New Year’s celebration (or lack of) may seem a bit boring
but my heart was filled with anticipation and wonder.

With the start of this new year I have a lot to be excited about:

– My son Archer turned one year old and received his first haircut :’)

– I was interviewed by artist, designer, and architect Corissa Nelson.
We talked about 
how women find time to be creative, especially moms.

– I completed my composition, Point Me To The Skies, for Martin Luther College’s wind symphony

– AND launched Holy Hen House, where friends and I are writing a Christian women’s blog
check it out!

New Year2

Do you remember how I posted about making goals with deadlines and sticking to them?
Well – I should have added – don’t put all the deadlines in the same week. Haha!
I have to admit I didn’t get much sleep and even stayed up as late (or early?) as 5:30am.
BUT I met all my deadlines and am working towards a whole new set of goals
that I could not have imagined one year ago.
How awesome!

With all of these opportunities I have to remind myself to discern my priorities.
What is God’s will? What is first? Him – the one thing needful.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city,
spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life?

You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

James 4:13-15

I have about 10 days to start and complete my Epiphany text and hymn
but as always I am taking it one day at a time. A day of His grace.

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reformation

One hymn down and eleven to go.

I’m excited for this next one as I decided to compose a Reformation hymn.

You may be wondering, what is Reformation? Is that when that Luther guy overthrew the Catholics? I’ve even heard some mistake Martin Luther King Jr. as our namesake before…ummm nope!

During Reformation we celebrate the gift of eternal salvation for all people. I’m not a huge fan of glorifying Martin Luther to high ends and I don’t think he would find it agreeable either. The focus and attention should shine on the message that Martin Luther fought for. The message that your eternal salvation is a gift, your gift, and cannot be earned. It was paid for by Jesus when He, who was perfect, took the sin of all men into Himself… yes, into Himself, painfully died and won in rising from the dead.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

Where does Marty fit in? In the early 1500s, as a monk in the torment of his sin’s guilt he beat himself, fasted, prayed continuously, and fulfilled pilgrimages. Still he felt the darkness of Satan in his conscience. What can I do? What haven’t I done to bring peace to my soul?! Satan tried to convince Luther that Jesus didn’t love him enough… that there was something that he had to do to bring himself that spiritual peace.

It was Luther’s study of God’s Word where he found his light out of the darkness. He noticed that some major teachings of the Catholic church didn’t match the good news that brought his soul freedom in the Bible.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

He misunderstood the righteousness of God as being something held over him instead of something that was given to him.

 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:21-24

Once he knew the truth he couldn’t turn back and he had hoped to bring the church to it’s original teachings. You see, it is often thought that Luther wanted to divide the church, but not at all. Once he discovered that his sharing of God’s truths was met with opposition from those within the church he could not recant – for he loved God more than men. Luther preached against indulgences, salvation by works, the position of the pope, and more in his 95 theses. The reformation of 1517 is widely known for Luther’s nailing these theses on the door of the Wittenberg church.

Back then the Bible and church were read and spoke in Latin. Would this be difficult for German speaking people? Of course! People had to ask the priests what the Bible said – no looking it up for themselves. Luther then translated the bible into German.

As we remember Martin Luther’s zeal for truth in teaching God’s Word I hope that we continuously test others and more importantly ourselves in God’s Word.

Do we believe what we believe simply because we were raised in it? Do we believe something because it fits within human reason? Do we believe something because it is practical?

Take God’s Word into your hands and read from it yourself. That is a privilege that not many had and one that Martin Luther fought for.

I recommend watching the Luther film from 2003 by Eric Till.

what season are we in?

In Wisconsin, it is definitely Autumn right now. I LOVE Autumn.

Family and friends back north are going to apple orchards, using their slow cookers and making stew, wearing sweaters and fashion scarves…ah…

I look at my calendar in Texas, and it says it is Autumn but 90 degrees outside tells me the opposite.

The pools are already closed here for they say it’s too cold to go swimming! eh! What?! “In Wisconsin we swim if it’s snowing outside… we just cut a whole in the ice and hop in…that’s warm to us.”

Last Sunday it was 88 degrees and I made some butternut squash soup with corn bread for dinner, I’m a bit confused here.

Can anyone really tell me what season are we in?

Besides my thoughts on small talk weather – I’m starting to organize what content my hymns will be based off of and I think it would make sense to base them off of the Church Year calendar.

The Church Year, or Liturgical Calendar, follows the life of Christ and the beginnings of the Christian church annually. Your general home calendar probably has several Christian celebrations noted like Christmas or Easter but the Church Year has more than that and has been followed for hundreds of years.  It is rooted in Christian history and the gospel. I won’t get into all the interesting facts here but feel free to do your own research if you are curious – I recommend it! For a church musician this is essential!

The diagram on the left gives an overview of the annual Church calendar.

  • In Advent we prepare for Christ’s coming. (4 weeks)
  • In Christmas we celebrate Christ’s incarnation. (12 days)
  • In Epiphany, we remember how Christ made God’s glory known to the world. (up to 9 weeks)
  • The Lenten season leads us to the Cross, the climactic event in Holy Week, which concludes Lent. (40 days plus Sundays)
  • Easter (the Great 50 Days) celebrates Christ’s resurrection, new life, and his ascension to glory. It concludes on the 50th day, Pentecost, the day of the Spirit’s outpouring.
  • The Season after Pentecost (or Trinity) is the time of the church, when by the Spirit we live out the life of the Gospel in community and in the world. (up to 29 weeks)

I will be writing each hymn in the season that we currently are in the Church Year. So, since we are in the Season after Pentecost, I will be composing a hymn that fits the bible lessons taught during this time. Here is a great pdf from Northwestern Publishing House that shows the rest of this Church Year with ALL the details. Christian Worship Three-Year Series—Year B 

Now that I have my hymn challenge more organized I can start thinking of what texts or themes I’d like my hymn to be inspired by. Using the NPH pdf that I attached you’ll see that there are bible texts already suggested for each week.

It’s September 25 already – I’ve got only 5 days to go before I have to have one done!